Finding a home within a home: Where to install the Structured Media Center

Finding a home within a home: Where to install the Structured Media Center

As the years go on, more and more homeowners and renters expect their residential units to be smart home enabled, allowing them to take advantage of automated home technologies, such as mobile computing, smart speakers, streaming media devices and intelligent thermostats. Leviton Structured Media Centers (SMCs) are ideal for serving as a focal point for all the hardware and connectivity that these devices need. 

Selecting the right location for the SMC is important, as it will facilitate easy installation, maintenance, and maximum network performance. Some developers automatically assume the SMC should be kept in the garage, next to the load center. However, placing it in the garage is not recommended because the SMC should be in a central location, close to where most of the home’s devices and connectivity are located, creating for stronger connections. It's a better idea to keep the SMC in a walk-in closet, laundry room, or home office – a place where it will be unobtrusive and out of plain sight, but still centrally located. This also provides easy access for maintenance and equipment resets, and keeps cable runs shorter for easier installation.

Once the location is selected, positioning the enclosure is also important. Most homes are made with drywall, and it's recommended that a hole be cut into the drywall. "Cut a hole in the wall, put the SMC inside, snap on the door and it will look beautiful," said Bill Slater, marketing manager at Leviton Network Solutions. "The customer will enjoy the SMC – also called 'the nerve center of the home' – as it will be nonobtrusive and easily accessible."

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However, Slater noted that while most residences in the US and Canada are made with drywall, certain older buildings and apartment units have concrete or masonry walls. In this situation, where cutting a hole in the wall is obviously not doable, it's best to mount the SMC onto the wall and use surface raceway to route the wires through a discreet wall cord concealer. A frame can then be placed around the SMC.

Additionally, it's best to avoid installing the SMC too close to electrical wiring. Structured cabling installed close to electrical wiring can pick up added noise and signal interference. For ease of access and to avoid electrical wiring during installation, place the SMC at eye level since electrical wires are usually installed in walls just below knee level. Finally, you can run power into the bottom of the unit from a nearby electrical outlet to enable the active components you will install in the SMC.

Choosing a central, accessible location for the SMC is important to maximizing the efficiency of the home network. Not only will it ensure greater performance at a lower cost, but it will also provide easier installation and convenient access for future maintenance and upgrades.

For information about Leviton’s Structured Media Centers, visit: