Question Cat6 over Cat5e for a New Home?

Fallengod

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Jul 2, 2001
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Hello.

Just need some help from someone experienced here.

To make a long story short, I bought a new home which I get to pick everything for. One of the wiring options is deciding what rooms to put Ethernet cable in and whether or not to upgrade the whole house to Cat6. They are charging $266 to upgrade cables to cat6. I just want to know if this is worth it to do? Halp!

I am considering installing POE Security cameras which would use power over ethernet as well, so that is part of my thoughts. Past that I dont see myself really "needing" the features of cat6 but maybe better for future proofing to do it now?
 

VirtualLarry

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Aug 25, 2001
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I hope that you mean CAT6A , and not just "CAT6".

As I understand it, CAT6A is the official minimum standard for certified 10GbE-T installation. "CAT6" is just unofficial terminology.

Also, will these runs be "certified" by the low-voltage installer? Stapled, or conduit? (Don't do stapled, IMHO.)

Edit: IMHO, you WANT a home network that is 10GbE-capable. Cable ISPs will be offering 10Gbit service within the next 5 years, hopefully sooner.

Don't use wifi if you can help it, wired is always preferable to wifi, IMHO.
 
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Hans Gruber

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Dec 23, 2006
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If it's completely new construction, spare no expense. You want everything run through conduit or sleeved. Cat6 is a bare minimum but Cat6a on new construction is a better option. I will catch flack from CAT5e fans but that won't cut it when speeds get 2gbps+. I would have the installers run backup/supplementary runs just for redundancy. I am thinking a 48 port switch in a network closet to tie it all in.
 
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Fallengod

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Jul 2, 2001
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I hope that you mean CAT6A , and not just "CAT6".

As I understand it, CAT6A is the official minimum standard for certified 10GbE-T installation. "CAT6" is just unofficial terminology.

Also, will these runs be "certified" by the low-voltage installer? Stapled, or conduit? (Don't do stapled, IMHO.)

Edit: IMHO, you WANT a home network that is 10GbE-capable. Cable ISPs will be offering 10Gbit service within the next 5 years, hopefully sooner.

Don't use wifi if you can help it, wired is always preferable to wifi, IMHO.
No idea. I guess I should ask if its Cat6A or Cat6.
 

Shmee

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CAT6 will run 10GbE-T speeds, but at shorter distances. I agree if you are doing a big remodel, may as well get CAT6A.
 
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Shmee

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Fair advice I suppose, in case one stops working. I personally only use one drop, and then have a switch with cables off of it.
 
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blckgrffn

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When my parents built their house 22 years ago, and I was but a teen, I lobbied for conduit from the main level office to a room upstairs and down in the basement. This office also shared a wall with the living room.

That was the best decision, IMO. We had them put a dummy wire in there for the first pull but after that if when you replace or upgrade the cable you just use what's there to pull the next one through. A long fish tape also works.

The flexibility of this approach trumps getting the latest cables of today I think.

If the only option is paying the extra to get upgraded to CAT6 I would probably still do it, but is that one run per room or what? Hard to know the value of it, it is funny if it doesn't matter how many runs you select the price is still $266 :D
 

Fallengod

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Jul 2, 2001
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When my parents built their house 22 years ago, and I was but a teen, I lobbied for conduit from the main level office to a room upstairs and down in the basement. This office also shared a wall with the living room.

That was the best decision, IMO. We had them put a dummy wire in there for the first pull but after that if when you replace or upgrade the cable you just use what's there to pull the next one through. A long fish tape also works.

The flexibility of this approach trumps getting the latest cables of today I think.

If the only option is paying the extra to get upgraded to CAT6 I would probably still do it, but is that one run per room or what? Hard to know the value of it, it is funny if it doesn't matter how many runs you select the price is still $266 :D

Its $400 for a drop of 4 wires for locations of my choosing. $266 price is a one time price to upgrade all the cat5e to cat6. So if I want 8 wires run to different locations then its $800. If I want 12 wires its $1200. $266 is just upgrading the cables to cat6.

Interesting idea, but this house is a single story and the bedrooms arnt really all close together.
 

Shmee

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Huh. Maybe you should provide your own cables? Would that be cheaper?
 

thecoolnessrune

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Jun 8, 2005
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We're going through this right now, but running it ourselves because it's an unfinished basement and pretty straightforward to get through the floor. We're doing 4 drops to each bedroom / office, and 8 drops to the living room. We're putting conduit in the spaces to make sure we can get cables easily through the subfloor without scratching up on wood.

We're using solid core CAT 6A unshielded solid core cable (Blackbox). I think CAT 6A is likely to be the last meaningful Ethernet cable for home / office use for quite some time. CAT 8 for instance is designed for Datacenter. 10Gbps is going to satisfy home bandwidth needs for a long time to come.

I would push for CAT 6A knowing you probably won't have to worry about it for many years to come.

EDIT: I'll also mention that running CAT 6A will give you flexibility in re-purposing. For instance you can run HDBaseT 3.0 over CAT 6A, which will give you full HDMI 2.0 carrying capabilities with a 1Gbps Ethernet auxiliary channel. That gives some flexible options for placing UHD equipment in your home.
 

Fallengod

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Jul 2, 2001
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We're going through this right now, but running it ourselves because it's an unfinished basement and pretty straightforward to get through the floor. We're doing 4 drops to each bedroom / office, and 8 drops to the living room. We're putting conduit in the spaces to make sure we can get cables easily through the subfloor without scratching up on wood.

We're using solid core CAT 6A unshielded solid core cable (Blackbox). I think CAT 6A is likely to be the last meaningful Ethernet cable for home / office use for quite some time. CAT 8 for instance is designed for Datacenter. 10Gbps is going to satisfy home bandwidth needs for a long time to come.

I would push for CAT 6A knowing you probably won't have to worry about it for many years to come.

EDIT: I'll also mention that running CAT 6A will give you flexibility in re-purposing. For instance you can run HDBaseT 3.0 over CAT 6A, which will give you full HDMI 2.0 carrying capabilities with a 1Gbps Ethernet auxiliary channel. That gives some flexible options for placing UHD equipment in your home.
I am just wondering, what is the logic for doing 4 drops per bedroom? Why would you need that many ethernet ports? Youre making me rethink this. I guess when youre doing it yourself, anything is possible. I am not going to be able to do this myself, it will cost me $400 per 4 so.... I was just doing 1 drop per room and I wasnt even necessarily doing each bedroom.
 

JimKiler

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Oct 10, 2002
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I am just wondering, what is the logic for doing 4 drops per bedroom? Why would you need that many ethernet ports? Youre making me rethink this. I guess when youre doing it yourself, anything is possible. I am not going to be able to do this myself, it will cost me $400 per 4 so.... I was just doing 1 drop per room and I wasnt even necessarily doing each bedroom.
I had people give me similar advice, at least 2 drops per room when I built in 2012. I have 2 drops to my bedroom, main floor living room and 4 to the basement. In the basement I have a PS3, Android TV, UHD player, and cable box. All use Cat 6. My receiver has to use wifi since I only put 4 in there.

OP figure out where your router/modem will go on the top floor and do at least 2 runs to that location. You will want to put it on the top floor for the best wireless coverage. I put 3 in my loft/home office area and it works great even with my patch panel in the basement. So my data comes into the FIOS box in my basement, goes up to the second floor to my router and then goes back to the basement to the switch. The only exception are the computers in my office which go thru a smaller switch.

The best reason for doing multiple drops in a room is if a cable breaks then you still have a working cable.

Stupid question but since Cat6A did not exist when I built is it the same as Cat6 or technically inferior? I presumed inferior but never bothered to research that.
 

Viper GTS

Lifer
Oct 13, 1999
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Home running every device is just overkill. So much consumer gear is still only 100mb these days, even if it were all gigabit it's not like you're saturating it all at once.

I ran Cat 6A in my house because the cable cost difference was trivial compared to the labor of the guys installing it. But no more than two to any one location because PoE powered switches are a thing. Once I exceed two devices in any given location I just drop a PoE switch there and go straight to six or seven usable ports depending on total uplink bandwidth I want at the location.

Running eight cables to one location in residential is just wildly unnecessary and IMO counterproductive. I'd far rather have two ports in four different locations.

Also, the mix of running so much network cable and then limiting yourself to your FIOS provided router for wifi is just bizarre. Why are you doing this?

Viper GTS
 
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thecoolnessrune

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I am just wondering, what is the logic for doing 4 drops per bedroom? Why would you need that many ethernet ports? Youre making me rethink this. I guess when youre doing it yourself, anything is possible. I am not going to be able to do this myself, it will cost me $400 per 4 so.... I was just doing 1 drop per room and I wasnt even necessarily doing each bedroom.
Yeah, when you're doing it yourself, the difference between running 2 or 4 is nothing. You already have the spool of cable. I would do 2 runs though, definitely not just one. It's nice to have a spare in case a spot in the house needs it.

Also make sure they leave enough behind to re-terminate the jack if it ever fails. Sucks to have to pull a whole new run because a jack wore out and there wasn't enough cable to re-terminate.
 
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thecoolnessrune

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Jun 8, 2005
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Home running every device is just overkill. So much consumer gear is still only 100mb these days, even if it were all gigabit it's not like you're saturating it all at once.

I ran Cat 6A in my house because the cable cost difference was trivial compared to the labor of the guys installing it. But no more than two to any one location because PoE powered switches are a thing. Once I exceed two devices in any given location I just drop a PoE switch there and go straight to six or seven usable ports depending on total uplink bandwidth I want at the location.

Running eight cables to one location in residential is just wildly unnecessary and IMO counterproductive. I'd far rather have two ports in four different locations.

Also, the mix of running so much network cable and then limiting yourself to your FIOS provided router for wifi is just bizarre. Why are you doing this?

Viper GTS
Like I mentioned in the other post, when you're running your own cable, and you already have the spool, the number of runs barely matter. You paid for that whole spool anyways. In my case, my first 4 connections are for the Living Room Entertainment area (1Gbps links), and my Desktops (10Gbps links). They're run separate because I already have 10Gbps switches centrally and don't see a point in putting a 10Gbps switch in the living room. The others can be used for Ethernet, but more likely a couple will be used for HDBaseT. With them centrally run it just gets patched from one side to the other. 6 of the connections are accounted for. The other two probably won't get used anytime soon, but they get run in multiples of 4, so :shrug;

Wifi is good enough for literally almost everyone in Residential, even if it's daisy chained down like, 3 Access Points. There's no SLA's. What's a couple extra of extra minutes for a download?

Also, someone who drives Vipers of all things talking about even a couple grand in network cabling as wildly unnecessary is worth a bit of perspective don't ya think mah dude? :tearsofjoy: I think our Model 3's are more appropriate, but sometimes you just do things cause you can.
 

Viper GTS

Lifer
Oct 13, 1999
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Like I mentioned in the other post, when you're running your own cable, and you already have the spool, the number of runs barely matter. You paid for that whole spool anyways. In my case, my first 4 connections are for the Living Room Entertainment area (1Gbps links), and my Desktops (10Gbps links). They're run separate because I already have 10Gbps switches centrally and don't see a point in putting a 10Gbps switch in the living room. The others can be used for Ethernet, but more likely a couple will be used for HDBaseT. With them centrally run it just gets patched from one side to the other. 6 of the connections are accounted for. The other two probably won't get used anytime soon, but they get run in multiples of 4, so :shrug;

Wifi is good enough for literally almost everyone in Residential, even if it's daisy chained down like, 3 Access Points. There's no SLA's. What's a couple extra of extra minutes for a download?

Also, someone who drives Vipers of all things talking about even a couple grand in network cabling as wildly unnecessary is worth a bit of perspective don't ya think mah dude? :tearsofjoy: I think our Model 3's are more appropriate, but sometimes you just do things cause you can.
My argument here is not about avoiding overkill - I love overkill. I'm of the opinion, however, that excessive drop counts to a single location starts to have negative value.

My reasoning is basically:
  1. Cable costs start to become noticeable at 8 drops to a single location. You're consuming potentially 20-40%+ of a spool of fairly expensive cable for that location.
  2. Drop counts directly drive patch panel costs, run/punchdown time, core switch costs, wall/rack real estate, etc up. Your time and physical space has value.
  3. Drop counts add complexity and documentation requirements to make it manageable long term.
What's the return for all this for most people?

I'm not advocating minimal network, just intelligently designed, scalable network. Most people need to maximize the value and manageability of their home network and I think what you are describing is counterproductive for the majority of the population.

Of course if you have uses that aren't ethernet then none of this applies to you. Or, if you just like spending money on network gear then knock yourself out.

But in the context of home use ethernet only IMO somewhere between two and four is the ideal number per location. Never just one, but certainly never eight.

Side note, I no longer have the Viper but I do have a 3. It's fantastic, despite being soulless.

Viper GTS
 

Hans Gruber

Golden Member
Dec 23, 2006
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My argument here is not about avoiding overkill - I love overkill. I'm of the opinion, however, that excessive drop counts to a single location starts to have negative value.

My reasoning is basically:
  1. Cable costs start to become noticeable at 8 drops to a single location. You're consuming potentially 20-40%+ of a spool of fairly expensive cable for that location.
  2. Drop counts directly drive patch panel costs, run/punchdown time, core switch costs, wall/rack real estate, etc up. Your time and physical space has value.
  3. Drop counts add complexity and documentation requirements to make it manageable long term.
What's the return for all this for most people?

I'm not advocating minimal network, just intelligently designed, scalable network. Most people need to maximize the value and manageability of their home network and I think what you are describing is counterproductive for the majority of the population.

Of course if you have uses that aren't ethernet then none of this applies to you. Or, if you just like spending money on network gear then knock yourself out.

But in the context of home use ethernet only IMO somewhere between two and four is the ideal number per location. Never just one, but certainly never eight.

Side note, I no longer have the Viper but I do have a 3. It's fantastic, despite being soulless.

Viper GTS
Right now 1000ft of Cat6a is $160 for 1000ft of spooled cable. I know the discussion has a contractor installing Cat5e or Cat6. I was told by people in the industry that new houses are built with 4 runs of Cat5e/Cat6 to each room in a house. When you start getting to 48port switches and beyond. The networking gear starts adding up much more than the physical cable cost.

When my place was built they put in Cat5 because it was cutting edge. Cat5 was the phone wiring. That was 24 years ago. I doubt very much that there is a need beyond Cat6 today or in 10 years. 10gbps is a lot of speed and even if Cat6 doesn't quite cut it @ 10gbps. That is more than enough for whatever the internet brings in the foreseeable future. TV's with wifi AC are really limited to 100mbps because of the NIC cards. With better NIC cards they would push between 280-380mbps over wireless.

Every PC that is running ethernet in my place is either Cat6a or Cat6.

If the walls are open, sure 4 runs to every room is fine but overkill. Most people are not going to have a network closet with multiple 48 port switches and a huge patch panel. I know there are people who have that but most of them have no idea what all the wires and lights mean.

If you were running new runs through studs and inside walls, Cat6 or even Cat5e would do in my opinion.
 

Fallen Kell

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Oct 9, 1999
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Definitely have them pull CAT6a (and make SURE it is 6a, not just 6). I think they are overcharging you a bit, but it is hard to know for sure. I think I only paid $700 to have 10 drops run of CAT6a, plus the patch panel and keystone wall plate inserts. But mine was an easy install as all those runs had easy access from the basement with already existing holes cut in the floor for phone/tv wiring and all my floor joists are engineered lattice beams meaning no need to cut them as they have spaces built into them to easily pass cables and pipe through them. The only reason I didn't do it myself is that I do not own a network analyzer that can certify the runs for 10gbe like the company I hired would provide as part of the job.
 

Fallengod

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Jul 2, 2001
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Definitely have them pull CAT6a (and make SURE it is 6a, not just 6). I think they are overcharging you a bit, but it is hard to know for sure. I think I only paid $700 to have 10 drops run of CAT6a, plus the patch panel and keystone wall plate inserts. But mine was an easy install as all those runs had easy access from the basement with already existing holes cut in the floor for phone/tv wiring and all my floor joists are engineered lattice beams meaning no need to cut them as they have spaces built into them to easily pass cables and pipe through them. The only reason I didn't do it myself is that I do not own a network analyzer that can certify the runs for 10gbe like the company I hired would provide as part of the job.

The problem I am going to have is, its the builder doing all this, so if I ask them if its CAT6a and not just 6, and they say no.....what are my options? They do not allow outside contractors to come in to do this stuff. I already asked and they told me no, and if I did it, they would just rip them all out and do it again themselves so....

I am going to ask if its CAT6a but, I am unsure of what I do if they say no its not.

Here is So-Cal, I am at the mercy of the builder kinda so... Right now today I just decided on doing 2 drops to the Great room/Living room where my entertainment center will be, 2 drops to my office and 1 drop to each bedroom (3 bedrooms). I then have 4 drops outside for POE security cameras outside so I can possible add POE cameras at a later date.

Anyways, thats where I am at right now. It costs me $400 per 4 drops so... I am planning on having a total of 12 drops, which will be $1200.

The box for all this stuff is in my closet in my master bedroom. So that is where the router would be. This builder is so cheap they got the box area covered by a metal plate and have an option to add a plastic transparent window for $200 which helps the wireless signal get to the rest of the house. I decided I am not paying that today and will just do that crap myself at a later date.
 
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mxnerd

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Jul 6, 2007
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Cat6 can still run 10G for shorter distance up to 165ft

So that should be fine for the house unless it's a very long run.

We probably will not get another twisted pair standard with higher speed anyway.

 
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