Cat5e/6 runs around the house? how many and how

VAMOS DAN

Well-known Member
guys looking for some advice, this may also sound REALLY dumb!

At my old house i had a run of cat5e to each room (4 rooms in total), these then all met in one central position under the stairs to which they all went into a multi ethernet box type thing on the wall. i then had cat5e from this box (each ethernet slot) to my router

now...........

iv just moved house, and after reading on here i notice alot of you guys run like 2/3 cat5e/6 cables from EACH room, that would be like 12 cables going to 1 central wall socket?! :confused: am i missing something here? :facepalm: just seems loads, and like i said my old wall socket only had 4 slots, does that mean you buy one with 12 etc?

like i said it may sound dumb but im trying to understand :facepalm:

also do i need to bother with cat5e at all? or should i just put cat6 all over the house
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Yes that is loads, but it's predicated on the idea that the cable itself is (relatively) cheap, the real cost/hassle is the time and effort required to do the installation work and fix the decor afterwards.

If your "one cable" breaks down for some reason, then if there's already a "spare" in place you can just repatch and start using it in minutes. If you have no spare, then there's nothing for it but to endure the time and damage to the decor that would result from ripping out the broken cable and replacing it.

It's also surprising how often one finds a use for "another cable" later on. At work, standing instructions to my sparkies whenever anyone asks for a "new network point" to be put it, is to "always pull two cables."

The cat5e/cat6 debate goes on and on. Many people tie themselves in knots over this as the worry about installing something (cat5e) which may become obsolete and will need replacing.

However, cat5e is good for Gigabit ethernet up to 100m, so personally I wouldn't bother with cat6 which has more stringent installation requirments and is therefore a little more tricky to install. The penetration into the home market of anything that actually needs cat6 (ie 10Gig ethernet) is practically non-existent at the present time. Many people do just fine with "meer" 100mbps ethernet.

Many people also think that buying catX cabling is all there is to it, but to get a catX install there are many requirements for how the cable is actually installed and terminated, and it need to be tested to actually be certified as performing to catX and almost no-one does that in SOHO installs. (The test gear is rather expensive.)

You can buy sockets and patch panels in all sorts of port densities and form factors. Just shop around.
 
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Andy98765

Distinguished Member
If you take your original installation, 4 rooms, 4 cables back to a 5 way "Switch" that is fine. You could also add another 5 way switch at the end of one of those cables and spreadout to 4 extra ports in that one room.
But as mentioned suggest running at least 2 cables.
Get 1Gig switches they come in various sizes.
5,8,16,24 ports etc.
If you think about a home cinema installation you could need a cable for each of the following.
TV
Blu-Ray
HTPC
WII
PS3
X-Box
Media streamer
AV amplifier
Set-top box (SKY, Freesat, Youview etc)
They all need internet connections and these days fast ones at that.
 

VAMOS DAN

Well-known Member
Andy98765 said:
If you take your original installation, 4 rooms, 4 cables back to a 5 way "Switch" that is fine. You could also add another 5 way switch at the end of one of those cables and spreadout to 4 extra ports in that one room.
But as mentioned suggest running at least 2 cables.
Get 1Gig switches they come in various sizes.
5,8,16,24 ports etc.
If you think about a home cinema installation you could need a cable for each of the following.
TV
Blu-Ray
HTPC
WII
PS3
X-Box
Media streamer
AV amplifier
Set-top box (SKY, Freesat, Youview etc)
They all need internet connections and these days fast ones at that.
Cheers for the great info to both of you

Didn't realise that you could add a multiple switch to one cable so that will help a lot

Would it be worth me just running cat6 instead of cat5e though? Just buy a reel of it and lay it all under the floorboards etc

I'm guessing that anything that uses cat5e would be able to use cat6 also?
 

VAMOS DAN

Well-known Member
Andy98765 said:
CAT5 all the way.
1. Cheaper
2. As already stated tighter installation problems.
3. CAT5E supports 1 gig upto 300 metres.
Although you can cascade switches do limit to 2 from the source. Single cables always better.
Examples
TP-Link TL-SG1005D 5-port Gigabit Switch | Ebuyer.com
TP-Link TL-SG1008D 8-port Gigabit Switch | Ebuyer.com

How to Make a Category 5 /5e Patch Cable
Ok I shall stick to the cat5e, I'm sure I have a reel of it in the loft too so should save me abit of ££

I shall have a look through those links rite now :) many thanks
 

Trollslayer

Distinguished Member
I route my phone through it as well, it means I can plug phones in anywhere in the house.
Three bedroom bungalow, 24 cables - yes, 24.
Cat5e is fine, the only reason to go to Cat6 or 6a is if you want to pump HDMI over it.
 

Kango_V

Standard Member
I'd would absolutely go for CAT6! I got mine for £110 for a 303m roll. CAT6 can do 1Gb at 100m and 10Gb at 37m. CAT6a is much more expensive and can do 10Gb up to 100m. I didn't think that was necessary. As your runs are probably under this, why not future proof for hardly any money.

CAT6 is slightly stiffer and has some extra bracing inside. I've wired every room in my 4 bed house and garage and the longest run is 22m.

The distances are the maximum horizontal run length. You need to subtract from this vertical drops and all passive links such as the patch cables from the switch to the patch panel and the patch cables from the jacks to the computers (or other types of nodes).

Hope this helps.
 
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GloopyJon

Distinguished Member
IMO there are two reasons for having multiple network connections, and neither of them is anything to do with the number of devices that you want to connect to the Internet (sorry, Andy98765, but I disagree with you!). All of those can be connected to a small, very cheap switch put in your TV stand, and you only need one network port to support them all.

The two reasons are therefore:
1) Redundancy, as mickevh said
2) Different purposes, like Trollslayer. You can use Ethernet cable for telephone connections, if your primary phone point comes through to your network cabinet. You can also use it potentially for HDMI over Ethernet, or for other purposes such as television distribution (in my case, the TV tuner runs off my Internet router and goes over an Ethernet connection - it doesn't go through my normal network, but I patch it through my network cables so I can put the TV tuner anywhere that I have network sockets). Each different purpose requires a separate cable (or possibly two, for HDMI over Ethernet, although I believe there are single cable solutions too).

My policy generally was to put 2 cables / sockets in as the default, and 4 in places where I was likely to have a TV setup. There are a couple of places where I only put 1 socket, because I only had room to pull 2 cables and that conduit had to serve 2 rooms, but they aren't very important locations in the house anyway. Some people will put 6 or 8 sockets by the TV, but if you install a switch there for all the networked equipment I think that's unnecessary.

See the link in my sig to my home networking project, which may give you some more ideas on how to go about it.
 

leaky5

Novice Member
I had the chance to have a new build house cabled out.
I went for 4x Cat5e behind the TV and all are now used. Then 2x to every most other rooms in the house.
If I had thought about it a bit more I should have had 4x to the dining room as well and maybe 6x by the TV.
I have the telephone, Imac and printer in the dining room, but only the 2x Cat5e. Once I get Infinity in I will probably add a switch to this room.

All the details are still in the link in my sig
 
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VAMOS DAN

Well-known Member
Thanks for the info mate

So if you have 4 from tv, and 2 to each room, where they all meet and centralise (HUB if you like) what are they all connected to?? My crappy sky router only has 3 Ethernet sockets
 

leaky5

Novice Member
Thanks for the info mate

So if you have 4 from tv, and 2 to each room, where they all meet and centralise (HUB if you like) what are they all connected to?? My crappy sky router only has 3 Ethernet sockets
Mine all go back to under the stairs and connect into the Fast Ethernet switch.

All my telephone connections also use the Cat5e.
 

VAMOS DAN

Well-known Member
And your router is connected to the fast Ethernet switch too?
 

GloopyJon

Distinguished Member
Thanks for the info mate

So if you have 4 from tv, and 2 to each room, where they all meet and centralise (HUB if you like) what are they all connected to?? My crappy sky router only has 3 Ethernet sockets
It depends on how many of these connections you're actually using - if you only use no more than 3, then you can connect them straight to the sky router. Otherwise, you'll need to have another switch in your central hub, with on cable connecting up to the Sky router and the others connecting (via your patch panel) to the various networked devices around your home.

Essentially, then, your central hub will contain three main bits of equipment which will provide your basic network and Internet connectivity:

1) The Sky router
2) A switch with as many ports as you might need (I have a 24-port switch, but that may be overkill; however, I wouldn't recommend less than 16 for future-proofing)
3) A patch panel which basically just terminates all of the cables coming in from the different parts of the house (it provides sockets for all of the cables, and you then put short Ethernet cables between the patch panel and the switch. If you want to connect a phone, then you'll connect the cable from the patch panel to the phone socket on the Sky router instead.)

Take a look at my network cabinet in my home network thread - this post has a picture of my network cabinet, which contains (going from top to bottom) the patch panel, the switch, my ISP router (the white box) and my NAS box (the black box, a Synology DS412+). The NAS box provides file storage (and other stuff) for streaming media around the house etc, but that's an added extra and not an absolute necessity.

Just to be clear, you only need to connect the sockets at the patch panel that you are actually using - you can see in my picture that I haven't connected all of the ports. Therefore you could quite happily have a 24-port patch panel (as I have) but only a 16-port network switch, if you know that you won't be using more than 15 ports on it (remembering that you need one to connect to your Sky router).

Feel free to ask if anything is unclear - this can be complicated and confusing stuff!
 

VAMOS DAN

Well-known Member
It depends on how many of these connections you're actually using - if you only use no more than 3, then you can connect them straight to the sky router. Otherwise, you'll need to have another switch in your central hub, with on cable connecting up to the Sky router and the others connecting (via your patch panel) to the various networked devices around your home.

Essentially, then, your central hub will contain three main bits of equipment which will provide your basic network and Internet connectivity:

1) The Sky router
2) A switch with as many ports as you might need (I have a 24-port switch, but that may be overkill; however, I wouldn't recommend less than 16 for future-proofing)
3) A patch panel which basically just terminates all of the cables coming in from the different parts of the house (it provides sockets for all of the cables, and you then put short Ethernet cables between the patch panel and the switch. If you want to connect a phone, then you'll connect the cable from the patch panel to the phone socket on the Sky router instead.)

Take a look at my network cabinet in my home network thread - this post has a picture of my network cabinet, which contains (going from top to bottom) the patch panel, the switch, my ISP router (the white box) and my NAS box (the black box, a Synology DS412+). The NAS box provides file storage (and other stuff) for streaming media around the house etc, but that's an added extra and not an absolute necessity.

Just to be clear, you only need to connect the sockets at the patch panel that you are actually using - you can see in my picture that I haven't connected all of the ports. Therefore you could quite happily have a 24-port patch panel (as I have) but only a 16-port network switch, if you know that you won't be using more than 15 ports on it (remembering that you need one to connect to your Sky router).

Feel free to ask if anything is unclear - this can be complicated and confusing stuff!
Thanks mate, you'v explained it awesomely :D

just couldnt quite get my head round it, i shall have a proper read of your thread also :thumbsup:
 

Lancia34

Distinguished Member
I'd would absolutely go for CAT6! I got mine for £110 for a 303m roll. CAT6 can do 1Gb at 100m and 10Gb at 37m. CAT6a is much more expensive and can do 10Gb up to 100m. I didn't think that was necessary. As your runs are probably under this, why not future proof for hardly any money.

CAT6 is slightly stiffer and has some extra bracing inside. I've wired every room in my 4 bed house and garage and the longest run is 22m.

The distances are the maximum horizontal run length. You need to subtract from this vertical drops and all passive links such as the patch cables from the switch to the patch panel and the patch cables from the jacks to the computers (or other types of nodes).

Hope this helps.
+1 for Cat6. It's not much more expensive and more future proof and as Kango says it's got stiffer housing so will be better shielded and less prone to damage.

I did both of my bedrooms and my living room with Cat6, running through my loft for the bedrooms, think the total cabling only cost me about £40-50 and then I used two switches where I had multiple devices to connect.

I get good speeds and it works a treat having all my main devices (NAS, PS3s) all on 1GbE :thumbsup:
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
There's no difference in the "speed" (link rate) of 10/100/1000 mbps ethernet whether using cat5, cat5e, cat6 or better. It's exactly the same over all of them.

Unlike wi-fi (for example) ethernet does not throttle back it's link rate if it's having trouble transmitting, it's full speed all the time. If you get garbled transmission because of "dodgy cable" then you can get packet loss at the receiver which leads to retransmission of the lost data which can look like slower copying rates if you're (say) watching a Windows file copy operation.

However, in more than 20 years of using I don't know how many hundreds of kilometers of UTP cables, I've never seen a link that was working poorly because the "cable was dodgy" or not high enough "cat." Usually I find poor termination is the biggest problem (miswired plugs, badly punched IDC blocks, etc.) If there's a cable problem, ethernet tends to not work at all rather than work "slowly."
 

GloopyJon

Distinguished Member
From what I've read, I think the choice of Cat5E or Cat6 depends largely on the circumstances, being the length of the cable runs and the amount of likely interference in the neighbourhood. I compromised by getting shielded Cat5E, and I'm pretty sure I'll get gigabit connections everywhere. In a standard sized house, where cable runs are unlikely to exceed 30m, I doubt whether Cat6 is really going to bring any tangible benefits.

On the other hand, the lower flexibility of Cat6 might make it more difficult to install in some places. I had to pull most of my cables through existing conduits, so they had to be reasonably flexible.

If you need to buy the cable, shop around a bit for cable reels - I used most of a 305m reel. Prices can vary wildly, sometimes by factors of 5 or more. Another bit of advice: don't bother to try to make the short patch cables using any leftover cable and a crimping tool - it's really not worth the hassle. Just buy some 25cm or 50cm patch cables instead - they cost next to nothing (maybe 60p each) and crimping the plugs onto the cables is a real bugger to do.
 

Lancia34

Distinguished Member
I went for Cat6 purely because it was minimal extra cost and I think it'll give me a bit more future-proofing, such as when I move to 10GbE one day :D

...or maybe we'll all be using fibre... ;)
 

VAMOS DAN

Well-known Member
Well I forgot I still have the majority of a 300m reel of shielded Cat5e, so I'm figuring the cost to purchase cat6 when I already have enough cat5e just wouldnt be worth it?
 

VAMOS DAN

Well-known Member
Right guys I have installed all the cat6 around the house

I have 14 runs of cat6 in total that all end up in one place (where I want my av rack)

I had someone who is more clued up with me regarding termination come round and he told me it would be cheaper to put cat5e terminations on the ends, but I'm using cat6 and want to get the best possible out of it so don't really want to do this just to save abit on costs

Can anyone recommend a Cat6 patch panel, and switch?

Many thanks
 

VAMOS DAN

Well-known Member
also best place to buy cat6 patch cables from? cheers
 

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