Professional hard wired network 3story house

nictry

Distinguished Member
Have finally had enough of trying every possible WiFi option in our house and still having drop outs and speed issues so have decided a wired network will be required - not in wall as should be able to go through ceiling as cupboards are lined up on all 3 floors and will just run flat cable under carpet where required.

I am not feeling like doing this myself as I have to cable across 3 floors and I think need 7 outlets in total so my thinking is as follows

Main router (draytek 2862 already in situ) with a separate 4 port switch giving a total of 7 outlets two of which would feed the ground floor (2 rooms) and 4 to the first floor for 4 rooms and then a further going to the top floor (single room)

Most rooms have multiple needs so assume a multi port switch as required for each single faceplate (I already have 5 poe switches to use)

I was thinking Cat 7 would make most sense for cabling as no single run would be longer than the ground to top floor of approx 20m

Have I missed anything? Would the above cabling make most sense? Anyone suggest roughly how much I am likely to need to spend to get a pro in to do the install?

Any other thoughts much appreciated as this is a one time deal and don't plan on repeating/upgrading anything ever!!!!
 
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mushii

Distinguished Member
Honestly, if you are going to all of the effort of running cables I would totally rethink your strategy.
1. You are totally undercabled.
2. CAT7 is a mistake. It’s overkill and it’s hard to terminate properly - use Cat 6
3. I would provision a larger switch downstairs - 16 or 24 port.
4. It’s normal to run cat x cable in pairs to each outlet
5. I don’t see any provision for Wireless access points. If you are going to the hassle of running in Cat6 to each floor, surely you would want great WiFi too?.
If you have some plans or can sketch out each floor it would help.
 

nictry

Distinguished Member
Thanks for the thoughts and the Cat 6 vs 7 is a great point and will take that one on board

I have attached all 3 floors and shown the ground floor with blue being the master socket and router in the downstairs cupboard with the green being where the cable would go up through the ceiling to the cupboard on the first floor - all the red marks are where the face plates need to be in each room

The top floor is a bit tricky as not sure how the cable will go up again but shown the faceplate location again in red

Does that give a little more info to provide suggestions?
 

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nictry

Distinguished Member
Honestly, if you are going to all of the effort of running cables I would totally rethink your strategy.
1. You are totally undercabled.
2. CAT7 is a mistake. It’s overkill and it’s hard to terminate properly - use Cat 6
3. I would provision a larger switch downstairs - 16 or 24 port.
4. It’s normal to run cat x cable in pairs to each outlet
5. I don’t see any provision for Wireless access points. If you are going to the hassle of running in Cat6 to each floor, surely you would want great WiFi too?.
If you have some plans or can sketch out each floor it would help.
My plan for the wifi would be to run through the Deco discs (one on each floor with ethernet back haul)
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
I concur with Mushii - cat7 is overkill. ISTR to actually be "cat7" (possibly cat6a and higher) the cabling need to be installing into proper "containment" so sticking it into trunks and/or clipping to the wall, etc. instantly fails certifications and it needs to be tested with some very expensive equipment (we're talking thousands) and that will be reflected in the price a pro. cabling company will charge. There's much more to achieve any given "cat" than just buying catX cable,

Cat5e is more that good enough for gigabit ethernet up to 100m (I've had some that went even further) and could potentially support 10GBe to shorter distances. The price difference between cat5e and cat6 is so small these days, you "might as well" for a small install. Though it's installation stipulations are of course higher.

Multiple AP's with cabled backhaul is by far the best way to provision Wi-Fi.

Whilst going to the trouble of installing cabling, you might consider whether you might want to run any extra for other uses such as additional POTS telephone extensions (which can run over the same type of cable, albeit ethernet and POTS cannot be inter-connected) smart TV's, cameras, etc. etc.

Beware that some bigger ethernet switches are active fan cooled which might be noisier than you think in a domestic setting, though I've seen some fanless ones at 16 ports advertised.

If you are competent at DIY, you might consider doing the job yourself - it's not terribly difficult. There are some "write ups" here, some with pictures, if you have a bit of a search. The hardest part is usually establishing the cabling routes and pulling them in. It's also what you are mostly "paying for" when you get a professional to do it - the labour. Whilst not insignificant, the materials cost if often going to be relatively the smaller part of the bill, especially for a small job.
 
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nictry

Distinguished Member
I concur with Mushii - cat7 is overkill. ISTR to actually be "cat7" (possibly cat6a and higher) the cabling need to be installing into proper "containment" so sticking it into trunks and/or clipping to the wall, etc. instantly fails certifications and it needs to be tested with some very expensive equipment (we're talking thousands) and that will be reflected in the price a pro. cabling company will change. There's much more to achieve any given "cat" than just buying catX cable,

Cat5e is more that good enough for gigabit ethernet up to 100m (I've had some that went even further) and could potentially support 10GBe to shorter distances. The price difference between cat5e and cat6 is so small these days, you "might as well" for a small install. Though it's installation stipulations are of course higher.

Multiple AP's with cabled backhaul is by far the best way to provision Wi-Fi.

Whilst going to the trouble of installing cabling, you might consider whether you might want to run any extra for other uses such as additional POTS telephone extensions (which can run over the same type of cable, albeit ethernet and POTS cannot be inter-connected) smart TV's, cameras, etc. etc.

Beware that some bigger ethernet switches are active fan cooled which might be noisier than you think in a domestic setting, though I've seen some fanless ones at 16 ports advertised.

If you are competent at DIY, you might consider doing the job yourself - it's not terribly difficult. There are some "write ups" here, some with pictures, if you have a bit of a search. The hardest part is usually establishing the cabling routes and pulling them in. It's also what you are mostly "paying for" when you get a professional to do it - the labour. Whilst not insignificant, the materials cost if often going to be relatively the smaller part of the bill, especially for a small job.
Thanks for the advice, I agree that I could do this myself but I am under 'wife stress' at the thought of leaving wires showing, drilling a hole in the wrong place, screwing up something/anything as I go etc.!!!!!

I will also be honest and say when I wired a previous house (which was easy as it was single story and the loft space allowed me to just drop everythning down into each room) I did find the terminations of wiring etc. a little problematic and again providing the cost is not too crazy leaving someone else to a/ sort problems out if the arise b/ do the tricky wiring elements does make sense to me.

I will def revert back to Cat6 as my choice and should have some idea of pricing later today which will determine whether I go pro or attempty this myself.

I also note that Cat6 in flat cable (which will obviously make moving across rooms etc. much easier) seems to be relatively cheap, any issues with flat vs. normal cables that I should be aware of?
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
I've never used any "flat" cable myself (and what I've looked at tends to be flatER - more like ovoid - rather than paper thin like a ribbon cable) but if it's certified as being cat whatever, then if should be OK. It's years since I read any of them, but from memory the "cat" standards describe the electrical performance required rather than any particular construction. Though most manufacturers tend to "solve" the problems in more of less the same way so most vendors cables and connectors are more similar to each other than different.

About the only thing I recall being mandated in the physical construction is that "cat" UTP cable must use pure copper conductors, something called "Copper Clad Aluminium" (CCA) is not allowed. Some snake oil salesmen try to pass off CCA as "CatX equivalent" "CatX tested" and other BS, or sell it using "cats" that don't actually exist (e.g. cat5a, cat6e, neither of which are real thing.)

I'd lso just be wary that anyone you engage really is a bona-fide data networking installer. A lot of well meaning "sparkies" (more used to doing mains electrical and phones) will be willing to do the job for you - after all running is running a cable - and terminating it, however, some of them are not aware of all the stipulations required to actually do the work to relevant "cat" standards and don't have the rather expensive testers required to certify the install actually works at catX. (A data comms guy will often provide a raft of documentation/certificates showing the plots from the tests - I used to have drawers full of them "at work.")
 
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nictry

Distinguished Member
OK so site visit done and told its likely a 5 day job so Needless to say this is likely to be a non starter

So DIY option seems best route, plan would be as follows as cannot risk bare cable (cat 7 pricing almost same as 6 hence choosing that) and terminations to face plates so please don't suggest that option as I'm not confident to go that route:

Draytek Router (3 ports free) first goes to study directly and then into 4 port switch for hard wired equipment

2nd port goes to 1st floor where 24 port switch then feeds flat cable runs (4 each in 2 bedrooms), 2 in 2 other rooms (both into POE switch to run cameras) and then 4 cable runs to top floor
3rd port goes to lounge (10m run ) and then into 4 port switch for TV/media

4th port is into Deco for WAP set up

Any major issues with this idea other than having to run cables under carpet and having multiple rj45 ends in each room? Will having the multiple switches be a problem?

Thanks in advance
IMG_20200703_180353.jpg
 
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mickevh

Distinguished Member
Multiple ethernet switches is no problem. The only real "rule" is that you must not make a loop in the topology - so doing will cause the network to almost instantly fill up with endlessly circling broadcast traffic leading to gridlock that stops anything else getting through.

However, in any switched network, each "lobe" in the network has finite capacity and once it's full, it's full and traffic has to either queue up or get dropped (a bit like the road network.) Welcome to the black art that is network capacity planning. However, unless you spend all day copying Blu-ray rips around, most SOHO networks are pretty lightly loaded and capacity generally isn't a problem, especially if your links are gigabit (1000mbps) capable.

If you router doesn't have gigabit ports, or only has a few, favour gigabit links for your router-switch connections and use any 100mbps ports for "less important" links.

If you haven't bought your switches yet, then definitely buy gigabit capable ones (10/100/1000mbps) - the price difference over slower 10/100 is minimal these days.

IIRC cat7 is shielded, so (as well as being mechanically stiffer and thus harder to route) all the shielding will need to be terminated and electrically strapped down to an earth. (I've seen reports that if you don't do it, it could make performance, worse not better.) I really wouldn't bother. Ethernet doesn't work any "better" because you use higher "cat" cable. cat5e is more than good enough for gigabit ethernet and is dead easy to install. You might opt for cat6, but go for unshielded for the same reasons of avoiding jaffing around with earthing. Some cat6 has a mechanical dividers inside that make it a bit stiffer (it says here - I've never installed any, I've never felt the need to and it saves my employers a bit of money.)

Don't forget that your sockets, patch panels and so forth need to match the cat of the cable you use.
 

nictry

Distinguished Member
Ok only reason went back to cat7 was the run lengths I needed (and in white) were a pain to get hold of but now found a supplier so all lengths now ordered in cat 6 unshielded as recommended. Will get switch ordered shortly and get cracking on the install next week.

the switch issue shouldn’t be a problem as nothing is connected back on itself so no daisy chain effect which I think stops the loop problem
 

mcbainne

Distinguished Member
Multiple ethernet switches is no problem. The only real "rule" is that you must not make a loop in the topology - so doing will cause the network to almost instantly fill up with endlessly circling broadcast traffic leading to gridlock that stops anything else getting through.

However, in any switched network, each "lobe" in the network has finite capacity and once it's full, it's full and traffic has to either queue up or get dropped (a bit like the road network.) Welcome to the black art that is network capacity planning. However, unless you spend all day copying Blu-ray rips around, most SOHO networks are pretty lightly loaded and capacity generally isn't a problem, especially if your links are gigabit (1000mbps) capable.

If you router doesn't have gigabit ports, or only has a few, favour gigabit links for your router-switch connections and use any 100mbps ports for "less important" links.

If you haven't bought your switches yet, then definitely buy gigabit capable ones (10/100/1000mbps) - the price difference over slower 10/100 is minimal these days.

IIRC cat7 is shielded, so (as well as being mechanically stiffer and thus harder to route) all the shielding will need to be terminated and electrically strapped down to an earth. (I've seen reports that if you don't do it, it could make performance, worse not better.) I really wouldn't bother. Ethernet doesn't work any "better" because you use higher "cat" cable. cat5e is more than good enough for gigabit ethernet and is dead easy to install. You might opt for cat6, but go for unshielded for the same reasons of avoiding jaffing around with earthing. Some cat6 has a mechanical dividers inside that make it a bit stiffer (it says here - I've never installed any, I've never felt the need to and it saves my employers a bit of money.)

Don't forget that your sockets, patch panels and so forth need to match the cat of the cable you use.
Presumably it's better to run dedicated ethernet cables for backhaul but is there likely to be much effect on the network speed if you use the switched network?
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
As you might imagine, in big corporate offices, factories, etc. there's no chance of having "one big switch in the middle" because we have hundreds/thousands of connections to facilitate, and sometimes geographically too far away for the 100m limit on cable lobe length. There's a few ways to deal with it, but one method is to deploy multiple switches around the site and devise a cabling topology to connect them together. There's no technical "issue" as such with connecting switches to switches in whatever topology you like, (as long as there's no loops.)

One way is we can daisey chain them, sw---sw---sw---sw etc. (with each switch breaking out to some local "edge" device connections.) The sw---sw interlinks are nothing "special," they are just plain old ethernet like anything else. By definition, an ethernet (over UTP) cable lobe can only has one active "thing" connected either end, and a pair of switches would be such "things." So in order to connect any two switches together, the "backhaul" link between them is dedicated to the task, because there's no other way to cable it.

However, the backauls (or sw---sw interlinks) have finite capacity and that capacity is competed for like any other ethernet link. Thusly, reading my ASCII art left to right and assuming we have traffic flows that all need to get to the right hand switch for purpose of debate, traffic from devices in the left hand switch competes for the first sw---sw interlink, all that traffic plus the traffic from devices connected to the second switch competes for the middle interlink and so on. If the demand is within the capacity of the interlinks, it's no problem, if it exceeds it then either it will queue up somewhere (in the switches - they usually have buffers) or silently get dropped (which will require the end stations to retransmit and try again.)

So when designing networks, we try to anticipate the demand and architect it so that demand is below capacity, or just live with the occasional queuing in "peaks" times - network traffic is "bursty" in that it's silent most of the time with spikes in usage as people "do" stuff. The black art of being a network architect is to try and predict traffic patterns and design accordingly either by using different topologies, or using mechanisms to increase capacity on the interlinks.

When people "talk" about "speed" (and use "speed test" tools) they aren't usually referring to "Link Rates" (the "number on the tin" for networking kit) they are really talking about capacity - "Throughput" is the technical term. Link Rate and Throughout are both expressing in the same metric of "bits per second" though they are not at all the same thing, which often confuses the hell out of newbies (who often tie themselves in knots "worrying" about it and over think it.) In the same way that "speed" on the speedometer and "average speed" in a car's trip computer are both expressing in "kph/mph" (depending on your territory) but "speed" and "average speed" are not the same thing.

It takes a finite amount of time to transmit a packet down an ethernet cable from node to node, and another finite amount of time for a switch to determine where to send it next. So technically each hop in the network adds some latency ("lag") and the more hops the greater the total latency accumulated from end to end. (This is what you see as reported a "ping" time when you run an Internet "speed test.") However, the time to process an ethernet packet in a switch is so small, you'll bearly be able to measure it without specialist equipment, let alone "notice" in normal operation.

So unless we chain dozens of switches together, you are unlikely to perceive any "speed" impacts unless your network is hugely busy which is unlikely for small SOHO networks.
 
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mcbainne

Distinguished Member
Thankyou for the comprehensive reply, i think the longest leg i have between router and end user is 3 switches so i'm unlikely to have much issue
 

nictry

Distinguished Member
OK so £4k was the quote!!!! Figured my all in price of £180 for all cables and 24 port switch with a bit of carpet lifting and slightly scary hole drilling through walls/ceiling is a better option, well at least £3800 better in my opinion!!!!
 
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Puntoboy

Well-known Member
OK so £4k was the quote!!!! Figured my all in price of £180 for all cables and 24 port switch with a bit of carpet lifting and slightly scary hole drilling through walls/ceiling is a better option, well at least £3800 better in my opinion!!!!
Does that include making good and holes etc?

Having done this myself, I can see why they want to charge so much. They need to cut a lot of holes and spend a long time threading cables through tiny gaps. Some runs will be easier than others but for a 3 storey house, it's no mean feet. You have the luxury of doing it over much longer time frame so the cost will be lower, these guys will likely want to get it done over a few days so will charge appropriately for that. My only advice for you is to get another pair of hands, rope the wife in if needs be. a second person makes it a lot easier.
 

nictry

Distinguished Member
Does that include making good and holes etc?

Having done this myself, I can see why they want to charge so much. They need to cut a lot of holes and spend a long time threading cables through tiny gaps. Some runs will be easier than others but for a 3 storey house, it's no mean feet. You have the luxury of doing it over much longer time frame so the cost will be lower, these guys will likely want to get it done over a few days so will charge appropriately for that. My only advice for you is to get another pair of hands, rope the wife in if needs be. a second person makes it a lot easier.
Dont get me wrong would have been a very professional job (they were actually going outside with the cabling and then back in once using the guttering/drainpipes to hide cables) so yes it would be a very nice install and quoted for 5 days work. I guess some things in life you need to weigh up the ROI and a couple of happy kids does not equal a 3.5k extra spend ;)
 

sbriggs

Active Member
Dont get me wrong would have been a very professional job (they were actually going outside with the cabling and then back in once using the guttering/drainpipes to hide cables) so yes it would be a very nice install and quoted for 5 days work. I guess some things in life you need to weigh up the ROI and a couple of happy kids does not equal a 3.5k extra spend
Not sure going out and in with Ethernet cables is particularly professional, and they would then need to be using external grade cable
 

kosymodo

Active Member
I'm watching this thread with interest, as I'm about to embark on networking my house. It's a new build (already built) with some cabling already installed as standard. I'm keen to draw on your experience to help me work out my plan of attack!
 

Puntoboy

Well-known Member
I'm watching this thread with interest, as I'm about to embark on networking my house. It's a new build (already built) with some cabling already installed as standard. I'm keen to draw on your experience to help me work out my plan of attack!
That's the situation I was in. I was lucky and the builder agreed to put in two cables for me, from the ONT termination point to the loft, which helped me greatly! This was on top of the single cable they ran from the ONT to the living room. Since then I've added about 10 more to the house and ran fibre to the garage.

I found that the top floor in a new build is dead easy once you are in the loft, dropping cables into stud walls is a doddle. Ground floor is a little more tricky as you need to get through the floor. Hence why I asked the builder to put them in loose whilst the plaster was off.
 

kosymodo

Active Member
That's the situation I was in. I was lucky and the builder agreed to put in two cables for me, from the ONT termination point to the loft, which helped me greatly! This was on top of the single cable they ran from the ONT to the living room. Since then I've added about 10 more to the house and ran fibre to the garage.

I found that the top floor in a new build is dead easy once you are in the loft, dropping cables into stud walls is a doddle. Ground floor is a little more tricky as you need to get through the floor. Hence why I asked the builder to put them in loose whilst the plaster was off.
Not wanting to gatecrash @nictry thread, but sounds like this slight tangent we're going off on here could be very beneficial to me! Maybe I'll start my own thread ;)
 

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