When you've tried everything from a new router, to powerline networking, to mesh networking and even running cables across the room and are still not getting the performance your ISP recons you should be getting, it might be time to step it up a gear and put in an enterprise grade solution.
Likewise if you're building a new home, or replacing the walls in your home, it would be beneficial to put in Cat-6 cabling to every room, and include a server cabinet somewhere, where you can put all your technology, ready for the power of smart home solutions. Builders now offer smart home packages, and if yours doesn't, before signing the contract it's worth asking if you can.
A house with internal cabling is so much easier to triage and work with when it comes to home networking, than one relying purely on wireless and where the Internet provider has placed the Fibre ONT or modem in a difficult place such as the garage!
Our team primarily come from a corporate and enterprise background, where we've been working with high end enterprise equipment all the time. Brands such as Aruba and Ubiquiti offer an affordable, yet high quality enterprise solution that is perfect for your home or small business.
We'll work with you, your builder or architect to design the ultimate home network. From internal cabling solutions, to planning where to put a cabinet for the smart home tech, to placing access points, configuring router/firewalls, dealing with wireless deadspots, dropouts and signal issues, to traffic management, parental controls and literally anything else you can think of!
Below are some common enterprise network tasks we do for our clients to give you an idea on what we can do/help you with too.
We can help you with one aspect, or help you build an entire network at home that will be bulletproof!
We call this a central hub but smart home installers call it the entertainment hub as you can put all your tech here rather than in individual rooms, but it can also be called a server cabinet, cage, or comms rack.
This can be just in your office, or a bedroom if you're looking for something small. Alternatively for complete fitouts we recommend placing this somewhere central, as cabling back to here from other rooms in your home is vital and easy access is a must for future upgrades.
If you've got an internal garage we'd recommend placing it on the wall in there as it's cool, off the ground to protect from flood. If you don't and you're building a new build, a small room similar to a panty is ideal or a cabinet. We can discuss best option with you.
This is much easier for new builds as your architect can add this for you. Off the plan homes are a bit more tricky, but still gives you something to work with. Existing homes, every home is different but if you've got roof space, you can usually easily get back to most places you might put it.
The space you need for the cabinet we would install will depend on what you plan on doing. Are you keen on smart home? Audio/visual with say Sonos speakers? Do you want a NAS here for movies, do you want your sky boxes here, Playstation. Then you'll need router, switch, patch panel, power ports and a few extras.
We recommend a 12-20U cage, but for smaller installs where you only want say router, switch, NVR a 6U or 9U cage is more than sufficient.
We recommend using the Ubiquiti brand and we use an enterprise router called a Dream Machine Pro, or SE depending on your additional needs. This product is 1U so fits nicely into a rack mounted cage for security and keeping it free from dust particles.
This device will connect directly to your Chorus Fibre ONT, your Starlink Dishy, or other modem such as Vodafone One cable network here in Kapiti.
The router works much the same way as your existing one, whether you have a free one from your ISP or a more advanced wifi-6 model. The enterprise grade dream machine doesn't have wireless, so we'll add access points - see below - which offer this functionality.
We can setup your router with anything you need. The most common request is parental controls and monitoring. You can see literally what every device is doing on your network, what sites they are accessing, times, downloads etc.
Further this router offers fixed mac address IP reservations which are crucial for smart home technology as the internal IPs don't change regularly like dynamic IPs do.
Literally anything is possible with this router, including remotely accessing and managing your network from anywhere in the world, so do ask us about your plans.
For small networks you can forgo the switch in favour of the Dream Machine Pro SE, but for larger homes and those where we are doing the whole home, we need a switch. We recommend using Ubiquiti switches to complement the router and have various options available.
Most popular is the 24 port 1U switch which can go under the router in your cabinet. We also only use a POE supported switch which allows us to use power over ethernet cables around your home to power access points, security cameras and soon to be access readers and door locks. Therefore you don't need electrical sockets at those locations, saving you time and money on electrician fees.
The entry level model offers 12 poe ports, which is enough for 12 powered devices, but we can provide switches for any use case and home or business size. The other ports on the switch will go to each port in your home.
We recommend an RJ45 port in each room, and many in areas such as TV room, movie room, home office, kitchen and anywhere else you may use a computer, TV or internet connected device in future. Each port in each room is 1 cable run, so 1 cable to 1 port on the switch..we do need a patch panel which we'll explain next.
For larger homes and new builds we recommend putting in a patch panel. This is effectively a way of terminating your cable runs in a central location (i.e. the entertainment hub, or server room), in a fixed place. The panel is on the wall with the cables going into the back, then there's a front plate which allows you to connect additional cat6 cables into each port, and run this to your switch.
This allows you to move ports around without having to manually trace cables which is a nightmare. Each wall port in your home would be labelled, i.e. 01, 02, 03 etc.
Then we trace back to the patch panel and label those ports the same way 01, 02, 03 etc. This will save you buying a super expensive switch, if you're only connecting a few devices to your network.
Let's say you connect to a port 09 in 3 years time you haven't connected before, you can go to port 09 in your patch panel, and run a cable into your switch, liven up the port and use it.
For smaller homes, the patch panel isn't needed as you can just patch every cable into the switch directly.
A traditional router comes with a built-in access point which serves up your wireless. This is often why people have coverage issues as the components in these routers are inferior and cheap. A free router from your ISP is free for a reason, it's designed for a small home or apartment, not a large home. Enterprise hardware has access points which are placed around the home and cabled in, powered by POE (see switching above).
We recommend using Wi-Fi 6 access points as this is the future of wireless. Ubiquiti offers models for internal and external use. We can work with you to develop a plan for what you'd like to achieve but I nearly always recommend having an access point in the main living area, in the garden for connecting a studio, sleepout or just using wireless by the pool or patio. Lastly an AP near the bedrooms or other end of the house for extensive coverage.
Large homes will need 2-5 access points, small homes probably 1 or 2 for best results. If you've got roof space or access, we mount your access points on the ceiling, in a central location in the room or hallway. If you've got a floor plan we can assist on the best locations to place them using our heatmapping software.
The access points we use aren't cheap, but overpaying for quality is the best option here. If you want the very best wireless coverage, with zero deadspots and zero signal issues you will want to have something reliable!
If you're planning on having a home security system and cameras it's a good idea to add them into this project. Ubiquiti is definitely not the cheapest or best company out there, but they do offer a very good solution and cameras starting at around $250 up to $1,000 each. The main benefit is obviously keeping the same company as all your networking gear, allowing for easy interaction and control.
We can assist in planning and installing these, but we are not security contractors so the monitoring and management of these must be done by you. We will run POE cable runs or mark out on your building plans where to put the RJ45 ports so you can connect the cameras in, they are then powered by the switch.
With security cameras roof space is king. If you can get into the roof, installing and cabling them in is easy. If you don't have much space, we can provide other options. Alternatively if you plan on working with a Kapiti security company, we can work with them.
Most clients want an NVR which records the cameras back to a central location, which is usually in your entertainment room or server cabinet, and then from there you can connect the NVR to a TV or monitor for viewing, however most security products have smart phone apps for viewing anywhere in the world.
This is a new technology by Ubiquiti and effectively allows you to wire your home with POE cable runs that can be used to install NFT card readers allowing you to open, close, lock and unlock your doors with your phone, or swipe card. It's definitely something to consider installing in a new build especially if you love your technology.
Other smart home installers and builders are only just discovering the power of smart locks, but the Ubiquiti Access product is definitely something to ask about as a more advanced technology. You can can then integrate this technology with other smart home products using a small computer running Home Assistant.
From here, the sky really is the limit as to what you can do with your home. As you'll have your enterprise network up and running, you can start integrating with other technology to create the ultimate smart home. We recommend reading our smart home guide, but here's some inspiration.
In your entertainment hub you could put some Sonos AMPs, which connect to Sonos speakers around your home for the ultimate party!
You could get Sky to wire up all your TV boxes in the entertainment room and then use an HDMI+IR extender to connect TVs without having messy cabling and sky boxes in that room. Perfect if you have a Samsung Frame TV!
You could install a 4 bay NAS and setup a Plex media server for downloading and streaming movies or TV shows on demand on any TV in your home network.
You could setup a smart home using Apple Homekit, Philips Hue lighting, have an iPad controller on the wall, setup automations for turning lights on/off, connect your heat pump, your smart door lock, security cameras and any other device together and create a dashboard to control everything at the push of a button!
Finally, and this one is only for those that want the very best, we recommend adding a power rail into your cabinet at the entertainment hub ensuring you have enough power for every task. You will quickly find that even if your sparky installs 4 electrical outlets it won't be enough.
A power rail fits into the cabinet as 1U or 2U space and will give you around 10 extra power ports. For those that want the very best, speak to your electrican about the best options here such as UPS backup, solar backup and how this can be integrated into your home network.
For a limited time, we are offering a 100% free consultation in your own home or business to discuss your enterprise project.
Whether you are struggling with wireless at home and want an upgrade to the very best networking equipment to fix your issues once and for all, or you want to completely revamp the home, our enterprise grade services might be what you're after.
If you've dreamed it, we can implement it. We'll start by a walk-through of your property, followed up with any personal preferences before drafting up a no obligation quote.
We can quote on doing the actual work, or for working with your builder or architect on what they should add to your build.
Available in Wellington & Horowhenua Regions
Most ISP issued routers are free consumer grade quality. They are designed for small homes, apartments and studios. They serve a purpose and offer a connection to the Internet but often lack the ability to get the full potential out of your Fibre connection. They often struggle with wireless coverage beyond the room they are in, and lack security, monitoring and expansion opportunities.
You may have experienced issues before such as slow speeds, poor wireless coverage, deadspots, dropouts and poor performance. You may have contacted your ISP who told you there is no issue and the problems must be internally such as your internal wiring, wireless frequencies and even your Internet use.
These are all possibilities but highly unlikely. The primary reason for all these issues is the quality of your router. There will be some exceptions though and you may have bought an expensive mesh router and your issues are still ongoing, but for most users the main cause of their issues is the consumer grade router they are using and haven't replaced.
You may have discussed other options with your family, or technical expert from a company such as Kapiti.IT and these do exist such as mesh routers, access points and internal cabling, but if you want the best of the best, the crown jewels then implementing a commercial enterprise grade is the way to go.
An enterprise grade router and firewall will dramatically improve your Internet speeds and when combined with an enterprise grade access point, can expand your wireless coverage throughout the whole home or business premises.
By putting in the same equipment you might find in a large business, you know you have the very best networking gear, and your issues will disappear. Plus if issues do arise, they are easy to identify due to the expansive analytics, logs and support tools that come with these products.
What is the estimated cost for something like this?
We would recommend getting in touch for a no obligation in home or business consultation. Literally every client has a different set of expectations, requirements, home type or ideas.
Enterprise equipment is more expensive than consumer grade, but the quality is second to none, hence the increase in price. If you would like a rough idea, the router we use costs $1,000+GST.
Can I combine this with a smart home installation or solution?
Yes you most certainly can. We recommend building your smart home on an open-source solution, or one that is supported by a major company. Our most popular solution is on Apple Homekit or Home Assistant which integrates with 1000s of other companies. One of the main issues people run into is buying a smart home package from someone, only to find their door locks, lights and other tech doesn't integrate nicely with other tech. Our smart home setups integrate with nearly every device imaginable allowing for true automation. Plus you don't have to worry about updates, security or compatibility issues as it's all taken care of.
Do you provide the equipment or do I buy myself?
We can supply and install or supply all equipment. Our prices are similar to retailers such as Go WiFi and PB Tech. We're more than happy to install pre-bought equipment if you can secure it yourself or buy on finance.
Can you design with my architect and my builder do the work?
Yes absolutely. We are more than happy to work with your designer or architect early on in the design process. A lot of architects are aware of the importance of internal cabling and entertainment areas/rooms. Please reach out to us for further guidance. Likewise we can work with the builder, or assist them in certain parts of the install. We hold relevant insurance for going onto client sites. We do have a specific hourly rate for this service as a more senior engineer is required to complete this.
Should I use cat 5, 6 or 7 cabling?
Definitely stay away from cat 5 as it's limited to a 100mb and most modern homes have fibre speeds of up to 1,000mbps so cat 6 is the best option when cabling a new or existing home. Cat 6 is affordable and can come in big rolls perfect for lots of cable runs. There is always the question of whether Cat 7 is worth the extra price and if you can afford to do it now and will stay in your home for a long time, it could be worth it. Networking gear is limited for now, so it's a bit overkill as your router is limited to the speeds it can deliver. However like any technology, what the next 10 years will bring is likely faster speeds and Cat 7 might be the new norm then!
Can you cable outbuildings, sleepouts, offices, sheds or outdoors?
Yes we can. If you're running an electrical line outside and have trenched down 600mm for the electrical cable I would recommend running another conduit on top with 2 or 3 cat-6 cable runs, as well as anything else you might need in future such as Sky coax cable. We say 2-3 as this gives you a primary internet link or access point, a backup cable incase the primary is ever damaged, and a 3rd one as you may want to use HDMI over Ethernet for sharing a sky subscription or something similar! Make sure you cover the cables with conduit, even if you're using direct burial cable to protect the cables from frost!
Either terminate your cables with an RJ45 wall outlet, or you can use cables with ends already fitted and just have the cables come up somewhere in the outbuilding and plug devices straight in.
If you haven't done any work yet, we can assist you with planning and trenching a cable run. With the assistance of a sparky or builder, they can do the wall ports at either end for you.
Cable runs that require POE can be a max of 100M from the power source (switch) to the end device. With the help of a POE injector (requires power plug) this distance can be increased to 200M.
Who should do the cabling work?
We recommend an electrician does the cabling work and this to be done before the walls go up. If roof space is available, cabling can be done by IT companies like us after for wireless access points and roof mounted ports, security cameras etc. There are companies that specialise in data cabling too if your electrician doesn't offer data cabling. The hardest part with cabling is crimping the ends in place, connecting to the patch panel and ensuring the cable run isn't damaged when pulling it through to the central hub. We can project manage the cabling, assist on site with any builder/electrician or put you in contact with a cabling contractor.
Why is open-source they way to go?
Imagine you buy Google nest smoke alarms and want your lights to flash if there is a fire. If you have a proprietary custom built solution with no Google nest integration, this isn't going to be possible. Your smart home developer may eventually custom code an app for Google nest, or they might not. If you use an open source smart home controller such as Apple Homekit, this would be possible, as someone else has coded an app for it using the open-source principles that exist. And if they hadn't, we could code an app using a mini computer connected to your home network, as both products (your smart home, and Google Nest) allow integrations together.
Technology changes faster than any other sector in the world. You only have to look at smart phones, every year there is a new model. Smart home technology is the same. Why would you want to put in a custom proprietary smart home solution that isn't updated almost daily, to keep up with the new market trends and products that are launching every month? Open-source relies on developers all over the world, constantly finding new ways to integrate products, to improve our lives. It's definitely the way to go!
You will thank us later!
What smart home solutions do you avoid working with?
We try and avoid companies that install custom solutions or homes that already have proprietary solutions. For example if you're building a house and you are offered a $50k smart home package using their in-house software or accessories, this might be great initially but what happens when the company that put it in disappears and something stops working? Who do you call? And what if it's locked down and can't be integrated with other technology (most aren't), you will need to rip it all out and start again which can cost twice as much as the original setup cost.
Further most of their these proprietary solutions aren't customisable and you have to buy their lights and their tech, their networking gear etc.
We can definitely try and help integrate or assist with such solutions but it can be time consuming for us, and expensive for you and often we're limited due to limited documentation and hash keys that we can't unlock to integrate other off-the-shelf products into your home network.
Our smart home solutions are open-source, as in you can change the controller, change the lights and still integrate everything together if something changes, and any IT guy worth his salt can probably help you in the future without having to come back to Kapiti.IT -but we would love if you did. Then as technology changes, you can upgrade your smart home, without starting from scratch.
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