Sunday, November 1, 2009

Ethernet Woes

The Mac mini in the stereo cabinet seems slow to make initial connections. Like if we go to a web page, it'll take 5 seconds or more before it starts loading anything. Streaming videos can sometimes be slow too. It's connected via Ethernet (along with a couple other components) to a switch that's connected to an AirPort Express. I felt the urge to connect the whole mess directly to the main router via Ethernet instead of having the AirPort in between there, which slows things down as packets are received and re–sent. And I wanted to replace all the CAT5 cabling in the house with CAT6 to help achieve the 1000baseT speeds that all my Macs and hardware is capable of using. So I went to Microcenter to get some cable. They don't seem to sell any raw cable, so I had to buy a 50' cable with ends on it. I cut off a hunk to go from the router to where the Ethernet jack is in the den. When going to wire a new end on, I noticed that the order was different than CAT5 cables. WTF? I assume that as long as the wires come out the same on each end, it shouldn't matter. I'd wired the jack like a CAT5 cable, so I had to make sure I wired the other end the same once I got it out through the wall in the family room.

Getting it there was another matter entirely. Luckily the holes I drilled through the bottom plate from the basement were big enough to get the cable through, but getting it up and into the box was turning into an ordeal. I worked for an hour from the top and the bottom with fish tape and different wires trying to hit the hole I couldn't see. I finally said fuck this and bought myself a new tool. I hadn't bought a tool in quite some time. I got that Milwaukee inspection camera I drooled over when I first saw it. That helped a bunch, although I thought it was supposed to include little hook and magnet attachments you could put on the end to retrieve things, but it didn't. It came with a 12V driver though. What, are cordless drivers so commonplace these days that you get one with everything? I ended up wrapping a piece of #12 wire around the snake, extending about 1" beyond the tip, then was able to guide that up through the hole in the box.

The other thing that bugged me is that the image you see onscreen is flipped vertically (or maybe rotated 180°, and I don't see a way to flip it right side up. I don't get that at all. Who the fuck can think upside down when it comes to moving a camera? Gotta hit the forums and see if there's a hidden setting.

And after all that, my fucking wiring job didn't work. The cable that I ran through the house is able to work in one direction (if I hook it up so it sends from the family room end), but it doesn't work at all when hooked up as planned. No green lights on the switch or anything. Arg. So I just went back to the AirPort way. At least I got a cool new tool out of the all–day job.


brent said...

those are cool ass toys! I mean tools. So what exactly do you use the mini for then?

Armpit Studios said...

We use it for watching anything on the internet instead of both trying to watch something on the MacBook Pro. Like old shows on Hulu. Joost has a bunch of stuff. Or even a YouTube video. Or if we miss a show, like the episode of House a couple weeks ago that was cut because of some fucking baseball game.

I also have FileMaker running on it, and we have a couple of dbs on there that we can access from any computer in the house.