Home Wiring advice


Standard Member
I am thinking of wiring the house for Ethernet using Cat 6 cable. I am fairly confident I can terminate the cables myself onto the keystone jacks and crimp my own cables. I am also confident of configuring the switches and router that I will be using. However, I have zero confidence in my DIY skills, so was thinking of getting a handyman or electrician to pull and install the cables for me. My requirements are for 4 x drops into living room, 2 x drop into the study, 1 x drop for doorbell, 2 x drops for cameras, 2 x drops for access points. I have a Tp-link AP, so will be going with the Omada system for the switch. The NAS will directly connect to the switch. I would like some advice on the following:

  • Pros and Cons of the above approach?
  • Are there any other connections I need to consider?
  • If the cable run exits the house, does it need to be a shielded cable even if I say, enclose it in a plumbing pipe for the outside length?
  • Any good place to buy cable reels apart from Amazon or Ebay? Any recommended brand of cable? If it was USA, i would have gone for monoprice...
  • Do I need a patch panel? I am aware of the advantages, but for such a small network, will it give any benefit?

Many thanks


Distinguished Member
"Keystone" is a brand, though generally when people refer to it they mean using the type or socket designed to terminate "patch" cable and then snapped into a faceplate - essentially an inline coupler that can be mounted in a socket. I wouldn't use such keystones if I didn't have to - I'd use IDC "punch down" sockets and solid core cable. It's much easier to work with, and I believe has better electrical characteristics, though I'm not an electrical engineer.

There's nothing much wrong with getting a spark to run in the cables - my in house team used to do it for me often in a previous employment, then I ("IT") would come and dress them onto the patch panels (because of "reasons" mostly historic "politics.")

Bear in mind that to actually be cat whatever, especially the higher cats, there are increasingly stringent requirements as to how the work is done. For example, at one cat you're not really supposed to "pull" the cable, it has to be "laid" in, but some of the pros in these parts will opine on such I don't doubt. It should also be tested with some very expensive certification equipment beyond to remit of a DIY job. There's more to it than "just" buying cat whatever components.

Unless you do a spectacularly bad job, it'll probably be fine for gigabit ethernet. Just be sure not to knot, kink or crush the cable and try to avoid nicking the sheathing as much as possible. Any direction changes should be "curved" around the bends, so no hammering it around 90 degree corners. I prefer to use "velcro" type cable ties rather than the zip-lock ones.

Patch panels are not essential, but they are a very efficient use of space wherever you have a large number of cables to terminate. The don't cost much and most are ready made for rack mounting. It's easier to bang down (say) 20 cables onto a PP than to crimp on plugs (and the punch down tools are cheaper than plug crimps.)

The "cat" standards mandate the use of pure copper conductors. There's an alternate form called Copper Clad Aluminum (CCA) which is much cheaper and is rubbish. CCA isn't allowed by the "cat" standard, but that doesn't stop some snake oil salesmens punting it as "catX equivalent" "catX tested" and other BS or cite ficticious cats such as a cat5A cat6e etc. (neither of which exist.) Just be careful on ebay et al. Or better still, go direct to a reputable supplier.

When thinking/reading about "shielding" be careful to understand that most of us will be talking about "electrical" shielding (using an electrically grounded outer foil or braided shield) rather than "mechanical" protection (we tend to call the latter "armored.") There's no reason to require electrical shielding for external use, but you might want some mechanical protection by using "external" grade cabling (which has things like UV inhibitors in the sheathing) or contemplate installing into conduits (pipes basically.) Legend has it that if you use internal grade outdoors, eventually the weather "does" for it, UV light cracks it, water gets in, freezes in winter and busts it apart.

Here's a primer on UTP.... How to wire Ethernet Cables

DIY UTP is a regular topic of discussion at AVF and some members have provided "write ups" of their experiences, some with pictures, if you have a search/browse. At time of posting, there's also a few active professional cable monkeys contributing regularly.
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