Home Network Cat5/6 install?

Discussion in 'Networking & NAS' started by Sardan, Aug 25, 2013.

  1. Sardan

    Sardan
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    I am in the process of buying a new house. The survey reveals the electrics are very old (rubber casings) and the house should be rewired. While I am at it is it worth having the electrician install cat5/6 cable?

    I would only use it for data rather than AV and mainly for my Sonos with a console and V+ Box in the main sitting room.

    I am not sure it is worth doing as at the moment I get by fine with wireless and homeplugs (devolo dLAN500s) but if I am going to ever do it, now will be the time.

    Has anyone done this and do you think it is worthwhile or will wireless and homeplugs keep pace with technology (I've used the devolos to stream 720p from my NAS to my XBox without difficulty in my current house)?

    If I do do it I'll need some advice. Is this the right place to ask? Are there any good sites or forums to get advice?
     
  2. mickevh

    mickevh
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    Currently wired ethernet is still (by far) the fastest thing in town. 10Gbps over copper has been around for while now and even the next (802.11ac) generation of wi-fi is orders of magnitude slower.

    Wi-fi and ethernet (and HomePlugs) use fundamentally different paradigms so strictily speaking one cannot directly compare the two in anything but the simplest terms. It's a bit like one's a helicopter, one's a fixed wing plane - they both "fly" but their operating principles are fundamentally different and need to be considered when making comparisons.

    There is a prevailing view that "wires will always be faster." I guess we cannot claim that will be the case forever, but it certainly is the case now and for the forseeable future. The bigger truth is that the wires are yours and for your exclusive use whereas radio airwaves are shared by everyone and we all have to play nice together. And of course, the domestic mains supply is just that, it's not a data networking system. As clever/useful as HomePlugs are, one wouldn't opt for them if one were designing from a clean sheet of paper.

    At the moment, if you want robust, faster, reliable data networking, dedicated wired/fibre infrastruture is still the way to go. I view wi-fi as a "last hop" technology to avail convenient network connection between mobile devices and the rest of "the network" rather than an alternate to wires.

    There have been numerous debates here at AVF over whether to use cat5e or cat6. Have a search. Ultimately its a value judgement you'll have to make for yourself.

    Personally I cannot see any time soon when Gigabit ethernet is going to be "too slow" for me so I'd put in cat5e infrastructure (it's a bit cheaper and installation requirements are less stringent than cat6) but the counter argument generally runs along the lines that the cost difference between cat5e & cat6 is small enough that you "may as well" put in cat6. However, GBit ethernet doesn't work any "better" over cat6 than cat5e - it's identical over both. In any case, DIY'ers never get their installs tested, so strictly speaking they aren't "cat" anything. However, it's rarely that anyone does it so badly that GBit ethernet doesn't work. Bad termination is usually the biggest culprit.

    There are also a few "write ups," some with pictures, from AVFers who've done SOHO LAN cabling projects. Again have a search, I think you'll find some useful stuff. Hopefully some will chime in and link to their threads.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2013

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