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Ethernet cables in new flat

ronin4

Established Member
For some reason BT/TalkTalk/Sky will only put the router in the hallway at the phoneline connection in my new flat.
For other reasons I have already ruled out wifi and Powerlines.
So Im left with using ethernet cables to get to my PC/PS4.

Its just a bedsit and the distance on foot is about 4 meters. But if I want to tidy cables away, then it comes to 15m! going up and around two door frames and also round the inside of a door frame (cant drill holes in wall) :(
The other option is to go along the floor, maybe putting cable under and along a special carpet divider and then directly through a divider on the second door, (ie like "+" with the horizontal line being the divider and the vertical line being the cable) then just tacking on to skirting boards in main room?

Im conscious of it being a high rise flat and would appreciate advice on fire safety firstly, then any tips about either method, if possible?

Not sure if its best to get flat ethernet and Im reading lots of conflicting advice about carpet damage or cable just wearing out. If it lasts a year or so then its just something I willing to live with, but some people have talked about carpets being damaged or cables being a fire risk.

Amazon list their flat own ethernet as "ideal for under carpets" but Ive read I should be looking for mention of "POE" on cables for fire safety, which Amazon dont mention.

Sorry for long post, thanks for any help forthcoming :)
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
I am no authority on fire risk, nor am I a qualified electrical engineer so cannot speak with authority.

As I understand it, the voltages and currents in ethernet signalling are pretty low - something like 2.5volts at negligible current for signalling plus 48volt at about 25-100 watts for "Power Over Ehernet" (POE) depending on your version of POE and the requirements of the load device.. IE, if you don't use POE, then the voltage and power levels are low - I'd guess a PP9 battery is more powerful.

As I understand it, the "thing" about running cables under carpets and more about the cables eventually wearing through the sheathing exposing the conductors as people repeatedly walk/vacuum/etc. over them. Obviously, if this was a mains cable then eventually it would expose 240volt supplies at high currents, hence the risk of fire, short circuits, shocks, etc. so you wouldn't want to do it. Likewise with POE. If you're not using POE, then it probably isn't a big deal. If/when you did wear through it, it'll probably short circuit and just "not work" (though I guess there's a chance such a short might damage the equipment either end.)

I stand to be corrected by colleagues who are electrical engineers.

15m is peanuts for ethernet - it's good for up to 100m (sometimes further if the install is to a good quality) over cat5e or better spec cable. Convoluted routing sometimes add quite surprising additional lengths to cable lobes. Speaking of Cat5e, if the route you follow has some tight bends, you might prefer cat5e as often it is mechanically a little more flexible than cat6 and higher. If you have any tight bends to negotiate, be sure to "curve" the cable rather than "hammer" it into any 90 degree angles. IIRC the "minimum bend radius" is something like 4 times the diameter of the sheath. For ethernet to work (well) you need to not kink, crush or knot the cabling as it can screw up the signalling.

If you are having to surface mount the cabling, you might care to install it into "cable trunking" for aesthetic reasons. It's a bit more cost and adds nothing to the performance, but trunking is a bit more aesthetically pleasing than a cable clipped along a skirting board (or whatever.) A lot of the smaller section section trunking has a self adhesive foam backer so you just cut it to length, and stick it where it needs to go, whack in the cable and pop the lid on (trunking is a bit like long thin tupperware boxes.)

I've never used any, but believe there are things you can get for affording a bit more mechanical protection under carpets. IIRC they are a bit like "door bars" you get for protecting the edges of carpets with a channel in the underside to run a cable through. (When I did my flat, I chased a channel into the floors and ran cable through that c/w a load of sealant - I guess if you're renting you wouldn't have leave to do that.)
 
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cerb

Established Member
For requirements where the cable has to be run under carpet I’ve used flat Ethernet cables; these are more expensive but for the quantity / length you describe then it’s not a big cost.

Look for cat5e or cat6 as these have a slightly lower profile than cat7.

When you run them under the carpet you need to tape over them using wide sticky tape(the whole run not just in spots) this smooths the profile and reduces the lift under the carpet even more. The challenge is where you have to make a left or right turn, so at that point the cable is doubled, but providing you have a good carpet underlay and carpet you should be OK. Note that foam backed carpet without underlay will show through....not good.

It’s not too difficult to get the cables behind skirting boards as you raise up from under the carpet.

As Mickevh has already posted, power draw though the cables is minimal; check that any cable you put in is rated as LSOH....low smoke zero halogen...so it doesn’t give off toxic fumes if there’s a fire....again for the amount of cable not vital but you might as well use it.
 

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