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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Costing Out Your Network

Now that you've compared the home network candidates and made your selections, it's time to figure up how much your home network is likely to cost. I know you're itching to get started, but here's why you should take time to add up the cost first:

  • You probably have a budget, and calculating the cost of the network you want helps you see whether your budget will handle all the network features you want.

  • By calculating the cost of the network in specific detail, you can determine what types of networks to use in different parts of your home and where to use them.

Because of the wide variety of home network and broadband Internet access options available, the following sections include budget worksheet templates you can use to calculate how much your network will cost, regardless of which network hardware you choose or how many PCs and other devices you add to your home network.

You can use them with a trusty calculator, or use them as a model to build a worksheet in Microsoft Excel, Quattro Pro, Lotus 1-2-3, or other spreadsheet programs. By using a spreadsheet, you can provide instant "what-if" analysis by changing options.

To help you use these templates, I've provided simple examples of each one with sample data. The prices in each section are typical of what you might pay, but you can probably find even better prices if you do some shopping around.

Broadband Internet Access

If you don't have broadband Internet access already, use Table 3.4 to calculate how much your preferred solution will cost. Table 3.5 shows you a sample calculation.

Table 3.4  Calculating Broadband Internet Costs

Item

Includes

One-Time Charge (A)

Monthly Charge (B)

Carryover from Cols A & B

Equipment purchase

 

 

 

Installation

 

 

 

Monthly service

 

 

 

Up-front Total (Col A + Col B)

Monthly Charge (Col B)


Table 3.5  Sample Calculation of Broadband Internet Costs

Item

Includes

One-Time Charge (A)

Monthly Charge (B)

Carryover from Cols A & B

Equipment purchase

Cable modem

$90

$90

Installation

Split existing cable TV service

$10

$10

Monthly service

Cable Internet service

$40

$40

Up-front Total (Col A + Col B) $140

Monthly Charge (Col B) $40


As you can see from the example in Table 3.5, you can use the template in Table 3.4 to calculate both the up-front cost and continuing monthly expense of any broadband Internet service you choose.

Network Wiring

Network wiring is a factor in your installation only if you decide to install an ethernet network. The template in Table 3.6 can be used to calculate the lengths and prices for pre-assembled patch cables; see Table 3.7 for a sample calculation.

Table 3.6  Calculating Pre-assembled Cable Requirements

Patch Cables Between Device and Router

Device to Connect

Cable distance1

Assembled Cable Length2

Assembled Cable Cost

Device #1

 

 

 

 

Device #2

 

 

 

 

Device #3

 

 

 

 

Device #4

 

 

 

 

Total

1 Not straight-line distance; distance required to run cables behind furniture, along baseboards, and around doorframes.
2 Based on commonly available lengths of CAT5/5e/6 network cable.


Table 3.7  Sample Calculation of Pre-assembled Cable Requirements

Patch Cables Between Device and Router

Device to Connect

Cable distance

Assembled Cable Length

Assembled Cable Cost

Device #1

Desktop PC in living room

5 feet

7 feet

$8

Device #2

Media adapter on home theater system in living room

10 feet

14 feet

$15

Device #3

Desktop PC in home office

20 feet

25 feet

$25

Device #4

Laptop PC in bedroom

40 feet

50 feet

$30

Total $78


You might prefer to build your own cable as described in Chapter 5. Use Table 3.8 to calculate the cost of supplies (bulk cable, connectors) and Table 3.9 to calculate the cost of each cable as built. Tables 3.10 and 3.11 show sample calculations.

Table 3.8  Determining Unit Cost of Bulk Patch and Wall-Mount Cable Components

Item

Package Price (P)

Quantity (Q)

Unit Cost = P/Q

Notes

Bulk CAT5/5e/6 cable

 

 

 

 

RJ-45 connectors

 

 

 

Two connectors needed for each patch cable

RJf-45 wall plate kit*

 

 

 

Two kits needed for cable installed in wall*

* Some wall plate kits include a keystone jack for direct wiring; some include a coupler for connecting two standard RJ-45 cables.


Table 3.9  Calculating Custom-Assembled Cable Requirements

Cable Location

Cable Type

Bulk Cable Length1

Extended Cable Cost (E)

Unit Cost of Connector or Jack/Wall Plate2

Extended Parts Cost (Ux2=P)

Total Cable Cost (E+P)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total

1For wall cable, this distance is often significantly shorter than for patch cable.
2Use RJ-45 connector cost for patch cable or for wall cable that uses a coupler-type wall plate; use keystone jack and wall plate unit cost for wall cable that does not use a coupler.


Table 3.10  Sample Calculation of Bulk Cable Unit Cost

Item

Package Price (P)

Quantity (Q)

Unit Cost = P/Q

Notes

Bulk CAT5/5e/6 cable

$100

1000 feet

$.10/foot

 

RJ-45 connectors

$7

20

$.35

Two needed (one each end) for patch cable

RJ-45 and wall plate kit

$5

1

$5

Two needed (one each end) for wall cable; use patch cable between wall jack and device*

*Some wall plate kits include a keystone jack for direct wiring; some include a coupler for connecting two RJ-45 cables. Adjust your cost calculations according to the wall plate kit type you purchase.


Table 3.11  Sample Calculation of Custom-Assembled Cable Requirements

Cable Location

Cable Type

Bulk Cable Length1

Extended Cable Cost (E)

Unit Cost of Connector or Jack/Wall Plate2

Extended Parts Cost (Ux2=P)

Total Cable Cost (E+P)

Living room PC to router in living room

Patch cable

5 feet

$.50

$.35

$.70

$1.20

Living room home media adapter to router

Patch cable

10 feet

$1.00

$.35

$.70

$1.70

Living room to bedroom

Wall cable

30 feet

$2.40

$5

$10

$12.40

PC in bedroom to bedroom wall jack

Patch cable

3 feet

$.30

$.35

$.70

$1.00

Total $15.30


Ethernet cable runs can be unsightly. If you want to use the methods discussed in the section "Hiding Your Cables," in Chapter 5, p. 122, to hide cables in walls or inside cable-management systems, use Table 3.12 to calculate these costs. See Table 3.13 for a sample calculation.

Table 3.12  Calculating Cable-Hiding/Management Costs

Item

Unit Cost (U)

Quantity (Q)

Extended Cost (UxQ)

Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total


Table 3.13  Sample Calculation of Cable-Hiding/Management Costs

Item

Unit Cost (U)

Extended Quantity (Q)

Cost (UxQ)

Notes

Series 375 1-piece raceway 5ft

$6

3

$18

http://cableorganizer.com

Series 375 inside corner

$2

2

$4

 

End caps for Series 375 raceway

$2

2

$4

 

Total $26


Network Adapters for PCs

No matter what network you choose to install, in most situations you will need to install network adapters in at least some of your PCs. Use Table 3.14 to help plan these purchases.

Table 3.14  Planning Network Adapter Purchases

System Type

System Location

Network Type

Network Adapter Type

Brand/Model

Price

Where Purchased

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Table 3.15 provides a sample used to plan a mix-and-match network.

Table 3.15  Sample Network Adapter Purchase Planner Worksheet

System Type

System Location

Network Type

Network Adapter Type

Brand/Model

Price

Where Purchased

Desktop

Living room near router

ethernet

Built in to PC

Laptop

Moves between office/home office

802.11g/a

CardBus

Brand A, Dual-Mode AG

$90

Mail order PC stuff

Desktop

Den

802.11g

PCI

Brand B, PCI-G

$50

Big-box Store

Laptop

Moves between kids' bedroom/school

802.11g

Built in to PC

Desktop

Spare bedroom

HomePlug*

USB

Brand C, HomePlug NIC

$60

Bigger-box store

*Must be bridged to ethernet network (see Tables 3.16 and 3.17).


Routers, Switches, and Bridges

Although a few DSL modems have built-in routers, most of the time you will need to connect a router to your broadband Internet access device in order to share the Internet with your home network. If you don't have enough ethernet ports in your router, you might need to add a separate switch to your router to handle additional stations (such as for a LAN party). If you use HomePNA or HomePlug network adapters for some computers, you will need to use a bridge to connect them to your ethernet or Wi-Fi network. Use Table 3.16 to cost out these items.

Table 3.16  Planning Router, Bridge, or Switch Purchases

Device Type

Device Location

How Used

Network Type(s) Supported

Brand/Model

Price

Where Purchased

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Table 3.17 provides a completed sample.

Table 3.17  Sample Router, Bridge, or Switch Purchase Worksheet

Device Type

Device Location

How Used

Network Type(s) Supported

Brand/Model

Price

Where Purchased

Router

Living room near cable modem

Shares Internet with home network

802.11g, 10/100 Ethernet

Brand B, 54GB Router

$80

Big-box store

Bridge

Living room near router

Connects HomePlug to ethernet

HomePlug, 10/100 Ethernet

Brand C, HomePlug bridge

$70

Bigger-box store


Specialized Network Adapters

Use Table 3.18 to plan your purchases of specialized network adapters such as print servers, network adapters for games, media adapters, and so forth.

Table 3.18  Planning Specialized Network Adapter Purchases

Device Type

Device Location

How Used

Network Type(s) Supported

Brand/Model

Price

Where Purchased

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Table 3.19 provides a completed sample.

Table 3.19  Sample Specialized Network Adapter Purchase Worksheet

Device Type

Device Location

How Used

Network Type(s) Supported

Brand/Model

Price

Where Purchased

Video game adapter

Den

Connects Xbox to Wi-Fi network

802.11g

Microsoft Xbox wireless adapter

$70

GameWorld

Print server

Home office

Connects laser and inkjet printers to Wi-Fi network

802.11g

Brand B Wi-Fi Print Server

$90

Big-box store

Media adapter

Living room home theater network

Connects home theater to ethernet

10/100 Ethernet, 802.11g

Brand B Home Media Adapter 888

$170

Electronics cosmos


Bringing Your Network Online in Stages

As you plan your home network, keep in mind that you don't need to network everything at once. Look carefully at your goals and budget your time and money appropriately. For example, you should probably build a home network to provide broadband Internet access for your PCs first. Later, you can add console games, home media, or other specialized features to your home network.

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