Planning for the future - home networking

PST

Standard Member
I'm in the process of purchasing a new build house at the moment and am planning for our AV and computer needs in the property. I wanted to get some feedback on what I see our options as being based on goals/desires.

The house is a four story town house in the process of being built so there's still the potential for having wiring installed by a contractor.

Needs:

Ground floor - HDTV, Games console, internet & music in the sunroom
1st floor: HDTV, internet & music in the lounge
Music in the kitchen
2nd floor: Music in 1+ bedrooms, internet
3rd floor: Internet in the study

I'd like to have music and films available via either a NAS or a backup server also acting as a media server. This to be usable by both the televisions and audio devices (sonos or squeezebox). We'll also have either sky or virgin cable packages with HD.

Wireless
I'm concerned that trying to do data/internet, television and music all over the wireless network would be futile, especially over a 4 story house.

Powergrid Network
I've heard good and bad about this but it could well be an option if combined with wireless as well.

Cabling - cat 5/6/fibreoptic
I've had a quote on putting cat 5e cabling into the sunroom, living room master bedroom and study (one room per floor), 4 sockets in the study, 2 in each of the others. The quote was £800, to be done while the house is still being built. Given the cost of cat5e cabling this seems a little excessive but it's proving difficult to find quotes on this sort of work.


My ideal option would be to mix the cabling and wireless to cover data & AV but the cost of the cable option is dissuading me from this. I'm also not keen to drill holes in all the walls and try feeding cabling over 4 floors once the house is up so doing it myself after construction is not my desired choice.


Anyone have any suggestions on how to go about networking television, data and audio throughout a multi-floor house?

Thanks

Edit: Devices needing connection for the house will be:

Main desktop computer
NAS/Home Media Server
2 Laptops
2 HDTV/Device for relaying files to the TVs
Multi room audio devices in 4-5 rooms

EDIT: Updated with a quote on cat 5/6 cabling

Basic Home Network system with central cabinet mounted in ground floor cupboard and with the following points;

Study 1 No. 4 gang outlet plate
Living 1 No. 2 gang outlet plate
Garden Room 1 No. 2 gang outlet plate
(Exact positions to be agreed on site prior to commencement of works)


Above Installed in Cat5e cabling £585.00
Additional 2 gang outlet plate if required can be added at £65.00

Above Installed in Cat6 cabling £1105.00
Additional 2 gang outlet plates if required can be added at £130.00
 
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criticalmass

Active Member
I'm in the process of purchasing a new build house at the moment and am planning for our AV and computer needs in the property. I wanted to get some feedback on what I see our options as being based on goals/desires.

The house is a four story town house in the process of being built so there's still the potential for having wiring installed by a contractor.

Needs:

Ground floor - HDTV, Games console, internet & music in the sunroom
1st floor: HDTV, internet & music in the lounge
Music in the kitchen
2nd floor: Music in 1+ bedrooms, internet
3rd floor: Internet in the study

I'd like to have music and films available via either a NAS or a backup server also acting as a media server. This to be usable by both the televisions and audio devices (sonos or squeezebox). We'll also have either sky or virgin cable packages with HD.

Wireless
I'm concerned that trying to do data/internet, television and music all over the wireless network would be futile, especially over a 4 story house.

Powergrid Network
I've heard good and bad about this but it could well be an option if combined with wireless as well.

Cabling - cat 5/6/fibreoptic
I've had a quote on putting cat 5e cabling into the sunroom, living room master bedroom and study (one room per floor), 4 sockets in the study, 2 in each of the others. The quote was £800, to be done while the house is still being built. Given the cost of cat5e cabling this seems a little excessive but it's proving difficult to find quotes on this sort of work.


My ideal option would be to mix the cabling and wireless to cover data & AV but the cost of the cable option is dissuading me from this. I'm also not keen to drill holes in all the walls and try feeding cabling over 4 floors once the house is up so doing it myself after construction is not my desired choice.


Anyone have any suggestions on how to go about networking television, data and audio throughout a multi-floor house?

Thanks

Edit: Devices needing connection for the house will be:

Main desktop computer
NAS/Home Media Server
2 Laptops audio devices in 4-5 rooms
As a ballpark figure the cabling contractor we use at work charges £120 for a double cat6 outlet, thats all cabling, sockets, terminations & testing. So depending on how many outlets your £800 quote covers its either a rip off or good value.
 

hornydragon

Well-known Member
Edit: Devices needing connection for the house will be:

Main desktop computer
NAS/Home Media Server
2 Laptops
2 HDTV/Device for relaying files to the TVs
Multi room audio devices in 4-5 rooms
I would suggest you think differnetly and have a central Hub location (understairs or loft are common) and have cables run back there and polenty of ower sockets this is also where you want you main incoing phone and data connections as well as TV aerail and satellite wires from this location you need to run Cat5e/6 for Data and phone Coax and cat5e/6 for video and Cat5e + speaker cables for music systems.

Your NAS/home server and multiroom contoller/hub sit in this location with TV and sat distribution as well as network switch phone distribution and other services (alarm panel etc) This allows for the most fleixble and future proof infrastructure for your needs.

The finished central location should look something like Portfolio | Dragon-AV
 
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PST

Standard Member
As a ballpark figure the cabling contractor we use at work charges £120 for a double cat6 outlet, thats all cabling, sockets, terminations & testing. So depending on how many outlets your £800 quote covers its either a rip off or good value.
1x 4 socket, 3x 2 sockets

That's Cat 5e however, he told me '1-2k' for Cat 6 as the wire was '1k a roll' and fibreoptic was 'even more expensive'. Having done some digging on that myself I know that's ridiculous compared to what I could buy it for myself.
 
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mickevh

Distinguished Member
With cable installations, sometimes the bulk of the cost is attributable to how much "work" it is to put them in, rather than the cost of the materials. It depends on the routes they need to take - for example how many walls need to be drilled through, whether the back boxes need to be chipped out, etc. etc.
 

hornydragon

Well-known Member
1x 4 socket, 3x 2 sockets

That's Cat 5e however, he told me '1-2k' for Cat 6 as the wire was '1k a roll' and fibreoptic was 'even more expensive'. Having done some digging on that myself I know that's ridiculous compared to what I could buy it for myself.
Cat6 is under £100 for a roll Fibre is under £300 but alot more expensive to terminate properly at the moment

For domestic installs Cat5e is fine you can run Gigabit and remeber your incoming broadband is unlikely to exceed 50Mb for the forseeable.

If your looking to send HD over IP then Cat6 may be worthwhile considering. Dont forget the other cables you need like Sat grade coax and Speaker cables these are more expensive than Cat5/6 and not fitting them is a potential issue particluraly if you want multi room Music and video.
 

PST

Standard Member
Cat6 is under £100 for a roll Fibre is under £300 but alot more expensive to terminate properly at the moment

For domestic installs Cat5e is fine you can run Gigabit and remeber your incoming broadband is unlikely to exceed 50Mb for the forseeable.

If your looking to send HD over IP then Cat6 may be worthwhile considering. Dont forget the other cables you need like Sat grade coax and Speaker cables these are more expensive than Cat5/6 and not fitting them is a potential issue particluraly if you want multi room Music and video.
We're torn at the moment regarding the multi-room audio. Ceiling speakers are tempting but the limitation there is that we can't take them with us and they don't seem to have the versatility of a Sonos or Squeezebox system.
 

hornydragon

Well-known Member
We're torn at the moment regarding the multi-room audio. Ceiling speakers are tempting but the limitation there is that we can't take them with us and they don't seem to have the versatility of a Sonos or Squeezebox system.
Sonos or squeeze box is the electronics which you connect to ceiling / standard speakers not the speaker system. True you can't take them with you without leaving holes in the ceiling or a fair amount of replastering but would they not be a nice addition to the spec of the house? OR are you planning to take all the light fiitings, sockets, switches and kitchen with you when you move?

I have installed sonos with ceiling speakers many many times Sonos box sits in upboard out of site connected to speakers in room and networked back to central hub.
 

PST

Standard Member
Sonos or squeeze box is the electronics which you connect to ceiling / standard speakers not the speaker system. True you can't take them with you without leaving holes in the ceiling or a fair amount of replastering but would they not be a nice addition to the spec of the house? OR are you planning to take all the light fiitings, sockets, switches and kitchen with you when you move?

I have installed sonos with ceiling speakers many many times Sonos box sits in upboard out of site connected to speakers in room and networked back to central hub.

The difference, albeit I wasn't fully articulating it, was that we'd need ceiling speakers in every room we might want music in. As opposed to being able to move around a squeezebox boom. For example relocating a squeezebox boom between kitchen and master bedroom without needing speakers fitted into the ceiling of both rooms.

That and the quote from the company linked to the builders for doing an ipod/keypad lexcom home system is £2200 for 2 rooms, £3200 for 4 and £4400 for 6 rooms, not including the ipod docking stations. What's more is those prices don't include data/television networking, it's just the audio. That's why having mobile speakers/sonos/squeezebox came across as a significantly cheaper deal given I can effectively cover everywhere I'd want to for the price of 2 rooms with the wired ceiling speaker system.
 
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hornydragon

Well-known Member
Lexcom is not something i would use/specify. YOu only need the cable at this stage moving a squeeze box is like saying we'll have one chair and move to each room we want to sit in, cost effective yes, practical?
 

PST

Standard Member
Lexcom is not something i would use/specify. YOu only need the cable at this stage moving a squeeze box is like saying we'll have one chair and move to each room we want to sit in, cost effective yes, practical?
At the moment that's the only thing I've had to compare a Sonos/Soundbox and traditional speaker setup to, let alone network install. Getting even rough estimates as to pricing any of this has proven to be decidedly difficult given the apparently low to non-existant number of other companies that do this in the area. One company I spoke to regarding the audio side essentially told me that they'd do it if I bought & planned everything myself but they couldn't tell me a price until after they'd done the install. Needless to say being open to an unspecified amount and doing all the research/planning didn't fill me with confidence.

Given the lack of companies in the NE/Yorkshire that seem to do this to get competitive quotes from I'm starting to think that a wireless/powergrid combination is going to be the best option. It's not what I want, but with little to choose from it's what seems to be the easiest option as, at least, it's one I fully understand and can implement myself.
 

hornydragon

Well-known Member
Given the lack of companies in the NE/Yorkshire that seem to do this to get competitive quotes from I'm starting to think that a wireless/powergrid combination is going to be the best option. It's not what I want,
Yorkshire is outside our normal area at the moment but we do offer solutions for these problems where we can send you a schemtic design for the cabling, which you get installed or install and then you can fit the system or we can fit and commission the system for you. If its what you really want then is it not worth putting in a bit more effort to find a supplier?
 

PST

Standard Member
I've had the below through as a (somewhat) itemised quote. It's a 4 story townhouse, The study's on the 4th floor, living room is on the 1st floor and garden room is on the ground floor.

The difference between Cat5 and Cat6 seems a little high to me when compared to the cost of cabling from retailers i've checked. Anyone able to comment on whether the price is beyond what is reasonable?

Basic Home Network system with central cabinet mounted in ground floor cupboard and with the following points;
Study 1 No. 4 gang outlet plate
Living 1 No. 2 gang outlet plate
Garden Room 1 No. 2 gang outlet plate
(Exact positions to be agreed on site prior to commencement of works)

Above Installed in Cat5e cabling £585.00
Additional 2 gang outlet plate if required can be added at £65.00

Above Installed in Cat6 cabling £1105.00
Additional 2 gang outlet plates if required can be added at £130.00
 
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ukwill

Novice Member
Screw all that plumbing malarky.

Put your NAS, ADSL-WIFI box, SONOS AP in a cupboard somewhere on the ground floor. Connect your NAS, SONOS AP (HDTV and Games Console) into your ADSL-WIFI's 4-port switch (in the same cupboard). If you think you will need more than 4-ports (in the future), just buy a bigger gig switch and hang it off the back of the built in 4-port switch you get with the adsl-modem.

The only cable run you need to make (and even then you don't necessarily have to) is from your HDTV/Games Console to the gig switch.

On the other floors (you'll probably only need to do this on 1 other floor at most if you buy a decent 802.11n box) put an AP somewhere (out of the way), in order to extend the wifi signal from the ground floor. As for the other SONOS APs - you can put them where ever you like (that's the whole point). Besides which, they use their own wifi network, not your 802.11n network.

Job done.
 

hornydragon

Well-known Member
. As for the other SONOS APs - you can put them where ever you like (that's the whole point). Besides which, they use their own wifi network, not your 802.11n network.

Job done.
And suck the life out of you standard WiFi network by using the same unliscenced spectrum Also Wi-Fi is only for Data no use for Video, phone or audio direct connections.

Above Installed in Cat5e cabling £585.00
Additional 2 gang outlet plate if required can be added at £65.00

Above Installed in Cat6 cabling £1105.00
Additional 2 gang outlet plates if required can be added at £130.00


Cat6 is lot more expensive to terminated than Cat5 much tighter specs on termination and cable installation! Does seem a bit high to be honest!
 

ukwill

Novice Member
And suck the life out of you standard WiFi network by using the same unliscenced spectrum Also Wi-Fi is only for Data no use for Video, phone or audio direct connections.
Suck the life out of the standard wifi network? In what way? I have exactly that setup at home, and my adsl access point can see about 15-20 other wifi devices in the street. Wifi not for audio? *** is that all about? Tell that to my Sonos boxes that stream music off my nas all over wifi. Phone not over wifi? Tell that to Skype. Video - how about Slingbox?

By all means pay lots of money to put cat5e in if you want. But you don't need to.
 
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