Preparing for a future that’s been and gone…


I built a house in 2000 with a partner who also worked with tech. We future proofed it.

Seemed like a good idea at the time…

(If you don’t like wires and plugs, then you may want to watch this movie of otters holding hands instead of reading on…)

Every house will always have a landline, right? Okay, we’ll make sure that there are phone points in four rooms.

And the internet. We will all need the internet. That involves a second phone line coming in. So, let’s have a couple of points where we can plug a modem into the second phone line in a couple of different rooms.

And we’ll want to use the internet all over the house, right? So, let’s cable the house with Cat6 cabling and ethernet ports in:

  • the lounge
  • built in house admin desk
  • two places in the loft where we will have offices
  • one in each kid’s bedroom and … let’s see…
  • one in the music room.
  • (Note, not the master bedroom … because who would want to use the internet in bed, right?).

And. Let’s make sure we stay flexible, so let’s have a big patch panel on the wall of the loft so we can change the outlets around if we want to.

This morning. The internet stopped working.

Regular diagnostics applied.  No dial tone for modem/phone on the house admin desk phone port. Found out that the OTHER device that uses the phone line, the security system in the loft, had a line out that was working . How? It phones my mobile when it is triggered, so I just deliberately triggered it.

The phoneline in and the patch panel are wired in serial, rather than parallel, so all data flows through the phone port used by the security system before it gets further into the house. It looks as though the cabling between the security system phone port and the rest of the house has been chewed by rats, or corroded, or gone on strike, or is otherwise broken in a way that I could find out about if I crawled up into the roof space…

So, I decided that:

  1. The security system is really so I feel comfy sleeping at night, so I can do without the phone line out that just calls my mobile and buzzes at me. Only once it was not a false alarm.
  2. I could move the modem and phone up into the loft near the security system and plug straight into the phone outlet the security system had been using.
  3. Everyone uses wifi anyhow, so there is no loss if we do not use  ethernet
  4. The landline phone is now in the loft in the roofspace, so will be impossible to answer in a hurry. It was the last of a set of three handsets, with two that broke over the last couple of years…
  5. I am not going to buy a replacement set of handsets to have one downstairs (even if they are $67 a set at Officeworks) … because …
  6. There is not really a compelling reason to have a landline at all anymore…
  7. (Last week I changed my mobile plan to unlimited calls, texts and 5GB of data a month for $180 for 360 days. Until then calls were much cheaper on my landline, and I needed it for the security system. This week, the need appears totally gone)
  8. Everyone who lives here has a mobile phone, and the kids have their calls paid for, so should be OK in an emergency.
  9. I need to sit with this decision for a bit, but probably I will end up connecting to the NBN in a few weeks anyhow, getting rid of the old VOIP/Internet package and relying more on my mobile.

(Also added to the mix is a new router. Bought last week also. So that I can install the Gargoyle router management utility. Which will allow me to specifically block or limit the internet to particular devices, ad hoc or at regular times. Like those owned by teenagers. Who should be asleep after 10pm. Or those who may be downloading unsocially, slowing the internet down for other users… THIS will be fun to play with. The kids’ dad has simultaneously installed the same hardware/firmware with the same “no-access” times at his house. )

Anyhow, I am not sure what to now do with my brilliant local network of cables to most rooms in my house…

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