terminate all ethernet wire to female jack panel or let them loose with male end connecting to a switch?

coolmanfever

Novice Member
hello all,

I am building my new home consisting basement floor, 1st floor, 2nd floor. Each floor is about 2000 square feet. I did lots of research on Mesh wifi and Eero seems like the best one and ease of use for the money in the market. So I pre-ordered a 3 pack Eero router and plan to install one of each Eero 6 router on each floor once I move in.


The contractor has ran Cat5e ethernet wires from the following rooms to main floor living room where the modem will be installed:
1 x wire from basement living room's wall where TV will be mounted
1 x wire from the main floor living room's wall where TV will be mounted
2 x wire from main floor's office room where two desktop computer will be setup
1 x wire from each 2nd floor bedroom's wall where TV will be mounted (total 4 bedrooms so 4 wires from 2nd floor)

This means I will have total 8 ethernet wires all gathering in my main floor living room near nearby where the modem will be installed.

I intend to place one Eero router in basetment living room, another in main floor living room, another in 2nd floor master bedroom.

My question is...

Is this better to terminate all the ethernet wires into female jacket panel on the wall of main floor living room near the modem? like this Amazon productor
Is this better to terminate all the ethernet wires into male ends and connect male ends into gigabit unmanaged switch close by the modem in the main floor living room? like this GS308 — 8 Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch


This is my time post and first home DIY network setup. Hopefully I will get some suggestions from the experts in the community. Thank you so much.
 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
Personally I’d route them all and the phone line/fibre to a patch panel in the basement or a cupboard with power where they are out of the way and not looking ugly.
 

coolmanfever

Novice Member
Thanks. I did not know better since this is my first home built from scratch. I guess I can ask the contractor to build a cupboard in main floor living room to hide these wires.
 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
It’s a big learning experience :) I’d still ask them to go to the basement. Who know what the future brings and you’ll probably be glad.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Normally the cabling used for permanent cable runs has a single "solid" copper conductor and is designed to terminate onto IDC (Insulation Displacement Connector) "punch down" blocks such as you get in patch panels (PP's) and faceplates. The IDC blocks on both are the same, it's just that in a patch panel, there are (usually) very more of them and PP is designed to be mounted into standard 19 inch racks. They are often not the prettiest things in the world as they are usually sequested in comms. cabinets and computer rooms where no-one but IT tekkies get to see them because our aesthitic sense is not so easily offended.

The cable designed to be terminated onto plugs has multiple strands in each wire, AKA "stranded," so that it's more flexible and will stand up to repeated bending without breaking. It's used to make the (shorter) patch-cords with plugs on either end and sometimes we colloquially/lazily call the stranded cable "patch" cable - even when you buy it in bulk and unterminated.

You can get "special" plugs and sockets designed for the "wrong" type of cable, but in general, it's "solid core onto IDC, stranded onto plugs."

It would be worth checking what type your sparkie has used as it's possible the "get away" with crimping plugs onto solid core, but if you try punching stranded into IDC blocks you could get high failure rates. (The IDC blocks have a kind of V shaped knife in them designed to sheer through the insulation and bite into the solid copper conductor - if you punch stranded cable into such blocks, it can simply slice through the individual strands and you get poor or no connection.)

If your building is still under construction, it may be worth instructing that all single cable runs are doubled up. It is 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. Cable is cheap compared to the hassle of installing it.

Wi-Fi is availed by "Access Points" (AP's) not "routers." This isn't just nit picking over nomenclature, in the field of data networking an "AP" and a "router"are very different things. The SOHO get-you-on-the-Internet omni-box contains both (and much more besides.) In a typical SOHO install, you only want one router and that should be a box at the "edge" of your network connecting to your ISP, (routers sit at the edge of networks connecting to other networks, not in the "middle" bossing it.)

If you created a network of multiple "routers," whilst technically possible, you'd be making your network more complex than it needs to be and it probably won't function as you expect. If your AP fleet offers the option, run them all in "AP mode" and leave your ISP router doing all the routing, I would suggest that is the best configuration; turn off the ISP router's Wi-Fi if you don't want it (it's rarely more than a couple of clicks) and connect your fleet of managed AP's downstream of the ISP router running in "AP mode" or however it's described.

Some of these "whole home" type systems have the ability to function as a router, typically some kind of "king" or "master" node replaced the ISP router and fulfills the ISP connectivity functions (and Wi-Fi'ing) and the other nodes function as AP's only. That may save you a box (the ISP router) but means there are some consequences for siting your first "king" node as that must be what terminates to the link to your ISP in the topology, which may dictate it's not in the optimum physical position for Wi-Fi coverage.
 
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coolmanfever

Novice Member
Woah. That is alot of information to digest. Not sure what kind of wires he used. Sounds very technical.

I will make a visit to my home under construction to take some photos of the end of Ethernet wires during the weekend.

I spoke to the contractor. It is too late to direct all ethernet wires to basement. He plans to build a custom cabinet in living room that will hide all those ethernet wires gathered at living room.
 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
Woah. That is alot of information to digest. Not sure what kind of wires he used. Sounds very technical.

I will make a visit to my home under construction to take some photos of the end of Ethernet wires during the weekend.

I spoke to the contractor. It is too late to direct all ethernet wires to basement. He plans to build a custom cabinet in living room that will hide all those ethernet wires gathered at living room.
Nonsense lol he just doesn’t t want to :)
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Woah. That is alot of information to digest. Not sure what kind of wires he used. Sounds very technical.

I will make a visit to my home under construction to take some photos of the end of Ethernet wires during the weekend.

I spoke to the contractor. It is too late to direct all ethernet wires to basement. He plans to build a custom cabinet in living room that will hide all those ethernet wires gathered at living room.
If you're paying the bills, you can have whatever you want - I just may cost you more to make changes after first fit.

It is the bane of many an Network Manager that we don't get consulted on where the IT infrastructure needs to be located until construction is nearly completed and we find that "architects" and "contractors" have made the decision based on aesthetics and ease (cost) of construction and we end up with things "all in the wrong place" but it's "too late" for the project to get it changed and we just have to make the best of it.

BTW - to meet any of the "cat" standards, the cable selected (called UTP) must be proper "cat" standard- there's a cheaper type of cable called Copper Clad Aluminium (CCA) which superficially looks the same as real "cat" UTP, but it's nowhere near as good. Sometimes people put in CCA to save cost, but it's rubbish (as well as not meeting standards) and often needs to be pulled out and replaced with "proper" stuff later. (More so on longer runs.) Whilst your site is still under construction, it would be a good time to make sure the contractors have used "proper" CatX UTP (and obeyed all the installation rules as best they can) and not used CCA. If they have used CCA, I'd have it removed and replaced with the real thing,

Professional "cable monkeys" that are trained and certified for data networking installations are well aware of this (and there's a few read these columns) but a well meaning "sparkie" or construction contractor more used to installing mains electricity may not and sometime just "go for the cheapest."

I'll link my favourite DIY site on UTP if you want to get into the weeds...

 

coolmanfever

Novice Member
Thanks for all the tips. I finally got a chance to visit my house in construction this weekend.

As you guys can see, all the ethernet wires lead into living room. Right now they are loosely bundled. (see photo 1 and 2). I have asked my contractor to connect all these loose ethernet wires to a patch panel. Ideally it will be better to gather all the wires into basement but it is too late to change :( But he will make a nice cabinet in living room to hide these wires and patch panel.

Based on the photo, do you think my contractor use a high quality ethernet wires?
 

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MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
Wow what a mess! Clean off the cables and you’ll be able to see what he’s used, it’ll be printed on it.

I’d tell your contractor to stop work on that and find a local company that does office data cabling to finish it.
 
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mickevh

Distinguished Member
Welcome to my world - one job I had often this is what I'd be presented with by the in house electricians - they would run in the cables and do all the difficult and dirty (route finding) work for me and my colleagues and an I (IT Dept.) would be left to dress them off onto the patch panels and sockets. (Don't ask why - it was some kind of ancient "demarcation mate" type politics.)

I've never used used "keystone" sockets - so I'd be interested to know whether they are "fickle" about whether you can use them on solid core or stranded/patch type cable or whether they are universal.

It would be really useful to know what kind of cable has been used which will inform the type of termination options that can be used - as MaryWhitehouse says, usually it's printed on the sheathing if you dust them off a bit.
 

coolmanfever

Novice Member
What is the problem with key stone socket?

Is there a type of Cat5e wires that can not be finished into patch panel?

One keystone socket is already installed in each room. All the wires lead to family room and loose right now. I have asked him to organize all these into patch panel hidden by custom cabinet he will build.
 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
By all means get him to build a cabinet but I’d seriously advise getting a data cabling contractor to finish the cabling and rack for a patch panel.
 

neilball

Well-known Member
It’s not so much a matter of whether keystones are good or bad, but more a case of ensuring the right type are used for the cabling. So you get different plug/keystones/modules for stranded or solid cable (mans for in-wall it should be solid copper, not stranded, and definitely not copper-clad aluminium). You also need to match the terminations to the class of Cat cable too as the conductors are a slightly different size from Cat5e to Cat6 for example.

You can often get away with mis-matched terminations, but a contractor who is happy to “wing it” is not going to follow best practices in how the cabling should be installed - paying attention to cable suport and fixings, minimum bend radius, properly certifying the cabling by using a proper test system rather than simple continuity tests etc.
 

coolmanfever

Novice Member
So I spoke to my contractor today about patch panel and he says patch panel is overkill for my home usage purpose since I only have 8 internal inwall ethernet cable running inside the house and I do not intend to change my network configuration like in business setting. He says I can just finish all the terminal cables into male jacket and plug them into switch directly.

you can see all of the cables centralized in the custom cabinet in the living room in first two photo. In third photo, you can see the cable started in the basement panel room where modem will be setup. This main ethernet cable will go to the cabinet. 4th photo is showing RJ45 keystone jack at equipment end for each room.

Can you guys tell if the cable he uses is stranded or solid based on the 4th photo?

Lastly, is patch panel a overkill setup if I just have 8 cables to deal with and do not plan to change or expand in the future?

Thank you!
 

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neilball

Well-known Member
Rather than a patch panel it would have been better if he had fitted faceplates with RJ45 modules inside the cabinet so that the cabling was neatly terminated. This would have allowed you to use appropriate patch leads to connect to the modules as you needed, and avoided a tangled set of cables that are difficult to manage. If the cabling is solid copper then it is not designed to be constantly plugged/unplugged as this can lead to individual cores breaking. Stranded patch leads are purpose designed to be flexible, and can be chosen to be just the right length to avoid having lots of excess cable to deal with.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
If he has not terminated either end into keystones / IDC Modules or a patch-panel then it doesn’t meet the requirements of a Cat X installation. Tell him to get off his ass and do the job properly. 😉
 
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Kristian

Well-known Member
As Neil and mushii have said, get him to terminate onto either a small patch panel or two 2G back boxes and modules. This will terminate the solid cored copper cable properly into IDCs rather than have the hassle and fuss of terminating into plugs. Then just buy a bunch of proper, short patch leads.

I still don't get why people insist on using plugs. What a faff, needs special plugs and a decent crimper. Punch down tool onto IDCs is so much easier and makes a much better job of it.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
This is the inside of one of my kitchen cupboards, where my AV Amplifier lives. I cut holes for dry-line back-boxed in the rear of the cabinet then brought my cables through and fixed on face plates / brush plates etc for the requisite cabling. This is what your installer should be doing

IMG_9782.JPG


IMG_9781.JPG
 

coolmanfever

Novice Member
thank you for the information guys. I went to the house under constructions and look into the cabinet more detail. Turns out there are 21 ethernet cables to terminate because that include security camera ethernet cables.

So I am thinking maybe patch panel instead of face plate would be better? Do you guys think it is good idea to mount patch panel on the vertical divider that separate the rights and left segment of cabinet with keystone jack facing right? What do guys think?
 

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mushii

Distinguished Member
Personally I would buy a small 19" rackmount frame to go into the cupboard, then you can mount the patch panel and your switch to it. Something like this

Amazon product
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
I would place it inside the cabinet with one side attached to the divider wall, set back 3 or 4" from the front and add a vertical rail inside the cabinet (also set back 3 or 4") to attach the other one to, so that they are 19" apart. That way you have a nice rack to put your patch panel, switch and power distribution unit on to.

IMG_9783.jpg
 

coolmanfever

Novice Member
awesome. That is a really good schematic drawing. I like it and it looks clean. I tried to find the example 19" rackmount frame you recommended on amazon but the closest one on sale I find is this:

Amazon product
Do you think it will work? Why is rackmount frame have to 19 inch wide? Is that the standard for all network rackmount frame?
 

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