Question Planning home network

fatmcgav

Active Member
Afternoon all,

I'm just starting to plan out retrofitting my 1900 built 3-bed Victorian property with wired networking to supplement our wireless coverage.
Currently, we've got Plusnet Fibre broadband, using a BT Openreach modem connected to a Ubiquiti EdgeRouter Lite, which then goes into an 8 port GB managed switch. Wifi is handled by a Ubiquiti Unifi AP.

I've picked out a location for the 'Node Zero' in one of the front bedrooms, which puts it pretty much in the centre of the 1st floor, which should give me easy access to the rest of the house...
Plan is for Node Zero to contain the central patch panel and 24 port managed switch, along with the EdgeRouter Lite and my ESXi All-in-one box. Future expansion may include further ESXi boxes and more storage...

With regards to connectivity, my current plan is:
  • 4 to corner of 'Node Zero' bedroom, will become a study come guest room.
  • 2 to master bedroom - no TV currently, but might be in future.
  • 2 to bedroom 3, which will shortly be turned into a nursery.
  • 4 to living room behind TV, allowing for potential use of HDMI over Ethernet or a matrix splitter. Current devices are HTPC front-end and Xbox 360, with Samsung Smart-Tv using Wifi.
  • 4 to dining room - This is where the BT master socket currently is, so plan is to install Openreach modem there, and then patch from Openreach modem to EdgeRouter in Node Zero.
So, onto the real questions...
  1. Cat5e or Cat6? I'm leaning towards Cat6, as it's not much more expensive, and future proofs things a bit...
  2. A lot of the cable runs are going to need to through floor joists... I'm thinking grouping in bundles of 4 makes to try and minimise holes and keep things tidy. Is it worth running the cables through a flexible conduit aswell?
Any other tips or tricks to make my life easier?

Cheers
Gavin
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
The cat5e versus cat6 debate is one that's been had here very many times. You could have a browse for previous instances - IMS there was one not to long ago.

Strictly speaking you don't have a "cat" anything install unless you obey all the installation stipulations and test with some rather expensive test equipment. There is a great deal more to it than simply deciding what "cat" of cable to buy.

If you want to scare yourself silly about how stringent cat6 is, try this link...

http://www.automatedhome.co.uk/installation/installation-pitfalls-in-cat6-cabling.html

For my money, cat5e is much easier to work with, runs GBit ethernet without any problem unless you do a spectacularly bad job of installing it and GBit ethernet has lots of life in it yet.

The counter argument is that cat6 isn't much more expensive these days so for a small job one "might as well" even if one doesn't actually achieve cat6 standard. Again, unless you do a spectacularly poor installation, it won't be any worse that cat5e, though it should be noted GBit ethernet won't run any "better" over cat6.

I'm specifying cabling for some new schools at the moment and we're not bothering with cat6 for pretty much all the reasons stated. We think there's plenty of life in cat5e (and GBit ethernet) and anyone that is seriously thinking about 10Gig ethernet would be running on fibre optic. I can't ever see myself (professionally) putting 10Gig ethernet over copper. If I need more bandwidth on a copper link, I'd use multiple Gig ethernet links and a technology called "link aggregation."

Others, I'm sure will have differing opinions, so hang back a bit and see what alternate views are offered.
 

fatmcgav

Active Member
Mickevh,

Cheers for that response...

Sounds like might be worth saving the little bit and going for Cat5e... As you say, 1GBe should be ample for home media use for years to come...

Anyone else?

Cheers
Gav
 

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