Installing CAT6

PsbakerEight2

Active Member
I am due for a rewire of my house this summer and while the floors are up etc I will be installing CAT6 around the house to a point under my stairs. This is completely new to me so I want to make sure I’m doing it right.

I assume CAT6 is more than future proof? Looking at other threads people are saying not to worry about CAT7.

What is the best CAT6 cable to buy? I assume I don’t need shielded cable?

When I run the cables how close/far away from the twin and earth do I have to keep the CAT6 to avoid interference? Also, when bending the cables is it best to keep the bends shallow to avoid kinking the cable?

Any other advice or pointers?

Thanks!
 

Kristian

Well-known Member
Briefly...

Unshielded (UTP) is fine, solid core copper (not CCA), terminate onto modules/patch panels that use IDCs (minimal untwisting of pairs when punching down) and not onto plugs, use bought patch lead to plug things in. Decent punch down tool cheaper that decent crimper and easier to do.

I try for min. 50mm separation at home from LV sources (e.g 230V) - I think the official distance is more without metal containment but haven't had known issues at that.

Do not kink cable and there's a min. bend radius (something like 4x cable thickness) , just don't make 90 deg. bends.

[well installed] Cat6 will give you 100Mb/1Gb to 100m and 10Gb to 55m (if not in a big bunch) as per Ethernet specs. Cat7 is much more difficult to terminate and, imho, way ott for home use unless you plan to run a DC ;)

Cable is cheap, labour and access isn't therefore install lots now, always run two instead of one. Think of a decent central location to mount the patch panel, switch, router etc. Think of separate APs and cabling for them. What about CCTV, lots of cables by a TV (TV, amp, BR, consoles, Pi, Sky)? What about HDMI over Cat6 distribution (not, this is not over a network/Ethernet)?

wired >> PLN and wifi.

Have fun!
 

PsbakerEight2

Active Member
Briefly...

Unshielded (UTP) is fine, solid core copper (not CCA), terminate onto modules/patch panels that use IDCs (minimal untwisting of pairs when punching down) and not onto plugs, use bought patch lead to plug things in. Decent punch down tool cheaper that decent crimper and easier to do.

I try for min. 50mm separation at home from LV sources (e.g 230V) - I think the official distance is more without metal containment but haven't had known issues at that.

Do not kink cable and there's a min. bend radius (something like 4x cable thickness) , just don't make 90 deg. bends.

[well installed] Cat6 will give you 100Mb/1Gb to 100m and 10Gb to 55m (if not in a big bunch) as per Ethernet specs. Cat7 is much more difficult to terminate and, imho, way ott for home use unless you plan to run a DC ;)

Cable is cheap, labour and access isn't therefore install lots now, always run two instead of one. Think of a decent central location to mount the patch panel, switch, router etc. Think of separate APs and cabling for them. What about CCTV, lots of cables by a TV (TV, amp, BR, consoles, Pi, Sky)? What about HDMI over Cat6 distribution (not, this is not over a network/Ethernet)?

wired >> PLN and wifi.

Have fun!

Thanks Kristian,

Is there a tester than can be bought to check speeds before the walls are all made good again?

I’m thinking of running 2no twin cables to each TV point and 1no twin to most socket points, for future proofing. Also, 1no twin to the front door and garage (joined to house).

I’m planning an extension to the house which could happen next year or 5-10 years. Can I run a CAT6 cable to the location of the extension ready for the future and then when then extension is done pull the cable in and then add another switch to connect the AP’s in the extension but also linking the AP’s in the older part of the house?

Im not sure I’ll have CCTV yet but I’m going to make easy access from the cupboard under the stairs (where everything will go) to the loft so I can still expand if needed.

I will be keeping audio separate in the house but I will be installing cables in the lounge were required. What do you mean by BR? I have an Xbox One and I’ll be upgrading in the future, kids will eventually want them in their rooms and maybe we will have a PlayStation as well. What should I install to allow the connectivity of these? Also, what cables would I need to run Pi? I’m also thinking of having a centralised mini pc under the stairs as well which could be accessed from any TV point.

I currently have Virgin Media but I’m considering a move to sky. But as I understand with Sky Q all I’ll need is an Ethernet and power supply.

I don’t know a great deal about HDMI over CAT6. Is there a guide you could link me to?

Thanks for your input so far, this is going to be a fun project!
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
The "thing" about not running UTP parallel to the main is more to do with avoiding induced high voltage/current in the UTP and thereby forming a shock hazard than it's to do with interference - symbol to symbol 50Hz mains "hum" is going to look like DC to 125,000,000Hz ethernet,

When planning where to install UTP you might want to consider Wi-Fi AP placement as often the best/neatest place for Wi-Fi AP's is a ceiling mount. Also, POTS telephones can be run over UTP (though it must be kept physically/electrically separate from ethernet) so you might care to consider some extra lobes to run phone extensions over. If you buy a modular faceplate and socket system, you can create outlets with both "RJ45" and "BT" type sockets in the same faceplate.

Following is my favourite link to DIY UTP - it has lots of pictures including the pin outs ans so on... How to wire Ethernet Cables

There's a lot more to achieving any desired "cat" than just buying the appropriate cable, sockets and so forth. It gets more stringent the higher the "cat." For example, at some cat it become "required" that it's all installed into "proper"containment and not just clipped to anything convenient. At some cat it's required to use "velcro" type lashings rather than plastic zip types - though I prefer velcro in any case; it's easier to handle, you scratch your arm to bits on it less post install and it can be undone/redone more or less at will. I like to buy it on a roll and cut it off to length as I need.

That said, you have to do a spectacularly bad job of installation for it to not "work" for 10/100/1000 ethernet - poor termination is the biggest culprit.

When punching, be sure to hold the punch tool square to the IDC block and punch firmly down to the bottom - if wire doesn't go all the way, the V shaped knives in the IDC might not make it all the way through the insulator and into the conductor. And ensure you have the puncher the right way round, otherwise the scissors built into the tool will nip off the wire you're trying to punch. (We've all done it.)

To properly "certify" that your install achieves cat whatever requires some very expensive test equipment - they can cost thousands. It's probably well beyond the scope of a one off DIY project, even to hire it. A cheap 10 GBP tester does little more than provide a basic continuity test; it essentially loops back each wire pair and puts a voltage down it - you could do the same with a light bulb and a battery. It's better than nothing, but nowhere near the suite of frequency sweeps, crosstalk tests etc. a "proper" certification tester does. More expensive are the 170GBP-ish testers that will look for split and crossed pairs that the 10GBP cheapy won't, but again it's probably a bit OTT for a one off DIY job. As mentioned, you have to get it really badly wrong for ethernet (and POTS) to not "work"

Whilst it's possible to have media PC sequested in a cupboard and distribute the output over HDMI, I would advise against it unless you have to. I'd deploy a media streamer in each location and just use ethenet to access the data from a central repository (a NAS or Server.) Not least because each streamer will have it's own remote control stick and save you a great deal of grief figuring out how to remote control a "PC in a cupboard" from multiple locations.
 
Last edited:

oneman

Well-known Member
You basic £10 tester will at least tell you that Pin1 goes to Pin1 at the other end, etc. Its a good starting point. Its also much easier if have somebody at each end unless you like to do a lot of walking around.

For testing speed, the simplest thing is to put a device (like a PC or NAS) with a file share and 1gb network into a switch by the patch panel and walk round with a laptop with 1gb ethernet port (you can get 1gb USB adapters) and measure a file copy both ways. Its basic but it shoulld give a good indication of the quality of cabling.

One final note, make sure your label everything and draw diagrams of what is what,
 
D

Deleted member 24354

Guest
I agree with @oneman on labelling. The number of jobs I work on where the spark has dragged all of the Cat6 cabling and labelled nothing. It adds hours and sometimes days to the job belling / toning cables one at a time then having to label them. A sharpie pen and some insulation tape are your friend.
 

groen

Member
Make sure you get a genuine cat 6 patch panel as many are not cat 6 but are sold as such. Cat 6 is starting to become more needed now that 2.5gbit NICs are becoming the standard. I wired my house with cat 6.

I used this tester, Amazon product and bought a 50m roll of cat 6 which ended up not being enough to wire a 3 bedroom house. I'd say 100m is probably more than enough if you are going add each room and more than 1 in any room.

I ended up buying a tiny 8 port gigabit switch for the living room and another one for under the stairs.
 
D

Deleted member 24354

Guest
I'd say 100m is probably more than enough if you are going add each room and more than 1 in any room.
Well you shouldn’t really be dropping singles at all, best practice is to drop a pair together at each location. 100m is probably not enough for a 3 bed house if you have a TV downstairs and one in at least 2 of the bedrooms as each TV will want a pair of drops behind it. Kids have games consoles / PCs so that’s 2 more drops in each bedroom so that’s 12 drops in the bedrooms @ 10m per drop there is 120m. Downstairs 4 drops in the living room (2 for TV plus 2 for Sky / AVR / Apple TV etc another 40m and maybe 2 access points, 15m each now we are at 190m. Might put a couple of drops in the kitchen, 210m and a drop for the garage or outdoor AP (20m). So without trying the 3 bed house needs a minimum of 210m which with wastage and additional routing is up to 300m and voila, you just burned through a whole box of cable without even trying. Oops we forgot the CCTV - box number 2.

I used 5 boxes when I wired my house and not all of the rooms have been cabled yet. The last large 5 bed house we wired we went through 8 boxes of Cat5e / 6. We filled 2 x 48Port patch panels.
 

groen

Member
I prefer to just run a single line and then use a switch.

I also didn't put any in the kitchen diner. I have wifi as well for most things, it just realy the TV and computers that need full gigabit. I only have a TV in the living room. I guess it depends on requirements.
 
D

Deleted member 24354

Guest
My comments are based on 10+ years of doing structured cabling installs in houses, offices, churches etc. The advice is based on what most clients actually need. I try and restrict WiFi to mobile devices and hard wire everything else if I can.
 

PsbakerEight2

Active Member
Thanks for the feedback so far, very interesting.

I will definitely be running two twins to each tv point, makes complete sense to me to go over the top and future proof then regret later on not putting enough in.
 

PsbakerEight2

Active Member
The "thing" about not running UTP parallel to the main is more to do with avoiding induced high voltage/current in the UTP and thereby forming a shock hazard than it's to do with interference - symbol to symbol 50Hz mains "hum" is going to look like DC to 125,000,000Hz ethernet,

When planning where to install UTP you might want to consider Wi-Fi as often the best/neatest place for Wi-Fi AP's is a ceiling mount. Also, POTS telephones can be run over UTP (though it must be kept physically/electrically separate from ethernet) so you might care to consider some extra lobes to run phone extensions over. If you buy a modular faceplate and socket system, you can create outlets with both "RJ45" and "BT" type sockets in the same faceplate.

Following is my favourite link to DIY UTP - it has lots of pictures including the pin outs ans so on... How to wire Ethernet Cables

There's a lot more to achieving any desired "cat" than just buying the appropriate cable, sockets and so forth. It gets more stringent the higher the "cat." For example, at some cat it become "required" that it's all installed into "proper"containment and not just clipped to anything convenient. At some cat it's required to use "velcro" type lashings rather than plastic zip types - though I prefer velcro in any case; it's easier to handle, you scratch your arm to bits on it less post install and it can be undone/redone more or less at will. I like to buy it on a roll and cut it off to length as I need.

That said, you have to do a spectacularly bad job of installation for it to not "work" for 10/100/1000 ethernet - poor termination is the biggest culprit.

When punching, be sure to hold the punch tool square to the IDC block and punch firmly down to the bottom - if wire doesn't go all the way, the V shaped knives in the IDC might not make it all the way through the insulator and into the conductor. And ensure you have the puncher the right way round, otherwise the scissors built into the tool will nip off the wire you're trying to punch. (We've all done it.)

To properly "certify" that your install achieves cat whatever requires some very expensive test equipment - they can cost thousands. It's probably well beyond the scope of a one off DIY project, even to hire it. A cheap 10 GBP tester does little more than provide a basic continuity test; it essentially loops back each wire pair and puts a voltage down it - you could do the same with a light bulb and a battery. It's better than nothing, but nowhere near the suite of frequency sweeps, crosstalk tests etc. a "proper" certification tester does. More expensive are the 170GBP-ish testers that will look for split and crossed pairs that the 10GBP cheapy won't, but again it's probably a bit OTT for a one off DIY job. As mentioned, you have to get it really badly wrong for ethernet (and POTS) to not "work"

Whilst it's possible to have media PC sequested in a cupboard and distribute the output over HDMI, I would advise against it unless you have to. I'd deploy a media streamer in each location and just use ethenet to access the data from a central repository (a NAS or Server.) Not least because each streamer will have it's own remote control stick and save you a great deal of grief figuring out how to remote control a "PC in a cupboard" from multiple locations.

Thank you for your detailed reply. I will check out that guide shortly.
 

groen

Member
I just think it is neater to have a single point in the living room and then a little switch. If I had to run enough it would be 4 ports coming out of the wall all with 2-3m cables for example. I did run two to the small bedroom though, in case I needed another direct port for some reason in my office (which i have never used). If you are running to a shed at the bottom of the garden, running two would be a lot of cable and could just use a switch. Alternatively run one and stick a WAP on the end of it.
 

oneman

Well-known Member
I just think it is neater to have a single point in the living room and then a little switch. If I had to run enough it would be 4 ports coming out of the wall all with 2-3m cables for example. I did run two to the small bedroom though, in case I needed another direct port for some reason in my office (which i have never used). If you are running to a shed at the bottom of the garden, running two would be a lot of cable and could just use a switch. Alternatively run one and stick a WAP on the end of it.
Not sure how using a switch is any neater then just dropping a couple of cables you won't see never mind cost of buying and running an extra switch in each room.

You are looking £85 quid for 300m of solid core CAT6, not exactly going to break the bank.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
My argument has always been that, whilst it's highly unlikely a UTP cable will fail in service, if it does and you have an alternate it situ, you can get back up and running pretty quickly, without an alternate you are off the air until you rip and replace. Cable is cheap compared to the hassle of installing it. Standing instructions to my sparkies is to "always pull two" if ever anyone asks them to install or move a data network socket. It's also surprising how often you an find a use for "just one more" later on.

I'm not sure I've ever measured the depth of a back box, but 35mm sounds about right. Beware of the shallower ones as IDC sockets can be quite chunky on the back and you need to allow a bit of space for the cables also.
 
D

Deleted member 24354

Guest
Listen to @mickevh he talks a lot of sense. 35mm back boxes are standard faire. In 10 years I have never had a client say ‘you have run too many network drops’ but I have had plenty say ‘I wish we had installed more when I had the chance’. Cable is cheap, labour is expensive when you have to retrofit. It takes 10 minutes to drag a cable with the walls open, it takes hours to open up walls and ceilings and then you have to make good after.
 

inkinoo

Distinguished Member
I just think it is neater to have a single point in the living room and then a little switch. If I had to run enough it would be 4 ports coming out of the wall all with 2-3m cables for example. I did run two to the small bedroom though, in case I needed another direct port for some reason in my office (which i have never used). If you are running to a shed at the bottom of the garden, running two would be a lot of cable and could just use a switch. Alternatively run one and stick a WAP on the end of it.

Never, ever just run one cable anywhere. Ever.

25+ years of experience has taught me that!
 

steelydanfan

Well-known Member
My apologies Psbaker for hijacking your thread but can I ask is it not possible to use extra long outdoor grade cat6 patch cables that are obviously already factory terminated with a plug?
Would it not be advantageous to reduce the amount of connections which potentially could introduce issues?
Is it just the expense of using pre-made cables that prohibits them or are there more technical reasons?
In theory you could still run extra cables for future proofing but it would add more cost.
Just curious because I'm looking to create a backhaul for my orbi WiFi system and wondered if patch cables would be a simpler way to do it.
I'm not looking to have cat6 cable in every room just the 2 where the satalites will be as anything I want hard wired will be next to them.
 

Kristian

Well-known Member
My apologies Psbaker for hijacking your thread but can I ask is it not possible to use extra long outdoor grade cat6 patch cables that are obviously already factory terminated with a plug?
Would it not be advantageous to reduce the amount of connections which potentially could introduce issues?
Is it just the expense of using pre-made cables that prohibits them or are there more technical reasons?
In theory you could still run extra cables for future proofing but it would add more cost.
Just curious because I'm looking to create a backhaul for my orbi WiFi system and wondered if patch cables would be a simpler way to do it.
I'm not looking to have cat6 cable in every room just the 2 where the satalites will be as anything I want hard wired will be next to them.
You should really start your own thread if it's a separate question; makes things more straightforward. I can't see anywhere in the thread about extra long outdoor cables :confused:

However, there's nothing wrong with using a pre-terminated/long patch lead if it does what you need it do. The only problems I can think of would be having to coil/hide/store any excess cable as you're unlikely to buy the cable at the exact length you need, and having to drill bigger holes (15 - 20mm I'd guess) to accommodate the plugs rather just the cable (6-8mm depending on UTP/STP). Both boths problems could be solved by cutting the ends off and re-terminating a plug on.

Patch lead cable is stranded whereas structured cabling (like in this thread) is solid core. Stranded is terminated with plugs, solid onto modules/patch panels/IDCs (occasionally onto plugs if absolutely necessary but it's not advised).
 

Kristian

Well-known Member
Is there a tester than can be bought to check speeds before the walls are all made good again?

I’m planning an extension to the house which could happen next year or 5-10 years. Can I run a CAT6 cable to the location of the extension ready for the future and then when then extension is done pull the cable in and then add another switch to connect the AP’s in the extension but also linking the AP’s in the older part of the house?

What do you mean by BR? I have an Xbox One and I’ll be upgrading in the future, kids will eventually want them in their rooms and maybe we will have a PlayStation as well. What should I install to allow the connectivity of these? Also, what cables would I need to run Pi?

I don’t know a great deal about HDMI over CAT6. Is there a guide you could link me to?

Afternoon,

Lots of good advice given already by Mick, mushii and oneman and inkinoo.

Cheap testers just test continuity, which is fine but not a proper tester/TDR for Catx certification (££££). Doubt that's a problem for DIY/home :)

Yes, you could store up a load of cables ready for the extension. Probably best to just run two with lots of length left to get to another 'central' location in the extension and use a switch to put network service in there. Your plans will change so I doubt you'll be able to predict all your cabling needs.

BR = Blue Ray player. Just an example of things people what to network near a TV; same for the Pi (maybe running Kodi).

Consoles will likely all run on wifi but cable much better so think of network outlets for those rooms too.

There's a sub forum in here somewhere for HDMI over Cat6, maybe in the 'cable section'.

You could run just one cable to each area and use a switch as groen suggests, but experience has taught me to always install two at least :). One for spare should one cable break if nothing else. Adding switches also means another box and a power socket used. It can be useful in some situations though.
 

PsbakerEight2

Active Member
A friend of mine installed this cable. Is it shielded or unshielded? It has a metal foil around each of the two cores.

 

inkinoo

Distinguished Member
A friend of mine installed this cable. Is it shielded or unshielded? It has a metal foil around each of the two cores.


Cat7 is only worth it if you need 10gigabit up to 100m and it is terminated with the correct tools

Just get Cat 6.
 

gpke

Novice Member
Cat6A should be able to do 10GigE just fine. I'm planning to put that in my house even though I have no 10Gb equipment right now (and probably won't for a while).
 

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