Laying network cables whilst rewiring house

Splutter

Active Member
We’re currently doing an extension and when the fuse box got replaced were told we really need a full house rewire (which was expected). Whilst we’re going through all the upheaval I thought it a good time to lay some network cables as well and if there are any tips you have would be appreciated.

Current plan is…

I have internet coming in via virgin hub which is then connected to an eero mesh and then a switch for hard wire under the TV. I’d keep this but have a cable going from the switch under the floorboards into a cupboard under the stairs. Everything around the house and upstairs would then also go into the cupboard and then into a patch panel or switch as well as a NAS.

Sound about right? I was thinking Cat6a edging towards a switch instead of patch panel but be great to hear what you think is best.
 

John

Moderator
There is a thread in here somewhere from about a decade or so ago where someone network cabled up their house. Maybe a bit more than a decade :blush:
I did a mini install in my last house back in the day. Did 2 runs to each outlet. But never wired them up in the end. They are probably still sat there , behind the pipe runs
 

rorton

Active Member
how many ports do you expect to have around the house in the end? If you're getting into number over 12 or so, id suggest a patch panel would be better.

You could bring the cabling from each room/outlet into the switch, but this would mean terminating 'solid core' cable with RJ45 connectors, which isn't the best way to do things, the idea of structured cabling is that you have solid core in the fabric of the house, and this doesn't move, with each end terminated on either a faceplate in the room, or a central patch panel in the cupboard, and then use patch cable to run from the outlet to the device. For the lounge, a cable from the wall socket to your device, and in the cupboard, from the patch panel to the switch. Patch cable is stranded not solid.

If a small number of outlets, you could put faceplates in the cupboard too instead of a patch panel, but starts to look clunky when the numbers increase.
 

Splutter

Active Member
Thanks, not planning on too many (about 6, using 3 and 3 spares) so faceplates should work but I’ll chat to the builder / electrician this week and see what he thinks too.
 

neilball

Well-known Member
Also note that your Cat6a cable is fairly stiff, so is not necessarily easy to route to a switch without the cables splaying all over the place, or even pulling a small lightweight switch to where the cables want to sit (rather than where you want it to remain placed).

So using modules at both ends of the cable run is handy when not installing enough cables to justify a patch panel. Then you can use more flexible patch leads for the final connections to your equipment.

Punch down modules are also much easier for less experienced installers to terminate correctly, and to inspect should testing throw up unexpected results.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
UTP cabling is an infrequent, but regular, topic of conversation here. You might care to browse for some old threads.

AVF Mantra for UTP cabling is two "always run two" along any given cable route. It's highly unlikely that a UTP cable will fail in service, but if it does and you have no alternate in situ, you are off the air until you rip and replace. Depending on the cause of failure, if you have an alternate, you stand a chance of getting something up and running sooner. It's surprising how often one finds a use for "just one more" later on. The additional materials cost of the extra cable is low compared to the hassle of installing it. If nowhere else, then for your switch---switch interlink. So doing also will facilitate use of a technology called "Link Aggregation" to increase capacity in future if ever you find a single ethernet link hasn't got enough bandwidth (not that that's likely any time soon in a SOHO use case.)

While you are renovating is the ideal time to think holistically about cabling. For example, is now the time to add some additional runs for Wi-Fi Access Points, extra telephone extensions, web cams, doorbells, alarms and anything else you can think of. And if it really is a full house rewire, consider getting "something" to all rooms even if you have no present need. Might as well do it now (once and for all) while the house is a building site. When planning this sort of thing for "office" type environments, I used to put in loads unless there was serious budget constraint - though of course you have to draw the line somewhere.

Newbies do rather tie themselves in knots "worrying" about what "cat" cable to use. There's much more to achieving a given "cat" of install that what cable you buy. IIRC at cat6a, to actually be cat6a, it all has to be installed in "proper" "containment" (trays, ducts, and so on) and most SOHO installers aren't going to do that. cat6a is also usually (electrically) "shielded" and all that shielding needs to be bonded to earth. The professional cabling installers that lurk here may have more to say on the subject.

Ethernet does not work any "better" because you give it higher cat cable. I wouldn't bother with the higher cat cable - I'd use cat5e or maybe cat6 if the cost difference wasn't that big. Both of them are good for gigabit (1000mbps) ethernet up to 100m (further sometimes, though that's outside spec.) and 10Gig to shorter distance, though probably more than enough for a SOHO.

To actually "be" cat whatever, all the installation stipulations and working practices must be observed (which get more and more stringent as the cat gets higher) and the thing must be tested with some very expensive test equipment, well beyond the means of you average DIY'er or sparky. (But that doesn't mean it won't "work" - it's pretty hard to get badly wrong - poor termination it the worst culprit.)

Many basic electricians may be happy to run the cable for you and may even terminate it (it's not hard) but data network cabling is a specialist skill. Which is why getting professionals to do the work to standards (the "cats") costs more. You might care to explore with your electrician where his expertise/competence level is with this so you "know what you are getting." A properly installed cat6a deployment would be presenting you with a sheaf of documentation showing that each lobe has past certification and testing (you get a page of graphs for each lobe!)

Label each cable lobe both ends with a unique number. It's surprising how fast you forget what goes where. You could also record this in a "patching schedule" - some people include diagrams and records of what cable was used, when the work was done and how it was tested - even if it's just a basic continuity test. It's all useful information for future owners.

A Patch Panel (PP) is "just" cable termination - same as the wall boxes in the rooms, it's just more of it in a concentrated form factor. An ethernet switch is what "joins" the cable lobes together to create a LAN. (The LAN ports in your SOHO router are a built in ethernet switch.) If you deploy a PP, you still need a switch to create the network.

As others have commented, solid core UTP cable forming the permanent infrastructure is normally terminated onto faceplates and PP's (the IDC "punch down" blocks on the back of both are identical) and patch-cords are then used to take the link from faceplate/PP to the "active" equipment. So in your comms cabinet you "patch" between the PP and co-located switch, (or any other equipment in the same locale.)

If you are going to put active equipment in a "cupboard under the stairs" - the heat can build up a bit, especially if there's no ventilation, the space is small and "other" - er - "junk" the gets piled up on top. Just be aware of it in case you need to take "measures" subsequently if it gets a bit toasty. It's not he worst idea to get in there and blow the dust out the gear occasionally. Even though my NAS is in the living room, (in free space,) I've just given it it's annual "dust" and it surprising just how much had accumulated in the grills and inside the case!

Here's a link to my favourite DIY site on UTP. Doubtless there's plenty of videos on YouTube showing how to do it.

 
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captain morgan

Active Member
UTP cabling is an infrequent, but regular, topic of conversation here. You might care to browse for some old threads.

AVF Mantra for UTP cabling is two "always run two" along any given cable route. It's highly unlikely that a UTP cable will fail in service, but if it does and you have no alternate in situ, you are off the air until you rip and replace. Depending on the cause of failure, if you have an alternate, you stand a chance of getting something up and running sooner. It's surprising how often one finds a use for "just one more" later on. The additional materials cost of the extra cable is low compared to the hassle of installing it.

While you are renovating is the ideal time to think holistically about cabling. For example, is now the time to add some additional runs for Wi-Fi Access Points, extra telephone extensions, those web cams, doorbells and anything else you can think of. And if it really is a full house rewire, consider getting something to all rooms even if you have no present need. Might as well do it now (once and for all) while the house is a building site. When planning this sort of thing for "office" type environments, I used to put in loads unless there was serious budget constraint - though of course you have to draw the line somewhere.

Newbies do rather tie themselves in knots "worrying" about what "cat" cable to use. There's much more to achieving a given "cat" of install that what cable you buy. IIRC at cat6a, to actually be cat6a, it all has to be installed in "proper" "containment" (trays, ducts, and so on) and most SOHO installers aren't going to do that. cat6a is also usually (electrically) "shielded" and all that shielding needs to be bonded to earth. The professional cabling installers that lurk here may have more to say on the subject.

Ethernet does not work any "better" because you give it higher cat cable. I wouldn't bother with the higher cat cable - I'd use cat5e or maybe cat6 if the cost difference wasn't that big. Both of them are good for gigabit (1000mbps) ethernet up to 100m (further sometimes, though that's outside spec.) and 10Gig to shorter distance, though probably more than enough for a SOHO.

To actually "be" cat whatever, all the installation stipulations and working practices must be observed (which get more and more stringent s the cats get higher) and the thing must be tested with some very expensive test equipment, well beyond the means of you average DIY'er or sparky. (but that doesn't mean it won't "work" - it's pretty hard to get badly wrong - poor termination it the worst culprit.)

Many basic electricians may be happy yo run the cable for you and may even terminate it (it's not hard) but data network cabling is a specialist skill. Which is why getting professionals to do the work to standards (the "cats") cost more. You might care to explore with your electrician where his expertise/competence level is with this so you "know what you are getting." A properly installed cat6a deployment would be presenting you with a sheaf of documentation sowing that each lobe has past certification and testing.

Label each cable lobe both ends with a unique number. It's surprising how fast you forget what goes where. You could also record this in a "patching schedule" - some people include diagrams and records of what cable was used, when the work was done and how it was tested - even if it's just a basic continuity test. It's all useful information for future owners.

A Patch Panel (PP) is "just" cable termination - same as the wall boxes in the rooms, it's just more of it in a concentrated form factor. An ethernet switch is what "joins" the cable lobes together to create a LAN. (The LAN ports in your SOHO router are a built in ethernet switch.) If you deploy a PP, you still need a switch to create the network.

As others have commented, solid core UTP cable forming the permanent infrastructure is normally terminated onto faceplates and PP's (the IDC "punch down" blocks on the back of both are identical) and patch-cords are then used to take the link from faceplate or PP to equipment. So in your comm cabinet you "patch" between the PP and co-located switch.

If you are going to put active equipment in a "cupboard under the stairs" - the heat can build up a bit, especially if there's no ventilation, the space is small and "other" - er - "junk" the gets piled up on top. It's not he worst idea to get in there a blow the dust out occasionally. Even though my NAS is in the living room, (in free space,) I've just given it it's annual "dust" and it surprising ust how much had accumulated on the grills and inside the case!

Here's a link to my favourite DIY site on UTP. Doutbless there's plenty of videos on YouTube showing how to do it.


Lots of really good information here, I had my house wired in cat5e around 9 years ago. My only real regret was not laying in some cable for some ceiling mount ap’s. Though in domestic installs it wasn’t such a thing then.

Definitely run two to each point, more in media hubs & office space

I’d also agree with the point over ease of install of cat5e over 6a, cat 5 is working well with the new 2.5Gbits/s ethernet standard in domestic situations and I have also read of 10Gbits/s in shorter domestic settings.

As for phones and alarms etc they can all use cat5e so it might be as easy to run a single cable type and adapt as needed, I did for phones, running as standard ethernet runs back to my rack and using adapter each end to get the phone line.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
...I had my house wired in cat5e around 9 years ago. My only real regret was not laying in some cable for some ceiling mount ap’s. Though in domestic installs it wasn’t such a thing then.

LOL - yeah we've all been there: Done what we thought was bang up structured cabling project, then some months/years later a "new" thing came along which had us regretting not putting in even more! (In my experience in commercial environments, printers often and VOIP phones.)

It's something of an irony for those of us that have done big Wi-Fi deployments that the majority of the cost and disruption of the project is often all the extra cabling and switches needed to facilitate it. I've had a couple of conversations with the "bean counters" who were scratching their heads looking at the estimates and saying "but it's Wi-Fi, surely networking without wires makes it cheaper - why do we need all this extra cabling and expensive POE switches..?" Count to ten, stroke beard, rub a few more hairs off the top of head (delete as applicable) and wade in "well, it's because....." :D
 
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captain morgan

Active Member
LOL - yeah we've all been there: Done what we thought was bang up structured cabling project, then some months/years later a "new" thing came along which had us regretting not putting in even more! (In my experience in commercial environments, printers often and VOIP phones.)

It's something of an irony for those of us that have done big Wi-Fi deployments that the majority of the cost and disruption of the project is often all the extra cabling and switches needed to facilitate it. I've had a couple of conversations with the "bean counters" who were scratching their heads looking at the estimates and saying "but it's Wi-Fi, surely networking without wires makes it cheaper - why do we need all this extra cabling and expensive POE switches..?" Count to ten, stroke beard, rub a few more hairs off the top of head (delete as applicable) and wade in "well, it's because....." :D
Yep been there got the badge 😉

tbh I’m quite lucky a single ap in the loft gives good coverage throughout the house. I had to test via iperf3 the other day and on 5Ghz I’m getting 500Mbits/s on the first floor, dropping to 3-400Mbits/s on the ground. I think I can cope with that…
 

ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
Also don't forgot that most builders and electricians know diddly squat about network cables and often end up installing the cheapest cable which is often Copper Clad Aluminium (CCA) which is not CAT anything, and should be avoided like the plague.
 

Maverick567

Active Member
I had the benefit of my house builder installing Cat5e when my house was built. In total I have 32 cables throughout the house. Unbelievably there are still locations where I would still like them where they aren’t run.

I’ve got 4 to the lounge TV, 2 to every TV location, 2 to above hallway and landing for POE access points, 2 to each bedside table. Cable everything back to a central point where your virgin cabling is also present (get your inbound supply cable moved).
 

Splutter

Active Member
UTP cabling is an infrequent, but regular, topic of conversation here. You might care to browse for some old threads.

AVF Mantra for UTP cabling is two "always run two" along any given cable route. It's highly unlikely that a UTP cable will fail in service, but if it does and you have no alternate in situ, you are off the air until you rip and replace. Depending on the cause of failure, if you have an alternate, you stand a chance of getting something up and running sooner. It's surprising how often one finds a use for "just one more" later on. The additional materials cost of the extra cable is low compared to the hassle of installing it. If nowhere else, then for your switch---switch interlink. So doing also will facilitate use of a technology called "Link Aggregation" to increase capacity in future if ever you find a single ethernet link hasn't got enough bandwidth (not that that's likely any time soon in a SOHO use case.)

While you are renovating is the ideal time to think holistically about cabling. For example, is now the time to add some additional runs for Wi-Fi Access Points, extra telephone extensions, web cams, doorbells, alarms and anything else you can think of. And if it really is a full house rewire, consider getting "something" to all rooms even if you have no present need. Might as well do it now (once and for all) while the house is a building site. When planning this sort of thing for "office" type environments, I used to put in loads unless there was serious budget constraint - though of course you have to draw the line somewhere.

Newbies do rather tie themselves in knots "worrying" about what "cat" cable to use. There's much more to achieving a given "cat" of install that what cable you buy. IIRC at cat6a, to actually be cat6a, it all has to be installed in "proper" "containment" (trays, ducts, and so on) and most SOHO installers aren't going to do that. cat6a is also usually (electrically) "shielded" and all that shielding needs to be bonded to earth. The professional cabling installers that lurk here may have more to say on the subject.

Ethernet does not work any "better" because you give it higher cat cable. I wouldn't bother with the higher cat cable - I'd use cat5e or maybe cat6 if the cost difference wasn't that big. Both of them are good for gigabit (1000mbps) ethernet up to 100m (further sometimes, though that's outside spec.) and 10Gig to shorter distance, though probably more than enough for a SOHO.

To actually "be" cat whatever, all the installation stipulations and working practices must be observed (which get more and more stringent as the cat gets higher) and the thing must be tested with some very expensive test equipment, well beyond the means of you average DIY'er or sparky. (But that doesn't mean it won't "work" - it's pretty hard to get badly wrong - poor termination it the worst culprit.)

Many basic electricians may be happy to run the cable for you and may even terminate it (it's not hard) but data network cabling is a specialist skill. Which is why getting professionals to do the work to standards (the "cats") costs more. You might care to explore with your electrician where his expertise/competence level is with this so you "know what you are getting." A properly installed cat6a deployment would be presenting you with a sheaf of documentation showing that each lobe has past certification and testing (you get a page of graphs for each lobe!)

Label each cable lobe both ends with a unique number. It's surprising how fast you forget what goes where. You could also record this in a "patching schedule" - some people include diagrams and records of what cable was used, when the work was done and how it was tested - even if it's just a basic continuity test. It's all useful information for future owners.

A Patch Panel (PP) is "just" cable termination - same as the wall boxes in the rooms, it's just more of it in a concentrated form factor. An ethernet switch is what "joins" the cable lobes together to create a LAN. (The LAN ports in your SOHO router are a built in ethernet switch.) If you deploy a PP, you still need a switch to create the network.

As others have commented, solid core UTP cable forming the permanent infrastructure is normally terminated onto faceplates and PP's (the IDC "punch down" blocks on the back of both are identical) and patch-cords are then used to take the link from faceplate/PP to the "active" equipment. So in your comm cabinet you "patch" between the PP and co-located switch, (or ay other equipment in the same locale.)

If you are going to put active equipment in a "cupboard under the stairs" - the heat can build up a bit, especially if there's no ventilation, the space is small and "other" - er - "junk" the gets piled up on top. Just be aware of it in case you need to take "measures" subsequently if it gets a bit toasty. It's not he worst idea to get in there a blow the dust out the gear occasionally. Even though my NAS is in the living room, (in free space,) I've just given it it's annual "dust" and it surprising just how much had accumulated in the grills and inside the case!

Here's a link to my favourite DIY site on UTP. Doubtless there's plenty of videos on YouTube showing how to do it.

Loads of fantastic info, thanks so much for taking the time. Lots to think about
 

Seb Briggs

Distinguished Member
My advice, similar to above, is Cat6 cable (doubtful it would actually meet even CAT6 standard unless professionally installed) everywhere and definitely 2+ (4+ ideally) to each room plus ceiling locations for Access Points. We usually also add a coax cable as well for possible TV locations just in case for Freeview .

All run back to a central location and terminated into a patch panel, and onto a network switch.
 

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