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Suggestions for running Cat5e/Cat6 to rooms in a new house

gizbug

Platinum Member
May 14, 2001
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I am currently having a house built, and want to get a plan for my networking. I am going to talk to my builder in the coming weeks, and have him run either Cat5e or Cat6 to rooms in my house.

This is a new process to me so I am looking to my network community here for tips/advice. I am having a 1 1/2 story house, so I plan on running the network cables to the upstairs bonus room (where my tv/xbox will be), 3 upstairs bedrooms, downstairs master bedroom, main living room area on main floor (tv), and my office/study.

Is there anything else I should look at doing or explain to the builder / electrician? I've read in some past posts here about running a conduit. Not sure if that is still preferred or not.

My goal is, to have a network jack by each tv, and in the office, so we use wired connection for our gigabit speed whenever possible. We will also run a mesh system (2800 SQ ft house), but to get optimal speeds, I feel running these wires before the walls are put up, are the best option.

As far as setting up the wireless. I have a Netgear R7800 router now. Would I be better off buying one of the new "mesh" systems out there, to get better coverage/no dead spots with this size house? I am not really wanting to run 2 routers, and would like to get away for having a router period, as its bulky and not pleasant to look at.

Comments?
 

Railgun

Golden Member
Mar 27, 2010
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If you’re in the position to run wiring everywhere/anywhere, I’d think about running cabling to support APs in various locations. If you have the ability to not go mesh, I’d choose that. Fundamentally you lose about 50% at the second hop and more as you go down.

Depending on your floor plan, or overall design of the house, you might be able to get away with fewer APs than you might think. But YMMV.

Depending on your mid to long term goals, you might want to think about Cat6a or even Cat7 for the potential of running 10Gb. Media server or similar functions are what I’m thinking of.

I was fortunate to have a house we bought that had cabling done throughout most of the house. For whatever reason, it was originally fit with one Cat something (I’ve not ID’d it yet...we didn’t build the house), phone cable, and coax. Luckily, two network runs were run per location, just not terminated, so I have additional capacity if needed.

The house design is somewhat open plan as well that afforded me the ability to have a single AP on the second floor.

That said, you don’t need to run two routers, but I’m conscious of the fact that you have limited port capacity. In that case, if you design your closet appropriately, no reason not to have a switch to hang off the router to increase your port capacity to whatever you require. Can be a simple 8 or 16 port unmanaged switch or you can go for a managed solution without breaking the bank such as with Ubiquiti’s Unifi solution.

As for conduit, that’s a code thing. Plenum rated cabling and all that...no idea what’s required these days.
 

mv2devnull

Golden Member
Apr 13, 2010
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Definitely Cat6 at minimum. Preferably a pair to each location. It is much easier to have too many cables than to not have enough.

As far as setting up the wireless. I have a Netgear R7800 router now. Would I be better off buying one of the new "mesh" systems out there, to get better coverage/no dead spots with this size house? I am not really wanting to run 2 routers, and would like to get away for having a router period, as its bulky and not pleasant to look at.
A router routes. Routing is an action of forwarding traffic between separate subnets. You definitely want a router between ISP net and you home LAN. Routing has nothing to do with WiFi.

Access Point (AP) converts cabled ethernet to wireless ethernet. Your Netgear happens to have both a router and an AP in same box. There are dedicated AP's. For example Ubiquiti UniFi, Cisco, HPE Aruba, etc. They even support PoE. You simply draw the Cat6 cable to the AP and supply power to AP via that cable too.

Those AP's look like plafond/ufo and are best attached to the ceiling in the middle of the room. Therefore, running wires to nice AP positions would be a wise move.
 
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razel

Platinum Member
May 14, 2002
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For the primary backbone areas or areas where it's difficult to re-run wires, ask if he can run a PVC pipe and put your wires in that. It is a pretty common practice with Home Theater installers and I'm sure building codes can/will vary from state to state.

In the meantime, buy Belden cables. In the U.S. it is not exepensive and well worth the extra few dollars over imports. The real world copper gauge in import wires is astoundingly bad and will just be problems for you as cables get longer, bent, and abused.
 

bruceb

Diamond Member
Aug 20, 2004
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I agree, if you have the choice run pipe. That way you can always replace a bad cable if you need to. A 3/4" PVC conduit will give you plenty of room for 3 or 4 cables. Just be sure they use radius type bends to make turns. If they use 90 degree fittings it will make future cable installs much harder. Also you do not want the cables being bent at a sharp angle. Decide in advance where you want your internet Modem and try to find out where the cable company will be bringing in their wires. You want to have a cable from there up to where your modem is going to be.
 

SeanFL

Member
Oct 13, 2005
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Consider running a set of Cat5e or Cat6 to a location near the center of the house on both levels. Years ago I built a monster sized two story house (8200 sq feet) and covering it could have been a pain. Ended up putting the main router (this Asus model) close to the center of the house and it covers almost all of the house, both levels, quite well. Before trying the center location I had multiple AP's around the edges of the house and it was a hassle to roam. Newer mesh systems would handle it much better (I've tried Plume Wifi in another large area with good results). But I still like one unit covering the whole place if it'll work with your design.

I suggest a pair so you can come out of your cable modem, ONT, or whatever you have and go out to the router, then back to a switch to reach other places hardwired.

The pipe (flexible pvc, sometimes called smurf tube) is great to run between floors or between networking rooms. Future proof it and consider a small enclosure on the upstairs floor that you could use to run additional wiring someday. Run that smurf tubing between networking enclosures for additional wires.

Oh, and be prepared for one of your wires to be ruined by a nail gun when the drywall goes up. That's why running multiple wires in proximity is sometimes a good plan.

Sean
 

GoodRevrnd

Diamond Member
Dec 27, 2001
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I really wouldn't worry about having your main router centrally located when you can put an AP anywhere (especially with PoE).
 

gizbug

Platinum Member
May 14, 2001
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I really wouldn't worry about having your main router centrally located when you can put an AP anywhere (especially with PoE).
Planning on router in the basement (unfinished) and running 1 or 2 AP’s


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gizbug

Platinum Member
May 14, 2001
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Definitely Cat6 at minimum. Preferably a pair to each location. It is much easier to have too many cables than to not have enough.


A router routes. Routing is an action of forwarding traffic between separate subnets. You definitely want a router between ISP net and you home LAN. Routing has nothing to do with WiFi.

Access Point (AP) converts cabled ethernet to wireless ethernet. Your Netgear happens to have both a router and an AP in same box. There are dedicated AP's. For example Ubiquiti UniFi, Cisco, HPE Aruba, etc. They even support PoE. You simply draw the Cat6 cable to the AP and supply power to AP via that cable too.

Those AP's look like plafond/ufo and are best attached to the ceiling in the middle of the room. Therefore, running wires to nice AP positions would be a wise move.

Why do you recommend a pair of cat 6 at each location? For the kids rooms I’m thinking just coax as they can stream through WiFi. If they want 4K streaming they can go into the bonus room. Maybe just have 2 cat 6 in bonus room, main living room, and have a router in the office?

So the consensus here is it’s worth paying extra for cat 6 over cat 5?
 

bruceb

Diamond Member
Aug 20, 2004
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Yes, it is worth it. When my home was done, I was not in direct contact with the installer and we ended up with Cat 5 spec cables. And now Cat 7 is the newest, but those are for very high speeds. Within the distance in a typical home, Cat 5 or Cat6 should be more than enough.
 

gizbug

Platinum Member
May 14, 2001
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Yes, it is worth it. When my home was done, I was not in direct contact with the installer and we ended up with Cat 5 spec cables. And now Cat 7 is the newest, but those are for very high speeds. Within the distance in a typical home, Cat 5 or Cat6 should be more than enough.

My installer said cat 6 is about 30 more a line and there's about 20 lines so about 600 more to run cat6 over cat 5e. For that price is cat 6 still worth it?


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bruceb

Diamond Member
Aug 20, 2004
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For the lengths typically used in a home, CAT 5 can still do up to 1,000MBS speed as per the above chart. It is when you use it for backbones, or very long data cable runs, that the CAT 6 would be better.
Maybe your installer was thinking CAT 6A which can do 10,000MBS speed .. I can see that being a bit more expensive. But if you run the conduits, then it can be changed out easily should your needs ever dictate it or if a cable goes bad.
 

gizbug

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May 14, 2001
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For the lengths typically used in a home, CAT 5 can still do up to 1,000MBS speed as per the above chart. It is when you use it for backbones, or very long data cable runs, that the CAT 6 would be better.
Maybe your installer was thinking CAT 6A which can do 10,000MBS speed .. I can see that being a bit more expensive. But if you run the conduits, then it can be changed out easily should your needs ever dictate it or if a cable goes bad.
So you want me to verify it’s cat 6, and to install conduits ?


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Genx87

Lifer
Apr 8, 2002
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My installer said cat 6 is about 30 more a line and there's about 20 lines so about 600 more to run cat6 over cat 5e. For that price is cat 6 still worth it?


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For most home situations in 2018 I would run Cat6a to where potential APs would be placed. We are getting to the point where APs will become multi-gigabit on the LAN port(some already do or allow to bond). May as well have the infrastructure to handle it when the time comes to install.
 
Feb 25, 2011
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My installer said cat 6 is about 30 more a line and there's about 20 lines so about 600 more to run cat6 over cat 5e. For that price is cat 6 still worth it?


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Probably?

Cat6 is required to support >1GbE speeds. Do you think you'll still be using nothing but 1GbE hardware for the lifetime of the wiring? (It could easily last 25 years.)

I wouldn't make that assumption. Gigabit has had a good run, but 2.5/5GbE is started to trickle out into the consumer market, like, now-ish.
 

bruceb

Diamond Member
Aug 20, 2004
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No CAT 6A is for 10GBS speed. See the chart I put in post #11 above.
 
Feb 25, 2011
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Thought 6a is >1GbE speeds?
Cat6 is "good enough" for short (<55m) runs of 10GbE, and should support 2.5GbE and 5GbE up to the "normal" 100m length. Most of the 10GbE patch cables in my racks at work are older Cat6. (2m or shorter.)

The basic logic I outlined in my previous posts holds for 6A just as well as 6 - in-wall cabling will be around for a long time, if you think you might use the faster speeds, you probably should wire accordingly.
 

gizbug

Platinum Member
May 14, 2001
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Cat6 is "good enough" for short (<55m) runs of 10GbE, and should support 2.5GbE and 5GbE up to the "normal" 100m length. Most of the 10GbE patch cables in my racks at work are older Cat6. (2m or shorter.)

The basic logic I outlined in my previous posts holds for 6A just as well as 6 - in-wall cabling will be around for a long time, if you think you might use the faster speeds, you probably should wire accordingly.
Thanks again.
I’ll look at my budget then and make the best decision. The installer said price per line cat5e $40 regular Cat6 $70 and Cat6A $80. Going to have about 20 runs.
 

Fallen Kell

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
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I'm a little horrified that you can conceive of it working any other way.
You would be surprised by what many builders would do... I have heard horror stories all over the place when builders used electricians to run network cables. I hope by now more know what they are doing, but this includes people cutting through the outer jacket insulation when stapling the cables to studs (as recently as just 1-2 years ago). If it isn't being certified, it is not worth the money they are charging you.
 
Feb 25, 2011
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You would be surprised by what many builders would do... I have heard horror stories all over the place when builders used electricians to run network cables. I hope by now more know what they are doing, but this includes people cutting through the outer jacket insulation when stapling the cables to studs (as recently as just 1-2 years ago). If it isn't being certified, it is not worth the money they are charging you.
Fair. But still horrifying.
 

CaW1

Junior Member
Apr 27, 2018
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In the grand scheme, how long do you plan on being in the house? My builder allowed me to work directly with the LV contractor so it wasn't a huge cost to upgrade. Cat5E minimum, for most household runs its more than enough. I also recommend running dual lines to several places in the home like any place you might have TV or consider putting a router or AP. It gives you options where you can put equipment and you might eventually have a LAN second network for a specific task like video distribution. In my home (a two-story with a finished basement approx. 4000 sq ft) I ran dual network lines to the Pantry closet that is centrally located on the main floor. So I have the ONT (previously the cable modem) in the basement where service comes into the home along with my unmanaged 16-port Gbit switch. The WAN line goes to the router in the pantry closet and then the other line goes back to the switch in the basement where all the other room lines are terminated. The point is where ever you have two lines you can play around with wireless router placement. Another thing to be aware of is to make sure if you have lines going to an unconventional place like the pantry closet make sure you have an electrical outlet for power.

I have 1G/1Gbps ISP service and even with all the devices we use for TV streaming wired/wireless including 4K streams I haven't come close to taxing my network. Unless your are planning on running a server farm in your house I don't know if the cost from Cat5e to Cat6a is worth it. In the grand scheme you could probably roll the cost into your mortgage but I just don't see how most homeowners even with multiple network users are going to need cables capable of running a 10Gbps network. Just my $0.02.
 

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