Advice on home networking setup and best 'single' ethernet cable for CCTV and burying in walls.

Scoobster

Novice Member
Hi,

We have recently taken over a property and bringing it up to standard with new electricity wiring and I am also planning to setup a home network with wired ethernet and CCTV. I am not a pro networker but have a sufficient (ish) networking and can follow through most of the setup myself/config myself. The cables will be pulled by the electrician to each of the locations.

The plan would look something like the following

Comms Cupboard
This would contain:
6u (or other suitable cabinet) which would have inside:
Power supply
Patch panel - 24 or 48 port (24 should be sufficient for our needs)
Patch cables from patch panel to switch.
Network switch perhaps something like a TP Link TSL12 16 Port Switch.
Wireless AP - something like a TP Link EAP 225 or maybe Ubiquiti Networks Unify - This is really just to ensure strong coverage of WIFI also in the house.
CCTV NVR - which would have the ethernet cable for each camera plugged in.

Someone also suggested an Omada cloud key - don't know too much about these?

Each room would have an RJ45 module which would get punched down with Cat6 unshielded ethernet cable for running smart tv's, games consoles etc etc. Maybe having 2/3 ports in each box with a mounted face plate.

I wanted to use Cat6 internally within the house to run under floorboards and take into the loft etc and if possible also use the same Cat6 cable for the CCTV - but wondered if this would be a wise idea or not. This saves having to buy 2 different graded cables - one for internal use and one for external.

The 'external' part of the CCTV cable would route through the house and poke out through the brick work and terminate with a RJ45 Plug to poke directly into IP POE Camera's - as opposed to being outside or buried under concrete etc. Or am I better off getting a separate cable which is externally rated and use it for the CCTV but just running it under the floorboards etc and where it needs to go out into the brickwork or garage soffit - at least it is 'E' rated?

Or go the other way around and use an external cable maybe 100m drum for both the internal networking as well as the internal network? Someone recommended Excel Cat6 or maybe Kordz Cat6 as a brand. Not sure how good either of these are?

Any tips or comments appreciated?

Thanks.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
If you buy a metal comms cabinet, you don't want to put anything Wi-Fi inside it - Wi-Fi hates anything wet of metal. Wi-Fi works best with unobstructed line of sight.

Since you are going to the time and expense of installing UTP cabling, I think you would be well advised to install sufficient cable to be able to install some additional Wi-Fi Access Points (AP's) about the property in the future or better still do so from the get go and save yourself all the heartache of having to retrospectively "fix" a problem with Wi-Fi because "one AP in a cupboard in the middle" isn't cutting it. So instead of burying one AP in the "cupboard under the stairs" covered in all the junk such locales attract over time, deploy an AP in the lounge/den/master bedroom and so on - basically ask yourself where you spend most time "Wi-Fi'ing" and deploy your AP's there.

You'll end up spending more on AP's of course, but when you are renovating a property is an ideal time time to consider this option rather that waiting until all the decorating is done. Even if you don't want to buy the additional AP's now, at least contemplate putting in the cabling to facilitate it in furture.

By similar reasoning, you might consider additional cable runs for phones. Analogue telephones can work over the same type of UTP cabling as ethernet (indeed, UTP was originally designed for phones - using it for etheret was an exercise in "reverse engineering".) Though you must ensure that phones and ethernet are electrically separate (they don't play nice together) they can both be run over UTP, share a patch panel and so on.
 

Scoobster

Novice Member
Thanks for the reply.

In terms of Cabling for the CCTV as well as the home network - do I need to be careful about anything or must I use an internal certified cable for the home network and an external rated cable for the CCTV - or can I just use 'one type of cable'?

The external is not actually going external but is more being poked through the brick work and connected onto a IP camera...
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
If you CCTV is using ethernet, then it makes no difference to cable selection - ethernet is ethernet is ethernet, whatever is sending/receiving it, there's not a different "type" of ethernet because it happens to be coming from a camera.

If your CCTV is using "something else" then you'll need to find out what it's requirements are.

For UTP, "internal" versus "external" rating is more about the mechanical construction rather than anything electrical. For example, external grade cable may be a more robust construction and have things like UV inhibitors in the sheathing. In extremis, you can get "armoured" cable, though that tends to only be used when you're going to direct bury it without using any ducting. Whereas internal grade cable lacks the UV resistance and so if you clip it to an external wall, eventually the sun does for it, it cracks, water gets in, freezes and busts the cable apart. But internal grade cable might have additional fire resistance or be things like "low smoke."

So your cable choice is more about where and how it's going to be installed. The actual data that travels over it (assuming its ethernet) is the same whatever the cable type.

The thing you should avoid at all costs is something called "Copper Clad Aluminium" (CCA.) The "cat" standards mandate the use of pure copper conductors, CCA is not allowed. However some snake oil salesmen try yo pass it off as "catX equivalent" "catX tested" and other BS or assert non-existent "cats" such as cat6e (no such thing) cat5a (no such thing) etc. If it looks too cheap, it's probably fake.

There are some professional data cabling guys lurk in this forum at time of posting. Doubtless one of them will give you a better steer than I can.
 

Scoobster

Novice Member
Mickevh,

Very useful to know. Thank you for the info so far..

So my concern was more around the degrading of the cable if it is plastered over and if I have a short run from drilling through the brick work of my house to the soffit of the garage. I was planning on buying a brand called Excel Cat6 UTP - and putting this under floorboards and within walls to get to the RJ45 points - rather than deep excavation underground etc.

The CCTV is POE IP cameras so is ethernet is ethernet as you say :).. I was just talking to some suppliers and they seemed to think that the cable needed to be Cat5e with the e rating for the CCTV and Cat6 for the internal networking - but I don't think it would make much of a difference is the ends are terminated with a plug and connected directly into the camera - there wont be exposure to water, rain, temps etc but I will do a bit more digging.

Your points above about the WAPs are also noted - I was thinking of the ceiling mounted Ubiquiti Networks Unify AP AC Pro, in the hallway and then dining area and one in the loft. Maybe 4 around the house, our house isn't very big and is standard construction but as you say better to future proof as much as possible..

The other thought process was around a MESH network but I need to do a bit more research around the advantages of a MESH network vs AP - any words of advice around this? As I understand the WAP will hop from one point to another using the same network SSID and security.... whereas the MESH just repeats the signal...
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
The CCTV is POE IP cameras so is ethernet is ethernet as you say :).. I was just talking to some suppliers and they seemed to think that the cable needed to be Cat5e with the e rating for the CCTV and Cat6 for the internal networking - but I don't think it would make much of a difference is the ends are terminated with a plug and connected directly into the camera - there wont be exposure to water, rain, temps etc but I will do a bit more digging.

The "cat" versions are nothing to do with usage or construction - it's all about the electrical performance - "frequency response this" "interference rejection that" and so on. The "e" in "cat5e" means "enhanced" - it is a slightly superior version of cat5. Ethernet works the same "speed" whatever "cat" cable you use - it doesn't work any "better" (or worse) because you give it higher cat cable. Cat5e is good for gigabit (1000mbps) ethernet up to 100m. I've installed a few that went even further (by accident,) - after installation when we put the tester on them they came out at 118m or so, which is "outside" spec. but they worked, so I accepted them. Unless you live in a mansion, I doubt you'll be troubling the lobe length in a typical domestic install. Everything you want to know about DIY UTP here... How to wire Ethernet Cables And there's much more to achieving a particular "cat" then just what cable you deploy. The higher the cat, the more stringent the deployment "rules" (for example some higher cats require installation into "proper" containment, so "plastering over it" is an automatic certification fail. But that doesn't mean it won't "work" for ethernet.)

Your points above about the WAPs are also noted - I was thinking of the ceiling mounted Ubiquiti Networks Unify AP AC Pro, in the hallway and then dining area and one in the loft. Maybe 4 around the house, our house isn't very big and is standard construction but as you say better to future proof as much as possible..

It's a bit of a rookie mistake to deploy into hallways and "communication" spaces. If you look at where you spend most of your time WI-Fi'ing, if you have AP's in halls, every transmission has to pass through at least one wall. Better to deploy to lounge, bedroom, den etc. unless you are seriously constrained on budget and need to minimise the number of AP's. I can get into Wi-FI planning more if you wish.

The other thought process was around a MESH network but I need to do a bit more research around the advantages of a MESH network vs AP - any words of advice around this? As I understand the WAP will hop from one point to another using the same network SSID and security.... whereas the MESH just repeats the signal...

All Wi-Fi is availed by AP's, AP's get built into lots of other things such as routers, repeaters, powerline, superhubs, homehubs, so-called "mesh" nodes and more (you can even use an iPhone as an AP!). "Mesh" is an almost meaningless terms that has been seized on by the "marketing" people to sell kit into the SOHO market as if it's some magic pixie dust that solves all ills. Mesh nodes are AP's just like any other, however such systems tend to come with some of the "good stuff" we've had in enterprise Wi-Fi systems forever such as automated channel planning, pre-staged roaming handoffs, steering clients towards the "best" node, a single management platforms and so on.

Some so-called "mesh" systems can use Wi-Fi "backhaul" links between the nodes, some can use cabled ethernet backhaul, some can do both and automatically choose which is best. There's no common definition (even a de facto one) of what "mesh" means so you very much have to drill into the specifications and see what you are getting.

Using cabled backhaul links between AP's and the rest of the (wired) network is by far the best way to handle the backhauls (fastest and most reliable.) If you are planning to cable for your AP's, then very much shop for a "mesh" system that can use cabled backhaul links - it would be top of my "wish list."

I've not used Ubqiti, but they are well spoken of here and doubtless others will chime in on their features, ease of use and so on.
 
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coolblu

Active Member
Don’t forget about cooling and adequate ventilation. I underestimated ours when we had our comms cupboard built.

In the height of summer it can get to the high 30’s.
 

no1jam

Novice Member
My advice on the cabling:

1. For each single run, run two cables. You never know if one will start having problems and you need a new run to test with. The cost to run two shouldn't be much more than the cost to run one. Cat6 is the spec to use.

2. Make sure it's solid (aka "riser") cable if you plan on punching it, solid gets punched down into jacks (keystones), stranded is patch cable and gets crimped on rj-45 heads
 

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