Infrastructure Overhaul Project (WIP)

About a month ago, I'd decided to finally do something about the mess of computer workstations in my cabin, servers-in-the-making projects, and dreams of building my own system of networked cameras to monitor the wildlife around the property.

I'd wanted to find a way to consolidate all of my technology into one corner of the cabin, where everything would be easily accessible through a simple terminal - monitor, keyboard, and mouse. At the moment, I have two main computers - my main system, the Windows XP machine, and my Windows 10, high-power workstation that I use for everything from VR, to Stable Diffusion image generation, to video rendering and compiling systems.

As an aspiring IT technician, I've always wanted to get better at networking, server administration, and managing various signals over IP (video, USB, and networking), which made this an incredible opportunity to also build a wooden rack with multiple consumer PCs on it, as a poor man's substitute for an actual homelab.

At first, I'd considered diving right into replacing my wifi-range-extenders beaming network access from the main dwelling on our property with a proper outdoor cable, but I'd wanted to do as little permanent work as possible. When everything is working, I might do an underground run, but that's a ways' off. Window shim Ethernet pass-through jumpers are a solution (picture included below), but I decided to keep it simple with a basic WiFi-to-Ethernet bridge. Hopefully, when all is well and done, it'll look something like this:

In the future, I hope to do the following too from my little setup:

I figured the first thing I should do is connect everything up with a video signal as well as get actual controls configured on the whol setup - I achieved this using a combination of HDMI signal switches, HDMI-to-VGA adapters, and a VGA-to-HDMI adapter for my machine (only to get converted back into VGA at the HDMI switch.) Not the most efficient set-up, but it was cheap, and it works for now. Certainly not a permanent solution though, and when I go in to manage the cables, I'll see if I can get something better figured out.

With the basic plan out of the way, below is a breakdown of every step of the set-up.

Getting a Wi-Fi Signal, and Bridging to Ethernet

As much as I'd love to say that I built my own router runnig custom firmware, and configured wireless bridging on it, I had to go with an off-the-shelf solution. For 40 bucks, you can get a perfectly adequate 5GHz/2.4GHz, high-bandwidth bridge, with a single Ethernet port, hooked up to my switch.