A place to store all those network gadgets

I’ve got an ugly phone line mounted to my wall and a router plus a network backup drive connected to it. These things taking up space on our kitchen bench and it’s a mess.

Does anyone have any ideas on how to tidy these things up? I’m thinking a wall mount cabinet somewhere central in the house (up high) and running a few network cables back into the ceiling to things like the smart tv and whatever future gadgets there may be. Also I should get some power surge protector thing.


This guide should only be used if you own or are buying your house. Most Landlords don’t like tenants making holes in their houses and I would therefore discourage it in those circumstances. If you are renting ask first and if you get permission then get an Electrician or Cable fitter to install the fittings professionally (it will cost more but will help save your bond).

A cabinet as long as it has shelves that are deep enough that your equipment will sit nicely in it and are not close together, such as a deep medicine cabinet, is fine if you want to mount it to the wall. Also try to get shelves that are removable, height adjustable and made of wood, ply, mdf or similar as it will make cutting holes and fitting equipment easier. If you like to see your lights flashing you can get glass doors if you want.

If you can place it over an existing power point cut away the shape of the power point from the back of the cabinet before you mount it on the wall. If your power point is close to the floor cut a hole in the bottom of the cabinet to feed a power strip’s power line to it or a small extension cord if the strip’s cord is too short or if you would prefer to use an extension cord to the cabinet, once the cord is in place fill the remaining hole with a sealer (you may need to do this a little at a time). If using a small extension cord keep the plug end in the cabinet and connect the power strip to it inside the cabinet, if you ever need to replace the power strip this will be an easier exercise. Many power strips are made with surge protection these days and it would be as easy to buy one of those instead of a separate surge protector.

Cut holes about 5 cm in diameter on each shelf so that you can pass power cables to the various items this is just a rough size slightly smaller or larger will not matter and hole saws do this job well. You should make a couple on each shelf and on the bottom and top to allow air to move freely through the cabinet so your equipment doesn’t get too hot. Try and make these towards each end of the cabinet shelves. Cover the external vents with insect mesh (metal meshes last the best) to stop unwanted pests/visitors getting into the cabinet. A hot glue gun works well to stick the mesh on but any way that secures the mesh is fine eg staples.

Work out where you need to mount your cabinet. Do Not Cut or Drill into ceiling or wall power cables. Check to make sure before you start and then check again. Make sure where you want to mount your cabinet and where to make your ceiling hole there isn’t a power cable, ceiling joist or thick piece of wood that you have to drill through. To help work out where your wall is when up in the ceiling measure from the closest light fitting in the room to the wall then when in the ceiling use that measurement from the light fitting to see where your wall is then check that area to make sure you aren’t going to hit a power cable or a large object.

Back in the room mark where you are going to place your cabinet and where you are going to make your ceiling hole. Cut another hole in the of the top back of the cabinet to match the placement of the cabinet and the ceiling hole and use the box conduit of the size needed to hold your cables as a guide for size of the hole, such as https://www.bunnings.com.au/deta-25-x-16mm-trunking_p4330856.

Mount your cabinet using the correct fasteners to ensure it will be supported properly (get advice beforehand if unsure). Make the hole into the ceiling, create the hole slightly smaller than the conduit so as not to leave an unsightly hole. Cut the conduit to length and either tack the conduit to the wall or use some double sided tape to stick it there.

Get yourself as many cables as you have spare ports of at least 20 m length each and of at least Cat 5 specification, Cat 5e is better but many Cat 5 cables meet Cat 5e specs. If your house is large and or long you may want longer eg 30 or 40 m lengths to allow for travel through the roof cavity and then down the walls to where you want to connect things. Use conduit to keep it tidy looking when you do use the cable to connect a device in the future. Don’t worry if the cable seems too long as Cat 5/5e cable can be up to 100 m in length without issues. If you really want to future proof a bit get Cat 6 cables. Label each cable at both ends with a number, a colour, or a tag on some masking tape or, preferably, a more permanent medium eg if 3 cables label the first cable 1 at both ends, 2 on the second one and 3 on the last one or put a colour band on both ends green on one, red on another and purple on the last.

Take the cables into the roof cavity and feed each one down to your cabinet leaving the rest of the cable in the roof wrapped in coils. If you wish, and I recommend it, you can fill the remaining ceiling hole with Silicone sealer or putty after you have placed and connected the cables to the router.

In the TV room, and hopefully behind :slight_smile: where your TV is make a hole in the ceiling. Make sure you follow the same precautions as you did for the cabinet mounting before making the ceiling hole. Make the hole slightly smaller than your conduit, you could use 1/2 circle conduit like https://www.bunnings.com.au/d-line-2m-micro-white-adhesive-cable-cover_p4430322 if you prefer a more subtle look here. If your TV is in a corner you can get 1/4 circle conduit such as https://www.bunnings.com.au/d-line-2m-quandrant-cover-adhesive-cable-management_p4430329 to cover the cable.

Blue tack a pencil or similar up into the hole so you will have an easy marker to look for in the roof.

Take one of the cables, note the number/colour/tag for your records, take the free end of that cable pull it to where your smart TV is located and feed the amount of cable you need down into the room. When taking the cable through the roof cavity try to avoid laying the cable over the electrical wires this will help reduce interference/crosstalk. Cut the conduit to the length required to cover the cable until it is well hidden behind the TV and fix it to the wall. Place the cable in the conduit. Fill the remaining hole in the ceiling with sealer/putty or similar.

If you have cornice on your ceilings this is a little more tedious in that you either drill through it, not always a great idea and you need a drill long enough to go all the way up into the ceiling , or you drill on the outer edge a hole big enough to fit the connector through (make sure there are no power cables where you drill) and then use glue or use cable clips (probably the 3M Commander type sticky ones rather than the nail ones would be better) to fix it to the cornice until it reaches the conduit. Filling the ceiling hole that remains with a silicone sealer and painting the cable on the cornice the same colour will help hide/disguise it once you have finished connecting the cable to your TV and tidied the length up by pulling most of any extra back into the roof (leave enough so you can move the TV enough to unplug any cables in the back easily).

If you are not planning on moving your TV spot you could also get an electrician or similar to fit a ethernet outlet such as https://www.bunnings.com.au/deta-cat-6-single-ethernet-outlet_p4430555 to your wall and he could use your cable to supply it.

Hope this helps you out.


Thanks @grahroll, great solution.

Thanks @grahroll that’s a really great idea. It wouldn’t be too difficult either.

I came up with another idea after visiting Bing Lee and I noticed their shelving. It’s flexible (future proof), attractive and heavy duty. Cool!

I am going to build a floating wall integrated with twin track adjustable shelving in our media/lounge room. I’ll float it about 3 inches from the wall which will allow me to run any cabling behind it. I can mount my TV in the middle and plonk the router on the top shelf where it is out-of-the-way. The example I saw had small doors (about A4 size) in the panelling which revealed power points and stuff. I could easily take this apart and modify it if I needed to and I wouldn’t be limited by the arrangement of the shelving. The rest of it would be for books and things.

Don’t worry, I’m not renting. However if I wanted to remove this wall completely, I would only have a few holes to patch up and it would look as if it was never there. Easy!

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This caught my eye today: http://imgur.com/a/in9fZ

Someone wired a house with cat6 cabling.