Network and Smart Home

With the remodel nearly completed, I thought I would provide an overview of the home’s network and the smart home systems I have constructed.

To an overview of the system:

I set up a network rack in the basement as the home base for everything in the house. This is where the coax from the cable company terminates and where I built everything else out from. As a general rule, every cable is ran as a homerun back to the network rack. This includes one coax drop to each room and possible TV location, 2-3 CAT6 runs to each room/desk/TV location, speaker wire for in-wall speakers in the dining room and ceiling speakers for the kitchen, CAT6 for power-over-ethernet (PoE) security cameras in multiple locations on the exterior of the house, and several ceiling CAT6 drops for WAP’s (wireless access points). All in all, we ran 1,000 feet of CAT6 and a couple hundred feet of coax.

I had already began to outfit our house prior to the remodel with Lutron Caseta light switches. These smart switches worked great as most of them don’t require a neutral wire (which is a good feature when upgrading an old house). The house has been completely rewired at this point, but I already had quite a few switches and the Lutron Caseta system happens to be bombproof when compared to all the other smart home devices…so I decided to continue down that rabbit hole. Every light switch in the house is either a Lutron Caseta dimmer or Lutron Caseta switch. For the 3-way and 4-way switches (and a few other places that needed an extra switch or scene controller), I installed Lutron Pico Remotes.

At the moment, we use Amazon’s Alexa for verbal commands (via our Sonos speakers, Echo Dots, ecobee thermostat, and Amazon Echo Show 5) and Apple HomeKit for electronic device control. With that said, with the programming and motion sensors and the occasional switch/pico scene controllers, we rarely need to open up any apps.

To the hardware specifics:

Currently, Apple’s HomeKit and Amazon’s Alexa form the backbone of much our system. And while it works well, there is still more to be done to integrate everything more seamlessly. In the coming months, I plan to delve into the world of Raspberry Pi’s and explore Home Assistant. Certain devices and ecosystems don’t currently play well with each other and it will be nice to bring everything under one umbrella. If anybody has any experience or opinions, please do share as I would love all the help I can get coming up to speed. I’m looking forward to the continual iterations but feel pretty good about the current foundation we’ve built.

One thought on “Network and Smart Home

  1. Impressive system. Congratulations for having the foresight to run the wiring during your remodel. We aspired to put in a home network, but we were so overwhelmed by it all the different upgrades that needed to happen to all the home systems that we, unfortunately, didn’t manage to get all the network wiring installed. We’ll have to rely on wireless tech when we get around to upgrading.

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