Cabling a new house – Cat 5?

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  • Cabling a new house – Cat 5?
  • nicko74
    Member

    We’re getting our house rewired from scratch – currently the walls have been taken back to the studs, with plumbing and electrical wiring to go in. While we’re at it, it seems like a sensible time to consider TV cabling and network cabling.

    The TV thing will just be to ensure that we have TV sockets in a couple of places that make most sense in the living room, I think, but the network cabling is a bit more complex. Ideally, what I’ll have is a router downstairs, with a couple of network wall sockets, and a NAS hooked up (through ethernet) in a cupboard somewhere. Upstairs I’ll probably just stick to WiFi for ease and cost.
    Given our ISP-supplied router keeps crapping out, I may well go down the route of separate modem and router, not that that necessarily makes a difference.

    So can someone talk me through the basics of what I need to consider, questions I should ask (either myself or the sparky) and so on?

    Ta!

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    I just swapped for a Belkin router to replace the isp one. If you at heats run 1 cable upstairs then you can put a second router up there and bridge the signal up stairs.

    sharkbait
    Member

    [Pedant]a router is effectively the same thing as a modem nowadays[/pedant]
    Not sure I’d bother to be honest. Go with powerlines in between the rooms that need a wired connection. for instance one next to the router/NAS another next to the TV. If you get the ones with a wireless access point as well as rj45 sockets you can extend your wireless at the same time.
    Tidier, plenty fast enough, more flexible and cheaper if your using wireless also.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    Just to counter on the wireless route there still comes a point where it’s just too much data. I still connect my media PC to the media source via cable (through a handy hole in the floor)

    Premier Icon Stoner
    Subscriber

    The barn was wired from scratch and I decided against cat 5 or 6.

    Wireless works well with the help of homeplugs to get wired Mbps to fixed sites and also to wireless repeaters for roaming.

    Homeplugs with wireless repeater, £80

    Flooding the house with cat 5 would have cost a lot more.

    Premier Icon Stoner
    Subscriber

    homeplugs can deliver 500Mbps.

    Im currently watching tv via my xbox being served from my pc 20m away over a 200mbps homeplug network. It’s pretty good.

    sharkbait
    Member

    Flooding the house with cat 5 would have cost a lot more.

    And looked a bit 1990’s. cat5 is really only good for stuff that doesn’t easily move, such as a router, tv, etc.

    Cletus
    Member

    I think that wiring the house using UTP is a great idea.

    Ideally you would want a patch panel somewhere accessible (cupboard under the stairs or loft) where you can install a switch similar to that shown below.

    http://www.broadbandbuyer.co.uk/Shop/ShopDetail.asp?ProductID=8202

    This would allow every connected device 1Gbps dedicated bandwidth which is far more than wireless or homeplug solutions.

    If you get a PoE switch then it can power PoE devices such as wireless access points, IP phones etc.

    You would really want Cat6 or better.

    Premier Icon Stoner
    Subscriber

    1Gbps dedicated bandwidth which is far more than wireless or homeplug solutions.

    Is “twice” the same as “far more”? 😉

    If you’re intent on streaming HD movies then maybe a 1GBps network is necessary, but within 24 months will be redundant thanks to better homeplug switches or even wifi 80?

    b r
    Member

    I’m struggling to see why you’d do anything other than WiFi. Its at least 20m from our Sky box to wireless router, and the On Demand box works fine. Everything else can see the WiFi too.

    What about HiFi and surround speakers? These I have wired in.

    Premier Icon Stoner
    Subscriber

    b r – some houses dont lend themselves well to wifi.

    Our barn is “L” shaped with 500mm walls with the router at one end. Wifi wont go round the corner or through the wall.

    But 802.11n gets between 54 and 600 Mbs. That’s not to bad

    Cletus
    Member

    A homeplug network shares the 500 Mbps between all attached devices and only allows half duplex connections. i.e. only one device can send at any time.

    An Ethernet switch provides 1 Gbps dedicated bandwidth for each device and allows full duplex transmission. For the 16 port switch I linked to the network could support 32 Gbps bandwidth. 64 times the 500 Mbps offered by the homeplugs so yes far more 😉

    In practice no home (or 99.9% of office) network would run at these types of speeds and it would be overkill but it does get rid of issues that can occur with homeplug networks.

    Re. wireless speeds are getting faster but it is a shared rather than switched medium and so is not in the ballpark speedwise and subject to interference.

    At home I use 802.11n wireless and 200 Mbps Solwise homeplugs (I get approx 90 Mbps throughput on those). For most purposes it is fine but does slow down backups to my NAS and copying large files to from my laptop (4GB ISO images for Cisco installations).

    My main bottleneck is my crappy 3.5 Mbps ADSL service rather than the internal network.

    nicko74
    Member

    Thanks for the responses so far! 🙂

    homeplugs can deliver 500Mbps

    …and epic amounts of interference for radio equipment, according to various studies. What’s your experience?

    Some good points though – what’s the real-world bandwidth on 802.11n? Movies would be the big killer for WiFi; couple that with someone on Skype and you have enough to get a bit clogged, no?

    And I’ll be honest, there’s at least an element of ‘but it’d be cool’ at play 🙂

    ask1974
    Member

    We’re getting our house rewired from scratch – currently the walls have been taken back to the studs, with plumbing and electrical wiring to go in. While we’re at it, it seems like a sensible time to consider TV cabling and network cabling.

    Absolutely, thread seems to have gone off track somewhat… If you have the opportunity to run wires then take it, better to have and not need etc. If you’re wiring for TVs you should install both CT100 or WF100 (same thing) for antenna reception, plus at the very least CAT5 but better yet CAT6. Wire it all back to a central point and use this as a HUB to patch services to rooms. If you end up with a few TVs this would allow you to switch HD video (Sky etc) to multiple TVs without having to purchase several receivers. From the hub send five CT100 to the roof and make sure your get your master BT sockets located here.

    If the house is large then wire CAT5 from the hub to a few discrete locations so you can install Wi-Fi gateways to extend your network. You’ll use Wi-Fi for pretty much everything so additional data sockets are less of an issue these days, but one per room sensibly located would provide for a telephone or hard wired network point. First time you need to copy lots of data across the house you’ll appreciate it.

    Think about sound as well. Sonos etc are all great wireless but if you centrally wire some speaker cables back to the same hub you can keep all the electronic clutter out of the way.

    Email in profile if you need more help. This is what I do so happy to hand out a little advice FOC to STW readers 😉

    Premier Icon Rubber_Buccaneer
    Subscriber

    While I had the house apart I decided to run a couple of network cables to give reliable, can’t really go wrong connections. I ran one to the corner where my main TV etc are (plugged a switch in as the TV, BD, Sky+, Apple TV and AV amp can all be networked) and another to the kitchen where I’ve plugged in an airport express for music streaming at the same time as extending the wifi coverage. Why wouldnt I, it was so simple and works so well.

    nicko74
    Member

    OK, this is REALLY dumb, I do apologise:
    – why would I go for a switch rather than just a router? I’ll be running an Xbox, NAS, a printer and a handful of PCs – with the possibility of routing from the NAS to the Xbox and so on.
    – Where the switch/ router is, it’ll be a case of one RJ45 socket per cable out, right?

    Again, first go at this, so apologies for the amateurish questions…

    Premier Icon NZCol
    Subscriber

    What ask1974 said.
    If you put in one run of Cat5e or Cat6 just put 2 in the same place, you will eventually need them. I run phones off one twisted pair and Ethernet of 3 others where the lazy people only ran one cable.
    Also pre-wire any speaker cabling as much as you can and put a plastic conduit up for any wall mounted TV’s etc – trust me, if you don’t you will be fukked off.

    pingu66
    Member

    If you are going to cable do it right. I would use Cat6 but with 802.11ac just around the corner giving gigabit wireless and 450mbps 802.11n wireless and most usage in the house being on mobile or certainly wireless capable devices there is less and less need.

    I would go n wireless and use good kit not the rubbish your ISP sends you.

    ask1974
    Member

    OK, this is REALLY dumb, I do apologise:

    Not dumb just bloody typical overly complex IT terminology and product descriptions. The every day router supplied by your ISP (think BT home hub for example) is a four-in-one modem, router, switch and wireless access point. You can (if you want) break each out and use four separate devices. The switch is usually only a four port affair so if you have several Ethernet devices you’ll need a bigger one.

    As Cletus says get a decent Gigabit switch from Netgear and pop it at your cable hub to connect all your Ethernet devices and you’re prepped. If you spend a little more and get a PoE version you can power any remote access points down CAT5 saving the need to provide a local mains socket, neater too.

    willard
    Member

    CAT6… CAT5 may be cheaper, but the CAT6 option is better if you want decent gigabit to the ned points.

    b r
    Member

    Think about sound as well. Sonos etc are all great wireless but if you centrally wire some speaker cables back to the same hub you can keep all the electronic clutter out of the way.

    Agreed and I did think of this, but then as my wife pointed out – you really want the source (or ability to access it) in the same room as the speakers, so you can change it.

    Our barn is “L” shaped with 500mm walls with the router at one end. Wifi wont go round the corner or through the wall.

    Agreed, but just put the router at the point it can ‘see’, rather than where the telephone point is.

    And 500mm? I’ll up you to +600mm 🙂

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    Our barn is “L” shaped with 500mm walls with the router at one end. Wifi wont go round the corner or through the wall.

    Agreed, but just put the router at the point it can ‘see’, rather than where the telephone point is.

    And 500mm? I’ll up you to +600mm

    Had both and worse, funny shapes, floor walls etc. Moving the router from the main socket is great but that needs wires… I have 2 Wireless access points in the house at each it’s a really bad signal from the other. However some simple wiring means I can run them both use wifi all over the house for the mobile devices which use a lower amount of the capacity without having dead spots. The TV PC/Media Centre is connected to the media server via wired for the reasons above. WiFi gives me easy browsing access but anything heavy runs on the cables.

    If it was new build or renovations there would be cable conduits in the walls for anything I wanted. If you want to replace anything then just pull through the old with the new.

    xiphon
    Member

    Cat6, a decent 1GB switch, and PoE (for WAP’s to blanket the place).

    If you’re gonna do it – might as well do it properly…

    ericemel
    Member

    Just had new electrics in and the whole house done in CAT6 and every plug had 2 sockets plus 4 in lounge all routed to a cupboard where I have a 16 port switch.

    Its the way to go. CAT6 can run HDMI over it should you need to.

    If you’re gonna do it – might as well do it properly…

    sharkbait
    Member

    – why would I go for a switch rather than just a router?

    Just to clear up the difference between a hub and a switch: a hub is dumb and sends all network traffic to all connected devices which can cause collisions leading to a network slowdown. A switch, on the other hand, learns where each device is and only sends network traffic to the device that requested it so the network runs more efficiently.
    In an office environment with many computers on the network this can make a big difference – on your average home network the difference is probably a lot smaller. But run a switch anyway.

    you really want the source (or ability to access it) in the same room as the speakers, so you can change it

    Pretty much any ‘network’ music system will have a smartphone app for remote control – Sonos, Apple TV, logitech – so not really an issue. Nice to have a local volume control though. For my new place I’m thinking about a few cable conduits with line level cables (fine up to 5m or so) and some mini-t amplifiers (in nice boxes still only about £50) rather than a source in every room. Depends on room layout though.

    Likewise – HDMI cable (could be run over CAT-6 with dongles) between an AV amp in the kitchen and one in the living room to allow the same video in both rather than a very expensive whole house AV system.

    I’m thinking I might not bother with network to every room – in the current house I did that (Victorian – wasn’t easy) and I’ve only used them in Kitchen/Living Room/Office. Are you really going to have any wired network kit in your bedrooms? I’m thinking about more points in Living Room (bank of 6? where the TV boxes go) and office next time though as I’ve ended up having to run a local switches. Local switch may actually be tidier though.

    Think about locating your ADSL modem as close as possible to the point the phone cable enters the house – running mine through my cabling and back to the office dropped 1.5-2 meg off line speed. Then work out likely best location(s) (probably first floor and central but depends on your house construction) for a separate wireless access point.

    The thing I’m definitely going to do is get a proper FM/DAB aerial and run that to most of the rooms. I might not use wired ethernet in the bedroom but would not nice not to have a stupid rod aerial on the back of the bedside radio.

    Milkie
    Member

    Just done the whole house with Cat6 network cable and CT100/WT100 aerial cabling. This way it is future-proofed to a point and never have network slowdowns due to the amount of network traffic. It’s not unusual for us to have 4+ users uploading/downloading from the NAS or PC’s, while watching video/music on the NAS. When we had a combo of Wi-Fi/Homeplugs the network would slow down, we don’t have any hiccups anymore.

    tonyd
    Member

    I have about 300m of cat6 in the garage ready to wire up the new house. Now all we have to do is find and buy the blimmin thing.

    As others already said, if you’ve got the chance it’s got to be worthwhile. We have a Mac Mini running media centre software which accesses a fileserver over the network and feeds an Apple TV elsewhere. Laptop, iPad, phones, all accessing the wireless network. Everything backs up over wireless.

    The wireless network struggles at times, and this in a tiny house with walls the same thickness as a cigarette paper. Wifi for show, wired for a pro. Sorry – was recently watching lock stock.

    petrieboy
    Member

    We have a big cupboard in the centre of our 70’s semi (back of the internal garage) where the phone line, broadband, cable tv all come in. I get good wifi all round the house from the router in the cupboard but with cat5 being so cheap I ran a handful of cables to each room as we decorated/ changed carpets etc. upshot is I have a network points I can plug into when I want to offload data from laptops onto the NAS drives, I have a Proper desk phone in my study wired to a cat5 point, and I have a fistfull of cat5s to all the tv points and the projector that I can either pass video across, or use smart tv services if I ever replace the tv’s.

    nicko74
    Member

    petrieboy – that sounds pretty much like what I should be aiming for/ could do if I had a clue.

    Premier Icon NZCol
    Subscriber

    I have a services cupboard with a UPS, patch panel and proper racking. The input from the sky dish is split there, phone arrives there and all cabling terminates there. Houses a Uniti Cute, a rather large NAS, Cisco switches etc. wiring is best for anything majorly streaming high bit rate I have found.

    petrieboy
    Member

    Nicko74 – you could probably do it tidier than I did

    avdave2
    Member

    Or you could say bollocks to home entertainment and go for a nice bike ride in the fresh air 🙂

    Premier Icon somouk
    Subscriber

    I’ll be wiring mine with Cat 6 and running a gig switch from node 0 under the stairs where the NAS box and whole entertainment system is being cabled to.

    That will give me the capability to stream files around to the Apple TV’s etc as I need to.

    Will also mean all the airplay speakers will be cabled in providing a much more reliable signal.

    All the wireless tech is good but the bandwidth just isn’t the best, even using N it’s not the holy grail and using 5 Ghz not everything supports it…

    Premier Icon Rubber_Buccaneer
    Subscriber

    All the gear in that cupboard, I’d have it in my home office to keep me warm between 7am and 5pm as I don’t have any heating on during the day 🙂

    Aidy
    Member

    Cat 6 all the way, and look at structured cabling.

    I’m halfway tempted to rip up all the floors to lay it in, probably will end up doing so at some stage.

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