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Question Do I really need a patch panel to setup a Mesh wifi network with little bit of wired network usage ?

coolmanfever

Junior Member
Oct 31, 2020
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0
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Hello all,

I am building my new home consisting basement floor, 1st floor, 2nd floor. Each floor is about 2000 square feet. I plan to install 3 pack Eero pro router on each floor once I move in (one in basement, one in main floor living room, one in 2nd floor master bedroom).
https://eero.com/shop/eero-pro-6

The contractors completed the following:
1 ethernet keystone jack is installed in the basement living room TV wall
3 ethernet keystone jacks are installed on 1st floor (2 in office, 1 living room TV wall)
4 ethernet keystone jacks are installed on 2nd floor (1 for each bedroom TV wall)
(see photos for keystone jacks)

There is also another ethernet wire started from electrical panel room in the basement. This wire is nearby the location where internet modem can be setup. The main purpose of this wire is to send main internet signal from modem in basement to 1st floor living room where all other ethernet wires are gathered inside a custom build cabinet. (see photo below)

all ethernet wires for the whole house are gathered together in living room on the 1st floor and hidden away from a custom cabinet (see photo below). I am not 100% sure if he has setup another point to allow internet modem installation near the cabinet other than the basement . I will have to double check that with him.

The contractor is telling me that he plans to install a switch inside the cabinet once cabinet is fully finished and terminate all the ethernet wires into male jacks so they can be plug into a switch. If I want these wires to finish into patch panel, I will have to find my own internet network company to hard wire them into patch panel.

I do not plan to expand my home network with wired connection for future. At most I probably will have two or three computers connected together by local wired network and highly used TV's for each room can be connect by wired network. So I do not anticipate adding more devices in the future to wired network once all setup.

Do I really need a patch panel for my case? Is patch panel worth it and why ? Or is installing switch in the cabinet good enough for my usage?

Hopefully to hear some experts to chime in! Thank you for all your ideas!
 

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ch33zw1z

Lifer
Nov 4, 2004
33,913
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Short answer, what cable type is it. Solid (aka riser) or stranded (aka patch). If solid, the terminations should be into keystone's, and yes you need a patch panel to at least clip the keystone's into. If cabling is stranded, they you can just put the rj45 heads on and plug directly into a switch.
 

coolmanfever

Junior Member
Oct 31, 2020
10
0
6
Thank you
How do I tell what is the cable type? Can I tell if the cable is solid or stranded based on the connection to the keystone?
20201030_165626.jpg
 

coolmanfever

Junior Member
Oct 31, 2020
10
0
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I will have to go take a visit of the home next weekend. My guess it would be a solid type else it will be hard to finish them into RJ45 keystone jack, am I right?
 

coolmanfever

Junior Member
Oct 31, 2020
10
0
6
thank you for the information guys. I went to the house under constructions during the weekend and looked into the cabinet more detail. Turns out there are 21 ethernet cables to terminate because that include security camera ethernet cables.

So I am thinking maybe patch panel instead of face plate would be better? Do you guys think it is good idea to mount patch panel on the vertical divider that separate the rights and left segment of cabinet with keystone jack facing right? This is alllow placement of all electronic device in the right bigger segement where there is access to power outlet. What do guys think?

cabinet2.jpg
 

ch33zw1z

Lifer
Nov 4, 2004
33,913
12,702
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Depends on what patch panel (or panels) you pick.

I would probably put the patch panel in the rear to the upper right of the power drops, but as long as youre ok with it on the center wall then have at it. You'll need a 24 port panel or two 12's, and switch(es) to match what you actually need on the network
 

KentState

Diamond Member
Oct 19, 2001
8,121
306
126
Please tell me that they are going to fix the outlet. The boxes should be flush with the cabinet and then face plates flush with the back.

As far as where you mount the patch panel, it will typically be 19" wide and not sure about the depth of that cabinet. You also probably don't want a bunch of wasted space on the left side with cables.

You also mentioned security cams. Are you expecting to put a bunch of equipment on the right side? Plan for ventilation as cable modems, routers and recording equipment can get toasty and start having issues.
 
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Fallen Kell

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
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Yeah, I think they were figuring on leaving the cutouts they made in the back of the cabinet like that for the electrical. They are probably going to cite something along the lines that when the future home owner decides to remove the cabinet, the electrical is still correctly installed to the wall behind it or some such nonsense.

All it would take would be the little spacers they make to extend those boxes out to the same level as the back of the cabinet (assuming the cabinet is properly secured to the wall and not just sitting there).

Anyway back to the networking, I would recommend getting one or more patch panels as stated by other people. And given that you have camera runs, if they are expecting PoE (Power over Ethernet), you will most likely need some ventilation in there since even just a few watts builds up without any airflow. I mean, it is a little late for this, but this kind of thing in a living room would not have been my first recommendation, especially if there was a basement option. Most network switches (the kind that typically support PoE) are going to be louder than something I would want in a living room since they will need internal fans. You would need something like a Brocade/Ruckus ICX7250-24P switch (the "P" at the end is for PoE, of which it can provide a max of 370W over PoE). You can find them off ebay or similar used for a couple hundred (new you are talking a couple thousand), but that 370W is on top of the switch itself, which will typically draw around 50W. It can be made to be silent when not performing heavy PoE duties, but depending on the PoE requirements of the camera's, a couple hundred Watts is a lot to cool in an enclosed cabinet in a living room.

That all being said, you can always run another set of wires out of that cabinet location to somewhere else (like the basement which should be relatively easy depending on your basement ceilings and floor joists). That would let you relocate the PoE equipment somewhere else if you find that you can't properly cool it without being annoyingly loud.

One final thing/warning, looking at that first pic of the bundle of network cables, the blue cables are regular patch cable that had the ends cut off which the installer(s) intend to re-crimp and/or put into keystone jacks (you can clearly see one that didn't have the end piece cut which shows manufacturer installed RJ45 connector, and you can read "PATCH" on the jacket of one of the blue cables). I would bet that the gray ones might be the same. You really should inspect those cables, read the jacket, and find out what wire it is to ensure it is actually solid core and that it is also rated to be in wall. Patch cables are NOT solid core! They are NOT intended to be used by most keystone connectors, and most of the time not rated to be in the wall! This is because the stranded cable that PATCH cables use (to make them easier to bend in tight radius) does not allow for most crimp connectors to work since it relies on a V or W shaped tooth piercing into the solid cable, but a stranded cable will not be properly pierced since it can just jam in between the stranded cables and/or cut them and not have a strong physical connection to the wires leading to high noise and faulty connections when things move. Check what category the cable is, because I suspect that is CAT 5e or even just CAT5 from looking at the one keystone you posted. I can understand it you requested CAT5e for budget reasons, really we are talking like $0.10 per foot price difference for something that is rated for 10GbE networking (at least up to 90m).
 
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coolmanfever

Junior Member
Oct 31, 2020
10
0
6
Yeah, I think they were figuring on leaving the cutouts they made in the back of the cabinet like that for the electrical. They are probably going to cite something along the lines that when the future home owner decides to remove the cabinet, the electrical is still correctly installed to the wall behind it or some such nonsense.

All it would take would be the little spacers they make to extend those boxes out to the same level as the back of the cabinet (assuming the cabinet is properly secured to the wall and not just sitting there).

Anyway back to the networking, I would recommend getting one or more patch panels as stated by other people. And given that you have camera runs, if they are expecting PoE (Power over Ethernet), you will most likely need some ventilation in there since even just a few watts builds up without any airflow. I mean, it is a little late for this, but this kind of thing in a living room would not have been my first recommendation, especially if there was a basement option. Most network switches (the kind that typically support PoE) are going to be louder than something I would want in a living room since they will need internal fans. You would need something like a Brocade/Ruckus ICX7250-24P switch (the "P" at the end is for PoE, of which it can provide a max of 370W over PoE). You can find them off ebay or similar used for a couple hundred (new you are talking a couple thousand), but that 370W is on top of the switch itself, which will typically draw around 50W. It can be made to be silent when not performing heavy PoE duties, but depending on the PoE requirements of the camera's, a couple hundred Watts is a lot to cool in an enclosed cabinet in a living room.

That all being said, you can always run another set of wires out of that cabinet location to somewhere else (like the basement which should be relatively easy depending on your basement ceilings and floor joists). That would let you relocate the PoE equipment somewhere else if you find that you can't properly cool it without being annoyingly loud.

One final thing/warning, looking at that first pic of the bundle of network cables, the blue cables are regular patch cable that had the ends cut off which the installer(s) intend to re-crimp and/or put into keystone jacks (you can clearly see one that didn't have the end piece cut which shows manufacturer installed RJ45 connector, and you can read "PATCH" on the jacket of one of the blue cables). I would bet that the gray ones might be the same. You really should inspect those cables, read the jacket, and find out what wire it is to ensure it is actually solid core and that it is also rated to be in wall. Patch cables are NOT solid core! They are NOT intended to be used by most keystone connectors, and most of the time not rated to be in the wall! This is because the stranded cable that PATCH cables use (to make them easier to bend in tight radius) does not allow for most crimp connectors to work since it relies on a V or W shaped tooth piercing into the solid cable, but a stranded cable will not be properly pierced since it can just jam in between the stranded cables and/or cut them and not have a strong physical connection to the wires leading to high noise and faulty connections when things move. Check what category the cable is, because I suspect that is CAT 5e or even just CAT5 from looking at the one keystone you posted. I can understand it you requested CAT5e for budget reasons, really we are talking like $0.10 per foot price difference for something that is rated for 10GbE networking (at least up to 90m).
Well. I did not know better at then. I did not know any difference between Cat5e or Cat6. In fact, it was my mother instructed him to run all the ethernet cables and gather all them in the cabinet instead of basement :( But it is too late now. However, I notice there are few cat6's mixed with mostly cat5e cables when I was counting the cables.

Thanks for the detail look at the cables. You are right that the only cable in that bundle is a patch cable that already have RJ45 jack at both terminal end. This is intended to connect to modem in the basement and to router in the cabinet of living room. He left it that way. Ideally I would like to have a cable to connect from outside of house to modem in the cabinet. But unfortunately, it is too late to add another cable for that.

the other cables already have keystone RJ45 Jacks at device end for each room. If that is the case, would it be pretty safe to say other cables are SOLID CORD cable?
 

Fallen Kell

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
5,659
248
106
Hard to say if they are solid core or not. You really need to look at the jacket on the cable, as they will tell you the rating of the cable (it is also how I know that at least some of those blue ones are patch, since it says it). Most cable has a printing on the jacket every foot or so. At a minimum it will tell you what category the cable is, and possibly a model identifier or the very least a few rating marks (UTP/STP, UL, CM, CMP, etc). Ideally you want to make certain that it has passed National Electrical Code fire safety testing and your installation passes local electrical and fire codes (usually these have to do with needing plenum rated cables (CMP) in many jurisdictions, since many of the local codes will simply require it when put in the wall even if the wall is not actually a plenum space, they are planning for the worst case scenario in that your duct work in the house has leaks which may have turned that space into effectively plenum).

Another way to figure out if it is solid core or not is to simply try flexing/bending the cable. Solid core will have some resistance to it, and if you have any scraps/cuttings you can take it apart and check (heck, if they are not all terminated, just cut 1/2 and inch off the end of one and then take it apart and remove the insulated coating on the individual pairs, if it is stranded, there will be a bundle of thin strands of cable under the insulation, if it is solid, it will be a single solid cable which does not flex/bend easily).

Don't get too upset about it. It can always be redone in the future if you find that it doesn't work well for you. If you don't mess around with the cables, you should be fine for gigabit speeds and maybe even 2.5GbE. The biggest concern would be the PoE in the enclosed cabinet. Again, it all comes down to how much wattage is needed by the end devices. If they are really low power, then you can get away with it by finding the right PoE switch (I would not recommend the switch I have, as it is too loud, but there are a few out there that are fanless/industrial models, but they typically don't have much wattage output).
 

coolmanfever

Junior Member
Oct 31, 2020
10
0
6
Thanks for the detail break down. I will go to my house under construction and peel the sheath and take a look to see if the in wall cables are solid core stranded.

Let's say if cables are all stranded, will it be difficult to finish them in keystone jacks?

Also, why is PoE switch is needed for surveillance camera? can unmanaged switch work well for surveillance camera connection? like this one I intended to get.

 

mv2devnull

Golden Member
Apr 13, 2010
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PoE means Power over Ethernet. Both data and power simultaneously via same cable. That is quite convenient for devices like cameras and wireless access points; you need to draw (and hide?) only one cable to them.

However, you need to feed the power to that cable somehow. One method is PoE injector; you connect data cable (from switch/router) to injector that is alos connected to power outlet, and then another -- powered -- Ethernet cable from injector to the device (e.g. camera). The other method is that the switch/router acts as injector (if it has PoE output feature on its ports).

There is more than one "standard" for PoE; not all "PoE" devices are combatible. Wrong pair and you get smoke, etc.

If your cameras do not support PoE, then you don't need PoE in the switch either.
 

Fallen Kell

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
5,659
248
106
Also, you don't absolutely need a PoE switch (or the injectors) unless your camera system uses it. The assumption was that they were PoE based since almost all are now, but plenty optionally support standard power. Just be certain that you have the right PoE standards compliant switch/injectors for your cameras if they are PoE (there are 2 or 3 if my memory is correct), as as mv2devnull pointed out, you will get a nice big puff of the magic smoke with the wrong one.

If you don't need PoE, a regular 24 port switch should be very easy to accommodate in that space, as there are plenty that are essentially fanless and/or silent (well 1GbE that is).

I would highly suggest a small UPS in there for battery backup and proper voltage/line regulation/protection (personally I prefer APC but that is because I have seen them save tons of equipment at my work). This is not something that you need right away, but it is always a good idea, and if you place all your network/computing equipment on UPS's you at least survive the brown outs and quick interruptions.
 

cscpianoman

Golden Member
Feb 10, 2005
1,096
237
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Is there any way to get cables down to the basement by splicing a cable connector?

Not ideal, but it would easily give more breathing room.
 

Fallen Kell

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
5,659
248
106
You would not want to splice the cables, but you can use extension couplers or run additional cables from that cabinet to the basement terminated into a patch panel in the cabinet and place a jumper/patch cord between the cables that you want to connect down to the basement.

An example of the coupler linked below:

And this is why I mentioned before it is really not that big of a deal since these are options that can always be done at some point if needed. Again, it isn't 100% ideal since the length may exceed what can be used for 10GbE, but again, that is not something that we will see needed by most people for a while since there are no ISPs (in the USA at least) which provide 10GbE to the home, so the only purpose would be for internal use and unless you have some servers hosting data/etc, you simply don't need it yet.
 
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