Revamping My Network

For more than a year I have been planning to revamp my home network.

Twenty-five years ago in the house there was only a single 486 running Windows for Workgroups. That system still runs, although the CMOS battery long ago died and the video card is decaying.

Some years later there was a Pentium I with Windows NT4. That computer provided the foundations for my migration to Linux. After updating that computer to a then-whopping 40 GB drive, I learned about partitioning and booting multiple systems.

I hopped along with that system for several years. Then I built a dual core system with 4 GB of RAM and a 320 GB hard drive. Later I added a 640 GB drive, another 4 GB of RAM, and used that second drive for virtual machines, backups, and testing distros.

Less than two years later I built a full blown home theater PC (HTPC) with a 750 GB drive. After a hard drive failure I updated to a 1 TB drive.

A few summers ago I entered the world of mobility with a Thinkpad T400 laptop.

Throughout this evolution my main office desktop fulfilled certain server roles. With each nominal change I realized a desire to centralize data and work flow. The laptop was the final motivator. Last year I began my planning.

I decided on the following:

  • Centralize data.
  • Split my office desktop roles into a desktop and dedicated server.
  • Move videos from the HTPC to the server.
  • Replace the HTPC with a small footprint device and only stream media.

Moving the videos to a dedicated server allows watching videos from any computer in the network. More convenient than previously.

Replacing the HTPC with a more efficient and smaller system reduces energy consumption. Using an SSD improves boot time and overall response.

All of this looked great on paper. Yet I have been around computers for more than three decades. I am well aware that I possess limited knowledge and foresight. I expected that my detailed planning would succeed for about 90% of the project and about 10% would be unforeseen and cause the most challenges.

Then my office desktop motherboard died.

While I was not 100% prepared to move forward with my grand plan, the lack of the office computer pushed the schedule forward. More to come.

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: General

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