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Saturday, 19 February 2011

Homeplugs are dead, long live .... well, copper wires.

I've finally given up with my Homeplugs, Netgear HD model.  The throughput was never great but it worked for 'most' things.  But since installing the HTPC I really wanted to stream full 1080p which the HP had no chance, in fact when I started to test bandwidth with iPerf I was truly shocked at how bad they were.

Spent some time looking at new 500Mb plugs but the reality was even with the entire house turned off, I mean everything turned off, fridges, chargers, everything.  Even then the homeplugs connected to a simple four block next to the hub and the t/put was still crap.

So the run STP CAT6 plan kicked in.  

Step one purchase Snake Scope !

Just an excuse really, but actually turned out to be pretty useful.  At least in the early stages it meant I could just drill a small(ish) hole and poke around in the ceiling.  Gave me an idea of what I was up against and proved useful working around beams and stuff.

The chosen wall in the front room, in theory dropped down right above the cloak room toilet on the ground floor.  Six holes later I realised I was looking in the wrong place.  Measure twice cut once as my Dad used to say.

Eventually finding the drop from the front room turned out to be pretty easy. Then it was a case of cutting 'working' holes in the ceiling and making my way through beams - using existing cable holes and towards the study.

Where I came across the problem of getting through the metal supports they'd used to build the gypsum walls.  That proved to be a task easy resolved with another purchase.  This time a flexible drill shaft and a step 4-22mm step drill bit.  Took some time, some swearing and some dangerous balancing on a chair, which in turn balanced an old tower PC.  A H&S person would have imploded on the spot.

I bought some faceplates etc to give a nice finish and then patching up required dustless sanding.  googling how I stumbled across a youtube link showing how to smooth the filler with just a rough sponge and warm water, which I tried and worked OK.