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Unread 2017-08-10, 01:22 PM   #1
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Default Home Security, Automation and Server options

Hello KCSR,

Closing on my first home in two weeks. After I burn up my concession money fixing what's absolutely necessary, I'd like to start making the house "smart". As I'm ripping out the carpets and refinishing the hardwood floors, I'm planning on running dedicated cabling throughout the home. I have a partially finished basement and was planning on just removing the Coaxial in all rooms and replacing with Cat6. Or should I just wire cat5e? The coax is already run from the basement but it's going through the floors with drilled holes, no wall plates or anything. I will be looking into Comcast Gigabit internet, but will more than likely stick with around 200mbps.

I'm planning on throwing all the networking gear in the basement. Still debating if I'm going to frame a little IDF closet or potentially get a small rack and hang/post it somewhere. I would like to install security cameras. Probably no more than 4 total. Should I run wiring for all of them and get a PoE switch dedicated for cameras? Or am I maybe better off just buying wireless cameras and investing in access points or bridges? If even necessary?

I would like to build a little home server as well. Something I can throw all my media and other storage on and access remotely with no latency. Right now I have 3TB in my desktop and I want to eventually make my desktop SSD storage only for OS, Apps and games. Would it be in my best interest to build something that can do cameras/DVR, NAS and media server? Any suggestions?

In addition to security, are you guys happy with Xfinity home security? My sister has it and seems to like it, it's only $30 or $35 a month out here IIRC. I would like to add a keypad or bluetooth door knob on the front door. Are these bad news or are they pretty secure? Would be nice to take my dog for a walk and be able to lock the house up without having my keys on me. There is one regular door in the front, the back of the house has two sliding glass doors that have key holes on the outside. I mainly would want the security system to secure or alert with the back doors.

As far as automation goes, I've already purchased a Google Home and Philips Hue starter kit. Are you guys happy with Hue? I know it's more expensive but I'm really liking it so far from what I've played with in my rental. My plan would be to have Hue throughout the entire main level. I won't worry about the basement until it's completely finished.

Just trying to pick some other brains here. I'm excited to be moving into a place I can actually call mine and have the opportunity to do some fun stuff like this. I never bothered in the past when I was just packing up and moving every year.
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Unread 2017-08-10, 03:07 PM   #2
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I dont like the Hue because its dependent on the light being on, you lose old school switch control. I much prefer installed z wave switches. I can use plain old cheap bulbs and I can still use wall switches as I want.

As far as controllers I got the Smartthings one. Its the most flexible one out there.
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Unread 2017-08-10, 03:37 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by MountainDew View Post
Hello KCSR,

Closing on my first home in two weeks. After I burn up my concession money fixing what's absolutely necessary, I'd like to start making the house "smart". As I'm ripping out the carpets and refinishing the hardwood floors, I'm planning on running dedicated cabling throughout the home. I have a partially finished basement and was planning on just removing the Coaxial in all rooms and replacing with Cat6. Or should I just wire cat5e? The coax is already run from the basement but it's going through the floors with drilled holes, no wall plates or anything. I will be looking into Comcast Gigabit internet, but will more than likely stick with around 200mbps.
I'd run Cat6 unless you have Cat5e cabling already. There isn't much of a price difference and why not run Cat6 now when you have a chance?

Are you sure you want to remove coax completely? Comcast still uses coax for their TV boxes FYI.

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Originally Posted by MountainDew View Post
I'm planning on throwing all the networking gear in the basement. Still debating if I'm going to frame a little IDF closet or potentially get a small rack and hang/post it somewhere. I would like to install security cameras. Probably no more than 4 total. Should I run wiring for all of them and get a PoE switch dedicated for cameras? Or am I maybe better off just buying wireless cameras and investing in access points or bridges? If even necessary?
Make sure you plan this ahead of time. I'm dealing with my rack in my basement and trying to figure out an easy way to get network cable up 2 stories without going outside. It sucks. I most likely will end up moving the switch to a closet up on the 2nd floor for easier access.

You're better off with POE cameras since with WIFI you'll have to plug them in to power still unless you already have power where you're going to put the cameras.

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Originally Posted by MountainDew View Post
I would like to build a little home server as well. Something I can throw all my media and other storage on and access remotely with no latency. Right now I have 3TB in my desktop and I want to eventually make my desktop SSD storage only for OS, Apps and games. Would it be in my best interest to build something that can do cameras/DVR, NAS and media server? Any suggestions?
I currently have a dedicated computer that runs my media server network storage and all my cameras/NVR. I would recommend that unless you have a super beefy system as it is to have all that running in the background. Depending on the NVR/Cameras/Setup you use will depend on how beefy it'll need to be.

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Originally Posted by MountainDew View Post
In addition to security, are you guys happy with Xfinity home security? My sister has it and seems to like it, it's only $30 or $35 a month out here IIRC. I would like to add a keypad or bluetooth door knob on the front door. Are these bad news or are they pretty secure? Would be nice to take my dog for a walk and be able to lock the house up without having my keys on me. There is one regular door in the front, the back of the house has two sliding glass doors that have key holes on the outside. I mainly would want the security system to secure or alert with the back doors.

As far as automation goes, I've already purchased a Google Home and Philips Hue starter kit. Are you guys happy with Hue? I know it's more expensive but I'm really liking it so far from what I've played with in my rental. My plan would be to have Hue throughout the entire main level. I won't worry about the basement until it's completely finished.
I use SmartThings for 90% of my home automation setup. SmartThings is the brain for my door lock at my front door. I have multiple codes for certain people and am alerted if any of them put their code in. I haven't messed with the Phillips Hue system but I do have many light bulbs that are automated. Like Ryan Stewart stated the light bulbs are dependent on the light switch being on. I only have my bulbs for my outside lights to come up 10 minutes before sunset and turn back off at sunrise. The switch just stays on for me.

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Originally Posted by MountainDew View Post
Just trying to pick some other brains here. I'm excited to be moving into a place I can actually call mine and have the opportunity to do some fun stuff like this. I never bothered in the past when I was just packing up and moving every year.
A lot of it really just depends on what you want out of it.
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Unread 2017-08-10, 04:34 PM   #4
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I only have my bulbs for my outside lights to come up 10 minutes before sunset and turn back off at sunrise. The switch just stays on for me.
I got the outdoor lanterns/lights at Costco that have a sensor built into them for this and its honestly one of the best things I've put into my house. all led and I don't even think about them anymore until the cleaning ladies or someone who comes to dogsit doesn't remember and turns them off.

point being, while the control is nice, this can be done without any interaction to a smart system or anything needing to be run to the lights etc if you're looking for sunset to sunrise exterior lighting.
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Unread 2017-08-10, 05:07 PM   #5
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Make sure you plan this ahead of time. I'm dealing with my rack in my basement and trying to figure out an easy way to get network cable up 2 stories without going outside. It sucks. I most likely will end up moving the switch to a closet up on the 2nd floor for easier access.
I ran mine up with the AC ductwork into the attic, then dropped down the 2nd floor walls from there.

1st floor I ran the cable in the basement and went up into the walls from below.
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Unread 2017-08-10, 07:39 PM   #6
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I got the outdoor lanterns/lights at Costco that have a sensor built into them for this and its honestly one of the best things I've put into my house. all led and I don't even think about them anymore until the cleaning ladies or someone who comes to dogsit doesn't remember and turns them off.

point being, while the control is nice, this can be done without any interaction to a smart system or anything needing to be run to the lights etc if you're looking for sunset to sunrise exterior lighting.
Absolutely. That's just how I have my outdoor lights setup. Obviously there is a lot more I can do with them that you can't with what you're talking about.
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Unread 2017-08-10, 07:40 PM   #7
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I ran mine up with the AC ductwork into the attic, then dropped down the 2nd floor walls from there.

1st floor I ran the cable in the basement and went up into the walls from below.
Finished basement?
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Unread 2017-08-10, 09:03 PM   #8
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No but the duct went up just above the furnace so even finished that space would be open.
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Unread 2017-08-11, 07:52 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by phreakdna View Post
I got the outdoor lanterns/lights at Costco that have a sensor built into them for this and its honestly one of the best things I've put into my house. all led and I don't even think about them anymore until the cleaning ladies or someone who comes to dogsit doesn't remember and turns them off.

point being, while the control is nice, this can be done without any interaction to a smart system or anything needing to be run to the lights etc if you're looking for sunset to sunrise exterior lighting.
one thing I like about having "smart" over sensor is I can have it randomly do stuff when I am out of town.

Its a pandoras box though. I did a few, liked it, kept adding, liked it, kept adding. Programmed scenes and strings. Now I am thinking about putting in powered blinds, blah blah blah.

You can also do a lot more. Knows phone location so it can turn lights on when you get near the house, set the nest to start cooling from "away" mode when you leave work, etc.
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Unread 2017-08-11, 08:41 AM   #10
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one thing I like about having "smart" over sensor is I can have it randomly do stuff when I am out of town.

Its a pandoras box though. I did a few, liked it, kept adding, liked it, kept adding. Programmed scenes and strings. Now I am thinking about putting in powered blinds, blah blah blah.

You can also do a lot more. Knows phone location so it can turn lights on when you get near the house, set the nest to start cooling from "away" mode when you leave work, etc.
agreed. I prefer the smart objects generally, I just feel like for the goal of what I want/wanted out of those lights (dusk-dawn basically exclusively), the smart vs not quite dumb didn't offer me much more that I was going to realistically use, that's all.
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Unread 2017-08-11, 08:53 AM   #11
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agreed. I prefer the smart objects generally, I just feel like for the goal of what I want/wanted out of those lights (dusk-dawn basically exclusively), the smart vs not quite dumb didn't offer me much more that I was going to realistically use, that's all.
Absolutely, having home automation isn't for everyone.
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Unread 2017-08-11, 09:11 AM   #12
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Although with the amazon echo and google home (and soon to be apple thing) its certainly making it for more people. Smarthings has made setting it up much more simple and then adding the voice functions actually adds a lot of features that "normals" would appreciate.

My parents werent on the bandwagon and made fun of me until they visited and saw it in action. Now he plans on buying all of the equipment for the next time I come back to help him set it up.
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Unread 2017-08-11, 09:14 AM   #13
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I get the allure of having ethernet cabling everywhere (my computer is hardwired to my router), but isn't that overkill now with how well wifi mesh networks run? Even just standard routers now are amazing. I have real-world transfer speeds over 100MBps from corner to corner in my house so I struggle to see the benefit of spending all that time and money on hardwiring. Unless you are running some kind of media production company from throughout the inside of your house, just doesn't seem worth it. I can stream 20 blu-rays at once on one router
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Unread 2017-08-11, 10:16 AM   #14
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I get the allure of having ethernet cabling everywhere (my computer is hardwired to my router), but isn't that overkill now with how well wifi mesh networks run? Even just standard routers now are amazing. I have real-world transfer speeds over 100MBps from corner to corner in my house so I struggle to see the benefit of spending all that time and money on hardwiring. Unless you are running some kind of media production company from throughout the inside of your house, just doesn't seem worth it. I can stream 20 blu-rays at once on one router
I have Ubiquiti AP's in a mesh network. I still prefer hardwired over wifi if the device isn't ever going to move from that location.

It's just a preference. Not to mention I have a few Raspberry Pi 2's that don't have WIFI and I don't really care to dick around with adapters for WIFI.

Pretty nice that you have 20 devices that you can stream bluray's to at once in your house.
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Unread 2017-08-11, 10:21 AM   #15
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I have Ubiquiti AP's in a mesh network. I still prefer hardwired over wifi if the device isn't ever going to move from that location.

It's just a preference. Not to mention I have a few Raspberry Pi 2's that don't have WIFI and I don't really care to dick around with adapters for WIFI.

Pretty nice that you have 20 devices that you can stream bluray's to at once in your house.
lmao, like i said, i get the attraction. i do the same thing with everything in my office. i just don't know that it'd be worth the trouble routing cable everywhere if it doesn't already exist? to each their own! i'm excited to see where wifi will be in 10 years...

and i have never had more than 4 or 5 devices going at once, it was an exaggeration
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Unread 2017-08-11, 11:02 AM   #16
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lmao, like i said, i get the attraction. i do the same thing with everything in my office. i just don't know that it'd be worth the trouble routing cable everywhere if it doesn't already exist? to each their own! i'm excited to see where wifi will be in 10 years...

and i have never had more than 4 or 5 devices going at once, it was an exaggeration
BTW, a better mesh network is connected via ethernet to each AP from the switch, so you'll have to run cable anyways. You lose wifi signal if you're only doing mesh via wifi signal.
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Unread 2017-08-11, 11:51 AM   #17
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I get the allure of having ethernet cabling everywhere (my computer is hardwired to my router), but isn't that overkill now with how well wifi mesh networks run? Even just standard routers now are amazing. I have real-world transfer speeds over 100MBps from corner to corner in my house so I struggle to see the benefit of spending all that time and money on hardwiring. Unless you are running some kind of media production company from throughout the inside of your house, just doesn't seem worth it. I can stream 20 blu-rays at once on one router
Honestly my house is pre-wired cat 6 and I hardly use it. DVR for the camera system because it doesn't support wireless and the media server because it allowed me to guarantee I could run 3 HD streams without noticing it. The only other scenario would be serious gaming I guess, but even then youve got routers with multiple connections and whatnot.

Other than that its just to eliminate interference or have higher security.
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