A few questions in setting up a new home network w/ structured cabling?

2wo Thir3s

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Hi, I just thought I'd pick the brains/opinions of the regulars here on this sub-forum over my tentative plans to get my home wired for structured cabling.

Just to go over home - it's a small two-bedroom terrace where I live on my own. When I moved in during the mid-2010's I did originally run some Cat5e - or at least I though it was Cat5e, turned out to be CCA cable (I know more about these things now!) - to provide an Ethernet connection for a PC as well as a double run for a HDMI run for a bedroom TV from a satellite receiver in the living room. When I moved in I had just ADSL internet, later VDSL and back in the summer I had FTTP finally installed (just 40/10 as I don't really need any faster than this at present, though this of course might change in the future). At the time cabling up rooms for DTT distribution was more important, so as well as the living room, the kitchen and both bedrooms had one coax outlet each.

Originally I intended to self-upgrade the low-powered wiring in the house back in 2019 but for various reasons I've not been able get things started. The intention is to run for each room indoors a minimum of two Cat6 runs (Ethernet, media extenders over twisted pair etc.) alongside one coax (WF100) run for DTT/satellite broadcasts and I've also a decent amount of "RG6" & RG59 cable for possible analogue baseband video/audio as well as a reel of CW1308 cable for telephones for VoIP use (rarely use them, but I like to have it as a backup). I bought a 305m reel of indoor Cat6 UTP cable and a 100m reel of outdoor Cat6 UTP cable (intended for running to the shed in the back garden) back in 2019, but has yet to be touched!

Given we're now in 2022 I'm trying to evaluate what would be the best way to give myself a reasonable level of future-proofness (I'm not getting any younger) that doesn't go to a huge amount of expense, so my questions/queries are...

1. The longest run from device or switch to another device in the home I'm guessing is around 15 metres, or 20 metres at the most. This should, spec wise, be perfectly fine I believe for using Cat6 cable for potential 10G-BASE-T use in the future (I'm just concentrating on 1000BASE-T right now). Is there any compelling reason why instead of Cat6 UTP I should look at getting FTP or even S/FTP or anything similar at Cat6/6a or higher, or would it be overkill even for the foreseeable future?

2. Would it be worth my while & expense to run any optical fibre cables alongside Cat6? I've only quite recently started reading up about it and the benefits it can bring, but none would seem to apply to my current scenario e.g. distance issues or network speed, at least with current home technology. OM4 cable seems to be well regarded but it appears to be only available pre-terminated as it appears difficult to terminate the cable properly?

3. I'm planning to run at least two outdoor Cat6 UTP cables (using at least one with PoE) as well as at least one WF100 coax line to the garden shed. The route these cables will take won't require them to be placed in any ducting, but there is also no permanent mains electrical wiring either (there is a 12 volt solar powered setup that presently just helps power a set of LED strip lights in there, but I do have ideas to upgrade this as I'd like to outfit it more as a "hobby" shed). If FTP is otherwise recommended alongside coax cable, is it wise to ground these cables just outside the shed or would that not be best practice (e.g. ground loop)?

4. My FTTP connection is through Openreach, and their (Nokia) ONT is located in the living room behind the TV, which runs via a UTP cable to a router (Fritzbox 7530) that provides current wired/wireless networking. My plan is to clear the space in a cupboard underneath the stairs for a "media centre" for patch panels, satellite receivers, router etc. And would I be right in assuming that the use of Cat6 structured cabling will be fine for use to connect the ONT to the modem in this cupboard?

That's all for now, I think! If there's anything else or you want something clarifying, please let me know. Thanks in advance!
 
Yes you can use a ethernet drop on the ont / router connection.

I can’t see any reason why you would need fibre connectivity.

There are plenty of guides on the internet on terminating ethernet cabling you just need to follow the standard for your chosen cable.

Though stp seems overkill in a small scale domestic install.

What’s the test plan to ensure the runs work at 10G?


Taking a step back what’s the driver for 10gig?
A 4K stream is around the 25Mbs range, if over time streaming bandwidth grew ten fold that only 250Mbs, even a hundred fold growth is within cat5e


This is from a another thread touching a similar question

“Not strictly true about the poe point, cat5e, 6 &6a can all carry poe at 100m rated spec.

The issues are generally with the conductor some (cheaper) cables are labelled cca (copper clad aluminium) these are worse conductors than pure copper, which in some rare cases have lead to burnt cables.


As for which is best that’s a question of cost, installation, use & duration.

In a domestic setting you expect a 10 year plus lifespan so generally you’d want the latest spec you can afford to future proof the install as much as possible.

However that will depend on the property it’s being installed into as 6 & 6a are slightly harder to install due to increased bend radius due to the cables having a plastic spine & more fiddly to terminate so a question about who will install & test it, will they have the tools & knowledge to test 10 gig?

Do you need 10 gig? 5e will happily deliver 2.5, 5 & there are loads of reports of it delivering 10 gig (at sub 50m distances) if properly installed.

It’s a balancing act, if going into a new build or a major renovation then today I’d likely go 6a, if wanting to install a few runs with minimum hassle in a older property I’d happily use 5e.”
 
For my two cents worth, if it were me, I wouldn't bother with F/STP anywhere in a SOHO install. If I were going to use fiber anywhere, it would be links to other buildings, (shed,) but if you need that to carry POE, the obviously that's a non starter.

I am fond of saying that to actual "be" cat whatever, there's more to it that just what cat cable and terminations your buy (though of course that's part of it.) As the cats get higher, the installation stipulations become increasingly stringent. For example, at some cat (I thing it's 6a, but I'd have to check) it is "required" that all cabling is installed into proper "containment" - so no clipping it to a wall or lashing it to a drain pipe (for example) which most SOHO DIY'ers are unlikely to do, can't use plastic zip ties (have to use velcro,) and cable must be "laid" in and not "pulled" and loads of other factors.

Then it all needs to be "certified" with some test equipment that costs hundreds/thousands which is well beyond the means of a one off SOHO DIY job.

So I wouldn't tie myself in knots "worrying" about this - if we really need a "high" cat install we ought to be getting in the professionals to do it properly and guarantee the work and be prepared to pay the price.

For DIY, just use what you have and do the best job you can - I don't think there's any point buying cat6a/7/8 materials if you aren't going to actual do the rest of the work required to install to those standards.

Unless you do a spectacularly bad job of it, (poor termination is the most common culprit,) cat6 should be good for 10Gig up 50 meters or so (more if you are lucky) but even so, don't be disappointed if in future you find it doesn't work. Chances are if it it won't come up at 10Gig, it'll fall back to 5Gig, 2.5Gig (if the NIC market goes where I expect) or just plain old 1 gig.
 
Won't repeat what the others have said other than to add 10GbE is a bit overkill for most circumstances unless you are shifting lots of data around (and that doesn't include streaming). Most TVs are still on 100Mbit NICs. It also generates a reasonable amount of heat and power consumption which given the price of electricity these days is not something to be under estimated.

I would also consider how you want to transmit HD Video around the house. 4K and HDMI 2.1 specs require a hybrid HDMI cable over 5m to carry the signal properly and work. It's worth considering putting these in trunking so they can be replaced if necessary. Using CAT6 cables is an option but I have found it better (and cheaper) to run direct cables from source to display.
 
Also why would you use a different cable for VOIP to normal CATx cable?
 
Hi, sorry for only getting back now. Just on a few points raised...

(1) I guess I'm only trying to only think ahead as far as possible as to have some element of future-proofing concerning twisted pair & 10GBASE-T e.g. heading well into the 2030s. At the moment I'd agree it is overkill for my needs at least for now especially as I have no equipment that can connect at that speed - the PC has a 2.5GBASE-T 8P8C port, but everything else is gigabit or slower for Ethernet. The main concern for such speed links would be for having network hard drives in place to transfer at fast speeds across my network, streaming media speeds are a secondary concern. As I mentioned, I'm not getting any younger and I want to try and "get this right" as much as I practically can with the current technologies available. But for 2022/23, 1000BASE-T is perfectly fine for me.

(2) I was thinking myself that S/FTP or even just FTP would be overkill for my needs - I suppose I only thought about it because the noise floor for MW & SW frequencies in my house is quite high (and even noticeable in the front & back gardens, I live next door to a primary school as well as having several neighbours) but maybe I'm not giving the common-mode interference cancellation properties of UTP enough credit. I know that most people don't bother/care with MW radio much any more, but I do engage in the occasional radio DX'ing where such noise is often a pest!

(3) The point about 4K using HDMI or Cat6 is noted, although at the moment I've no TV display with more detail than 1080 HD and at the moment I've no interest much in 4K as the size & shape of the living room doesn't allow for a display bigger than 40 inches unless I wall mount it. One to think for the future.

(4) As it is I've a couple of CW1308 two wire pair 100 metre reels, one unused and another than has barely 20 metres or so used of it. It's noticeably thinner than even Cat5e cable and could be useful for putting into tight spaces alongside other cables in a bundle. I have it lying around and as it's good enough for voice-grade I might as well put it to some use. It would also allow spare Cat6 ports to be freed up where multiple wires are required for certain scenarios, rather than having a port tied up to a desk phone using just one pair per cable and leaving the other three to waste - yeah, I could use something of a "breakout" adapter especially as I'm happy to dabble in simple in stuff that needs soldering irons/transformers/thin wire etc. involved but I'd rather keep things neat where I can.

So as it is, alongside the 305m indoor & 100m outdoor Cat6 UTP cables I have the relevant plugs & crimping tools for RJ45/RJ11 and BT phone plugs, a simple RJ45/RJ11 connection tester (the one that puts power sequentially on one wire at a time, powered by a 9V battery) along with the relevant coax cables & plugs etc. I probably have most if not all the relevant gear to get working at it already (will just need to get faceplates/modules/patch panel(s))? As I mentioned in my OP I did this work on a smaller scale years back so hopefully I should be familiar enough with what needs to be done.

The only thing I noticed among looking at the stuff I bought in the past for such work is a huge 20m long HDMI cable that is quite thick (the outer jacket of the cable much be at least 10mm in diameter) and also has unterminated ends, with a separate plug for the wires to be terminated into. Nowadays I'm not sure if I want to go down that rabbit-hole!

Thanks to everyone that responded here. :)
 
Couple of things the new hybrid HDMI cables are much thinner, though the heads are still relatively big.

The cw1308 unless I have misunderstood is just regular analog phone cable not for VoIP phones, so would be only useful if you want to run analog phones back to a VoIP ATA adapter.

Also you should terminate fixed infrastructure cable into punch down sockets or patch panels
 
Given that (in the UK) the POTS analogue service from the exchanges are going to be withdrawn soon, you might care to rethink if it's "worth it" to install cabling to avail it. I get what you are saying about not "wasting" a catX UTP lobe for voice phones, but since it's likely that 50v POTS is going to disappear in favour of DECT and VOIP in the coming years, you might consider whether it's "worth bothering" putting "old school" cabling in for it.

I could believe that in future the LTU's in homes might emulate POTS for backwards compatibility (and folk like me that don't want to buy a VOIP phone when I can buy a POTS one for a tenner) but there comes a time when one has to let go of what went before.

HDMI cables tend to be chunky because there's a lot of shielding in them because they are shipping uncompressed video at high data rates (well in excess of gigabit for some modes.) It's not really a technology that's designed for a "distribution network" or long distances, though there's some clever tek. that can get around this. I tend to think of HDMI as the "hook up" for the (shortish) "last hop" between the player and the display. Rather than try to get HDMI a long way, I prefer to get the player and display closer together (therefore shorter HDMI) though I've seen use cases where there is no choice. For example (this wasn't my work) one college I was involved with had some big displays hanging in a cavernous atrium and the only way to get the video from the player to the display was via some very long HDMI. They used some kind of "powered" extender cables daisy chained. Quite why they couldn't take a UTP to the displays and hang a media player on the back of them I forget, but it was "because reasons."
 
Given that (in the UK) the POTS analogue service from the exchanges are going to be withdrawn soon, you might care to rethink if it's "worth it" to install cabling to avail it. I get what you are saying about not "wasting" a catX UTP lobe for voice phones, but since it's likely that 50v POTS is going to disappear in favour of DECT and VOIP in the coming years, you might consider whether it's "worth bothering" putting "old school" cabling in for it.

I could believe that in future the LTU's in homes might emulate POTS for backwards compatibility (and folk like me that don't want to buy a VOIP phone when I can buy a POTS one for a tenner) but there comes a time when one has to let go of what went before.

My current internet router is a Fritzbox 7530 that I inherited from when I was a Zen FTTC customer and that I managed to get it software unlocked for when I moved to FTTP with another ISP. It already has a built-in ATA & DECT base station and for about a year now I have two SIP accounts registered on it, one with Sipgate (I signed up with Sipgate basic for a local incoming number before they stopped new signups) and another with DialNow. The latter doesn't have "dial in" but is fine for making outgoing calls and that's what I mainly use when making most VoIP calls. I have a cheap DECT handset but I have the DECT feature on the Fritzbox turned off, as it's rarely needed. It works well for the small demands I place on it. I'm well aware of the planned POTS switch-off for Openreach (was planned to be the end of 2025, but now up in the air concerning issues over BBU of VoIP services) and I decided to make the move to a VoIP system before being potentially being pushed to it at some point, either though adopting FTTP or when POTS gets switched off.

(Incidentally, what made me want to get FTTP in reasonably quickly than otherwise necessary, other than to help plan with this cable management was that my FTTC connection was at a brick wall in terms of speed - my line length was around 500 metres from the cabinet and was supposedly capable of download speeds of up to 72 Mb/s, but something somewhere along the line from the cabinet to my premises was pumping a s**t-ton of interference. At first it was coming on intermittency and certain times of the day but by 2019/2020 it was present nearly 24/7, meaning that I essentially couldn't get a better FTTC speed than 44 Mb/s down and 9 MB/s up reliably unless I managed to find a tiny window when the interference was gone - and when it did disappear, the noise floor on the line improved by 9db, with a therotical download sync speed of 67Mb/s! It was a pain in the rear end & it pushed me on to FTTP because if I wanted any realistic improvement in the future on 40/10 speeds for landline internet, it would have to be done through that. And yes, I checked to make sure that the source of this interference wasn't in either my home or in my neighbours!)

In terms of the distance limits for HDMI, by backup plan for this is to use a DVB-T HD modulator, if needed. None of the secondary displays are presently bigger than 24 inches, so even SD wouldn't be a big deal. I'm aware of the issues concerning latency for such modulators, but I don't tend to channel surf very quickly so I don't think it would be an issue.
 
my line length was around 500 metres from the cabinet and was supposedly capable of download speeds of up to 72 Mb/s, but something somewhere along the line from the cabinet to my premises was pumping a s**t-ton of interference. At first it was coming on intermittency and certain times of the day but by 2019/2020 it was present nearly 24/7, meaning that I essentially couldn't get a better FTTC speed than 44 Mb/s down and 9 MB/s up reliably unless I managed to find a tiny window when the interference was gone - and when it did disappear, the noise floor on the line improved by 9db, with a therotical download sync speed of 67Mb/s!

I am at a similar distance and get around 40Mbps, it's so subject to noise interference. Did you check it wasn't (phone) wiring in your house causing the issue?

In terms of the distance limits for HDMI, by backup plan for this is to use a DVB-T HD modulator, if needed. None of the secondary displays are presently bigger than 24 inches, so even SD wouldn't be a big deal. I'm aware of the issues concerning latency for such modulators, but I don't tend to channel surf very quickly so I don't think it would be an issue.

Yep, it's just with you wanting to future proof the design, for HDMI that really means conduit and also running additional CAT6 cables so you use HDMI over CAT6 cabling (as opposed to via IP). While your TVs might only be 24 inches now they may well be bigger\higher res in the future etc.
 
I am at a similar distance and get around 40Mbps, it's so subject to noise interference. Did you check it wasn't (phone) wiring in your house causing the issue?

Definitely wasn't an issue with internal wiring - I checked with the modem/router plugged straight into the BT test socket & turned everything else electrical off. The interference was still there and as strong as ever.

At first, I was making an educated guess that someone that was using a satellite receiver like a SkyBox/OpenBox in conjunction with a "gift" pay-server was responsible, given that the interference at the time was happening largely outside ordinary working hours, but once Sky got a handle on card-sharing, their use dropped off like a stone almost immediately but the interference didn't stop and even got progressively longer until it was nearly 24/7. But now I'm on FTTP, I thankfully no longer have to worry about it. As it is, the copper pair line to the house actually still has a dial tone (so presumably powered) and plugging a phone into it & dialing 17070 gives a different phone number than the last one assigned to it - however calling this number refuses to connect/ring, with an automated voice telling me that it can't be connected "right now".
 

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