Running Cat5 cable throughout my home
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Old 07-28-2006   #1
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Default Running Cat5 cable throughout my home

I need to get a home network set up - wired, not wireless. And I need to run Cat5 cable throughout the house. Anyone have any tips or gotchas? How-tos online that you've used?

Right away I know that I don't know how to affix the cables to the faceplates that will go in the walls.

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Old 07-28-2006   #2
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Default Re: Running Cat5 cable throughout my home

My first tip - find a good friend that knows what they're doing, and has tools appropriate to the job.

Do you have an attic or crawlspace? Trying to run cable laterally through walls is tough if you cannot access the walls from either above or below. If this is the case, I'd consider getting a professional to do it.

How many rooms are you "hooking up"?

At the central distribution point, are you going to have all the cables from each of the rooms terminating on a single faceplate, or coming out of the wall and terminating at RJ-45 connectors? Are you going to be using a patch panel?

Any plans to run GigE at any time? If so, I'd consider runing CAT 5E or CAT 6.

This can be a very complicated task with a lot of different things to take into consideration. I've done a lot of wiring (I owned a cabling business for awhile), and I only do wiring in homes to help my friends. I use wireless because I don't want to wire my own home, although I've been forced to do some phone and coax wiring - what a pain. If you want to call me and talk about some of your options, send me a PM and I'll reply with my numbers. Where are you located?
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Old 07-29-2006   #3
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Default Re: Running Cat5 cable throughout my home

You'll need modular plugs, a plug crimper (a good one, cheap ones are asking for trouble), a good pair of small, SHARP wire cutters, snap-in modular jacks, a punch tool, outlet boxes (the remodeling type),snap-in face plates, an ethernet patch panel (w/ built-in 110 punch block), a keyhole saw, a 10" long 3/8" drill and a friend.

The first thing to do is figure how other wires run like AC, telephone and cable TV. The easiest way to go is usually to run them wherever cable TV runs.

The next thing is to decide on where the hub of your wiring plant will be... some place out of sight but well lit. I recommend a 3/4" plywood backboard to mount your patch panel but you can get by without a patch panel altogether if money is a problem.

If you trace down some of your cable wiring (unless it was installed when the house was built), you will find that it mostly runs under the house and and comes up into the wall space through holes drilled in the 2x4's that form the base of the wall (floor plates). That's why it's best to follow the TV cable... you don't have to guess at which stud space you drilled the hole in. REMEMBER! ANYTIME YOU DRILL OR CUT INTO A WALL OR FLOOR YOU CAN HIT OTHER WIRES LIKE ELECTRICAL WIRES!

Anyway, cut your box hole with the keyhole saw and if you're lucky you can simply push the wire up until you can grab it, pull it through the back of the box and tighten the box into the wall.

Use the punch tool to connect the computer end of the wire to the jack (which should be color coded for MDI-X) and the switch end to the punch block. Use patch cables to connect the jack to the computer

Ethernet wiring is not straightforward, the pairs have to stay twisted and they don't connect in straight color order. Pay close attention to this tutorial so you get the idea of how the pairs connect. If you run the wires straight through you will have major x_talk problems.

Chip

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Old 07-29-2006   #4
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Default Re: Running Cat5 cable throughout my home

I did cat5 all round the house from the attic to the basement - 4 floors. I didn't do anything clever with regards to having the cable inside the walls and accessible via a wall plate etc. I just hooked up switches on each floor (just little 4 way boxes mounted to the wall in a discrete location). The cable is completely hidden by running it under the skirting boards. However, if I was doing it again I'd be looking at MIMO or even Homeplug AV. I think the days of having to use wired ethernet to get enough throughput for things like media streaming etc are drawing to a close.
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Old 07-30-2006   #5
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Default Re: Running Cat5 cable throughout my home

Everyone, thanks much for the replies. I'm going to take some of your advice and talk to a pro installer about this. The job is too big for me.
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Old 08-22-2006   #6
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Default Re: Running Cat5 cable throughout my home

In Austin I ran CAT3 (good enough for a small home network) with the help of an electrician.

In Knoxville, wireless. Not going to open the can of worms we did in Austin. There were a couple of times we would hit a cross member halfway down the wall.

Be sure to have LONG drill bits in case that happens.

Good luck,


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