Should I prewire my home network myself?

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coalcracker
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Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by coalcracker » Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:47 am

Most of my future home is gutted at the moment, and it was suggested by a friend that I should think about prewiring my home with CAT6 and coaxial cable to most of the rooms. This will presumably allow the most flexibility and least headache for any future AV or network components I may want to add.

After reading and asking questions on a couple IT and AV forums over the last few weeks, I think I have a reasonable idea of what "should" be done, and have been encouraged by others to try it myself. It would involve running the wire, attaching CAT6 and coaxial wallplates, wiring CAT6 to a patch panel and then a switch, testing to make sure the connections work, and possibly adding 1-2 additional wifi access points.

I have zero experience doing any sort of wiring or networking but, honestly, it sounds kind of fun to give this a try myself. However, I would be learning as I go along to some degree, and I worry I could really muck it up and waste a lot of time.

Has anyone tried and succeeded in this realm with my limited IT background? Should I just pay the networking professionals to set it up for me?

Glockenspiel
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by Glockenspiel » Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:58 am

I just did this in a basement with zero experience. Granted, a much smaller scale than what you are talking about, but I felt running the Cat6/coaxial cables was fun and pretty easy. If you run Cat6 to a room, it is normally recommended to run 2 cables to each location, in case one of them ends up not working for whatever reason.

In any case, you can always get the cable run to each room and if you end up needing to hire someone to set up your switch or patch panel, you can always do it later, after the drywall is back up. Make sure you label the ends of each wire before the drywall goes up. It takes a bit of time to connect Cat6 to a patch panel or switch, but once you make a couple connections, it gets much faster.

TheDDC
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by TheDDC » Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:59 am

coalcracker wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:47 am
Most of my future home is gutted at the moment, and it was suggested by a friend that I should think about prewiring my home with CAT6 and coaxial cable to most of the rooms. This will presumably allow the most flexibility and least headache for any future AV or network components I may want to add.

After reading and asking questions on a couple IT and AV forums over the last few weeks, I think I have a reasonable idea of what "should" be done, and have been encouraged by others to try it myself. It would involve running the wire, attaching CAT6 and coaxial wallplates, wiring CAT6 to a patch panel and then a switch, testing to make sure the connections work, and possibly adding 1-2 additional wifi access points.

I have zero experience doing any sort of wiring or networking but, honestly, it sounds kind of fun to give this a try myself. However, I would be learning as I go along to some degree, and I worry I could really muck it up and waste a lot of time.

Has anyone tried and succeeded in this realm with my limited IT background? Should I just pay the networking professionals to set it up for me?
You can do it yourself as long as you have the tools and the will to do a lot of "creative" cable routing. I prewired my home for data before I moved furniture in. My home was a "refresh" before I bought it, but the only thing in the rooms was telephone (Cat 3) and coax. I installed two Cat 6 network drops in all rooms of the house, 4 drops in my office, and home ran everything to my "MDF" in the basement where my network/server gear is. My office is on the 2nd floor. My home was built in the 1920s and has a chase from the basement to the attic which made things pretty easy. I ran 2 x .75" conduits through the chase to protect the cabling from the other stuff I was running up through, including flex ducts for HVAC return air.

I have also since added another cat 6 run to the 2nd floor landing where I ceiling mounted an AP (UniFi HD AP - highly recommend).

I rely on hard wired network connections for my 2nd floor office, so I ran four data drops to that room. If I convert the attic to an office then I will most likely add another IDF. I would then use a spare conduit to run MM fiber for interconnect.

In case you couldn't guess, I am a network engineer. :)

-TheDDC

bloom2708
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by bloom2708 » Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:02 pm

I don't know if there is much return on a fully wired home.

Spend $300 on a mesh router system. Lightning fast and available anywhere. The technology will continue to improve.

Are people still recommending fully wired (Coax, ethernet and telephone)? I guess for backwards compatibility and the next owner.

Probably not what you are asking. I wouldn't put $x into fully wiring. But maybe other still would.
"We are not here to please, but to provoke thoughtfulness." --Unknown Boglehead

N10sive
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by N10sive » Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:03 pm

It is fairly simple to wire yourself and a lot cheaper. I did my previous small companies wiring for them with very little experience before hand. As Glockenspiel pointed out just make sure you label the cables so your not wasting your time backtracking where each end ends up.

engineer1969
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by engineer1969 » Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:12 pm

The only precaution you should take is making sure cables cross each other at 90 degrees. This minimizes any possibility of cross talk interference. The tools and parts are fairly inexpensive.

123
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by 123 » Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:18 pm

The key is success is running single cable full-length from your common patch panel location to each room outlet. Don't attempt to use signal splitters (cable/broadband) or other gizmos to "save on wire".
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

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David Jay
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by David Jay » Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:34 pm

bloom2708 wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:02 pm
Spend $300 on a mesh router system. Lightning fast and available anywhere. The technology will continue to improve.
This!
Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future - Niels Bohr | To get the "risk premium", you really do have to take the risk - nisiprius

coalcracker
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by coalcracker » Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:35 pm

bloom2708 wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:02 pm
I don't know if there is much return on a fully wired home.

Spend $300 on a mesh router system. Lightning fast and available anywhere. The technology will continue to improve.

Are people still recommending fully wired (Coax, ethernet and telephone)? I guess for backwards compatibility and the next owner.

Probably not what you are asking. I wouldn't put $x into fully wiring. But maybe other still would.
This was my initial thought as well, but I continue to hear from my engineer friends that I should do wired. I gather one of the advantages is network security and stability?

I'd actually like to hear some engineer opinions here on the value of a wired network.

lazydavid
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by lazydavid » Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:38 pm

I haven't priced the cable itself in quite a while, but don't pay a significant premium for Cat6 vs. Cat5e. It is next to impossible for a non-professional installer to terminate Cat6 within spec, due to the extremely tight 0.5" maximum untwist requirement. If it's not terminated to spec, then it's no better than Cat5, so why pay the extra? If prices are close, then go ahead with the Cat6.

That said, while it is a good bit of work to do, it's not hard. What I did in a previous house was run cable like this one:

http://www.deepsurplus.com/Network-Stru ... site-Cable

Which provides dual Cat5e and dual RG6 Quad Shield at every location. Makes for a very nice clean install, though it is harder to run because of how stiff it is. At the end, just peel the sheath, terminate all 4 cables on the appropriate Leviton-style jacks, pop them into a wall plate and you're done. I actually found some decora panels that had two barrel connectors permanently installed, and 2 holes for the Leviton jacks, so that made it even easier.

I'm definitely of the mind that any device that doesn't move should be hardwired. Less configuration and troubleshooting, better more reliable performance, and also makes your OTHER devices that you do want to be wireless perform better, due to reduced congestion. So all of my TVs, Tivos, desktop PCs or docking stations, game consoles, receivers, etc are all connected via wired Ethernet. This leaves a nice noise-free Wifi network for laptops, tablets, and cell phones.

ThriftyPhD
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by ThriftyPhD » Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:47 pm

bloom2708 wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:02 pm
I don't know if there is much return on a fully wired home.

Spend $300 on a mesh router system. Lightning fast and available anywhere. The technology will continue to improve.

Are people still recommending fully wired (Coax, ethernet and telephone)? I guess for backwards compatibility and the next owner.

Probably not what you are asking. I wouldn't put $x into fully wiring. But maybe other still would.
Depends on what you're doing. The more wifi devices, the more congested the network. Mesh routers make this problem worse, since that's yet another device broadcasting over wifi. It will extend the RANGE from your main router, but potentially slow down your whole network. This is even more of an issue if you're in an apartment, townhome, or denser urban area where your neighbor's wifi can reach your space.

The more you can put on a wired connect, the less congestion on your wifi network and the faster everything will be. Desktop computers, gaming systems (PS4/Xbox), entertainment (Apple TV, Roku), networked cameras, and similar stationary devices are best connected through a wired connection. If you have a large home and want to extend your wifi signal, a wired connection between your routers will speed everything up as well. This frees up your wifi bandwidth for phones, tablets, and other devices where a wired connection isn't an option. Remember, with a good wired connection and router, every device can operate at full speed (gigE). With wifi, the entire network has a maximum speed that is shared between all of the devices. This speed degrades with each device, the distance to the base station, and the amount of interference from other networks. With the proliferation of devices that can connect by wifi, moving whatever you can to a wired connection can help slow the saturation of your network.
coalcracker wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:47 am
Most of my future home is gutted at the moment, and it was suggested by a friend that I should think about prewiring my home with CAT6 and coaxial cable to most of the rooms. This will presumably allow the most flexibility and least headache for any future AV or network components I may want to add.
Sounds like a fun project. Might be worth looking into running conduit. Not sure how that would impact difficulty or cost, but when I've read of others doing this type of project, some were using conduit. Benefit would be that replacing the cable would be simplified, or you could run another cable through there as well.

bloom2708
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by bloom2708 » Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:52 pm

I put 5 TVs on streaming HD content. I had my phone and a laptop running network speed tests while that was going on and did regular surfing.

This is an out of the box, Google Wi-Fi 3 mesh system. 75mb internet.

I guess if you are copying 1TB sized files, gaming and watching 4-5 HD streams while several surf you could begin to tap out your connection.

At some point, it might be "good enough".
"We are not here to please, but to provoke thoughtfulness." --Unknown Boglehead

coalcracker
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by coalcracker » Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:59 pm

lazydavid wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:38 pm
I haven't priced the cable itself in quite a while, but don't pay a significant premium for Cat6 vs. Cat5e. It is next to impossible for a non-professional installer to terminate Cat6 within spec, due to the extremely tight 0.5" maximum untwist requirement. If it's not terminated to spec, then it's no better than Cat5, so why pay the extra? If prices are close, then go ahead with the Cat6.
Could you elaborate on the what "terminating within spec" and "maximum untwist requirement" mean? Pretend like I have no idea what the hell you are talking about. :wink:

ddurrett896
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by ddurrett896 » Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:20 pm

coalcracker wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:47 am
Has anyone tried and succeeded in this realm with my limited IT background? Should I just pay the networking professionals to set it up for me?
The cable is relatively cheap. Run it and if you never need it, you can always use as a pull string for an addition outlet, phone line, etc.

TheDDC
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by TheDDC » Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:26 pm

bloom2708 wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:02 pm
I don't know if there is much return on a fully wired home.

Spend $300 on a mesh router system. Lightning fast and available anywhere. The technology will continue to improve.

Are people still recommending fully wired (Coax, ethernet and telephone)? I guess for backwards compatibility and the next owner.

Probably not what you are asking. I wouldn't put $x into fully wiring. But maybe other still would.
Mesh wifi will take a performance hit based on environmental factors including spectrum interference, microwaves, cordless phones, etc. Which can impact the backhaul. You can't do much about what your neighbor is doing to interfere with the spectrum. You can control the factors that affect cabling related noise issues in your own house, however.

If you want to look at Ubiquiti UniFi type of solution you will want to run cabling anywhere you want to place a wireless access point at the very least. Even that would be a better solution than mesh wifi.

Personally, I prefer a quality wired link over wifi because I can control both ends of that cable and run whatever link speed I want. I could theoretically achieve 10GbE over Cat 6. Not so much with wifi, and not in the foreseeable future with unlicensed spectrum at least.

Like I said, I'm a network engineer so my vocation naturally directs me to the best solution to the connectivity problem.

-TheDDC
Last edited by TheDDC on Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.

AnonJohn
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by AnonJohn » Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:27 pm

For me Cat5e was just fine, and cheaper. Glad I did it - in a dense urban environment 2.4 Ghz is tapped and 5 Ghz doesn't penetrate well. Did some coax and phone at the same time. Not sure if that was worth it. Don't expect any ROI, but I prefer to avoid wireless glitches and gotchas. We stream TV over ethernet around the house from a HdHomeRun.

Tools, etc are straightforward. My recommendations:
1. Use frame colors and jacks that coordinate with outlets.
2. Leave pull strings

The only technical complication that is hard: meeting NEC. This is where proper conduits come in. See, e.g. : https://diy.stackexchange.com/questions ... le_rich_qa

IIRC the NEC also has language about separating communication wiring from electrical wiring. Which isn't a terrible idea from an EM interference perspective too.

lazydavid
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by lazydavid » Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:54 pm

coalcracker wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:59 pm
lazydavid wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:38 pm
I haven't priced the cable itself in quite a while, but don't pay a significant premium for Cat6 vs. Cat5e. It is next to impossible for a non-professional installer to terminate Cat6 within spec, due to the extremely tight 0.5" maximum untwist requirement. If it's not terminated to spec, then it's no better than Cat5, so why pay the extra? If prices are close, then go ahead with the Cat6.
Could you elaborate on the what "terminating within spec" and "maximum untwist requirement" mean? Pretend like I have no idea what the hell you are talking about. :wink:
Lol. Sorry about that. Cat5/6 cable is called twisted pair cabling, because each pair of cables (4 pairs total) is twisted around each other in a spiral. For reasons that aren't important to this conversation, twisting them like this reduces noise and improves performance. When you want to put a jack on the end of the cable, you have to untwist these wires and spread them out to reach the terminals so they can be "punched down"--which is a process where a sharp terminal is forced through the jacket to make a connection. To make an actual Category 6 connection, the total length of wire that can be untwisted is less than half an inch. This is exceedingly difficult to do. If the length of untwisted wire is longer than this, then the performance drops down to more like what you would get with Category 5 cabling and traditional termination methods. Which is still plenty for most reasonable purposes.

All I'm saying is if one is unable to reliably punch down both ends of the cables with less than that half inch of untwist, there's no benefit to having the Cat6 cable. It's not a bad thing to have it, just doesn't add anything. So if the prices are similar, no matter. If Cat6 costs 50% more, that doesn't buy you a whole lot.
Last edited by lazydavid on Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mrb55
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by mrb55 » Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:55 pm

lazydavid wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:38 pm
I'm definitely of the mind that any device that doesn't move should be hardwired. Less configuration and troubleshooting, better more reliable performance, and also makes your OTHER devices that you do want to be wireless perform better, due to reduced congestion. So all of my TVs, Tivos, desktop PCs or docking stations, game consoles, receivers, etc are all connected via wired Ethernet. This leaves a nice noise-free Wifi network for laptops, tablets, and cell phones.
Absolutely agree with this approach. You will never regret going wired, especially for video and audio streams which are always getting larger.

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Bengineer
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by Bengineer » Tue Apr 10, 2018 2:10 pm

OP, some thoughts:

You could prewire and not terminate - just run cat5e/6 from wherever you want your central panel to be to each room outlet and terminate the ones you use later.

If you have a basement or utility room, it's nice to have a panel to set up your incoming cable/fiber/phone/networking and fan out from there. A sheet of plywood works well. It's compatible with everything! :o)

If you have basement/attic access, you could run ENT (AKA "blue pipe" - flex plastic conduit, also comes in orange low voltage flavors) up/down to each wall outlet and fish cable later as needed.

Call me old school, but I like wired. No firmware updates, no config, no interference. It just works. Power-Over-Ethernet is nice for network cams & other network gear that can use it.

Depending on the size/floors/walls you have, wifi access point locations might be a good idea - ceilings in hallways, etc that put the radios near use points.
Last edited by Bengineer on Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:14 am, edited 2 times in total.

N10sive
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by N10sive » Tue Apr 10, 2018 2:11 pm

coalcracker wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:35 pm
bloom2708 wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:02 pm
I don't know if there is much return on a fully wired home.

Spend $300 on a mesh router system. Lightning fast and available anywhere. The technology will continue to improve.

Are people still recommending fully wired (Coax, ethernet and telephone)? I guess for backwards compatibility and the next owner.

Probably not what you are asking. I wouldn't put $x into fully wiring. But maybe other still would.
This was my initial thought as well, but I continue to hear from my engineer friends that I should do wired. I gather one of the advantages is network security and stability?

I'd actually like to hear some engineer opinions here on the value of a wired network.
It really depends on the amount of traffic/devices you will have and exactly what your wanting to achieve with it. It is obviously better to be wired no matter what. No interference from neighboring Wi-Fi devices, no desense from say an HDMI cable that's delivering 4K, realizable throughput, less traffic on Wi-Fi network, etc.

If you still have a Wi-Fi router connected to this wired network your security wouldn't necessarily be better. Unless you set it up on a different subnet etc. Stability is obviously better. For a static device I would always prefer it to be wired. Less hassle of drivers changing for Wi-Fi connections, Wi-Fi router problems, FW updates etc.

quantAndHold
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by quantAndHold » Tue Apr 10, 2018 2:14 pm

I did this back in the sands of time, about five minutes before WiFi became a viable option. It’s certainly something a DIYer can do. We had a panel in the basement where the cable drop came in, a router, then outlets in every room.

Last year, after 20 years in the house, I disconnected the last of it. When we changed cable companies, it was easier to bring the cable into the house in another room, and the WiFi router that the cable company gave us for free reaches all parts of the house just fine. Over the years we moved furniture around, and the outlets were in all the wrong places, so we would just use the WiFi. Also, the Cat 5 cable that was state of the art when I installed it would go up in flames if we exposed it to modern network speeds (not really flames, but it can’t run for long periods at modern speeds).

If I were doing it fresh today, I would have the panel in the basement, and run a cable to my office, and a cable to the place in the center of my house where the WiFi is most likely to work the best. I wouldn’t bother with the rest. I probably wouldn’t bother with wiring my office, except that I have an old photo printer with broken WiFi, so it needs to be wired to something.

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vitaflo
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by vitaflo » Tue Apr 10, 2018 2:43 pm

lazydavid wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:38 pm
I haven't priced the cable itself in quite a while, but don't pay a significant premium for Cat6 vs. Cat5e. It is next to impossible for a non-professional installer to terminate Cat6 within spec, due to the extremely tight 0.5" maximum untwist requirement. If it's not terminated to spec, then it's no better than Cat5, so why pay the extra?
This. I did my house with Cat5e for this reason. It's cheaper and easier to terminate. It can do gigabit speeds which is plenty. I loved the project, it was time consuming, but fun and doesn't require many tools. Just be sure to get a cable tester. It can be a cheap one, but it's certainly required because you will make mistakes in crimping.

Some people will say to just go all wifi, but not every piece of equipment has super fast wifi built in. Plus if you have a file server like I do you will really want to be hard wired. Just my experience.

IowaFarmBoy
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by IowaFarmBoy » Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:20 am

If I were doing this, I would probably run ENT (electrical non-metallic tubing) to each location with the other end at a common spot, like in the basement or a utility closet. You can then pull whatever kind of cable you want through the tubing and replace it later if something new becomes the best thing. ENT is a flexible, plastic conduit that is relatively easy to install- not as easy as just pulling cable but much easier than metal.

I recently installed the Google Wifi mesh system and it is really nice. Fast and easy.

bob60014
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by bob60014 » Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:07 am

Been there done that. With wireless technology taking over the need for the cable is minimal. If I were to it today I would not run to the bedrooms (if that was on your radar) and just run cable to the prime areas such as the family room, basement (man cave), office and a run upstairs. Use Cat 6 for the need for speed and run through conduit to easily change the cable when the next latest and greatest or repair is required.

engin33r
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by engin33r » Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:36 am

To the people saying don't bother with wired because wireless is the future, I thought the same thing as I was building my house in 2016. I now regret not fully wiring the house.

I've put a pile of effort into configuring the highest-performance WiFi network possible. I have a Neatgear Orbi with 2 satellites, and my wired connection is gigabit fiber service from AT&T. When wired, I'm able to realize ~990 megabits. Over WiFi, it's more like 400-500 megabits. Through much effort, I've been able to ensure that this great WiFi is usable anywhere inside the house or outside in the yard.

After all that effort, WiFi still isn't good enough for some applications, like video conferencing. As I work remotely, video conference is something I do regularly. And it's imperative that the conference be glitch-free with no hiccups or audio/video synchronization issues. I've found that I have to use a wired connection if I want to guarantee that any video conference issues are not on my end. When I do conference over WiFi, it's usually fine, but occasionally there will be a blip, and it is just really jarring when those happen mid-sentence. The blips and hiccups go away when wired. The big differences between wired and wireless are latency and reliability. Wired is 10x less latency (wired @ 0.5ms-1.5ms, wireless @ 5-12ms), and wired is generally "blip free". There are no unexpected drops or hiccups like you have from interference in WiFi land.

It's possible you don't need to care so much about latency and consistency. These things aren't really important for streaming videos or normal computer use. But like I said, at this point I wish I had wired every room in the house with ethernet.

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lthenderson
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by lthenderson » Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:38 am

Another one who has been there and done that and wouldn't do an entire house that way again. I would still run some to where my entertainment center and desktop computers are going to be located, but would skip the rest and just rely on wifi.

Also make sure you when doing your own wiring, follow standard codes and practices. I see so many people who just string wire through their walls where it is convenient to them only to put a screw or nail through them down the road while hanging a picture. Also with any DIY wiring project, I like to take a picture of each wall and file it away somewhere when you are done and before it gets covered up with sheetrock. It has come in very handy a couple of times.

Glockenspiel
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by Glockenspiel » Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:10 am

lthenderson wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:38 am
Also with any DIY wiring project, I like to take a picture of each wall and file it away somewhere when you are done and before it gets covered up with sheetrock. It has come in very handy a couple of times.
I wholeheartedly agree with this. I took photos of EVERYTHING right before the sheetrock went up. Then, tag the photo name with a description of the wall. I've used it a few times to determine where things are behind the wall.

For everyone who is saying they WOULDN'T wire their house because the future is wireless, would you still wire coaxial cable to locations where TVs would be, if not wiring Cat5e or Cat6 everywhere?

vested1
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by vested1 » Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:17 am

To defeat the possibility of EM (electromagnetic) interference by spreading out the wire too much for termination, it might be a good idea to use female to female Ethernet jacks and buy pre-terminated Cat6 (or Cat5e). There would be no need to cut the wire and strip it back unless you had too much length. There are footage restrictions on different levels of Ethernet cable, which decrease as the category increases. These may be supplied in the documentation at purchase or can be easily found on the internet.

As suggested, make every location a "home run" back to the main connection point. I wouldn't worry too much about not crossing other Ethernet cables at less than a 90 degree angle, or about multiple signals running through different cables which run parallel to each other, but would pay attention to tight curves or bends. The higher category of Ethernet cable, the more twists per inch. The signal travels on the surface of the conductor between the metal and the insulation, so any visible defect in the insulation will negatively affect transmission.

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UpsetRaptor
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by UpsetRaptor » Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:26 am

Your home will totally be 2003-ready.

WhiteMaxima
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by WhiteMaxima » Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:48 am

5G wifi is coming.

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Blister
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by Blister » Wed Apr 11, 2018 6:35 pm

I wired my home myself several years ago and was not very difficult. But now we never use the cables, only wireless. We do live in the country and no neighbors close enough to tap in to our modem if the got the password.
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Mike83
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by Mike83 » Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:57 pm

If I were in your position (having good access to interior walls) I would run cat6 cable to a few select rooms. I would include a room on each floor, plus a few rooms where conventional video tv is likely to be used.

In future years, you are likely to use a wireless MESH network. These wires can then serve as a 'backbone' for an efficient MESH wireless system, connecting the wifi 'nodes'. I am using a Linksys Velops MESH 3 node system now, with about 25 wireless network devices connected to it, no problem. But it would be better my MESH nodes communicated with eachother by wire, rather than wifi. Intense video gaming might require this for best performance.

Basically, my advice is not to wire for every device, since most devices will be fine wireless now and in the future. But do set up a backbone cable throughout the home.

Also, there is a learning curve to terminating and crimping cable. You can always run the cable now that the walls are open, then crimp later at your convenience.

The backbone wiring best resembles this:

ISP ModemRouter<------------------>MeshNode1 on floor 1<------------------->MeshNode2 on floor 2<---------------------->MeshNode3 on floor 3

with some of these thrown in for good luck

ISP ModemRouter<------------------>Gaming Desktop
ISP ModemRouter<------------------>Video download point (if you do a lot of this)

You certainly do not need drops for printers, laptops, standard access to work vpn, thermostats, lawn sprinklers, phones, home automation, alexa, siri, netflix etc. These are things wifi can do quite well right now.

----------------------

Having said the above, there is remaining excellent reason to do hard cable to select locations, and that is video surveillance at locations where an electric outlet would be expensive or impractical, for example high on a wall inside or out. Plugging in a camera at that point gets problematic. The solution is to hardwire with cat6 that is capable of carrying power to drive the cameras (this is called power over ethernet or POE). I had an electrician route my cable though the walls, then terminated them myself, since I don't do crawl spaces anymore. Sounds like yo are in a good position to do this now with the walls open, for all sides of the house.

renue74
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by renue74 » Wed Apr 11, 2018 10:09 pm

I just did this for a 1935 bungalow.

Coax and cat6 drops in each bedroom and 2 in the living room, plus 2 drops for wired security cameras on front and back doors.

I ran everything back to a small Leviton structured wiring cabinet. Took about 1/2 day by myself to do all the drops and organize the cabinet.

All drops go to the back of the house. If I want to place a wired router at the front, I can do it now. I’m installing a Samsung smartthings hub and a ton of WiFi switches and lights.

About $300 in material for the wiring.

I would do it.

golfCaddy
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by golfCaddy » Wed Apr 11, 2018 10:12 pm

I would rather use wi-fi than cables. If you insist on running wire everywhere, I would pay a professional. This isn't because the IT part is hard. It's because anytime you start running wires inside the walls(if that's what you're planning on), there's fire and electric codes you need to be aware of.

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Lemonaid56
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by Lemonaid56 » Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:49 am

Run the wire is my recommendation while you have access easily. In the future if you change your mind about router or TV device locations you will have more options if you wire each room. Its not hard to do and you dont have to hook them up if you arent using them but if you want to relocate the TV or router/modems for whatever reason you will have that option.
When we remodeled I ran coax and CAT 5 to all rooms . Originally we had the router/modem in my den but that proved not central enough for the WIFI so I was able to relocate all that to a living room hidden behind the TV and much better located. Because I had run two wires to that location I was able to have an incoming wire for the router and then outgoing so I could backfeed to my desktop which is not WIFI capable and I think hardwire is much more secure.
Also when running the wires leave plenty of slack at wall plates and where the home run is going to; nothing worse than trying to work with or put a connector on a piece of wire just an nth short. All home runs to central location and TV/Den/Office I would run two wires and if the room is big enough to two opposite locations in the room in case you re-design the furniture.
Thats my two cents based on almost 40 years in the CATV and Telecommunications biz.

-buzz-
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by -buzz- » Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:23 pm

coalcracker wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:47 am
Most of my future home is gutted at the moment, and it was suggested by a friend that I should think about prewiring my home with CAT6 and coaxial cable to most of the rooms. This will presumably allow the most flexibility and least headache for any future AV or network components I may want to add.
We built a house in 2013. If I had it to do over again, I'd have added more ethernet.

Assuming you're talking about a single family home of reasonable size, I would absolutely do it now while it is easy. Keeping unnecessary traffic off the wifi network is better all around. Especially considering that internet speed will probably continue to increase in the future and likely to have more and more wifi devices.

At a minimum, I'd drop 2 ethernet and 1 coax in every location where there is a television. I'd also drop ethernet to access points and a home office if needed. Home run all the wiring to a panel.

Other things I'd consider:
- Running coax from the panel to the attic (possible TV antenna if you cut the cord on cable)
- Adding a wiring conduit from the panel to the attic for later use (if that would be beneficial)
- Security system wiring
- Ethernet to security camera locations (if you have any interest)

You can do all this yourself. I just expanded my home wired network and bought a lot of the stuff from monoprice.com.

I would also get a quote from a professional company or two. Since the do it all the time, they will make sure you have no inspection issues and might even have some better ideas of what works well. I would be comfortable running my own ethernet but probably would not want to do the security system myself.

McCharley
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by McCharley » Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:02 pm

DO IT! I have pulled so much wire in my old house.

Also, keep in mind security cameras. They work much more reliably wired than wireless.

Do not run it through the same conduit as your electrical wires. It is against code and can cause electrical interference.

I agree with the folks who have said to take a lot of pictures before the sheetrock goes in!

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unclescrooge
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by unclescrooge » Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:10 pm

bloom2708 wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:02 pm
I don't know if there is much return on a fully wired home.

Spend $300 on a mesh router system. Lightning fast and available anywhere. The technology will continue to improve.

Are people still recommending fully wired (Coax, ethernet and telephone)? I guess for backwards compatibility and the next owner.

Probably not what you are asking. I wouldn't put $x into fully wiring. But maybe other still would.
This.

I spent $500 on coax and cat6 cables when the house was gutted and wired the house house. By the time the house was finished they were mostly ruined. They were either plastered over, severed, or got gunk in the connectors.

The only thing worthwhile was that i created a media closet where i can put the cable modem.

radiowave
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by radiowave » Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:36 pm

I did a whole house prewire on a new construction late 90's. Having Ethernet is all rooms was a bit overkill but glad it was ready if needed. Prewire for security system and ceiling for overhead audio was well worth the effort especially for windows/doors, and PIR (motion detectors). In additional to taking a picture of bare walls and being able to project it on the finished wall, I added small magnets on the ends of the hidden wire and a simple compass can easily find the end to pull through. I also added extra wire in the attic for temperature monitoring and outside PIR access. If you are considering adding home automation, consider adding extra deep junction boxes especially on wall switches you may convert to Insteon or other flavor of automation e.g. R Wave. These switches are big and take up a lot of space. when you have bare wall its easy to change the junction boxes and cheap! Also, The Insteon switches and dimmers need a neutral so if that is problematic, again easy to pull new house wire at that point.
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wfrobinette
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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by wfrobinette » Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:29 am

mrb55 wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:55 pm
lazydavid wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:38 pm
I'm definitely of the mind that any device that doesn't move should be hardwired. Less configuration and troubleshooting, better more reliable performance, and also makes your OTHER devices that you do want to be wireless perform better, due to reduced congestion. So all of my TVs, Tivos, desktop PCs or docking stations, game consoles, receivers, etc are all connected via wired Ethernet. This leaves a nice noise-free Wifi network for laptops, tablets, and cell phones.
Absolutely agree with this approach. You will never regret going wired, especially for video and audio streams which are always getting larger.
All limited by the bandwidth coming into the house.

I have everything wireless. Internet at 100mb. Even directv only has one wired connection for 5 devices. Had 3 TV streaming and 9 people accessing the network via smart phones at the same time. The only wired device in the house is my desktop PC.

Zero problems and was still getting speed tests via iphone of 30Mbs.

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Re: Should I prewire my home network myself?

Post by afan » Sun Apr 15, 2018 4:02 pm

I have done some cabling. It was well worth it. In both cases there were places in the house not well covered by wifi. The cables reduce the demands on the mesh.

But if my walls were open I would do conduit instead. Cables change over time and you won't want to open up the walls again to replace them.
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