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Adding new hardware / Expanding the system (Upgrade time?)


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With the new year approaching, we are looking to expand our C4 system. With all the changes happening lately, I need some advice on how to proceed. This will be the last major upgrade to our system, as the rest of our house just isn't up to par with what we want to do with the automation system. We'll wait to the next place to go real crazy.

Anyway, my current C4 system includes a HC-300, 6 banks of lights on dimmers, and one 6 button. I control my TV, receiver and PS3 through the C4 interface. My network consists of a WRT54G router and a Netgear FS116 switch (10/100).

The upgrade includes the following, some of which I will need some guidance on:

-7 dimmer,s 6 switches and 5 2-buttons.

-HC-200 w/ wireless bridge (no ethernet available at the location)

-Card Access motion detectors and sensor bridge with GE door contacts

-Would like to integrate at least one IP camera (in the baby room), with more being added depending on ease of cabling and $$$.

My dealer encourages me to get things prepped on my own in order to cut down on his time and billing. I'd like to know a few things:

1) What router would you suggest? Need wireless, as I need a bridge for the -200 as well as my laptop.

2)Is my switch adequate? I would probably need another one upstairs, where the camera would be as well as were I may run addition lines just to future proof. Could my current switch be utilized on the second story with another, possibly nicer, switch to replace it as the main? Any switch recommendations?

3) IP Cameras. Any relatively inexpensive cameras that interface well with C4?

Thanks for the help everyone!

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  • 4 weeks later...

You'll probably get a lot of different responses to the router. I am a fan of the Apple Airport Extreme (not the express or the time capsule) But it's a personal preference, I know a lot of dealers that don't care for the airport as much. I'm not familiar with that model of switch, but I've used a lot of netgear switches and they tend to be solid. If it's working well with the system now then I don't see much of a reason to change it. I currently use a 3COM gigabit switch myself and have been very happy with it, but there are probably better out there

I prefer the Panasonic IP cameras, there are good C4 drivers for them and they integrate well. However they are pretty pricey. I know there is also pretty good support for a couple models of Axis cameras which seem to be a bit cheaper. I've never used one so I don't know how nice they are.

As a side note, C4 is developing their 2.0 version of the software and it looks like everything in your system should be compatible. I would think about stalling for a few months and upgrading to 2.0 at the same time. But I would discuss that with your dealer as he would be best equipped to assess the merits of 2.0 for your system. It may also be easy enough for him to do the upgrade at a later date without a significantly increased cost.

If this is going to be the last C4 upgrade for a while I would also look at the option of getting some wifi speaker points and a USB hard drive to do some distributed audio in the home. there are some great speaker options that can go on top of cabinets or elsewhere unobtrusive and deliver great sound. (This is great for kitchens, and bedrooms). Although I don't recommend it, I've even heard of people getting a set of small speakers and a wifi speaker point that they just move around to wherever they want it (outside for example while grilling, etc)


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I disagree about wifi speakerpoints. The performance is never as good as wired or any of the amps. Just my personal opinion.

I agree that if wired speaker points or an amp are an option, then that is the way to go. I probably should have made that clear. But if wired isn't an option, wifi is a great alternative. In 90% of the installs I've done wifi has been flawless, no choppiness or significant quality hit. But I would NEVER choose wifi over hard wired.


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