Choosing Locations

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This page was written by Pluto and imported with their permission when LinuxMCE branched off in February, 2007. In general any information should apply to LinuxMCE. However, this page should be edited to reflect changes to LinuxMCE and remove old references to Pluto.

The Media Directors are easy. They plug into the tv's, so you will put them near the tv, just like you would a DVD player or a VCR. The Media Directors do have computers inside, so you cannot put them in an enclosed cabinet unless you put some ventilation fans in the back. The ideal placement is on an open shelf. Fortunately the Media Directors are small and attractive, made from high quality brushed aluminum, so they will look good anywhere you put them.

The LinuxMCE Core requires a bit more consideration. Firstly, remember that your phone lines and your internet connection (dsl/cable modem, etc.) will need to plug into the Core.

Normally all the cat5 cabling in your house will terminate into a central wiring closet. This is typically where your internet connection and phone lines terminate as well as your alarm panel, lighting control system, etc. In such cases, this is the logical place to put the core. Also, you will get better performance if the Core is placed where all the cat 5 cable terminates. The reason is that video, primarily dvd quality video, requires a lot of data. Each cat 5 cable is able to run about 7 simultaneous dvd movies. The LinuxMCE Core uses a very high-performance network, referred to as Gigabit Ethernet. This uses a more advanced, high speed cable, referred to as cat 5e or cat 6. It looks the same, but inside it's a little different. With cat 5e/6 you can have closer to 100 simultaneous dvd quality movies streaming on a single cable. Therefore, we recommend that you put the LinuxMCE Core where all the cat 5 cable terminates so you plug all the cat 5 cables into a Gigabit switch (LinuxMCE can provide this for you). The LinuxMCE Core will connect to the switch via a cat 6 cable (included). This way the LinuxMCE Core can serve 100 simultaneous dvd movies into the switch, and on each cat 5 cable running through your house, a total of 7 dvd movies can be running at the same time. Since each Media Director will likely be on its own cat 5 cable, and each Media Director will only be playing 1 movie at a time anyway, that means you'll have plenty of bandwidth. Even if you have an enormous mansion, you can still have dozens and dozens of people all watching different movies at the same time, and you will never have a bandwidth problem.

On the other hand, if the LinuxMCE Core is not located close to the place where all your cat 5 cables are located, then the LinuxMCE Core will be connected into the switch using whatever cable you have running through your walls. If this is the high-speed cat5e/6, this is not a problem--the Core will still be able to feed 100 simultaneous movies into your switch. However, cat 5e/6 is not very common in homes. Normal cat 5 is nearly always used. Therefore, if the LinuxMCE Core is connected to the switch using a cat 5 cable, the LinuxMCE Core will only be able to feed about 7 simultaneous movies at one time, because that is the limit of the cable. Keep this in mind when deciding where you put the Core. You do not need to worry about running out of bandwidth for audio and phone calls. Those take up very small amounts, so even if the LinuxMCE Core is connected with only cat 5 cabling, you will still be able to have hundreds of simultaneous phone calls, and dozens of different music throughout the house.

The other consideration when choosing the location of the LinuxMCE Core is that it needs to stay cool. It is a powerful, multi-processor commercial server. Be sure to put it somewhere where the temperature will not exceed 75 F/24 C. In fact, the cooler the better for all electronics. Your other electronic devices, such as lighting systems, and so on, will also run more reliably when they are in a cool place.

The Orbiters are easy. Put them wherever you want to control the system. They are wireless and battery operated. They are available with either a table-top cradle, or a wall-mount cradle. Either way, the cradle needs only electrical power so it can charge the Orbiters batteries.