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Thread: Home Automation / Media Streaming - managed or unmanaged switch?

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  1. #1
    Automated Home Jr Member
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    Default Home Automation / Media Streaming - managed or unmanaged switch?

    Hi all

    As some of you know, I've cabled up my new house with Cat 6, for a mixture of basic home automation (possibly incorporating security cameras soon), networking & HD media streaming.

    I'm ready to get the patch panel & switch setup, and have a great deal on a Gigabit switch from a contact. However, it's an unmanaged switch, and not knowing much about the difference, would the unmanaged switch likely be sufficient for my needs? Or would I end up wanting to upgrade pretty quickly to access the extra features like network traffic prioritising, etc, to ensure streaming quality?

    All thoughts welcome & appreciated!
    My fledgling blog about the technology side of renovating our first house: http://firsttechhome.wordpress.com/

  2. #2
    Automated Home Legend Paul_B's Avatar
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    In my experience I want to be able to do two things with a switch:
    i. shut it down gracefully
    ii. force the speed on the switch port for 100MB devices

    I've never created a vlan or any of the other more advanced features on a home switch

    Paul

  3. #3
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Unmanaged switches are fine for small networks and some large ones. And most PCs these days allow you to set the speed. I've used unmanaged switches on large data networks of about 20 or so computers. Without problems. But these only ever really surfed the net and accessed print servers and file servers. So no great data rates.
    Also what format will most of your video media be in. HD or standard, and what format do you intend to store them in. And what is the worse case scenario for network load. As how many video streams could be playing at once. I think this will give you more of an indication of what type of switch or router you will need.
    What are you thinking of using as your media streamer.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
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  4. #4
    Automated Home Sr Member MrFluffy's Avatar
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    I run streaming realtime tv over my lan (mythtv) and the main root switch is a old 100BT baynetworks managed switch, and wired from that are a few 100baset unmanaged cheapo switches where needed.
    When my wife is watching a soap in the front room of the house, its being captured in mpeg in realtime from a sky satelite on a outbuilding to a pc racked in there, then comes across the infrastructure first passing the baynet then a smaller 100b unmanaed switch before it arrives in a atom micropc on the back of the tv.

    Im saying in a roundabout way, that I doubt you'll stress a gigabit switch at all... Unless your going to try and stream hd blueray or something in realtime, at which point the bottleneck is likely to be the pc's performance to deal with the packet rate rather than the infrastructure...

  5. #5
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    Hmmm, some helpful thoughts there, thanks guys.

    I'm still totally undecided on the final 'streaming' setup, but it is definitely going to involve streaming HD tv/movies, sometimes in real time. Initial system looking like Sky HD downstairs, going upstairs using Cat 5 baluns over Cat6 cable.

    Beyond that I'm struggling to decide on a final setup. We will be having a PC in the lounge by the TV/Sky box/PS3, etc, that could easily be upgraded to be a capable HTPC - particularly as it runs silent already, and it runs Windows 7 so Media Centre could be used.

    However, there are so many alternatives around I'm very much undecided.

    Basically, for TV I would like to be able to watch and control Sky HD from downstairs or in our bedroom, which I can achieve with the baluns, however I also want secondary ways of watching Freeview/Freesat so different channels can be watched. I installed Sky cables into the bedroom so we *could* just run multiroom, but for some reason it just doesn't appeal. The PC downstairs could get a Freeview/Freesat card added, but we will also have PS3 there, which I understand can also stream.

    Movies-wise I really want to be able to stream to multiple sources, and also be able to pick up watching in one room a movie I started to watch in another. i.e. we're both watching a film in the lounge, but I go to make some food - I want to be able to turn a tv/PC/Joggler on and keep watching. Also if we stop watching in the lounge, I would like to be able to just pick up watching in the bedroom a couple of days later, automatically starting where we left off previously.


    My head is a-blur with HTPC v Sky Multiroom v XBMC v PS3/iPhone v A.N.Other...

    However, I do want to get the switch right at this stage so whatever option we go with in the future it's up to scratch, at least for the medium term.

    Decisions decisions!
    My fledgling blog about the technology side of renovating our first house: http://firsttechhome.wordpress.com/

  6. #6
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    XBMC can handle most of the movie streaming issues. It is possible to say stop the film in the lounge and then go to the kitchen and pick it up where you left off or back to the lounge. It gives you the option to either start where you left off or start from the beginning. Quite a few people have multiple XBMC setups. The only fly in the ointment so to speak is that you need to set up a MySQL server to act as the XBMC database for all machines. But if your movies are stored on a server then shouldn't be too much of a problem, famous last words.
    It is also possible to stream live tv via TVHeadend plus it is also possible to then use this in XBMC if you go for the Linux version. But you will need a suitable DVB-T card for the XBMC box. Don't know if there is a way to do the same with SKY as I am not aware of a dedicated SKY card for the PC. There is also an app for the iphone for TVHeadend.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
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  7. #7
    Automated Home Legend TimH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steelercaz View Post
    Hi all

    As some of you know, I've cabled up my new house with Cat 6, for a mixture of basic home automation (possibly incorporating security cameras soon), networking & HD media streaming.

    I'm ready to get the patch panel & switch setup, and have a great deal on a Gigabit switch from a contact. However, it's an unmanaged switch, and not knowing much about the difference, would the unmanaged switch likely be sufficient for my needs? Or would I end up wanting to upgrade pretty quickly to access the extra features like network traffic prioritising, etc, to ensure streaming quality?

    All thoughts welcome & appreciated!

    If you wanted to use the HDMI-over-IP route then you would need a managed switch to stream different sources to different zones, seehttp://www.automatedhome.co.uk/vbull...ead.php?t=2520).

    Otherwise, I don't think it would make much difference.

    HTH,

    Tim.

  8. #8
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Have a look here for another option, not HDMI over IP but it does use CAT5/6/7 or Abitana's omnimedia cable. http://www.abitana.com/webshop/en-gb/dept_197.html
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
    www.casatech.eu Renovation Spain Blog

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