This site mainly talks about telephone and computer network distribution. Cable collection and distribution are also touched on briefly, but my experience in this area is not so great.
Services to consider distributing from your wiring closet:
|Telephone Line(s): This is of course the most obvious and easy of the services to distribute. We are going to use a rack-mount CAT 5 patch panel as a wiring block. This can run from $40 to $70, depending on the number of ports you want. Keep in mind one port will be dedicated to the telephone company service. I used a Leviton 24 port CAT 5 patch panel, about $50.|
|Computer Network: This is the fun one. You can either go cheap or expensive here, the size, speeds and protocols are up to you. I recommend a rack-mount hub; if not, you will need to improvise a shelf. I used a Linksys 10/100mbs, 16 port rack-mount model, about $190. This would also be a great place to set up a firewall if you are going to use one (I assume they come rack-mount too).|
|Cable for Television: This can either be very expensive or very cheap, depending on what you want to do. Splitting a single source is cheap, a 3 port splitter costs about $5, a 12 port splitter costs about $60. Switching between multiple sources is moderately cheap, a manual 4 port switch is about $20. Modulating multiple sources to a single signal can get very expensive very quickly (hundreds of $$$), but the possibilities are neat. I am not much for TV and just recommend getting a splitter.|
|Cable Data: This is simply a telephone line in the same jack space as the television cable. Much of the Pay-Per-View equipment require the use of a telephone line to automatically call in and place your order. Standard fair nowadays, I'm told.|
|Home Audio: This is probably cheap, just a blank rack-mount patch panel with a bunch of RCA inserts (~$60?). I did not do this in my wiring closet, the builder distributed the audio from my stereo in another room. I'm not sure what would be best location to distribute this service (stereo vs. closet). I wired for home audio (for resale value), but did not actually install any speakers or controls as I do not have much interest in this service.|
Equipment to consider putting in your wiring closet: