The core of our Home Technology Demonstration Project is the Structured Media Center (or wiring hub) supplied by Leviton. We are using an SMC 420 (42″ high) box which is fairly large but we decided that in order to accommodate future expansion we would need the extra space. As it turns out, we filled it up pretty fast so if you have any question at all about size … get the next largest size to the one you think you need.
In our box we have mounted a Leviton Advanced Small Office Panel for all of our Telephone, Cat5 Ethernet and RG6 needs. It combines a Telephone Distribution Module, two (2) Category 5e Voice & Data Modules and 6-way Video Splitter in a dedicated bracket for multi-line systems and full home networking with video distribution. Handles up to four (4) phone lines through to 12 telephone locations, and/or 12 data locations, and 6 video locations.
This panel works great for our purposes. We have 6 main zones with telephone and cat5 ethernet outlets in the project … so we are using most of the available ports.
The rest of the panel is filled with our HAI OmniLT Security Module, Cable Modem, Ethernet Router and a backup battery for the security system. There is still a bit of room for expansion (we will need more ethernet ports soon) but not as much as I thought we would have.
Without a setup like this your wiring hub will be pandemonium … believe me. When we first ran all the cabling for the system … without a panel in place … I was surprised at the mess and space that was used up. Neat and tidy wiring just makes sense and the cost is very reasonable. My advice … don’t even think about installing a home network without a structured wiring hub … and the equipment from Leviton is designed to make the system flexible and practical.
For outlets in our main zones we decided on mostly 3 port units with 2 separate telephone plugs and one cat5 network plug. The Leviton QuickPort Snap-In Modules are simple to wire with the punchdown tool supplied and easy to mount. Installing these gave us a nice looking and intuitive outlet in each location. In our video locations we used RG6 connectors which use the same cover plates.
Leviton makes everything you need for a structured wiring installation and the equipment is available almost everywhere … including Home Depot. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to install and how reasonably priced it can be.