Computer Modem & 'Brain'

cienzaOctober 20, 2010

We're updating all the wiring in our house including electric, phone and 'data'(not sure what this is or how to use it because the 'plugs' are 'funny'). The electrical contractor wants to put the 'computer's brain' in the attic. Apparently, this is a main board that all the 'data' lines from each room will hook into to set up a 'network'. (In case you didn't notice, I don't really know what I am talking about.) Anyway, I think the heat in the attic will fry the electronical components of these brains. He thinks the heat won't be a problem. Temps regularly hit 140F+ up there, even with the fans going. Any input from you experts?

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Ron Natalie

What computer brain? Are we talking about a switch or router? Most of these are designed to be put in pretty harsh places, but 140 degrees is pushing it.

Further, you really want it to be someplace that's relatively easily accessible.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 12:17PM
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Better question - why are you paying for stuff you don't want or know how to use?

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 12:56PM
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Heat is an enemy to most household electronic devices. I'd interpret the "brain" to be the computer itself. Put the kibosh on that idea.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 2:05PM
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Ok, by 'brain' I think the term is router. All the individual plugs in each room will connect into this thing. I too think it should be easier to get to because I won't be going up in the attic every single time the thing has to be reset (the internet connector switch has to go off & on sometimes?) We're paying for this because the walls are already off and there is no 'extra' labor charge only materials. Our daughter is going to help us pick out a couple computers (one for all of us to share is really getting old!) and set up this 'network' thing. Right now, the computer is a make-shift area where they left one of the old phone-jacks hooked up for us to use it while all the work is going on. Yes, the entire house looks like a construction-zone. The computer itself will not be going into the attic. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks the heat up there will be an issue. Thank You!

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 2:51PM
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If you want decent life and performance from a router keep it in conditioned space.

Many use parts that are designed to an 80C temp limit, and that includes the self heating form the power it takes to run them.

Power supplies double failure rate for about each 10C rise above a 25C ambient (mostly do to aluminum electrolytic filter capacitors in the power supply).

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 3:26PM
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i would put it next to the first panel in the house ( if you think like me there is one on the curb, one in the basement and one on each floor. my curbside panel is the main panel, the basement is a subpanel and the floors are sub sub panels.)

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 5:02PM
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I don't like the idea at all. Heat isn't good for electrical components but more importantly whether a router or switch, it should be readily accessible should you need to troubleshoot a problem or simply reboot the device.

On the bright side, data (COAX and/or CAT5) in every room that is likely to have a computer or TV is a good idea. It can save you a lot of headaches later and wired computer connections tend to be a lot less problematic (at faster) than wireless networks.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 6:15PM
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Why not go wireless ? Put a nic card in each machine and put the router on a shelf in any room. NOT THE ATTIC. all new laptops come with wireless already installed. Most new
desk tops also come with wireless installed.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 6:34PM
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I'd hate to see what a free low-voltage wiring installation looks like. They must be making good money on the materials(:

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 6:58PM
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do you know anyone with a panel idea like mine?

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 8:05PM
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Wired networking is essentially impervious to interference, generally faster, and infinitely more secure. That's not to say that wireless doesn't have place but if you have the walls open and the budget I'd go with wired.

The biggest limitation I see is that routers/gateways supplied by Verizon and AT&T (and perhaps other companies) lack 801.11n and gigabit ports. So if you need one of those devices for TV you're basically screwed for high speed intranet even if you want it.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 8:21PM
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Ron Natalie

I've got FIOS, the thing has the COAX out that interfaces with the set top boxes and four 100M ports. You're free to hook up a wireless-N access point or whatver hardwired switch you want to these and it will work fine.
You won't get over 20M over the FIOS WAN anyhow.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 8:23PM
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Thank you all for your input! Even though I need to bone up on the vocab, you've surely let me know I'm headed the right direction. We're not quite at the 'wireless' stage, (although our daughter is all about it) and security is a concern. This install is not 'free'; just cutting future expense while we can. Much like doing a water pump at the same time as a timing belt (while the whole kaboodle is apart.) We're paying between $100 & $125 per hour for 2 guys and their apprentice helper. That seemed fair to me after seeing the first work-day's progress. I'm having them bill me weekly; that way, they can meet their payroll, don't have to wait for payment and I can verify the hours they're charging me for without forgetting each day's progress. The itemized bills do not show any wire so maybe it is included in the supplies category which add up to a couple hundred dollars (seems too low?) In no way do I feel they are charging too much; maybe not enough? So far, I'm very impressed with the progress. I did take pictures before and after so far. The before pix look like nests of pasta and tape between all the studs and all thru the bits of insulation in the attic. The after pix appear much more organized. The contractors labeled each wire with sharpie markers and put marks all over the studs, the wires go all together in a straight line and all connect into boxes. It appears to be huge improvement over what we had. From what I can gather, they and my husband cannot figure out why the house didn't spontaneously combust prior to taking the walls off. Right now, our modem is the one that came from Verizon, but I suspect the contractor will replace it due to age. I don't know what the difference is between a router and a modem (again, I need to learn some new vocab.) I don't know where our panels are, or what they are. We have one main electrical box where all the breakers are and the house is only one floor; no basement.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 9:07PM
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