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The Wall Plates

Before we standardized the plate configurations, my wife was concerned whether the plates would match paint colors and décor within our home, and if the connectors on the plates would be easily identifiable. Several methods can be used to make the jacks easily identifiable; they normally involve some sort of color-coding. Since all of the Ethernet jacks would not be in use all of the time, I was leaning toward using angled jacks that would protect the jacks from dust entering the connection housing. They have a more elegant appearance than normal jacks and plates used in most installations.

We agreed to go with regular white jacks and plates, while taking advantage of the Siemon color-coded icons that would appear above each jack. The one feature my wife really liked, and it's an option that is often overlooked, was that the jack number labels are covered by an insert that can be removed to reveal the jack/ port number, but can remain hidden and out of sight if desired.

The chosen wall plate

The chosen wall plate

Once the jack and plate types were settled, we then figured out the standard configurations for each type of plate. We settled on four basic configurations; Tim and Doug would have preferred to cut this number down to as few as one or two, but they realized that the unique nature of our installation made four different types more practical.

A "Type One" plate would be the standard plate, which would have connections for one voice and one Ethernet port. A "Type Two" plate, which became known as the A/V plate, would have connections for one voice, one Ethernet, and two RG-6 coax connections. A "Type Three" plate was an Ethernet-only plate that had connections for two Ethernet ports and was primarily used in the lab space in the basement only.

A "Type Four" plate was what we also called a dual/ dual, which means that it had two Ethernet connections as well as two phone connections. The Type Four plate was only used in two places where we wanted to have both a voice and fax line, as well as a network printer and wireless access point.

In addition to these plates, we also decided that we wanted the additional expandability offered by some additional Ethernet connections, both in our first-floor office and behind the television in our family room. We added two 3Com NJ100 network jacks in these two rooms. This gave us four additional 100-Mbit switched ports for future expansion use, and we then had to run one single cable for these two NJ100s.

We felt that although the devices plugged into the NJ100s would not be a direct connection to the main network, the ability to have these extra ports available made sense, as we already had some NJ100s from our previous home network installation. We also liked the advantage of being able to squeeze a total of six ports into one hole in the wall.

The 3Com NJ100

The 3Com NJ100

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