Question Advice needed on wired networking during home renovation?

techno79

Active Member
I've always preferred wired ethernet networking between my high bandwidth devices such as: desktop PCs, games console, network attached storage, 4k Smart TV, 4K media player. For everything else I use WiFi.

I'm now going through the process of buying a house which will require a full home renovation. The house will have to be stripped back to bare brick and new electrical wiring will be installed. I like the idea of installing something like ethernet cables at the same time. Although I do not exactly know where various devices will require an ethernet socket, but I figured having at least one or two sockets in each room is a hell of a lot better than none.

Is wiring an ethernet cable the best thing for future proofing or is there something else that is better? Is there a more general purpose cable that will be more future proof?

Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
Future proofing - unless you put conduit in everywhere, future proofing does not really exist. For the foreseeable future, in domestic applications, Cat6 cable will be more than adequate for 99.999% of the population. There are anomalies (some of them frequent these boards) who require more bandwidth, but for most domestic installs, Cat6 will be more than adequate. you may need to consider quite a lot of other factors when wiring for future needs though.
 

maf1970

Well-known Member
As mushii says Cat 6 will be more than adequate.
Seeing as you are gone right back to bare bones then you should have a real think about what you would like to have. Get the cabling done properly so that it is easy to maintain/replace. Always wire in more points than you will need.
Think of a central location for use.
What about centralising some kit like Sky for distribution throughout the house.
What about a sound system ?
Home automation ?
CCTV setup ?
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Incidentally - the cable isn't "ethernet" cable - it's called UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair) and was originally put into lots of office building for running the telephones. When "LAN's" became a "thing" someone figured out how to reverse engineer the installed base of UTP and use it for ethernet data networks as well as telephones, thereby saving a lot of companies the cost of putting in some additional "new" type of cabling to run data networks.

Which hints that when planning, you might like to consider that you can use exactly the same UTP cable for "other" things as well as ethernet, ie your analogue telephones.

Ethernet and phone use different physical topoligies, but both can use the same type of cable (you just cannot inter-connect them.) So at the same time as running in your UTP lobes for data networking, you could also pull in some additional lobes to serve as telephone extensions.

This sort of topic gets discussed here every so often and some people have even provided "write ups," complete with photo's, of what they did. You might care to have a browse/search for a few previous threads.
 
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Kristian

Member
What mushii said...

A back to brick renovation is the best time to do it. Lot's of threads on here talking about similar things. Central location, patch panel, dual outlets to TV locations or CCTV, WAPs locations, Cat6 UTP solid core cable, etc. etc.

Cat6 will do 10Gb ethernet to 35 - 55m which will cover most things for a long while yet.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
It generally takes me 2 -3 days work to work up a wiring plan for a house. the majority of that is CatX cabling. I would suggest that if you want to do this seriously, get a set of drawings for your house, some post it notes and some coloured pens and sit down and start to think where you may want things that may require a physical network connection. As a starter for 10:
- Smart TVs
- Games Consoles
- Streaming TV Boxes
- Streaming Audio Boxes
- Satellite TV Boxes
- DVRs
- NVRs
- AVRs
- PCs
- Laptops
- Printers
- Distributed audio speakers and amplifiers
- Home Automation Hubs
- Networked DVD / Bluray Players
- WiFi Wireless access points
- Soundbars
- CCTV Cameras
- Security Systems
- Next Gen Smart Doorbells (Ring Elite)

That is just off the top of my head. There maybe more.
Some of that will be fixed permanent infrastructure (CCTV) and some of it may move from room to room (kids games consoles). Each room needs to be considered for its purposes, then assessed for how many network connections does it need now and maybe in the future.

When Plasma TVs came out, nobody dreamed that they would connect to the internet. Now you wouldn't buy a TV that didnt. So part of what people like me do, is try and help guess, based on experience, what future needs maybe. So whilst walls are open and cable is cheap, its easier to put in what you need now and what you may want in the future, rather than ripping walls back open because a client didnt want to spend an extra 3 quid of 6m of CatX cable.
 

techno79

Active Member
Some great comments and just to clarify. The property is covered by Virgin Media cable (upto 500Mbit broadband) but the previous owners weren't customers so there is no VM coax cable coming into the house. I haven't used a landline at home for the last 8 years so don't think I need to wire in telephone cabling. Likewise, I haven't had satellite or broadcast cable for ages, I've cut the cord for quite a few years and have happily lived with streaming TV.

The property is purely residential so sounds like wiring in cat 6 UTP cable is the best option. Yes, I'll have to think where the central hub location as that'll determine where each of the sockets around the house come to.

CCTV is probably the one thing I would like that I don't currently have but I think there's quite a few solutions that enable both power and networking over the single UTP cable.

So in summary, I think what people are saying is, I need to figure out where in the house is best for the central hub location for network (i.e. where the network patch panel will live)?
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Technically - a patch panel can be deployed anywhere a number of cabled runs terminate. It's not just an "at the center" thing. However, in a SOHO deployment, often the only really useful place for a PP is at the "central nexus" from which the cable lobes fan out to the rest of the property.

In a big "corporate" type sites we use PP's all over the shop - pretty much every "comms cabinet" would have PP's in them and for all but the smallest site, we'd probably have multiple comms. cabs.

The sockets in a PP are exactly the same as those in the "face plates" you deploy in the rooms, it's just that the PP has more sockets (typically 24) packed in and usually a form factor that is designed to mount in a "standard" 19 inch rack cabinet instead of the 85mm back boxes.
 

techno79

Active Member
Just a quick follow up. If I had all the network cables terminating in a cupboard, is it okay to have the patch panel and a network switch in there? Cupboard might not have much ventilation (e.g. an understairs cupboard) but I'm hoping that as it's just a network switch, then this would be okay.

Thoughts?
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
That should be absolutely fine. If it gets too hot there are fan solutions available.
 

techno79

Active Member
I'm still struggling with working out where and how many network sockets to plan for. I'm trying to think how each room will be used but it's extremely hard and I'm almost certain things will change a little once I'm in the house. My thinking is that a wall network socket won't really be used for each separate device but rather, it will allow a small local switch to be connected to it. Devices will then plug into the closest switch. If I device is the only device and it's near a socket then obviously it can plug right into the network socket. Does this strategy work or better to think more about it?

The reality is that no matter how much I think about it, I'll never fully be able to account for all the future devices that I need to plug into the wired network, that I may buy in the future.

To that end, I've tried to put a network socket on each wall where I think I'll have network devices. So far I have:
Office: 4 sockets
Living room: 4
Utility: 4
Each bedroom: 3
Large open plan kitchen/dinner/sofa space: 8
Hallway: 2

I've put zero in the bathrooms as I can't think of any reason to put them in there.

Have I gone overboard with sockets? Thoughts?
 

maf1970

Well-known Member
Would be useful to know what would be connected at each location.
1 of the rules we tell people is always wire in more line per location than you need.(e.g. need 2 run 4)

My thinking is that a wall network socket won't really be used for each separate device but rather, it will allow a small local switch to be connected to it. Devices will then plug into the closest switch. If I device is the only device and it's near a socket then obviously it can plug right into the network socket. Does this strategy work or better to think more about it?
Actually that is exactly what you would be doing. Each item would,in theory, get its own port to connect to. Depending on what the item is, introducing a switch could create a bottleneck.
 

techno79

Active Member
Would be useful to know what would be connected at each location.
1 of the rules we tell people is always wire in more line per location than you need.(e.g. need 2 run 4)



Actually that is exactly what you would be doing. Each item would,in theory, get its own port to connect to. Depending on what the item is, introducing a switch could create a bottleneck.
Currently I have:
  1. 2x computers
  2. 2x network attached storage devices
  3. Media player
  4. Xbox One X
  5. Smart TV
  6. Printer
  7. Smart home hub
  8. Virgin Media Superhub
  9. Netgear WiFi router
All the devices (except printer and smart home hub) are high bandwidth.

I will of course get other media devices around the house so possible another games console and some media players.
 

Kristian

Member
All the devices (except printer and smart home hub) are high bandwidth.
But they're not, not really. All those devices would work fine on switched 100Mb in reality, the exception being the NASs and PCs (assuming you're copying data between them). As they will all be linked at Gb it's a moot point. The only proviso would be if you're copy lots of data at the same time between different devices when might have a bottleneck if the PCs and NASs are up to flooding the wire. If that's a possibility and you're bothered by it then you could look for 10Gb links between switches and those end devices but in all likelihood it won't be necessary.

Cat6, lots of sockets and decent wifi and you'll be fine :)
 

Zigourney

Active Member
I'm still struggling with working out where and how many network sockets to plan for. I'm trying to think how each room will be used but it's extremely hard and I'm almost certain things will change a little once I'm in the house. My thinking is that a wall network socket won't really be used for each separate device but rather, it will allow a small local switch to be connected to it. Devices will then plug into the closest switch. If I device is the only device and it's near a socket then obviously it can plug right into the network socket. Does this strategy work or better to think more about it?

The reality is that no matter how much I think about it, I'll never fully be able to account for all the future devices that I need to plug into the wired network, that I may buy in the future.

To that end, I've tried to put a network socket on each wall where I think I'll have network devices. So far I have:
Office: 4 sockets
Living room: 4
Utility: 4
Each bedroom: 3
Large open plan kitchen/dinner/sofa space: 8
Hallway: 2

I've put zero in the bathrooms as I can't think of any reason to put them in there.

Have I gone overboard with sockets? Thoughts?
I'd personally double up on the number of sockets in the living room, everthing else looks ok.
I had x6 cat6 points in my lounge put in behind the tv and all 6 are currently in use. I think I may need a couple of more once I get a second gaming console maybe a ps5 and the new xbox whenever they come out later on in the year. Obviously I can extend the number of sockets by using a switch and I will need to going forward, but I prefer direct connecting an appliance to a network socket so that I can trace it back to the patch panel and on to my main 48port distrubution switch.

Have a look at my install thread for some ideas in my signature.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
If you daisy chain switches off switches, another way to increase the bandwidth on the interlinks instead of buying 10G devices is to use a technology called "Link Aggregation." This is a technology that allow you to bind multiple physical link between switches into a fatter pipe (without LA, multiple links between switches is a complete no-no.)

So, for example, an LA of 2x1gpbs links gives you 2gbps bandwidth. However, note that this is not a link that is "twice as fast" - it's still a 1gbps "speed" for any given stream. Just as doubling the number of lanes on the motorway increases the carrying capacity, it does not double the speed for any given car.

However, it can be argued that LA is a less useful solution in SOHO as it really only offers gains when you have multiple source/sink pairs competing the same link at the same time.

But it might be cheaper to procure LA capable switches rather than 10G ones (and they might run a bit quieter and cooler) and of course, the quality of cabling install required for gigabit ethernet is nowhere near as high as that required for 10Gig.

Figuring out how much to put in, whether the interlinks have enough bandwidth, whether you've left yourself a future upgrade path, etc. etc. - welcome to the black art that is network design and planning...!
 

THX1138UK

Well-known Member
I run a single CAT 5 UTP cable to each room, and have a small 8 port NetGear (Gigabit) Switch (GS108) in each room for all my devices. If I need more ports, I can just add another switch at the required location.

I personally would advise against a spoke type setup with multiple cable runs to each room from a central switch - you’ll invariably need more a cables over time. In a home network you’re never going to saturate the network and a single cable to each location is perfectly adequate.

Copying files across my network I can achieve a transfer rate of 112 Megabytes per second. The NetGear switches are metal. They are fan-less, but never get warm. There is no configuration necessary.

The last switch connects into my router in my study. I use a wired Ethernet connection on every device that supports it. Only I use Wi-Fi for portable devices. The network it’s absolutely rock solid. I pass the UTP cables through the exterior house walls and run the cables neatly around the house.

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Regards,
James.
 

techno79

Active Member
Thanks for the additional comments. I agree, this is only a home usage scenario so my definition of high bandwidth is not that high. E.g. my Xbox One X is limited by my 100Meg Internet connection. 4K movies that I stream from my NAS to my media player will work perfectly fine over a 100Mbps network connection. Therefore, my rationale is, if my network cabling I put into the walls supports 1Gbps. I have a patch panel and a main switch that supports 1Gbps. It probably doesn't matter (in a home environment) if I have a local switch in each room to handle multiple devices. I'm hardly ever going to saturate the network to it's full capacity so it should be okay.

While it would be nice to have 1 device per network wall socket that is directly patched to the main switch, I think I need to think about saving cost too.
 

THX1138UK

Well-known Member
Thanks for the additional comments. I agree, this is only a home usage scenario so my definition of high bandwidth is not that high. E.g. my Xbox One X is limited by my 100Meg Internet connection. 4K movies that I stream from my NAS to my media player will work perfectly fine over a 100Mbps network connection. Therefore, my rationale is, if my network cabling I put into the walls supports 1Gbps. I have a patch panel and a main switch that supports 1Gbps. It probably doesn't matter (in a home environment) if I have a local switch in each room to handle multiple devices. I'm hardly ever going to saturate the network to it's full capacity so it should be okay.

While it would be nice to have 1 device per network wall socket that is directly patched to the main switch, I think I need to think about saving cost too.
It’ll be perfect. Don’t forget that video/audio data you are streaming across your network is very compressed. Even 4K content is going to max-out at about 15 Megabits per second and you have 1000 megabits available!

Regards,
James.
 

sep8001

Well-known Member
Hi

May be I have missed this in the post, but also worth having extra cable runs for access points in the ceiling for wifi.

Thank you
 

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