What wiring to run in your HT/Media room - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 04-30-2014, 08:20 AM - Thread Starter
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After months of reading here, I still have a couple of unanswered questions about hard wiring certain cables into my media room. Hopefully my questions will help others as well.

Most importantly, should I be running ethernet cable from my router to my DVR/Pre-pro/streaming device for things such as Pandora/Netflix/etc?

Here is where I sound like a noob...in what capacity do people use Cat6 cable in their HT?

I assume many are simply future proofing, but I am about 3 weeks from running all of my cables/wiring and I'm having last minute freak outs about not doing something I should be doing.

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post #2 of 30 Old 04-30-2014, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by thestoneman View Post

After months of reading here, I still have a couple of unanswered questions about hard wiring certain cables into my media room. Hopefully my questions will help others as well.[

Most importantly, should I be running ethernet cable from my router to my DVR/Pre-pro/streaming device for things such as Pandora/Netflix/etc?

Not sure how if you've been reading in this forum for months that that would still be a question! eek.gif

Yes, you should run cat5e/cat6 cables to every display location, and you should run multiples, too.
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Here is where I sound like a noob...in what capacity do people use Cat6 cable in their HT?

Ethernet, HDMI-over-category (e.g. HDBaseT), RS232, IR, 12V triggers, digital/analog audio signals - really almost everything short of AC power and speaker runs...
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I assume many are simply future proofing, but I am about 3 weeks from running all of my cables/wiring and I'm having last minute freak outs about not doing something I should be doing.

You run multiple cables for some amount of future-proofing. My recommendation is to run a minimum 3 cat5e/cat6 cables to every (potential) display location. Any any other place where there's a need for Ethernet or another need for a category cable - run an extra one, too.

In my theater I ran around ~1000' of cat5e - most of it coming back to the equipment rack, and six runs from the theater to my central wiring closet.

Jeff
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post #3 of 30 Old 04-30-2014, 09:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Not sure how if you've been reading in this forum for months that that would still be a question! eek.gif


Jeff

I know that people run these cables, but I never really felt comfortable with why. What content do you send through your ethernet, RS232, etc? I just assume not run cable for what I know I definitely WON'T use.

And in my defense, months of reading barely scratches the surface here!

By the way....in my notes from when I first started reading seriously here, I wrote "SEE JAUTOR'S BUILD THREAD". Your thread and build are both amazing. Extremely helpful and very inspirational.

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post #4 of 30 Old 04-30-2014, 09:25 AM
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Yep as Jautor said it's a good idea to run multiple cat6/5e cables to any location that a display or other device will be located. I recomend cat6 if your buying cable but if you already have 5e I suppose you can go with it.

Again run at least 3 lines per. I recommend more because things like hdmi over ethernet will eat up 2 lines its self. Personally I run 4 minimum.
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post #5 of 30 Old 04-30-2014, 09:30 AM
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I know that people run these cables, but I never really felt comfortable with why. What content do you send through your ethernet, RS232, etc? I just assume not run cable for what I know I definitely WON'T use.

And in my defense, months of reading barely scratches the surface here!

By the way....in my notes from when I first started reading seriously here, I wrote "SEE JAUTOR'S BUILD THREAD". Your thread and build are both amazing. Extremely helpful and very inspirational.

Me personally I use them for smart TV/roku or the like devices. my main purpose is network and local streaming of media. I also have a run or 2 that are currently and will possible be sending hdmi signals for streaming. All my movies and music are locally stored in one network location. This cableing allows me to access it all from anywhere. Yes we have wifi also and that's fine and dandy for certian things but if it's possible to hard wire I recommend doing so. Trying to stream hd content over wifi can be spotty at best. And if you have the ability now to run your cable I say do it! Worst case is you don't end up using them. The cost isn't all that much and well worth it I say!
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post #6 of 30 Old 04-30-2014, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by thestoneman View Post

I know that people run these cables, but I never really felt comfortable with why. What content do you send through your ethernet, RS232, etc? I just assume not run cable for what I know I definitely WON'T use.

True, you don't want to run cable you'll never use - but category wire is the jack-of-all-trades. It's dirt-cheap future-resisting (conduit would be truly "future-proofing"). We're talking about pennies per foot.

You want wired Ethernet anywhere you can run so you can avoid all the hassles with wireless networking whenever possible or practical.

The other most likely usage for it is to connect remote HDMI component(s).
Quote:
By the way....in my notes from when I first started reading seriously here, I wrote "SEE JAUTOR'S BUILD THREAD". Your thread and build are both amazing. Extremely helpful and very inspirational.

Thanks! Glad it's been helpful!

Jeff

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post #7 of 30 Old 04-30-2014, 11:00 AM
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Thanks for making this thread. I've been here for years and I still don't have a great grasp on Cat5/Cat6. Why would I do that over just running HDMI to all my displays? I suppose I could google how to run HDMI over Cat5/6 but I'm not that far in my build yet. smile.gif

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post #8 of 30 Old 04-30-2014, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gec5741 View Post

Yes we have wifi also and that's fine and dandy for certian things but if it's possible to hard wire I recommend doing so. Trying to stream hd content over wifi can be spotty at best.

This is one of the things I was hoping to hear someone say. I assumed hard wiring was preferred over sending content via wifi. but I really didn't know for sure.

I had a feeling this thread might help more than just me. Thanks for posting!

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post #9 of 30 Old 04-30-2014, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Conspiracy* View Post

Thanks for making this thread. I've been here for years and I still don't have a great grasp on Cat5/Cat6. Why would I do that over just running HDMI to all my displays? I suppose I could google how to run HDMI over Cat5/6 but I'm not that far in my build yet. smile.gif

It's really not to complicated. Basically you could run a long hdmi line to all your displays and that will be just fine. But there is a BUT that goes along with that. Depending on how long of a run you need it may be easier and better to send the signal over ethernet. Now in my media room I only needed to go about 20 feet or so. So I did put in 2 HDMI with redmere technology from mono price in my wall to the projector location. Along with that incase I ever had issues with either lines I also put in 4 cat6 lines. Now the reason for the cat 6 for me is a couple of things. If nothing else I could use one or more lines for internet access if needed. Or I could use 2 of the lines and connect an HDMI over eathernet adapter http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=104&cp_id=10425&cs_id=1042501&p_id=8008&seq=1&format=2 and send the hdmi signal over 2 cat6 lines. Right now I do that from a pc in my basement to my living room TV for my plex setup. so yes you can run longer hdmi lines but the longer you go (I think anything over 30 feet?) can possibly be a problem. the redmere cables are boosted so you can get a bit longer distance but with going over cat6 you can get a really long run working fairly easily and for less money then an expensive long hdmi cable. I also plan to use a HDBase T matrix for sending my comcast signal from the media room to my over the bar TV like this one http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=109&cp_id=10914&cs_id=1091403&p_id=10226&seq=1&format=2. This will also use your cat6 lines.

I hope that can clear things up a bit for you. So along with not only internet related things like any smart TV, Roku, or what similar devices. A hard wired ethernet port is alway's a good thing to have. And now aday's pretty much everything is comeing with an ethernet port on it! Or at least it should imo! biggrin.gif
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post #10 of 30 Old 04-30-2014, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Conspiracy* View Post

Thanks for making this thread. I've been here for years and I still don't have a great grasp on Cat5/Cat6. Why would I do that over just running HDMI to all my displays? I suppose I could google how to run HDMI over Cat5/6 but I'm not that far in my build yet. smile.gif

For runs in the same room less than 25', HDMI is fine (and up to 50' with a Redmere cable would be fine, too). But for runs longer than that, or to other rooms, HDMI is just not reliable (and wasn't intended to work at those distances). So moving to another technology is needed - the best of which today is HDBaseT for that purpose. But more importantly, category cable is designed for high-speed digital transmissions - and is installed everywhere for Ethernet already. Which also means that manufacturers looking to build a solution for AV distribution in the future will targeting it as it's the type of wires in common use.

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post #11 of 30 Old 04-30-2014, 11:56 AM
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This is one of the things I was hoping to hear someone say. I assumed hard wiring was preferred over sending content via wifi. but I really didn't know for sure.

You can very easily have wired Gigabit Ethernet (1000Mb/s) that will perform at that speed, always. Really good WiFi might get you 50Mb/s.

While even a decent, consistent WiFi connection is more than adequate for HD streaming - you can easily see why it's trivial on a simple wired network. While speeds of both types of networks will increase in the future, it will be a LONG time before we saturate a $10 Gigabit Ethernet link with AV streams...

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post #12 of 30 Old 04-30-2014, 12:12 PM
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yea your probably right that it will be a while before using up all that bandwith locally at our houses smile.gif. I still have seen buffering when trying to stream movies from my plex server to a wifi device with best picture quality. Through my gig network over cat 6 I've had 3 people in my house all streaming HD or blue ray quality movies at the same time with out a hiccup. My wife thinks I'm weird because that kind of stuff is very cool to me wink.gif. I'm from the camp that believes that wifi is great for your laptop, phone and other mobile devices. But when it comes to your AV equipment hard wireing is standard.
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post #13 of 30 Old 04-30-2014, 12:29 PM - Thread Starter
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What is the best way to get internet access to my basement? Currently, my router is 1 floor up and 40 feet over from my gear. I haven't checked yet, but does a standard Fios router have an ethernet or Cat6 out? I'm guessing there is a shortcut here to get internet hardwired to my new HT location.

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post #14 of 30 Old 04-30-2014, 12:44 PM
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Well that all depends. If your basement isn't finished yet then it won't be to hard at all. I have my cable modem and router in my office on my first floor. I made my MDF (Main Distrabution Frame) point for my house be in the utility room in my basement. My main cable line was up in my attic. I pulled that down to the basement and to my MDF (Main Distrabution Frame). That then goes up to my office where my cable modem is located. Then I drilled a hole from my unfinished basment up into the wall in my office. I ran 4 lines from the office wall to my MDF in the basement. My cable modem which currently lives in my office right next to the router plugs directly into the router. Then a line from the router goes to the wall in my office wich runs down into my 48 port 10/1000 gig swtich that is mounted in my MDF. When my home was built I had the builder put in 2 chase pipes going from my basement to my attic which I filled up with cat6 and standard coax for TV. So my second floor has 2 drops per room. I pulled one cat6 line into my boy's walk in closet and ran a small 6 port gig switch which acts as my IDF (Independent Distrabution Frame). I did that because I had filled both chase pipes so if ever I want to add more lines on the 2nd floor I can by simply dropping lines down into that closet and over to what ever room I want. So in the basement all my network or cat6 lines simply will be terminated into that MDF in the utility room. Basically anything I plug into that 48 port switch is live.

So in your case I would get yourself another somewhat larger switch depending on how many lines you want active. Place that somewhere in your basement that can act as your network closet of sorts. Connect that switch to your router upstiars with a cat6 line. Then bring all your downstaris lines to that new switch in your basement. I hope I didn't confuse you more! I'm not very good at explaning things. smile.gif You don't really need an "ehternet out". Just go from port to port. Dosn't really matter which ports.

Also make sure you lable your lines. It get's confusing really quick. I use a sharpee and write on the wire and also use white electrical tape and label that. I have a plan to use a 48 port patch pannel in my MDF. I have already created my template for labling my ports. I will put a sticker at the actual wall plate drops per jack. That will then on my diagram be relflected and taped up by my MDF. Also my floors will be color coded. Blue for 2nd floor, orange for 1st floor and green for basement. then I'll be ordering 1 foot patch cables of those colors. so any patch cable that is blue I will know just by looking at it what floor it's patched into. Then I can look on my diagram to see what patch panel port it is so I'll know it's my master bedroom jack 1 for instance.
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post #15 of 30 Old 04-30-2014, 02:09 PM
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Fantastic thread guys! Already clarified many of my questions and concerns as well! Wasn't even aware of the HDMI over Ethernet option?!! Thanks everyone for your valuable input and expertise!
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post #16 of 30 Old 04-30-2014, 03:10 PM
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Fantastic thread guys! Already clarified many of my questions and concerns as well! Wasn't even aware of the HDMI over Ethernet option?!! Thanks everyone for your valuable input and expertise!

There are tons of threads and info about whole-house wiring and HDMI distribution in the "Home AV Distribution" forum a few down from here...

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post #17 of 30 Old 04-30-2014, 05:10 PM - Thread Starter
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So in your case I would get yourself another somewhat larger switch depending on how many lines you want active. Place that somewhere in your basement that can act as your network closet of sorts. Connect that switch to your router upstiars with a cat6 line. Then bring all your downstaris lines to that new switch in your basement. I hope I didn't confuse you more! I'm not very good at explaning things. smile.gif You don't really need an "ehternet out". Just go from port to port. Dosn't really matter which ports.

.

Perfect. Exactly what I wanted to hear. Having someone say, "Do this: ..." can be incredibly helpful.

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post #18 of 30 Old 04-30-2014, 07:03 PM
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Now keep in mind this is still extreamly messy and no where near "finished". But this is my MDF. I'm waiting till I get drywall in and I replace the two old patch panels with a new one to terminate all my lines and really clean that up. Hopefully in a month I'll be able to do that. But here are a couple pics for a visual of what I did.




Again its embarrassing at what a mess that is. But I just ran most of that recently. And what plugged in is the upstairs stuff. The Smurf tubes are going to be a challenge to make look nice. This is just for network and tv distribution. That receiver is running the bar area. In that same utility room my av "rack" for the media room is also.
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post #19 of 30 Old 05-01-2014, 05:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Wow...a few weeks ago I wasn't planning on any switching/networking, but I definitely am now. Fortunately, I am only networking (3) display devices on the same floor which is currently unfinished.

Please let me know if I am missing something:

*Running cat6 out from my router to a multi-port switch
*Running ethernet out to display devices from switch (Do I run RS232 out from the switch as well??)
*Running HDMI from video sources via HDBaseT via Cat6

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post #20 of 30 Old 05-01-2014, 07:16 AM
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Wow...a few weeks ago I wasn't planning on any switching/networking, but I definitely am now. Fortunately, I am only networking (3) display devices on the same floor which is currently unfinished.

Please let me know if I am missing something:

*Running cat6 out from my router to a multi-port switch
*Running ethernet out to display devices from switch (Do I run RS232 out from the switch as well??)
*Running HDMI from video sources via HDBaseT via Cat6

You don't have to go over the top like I am. I tend to like to go crazy with stuff but ehh. I work in the field so I'm just doing albeit on a smaller scale what we do when we go in and setup a new facility. So depending on how many drops your going to be doing and they can add up fairly quickly will depend on how big of a switch you'll want. Here's a link to newegg's selection. Not all that expensive for a deceint 16 to 24 port swtich. http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100010066%20600015691&IsNodeId=1&name=13Ports%20-%2030Ports. I recommend getting one that may be a bit more then you may think you need. That will give you some wiggle room down the road to add more lines. You can also daisy chain another switch in if you choose later as well.

so if your going to have 3 display's and want to cover your bases personally I recommend pulling at least 4 cat6 drops per location. That's just me and maybe you could argue that 4 is overkill but for me I'd rather have unused drops then have to go back and run more after the fact. If you think about it and these devices are smart tv's then you may want to plug the tv into the network then that's one port. And if you mount a blue ray player or a streaming device like a roku then you can also hard wire those at that location. I suppose you can get away with wifi for that if it's available but i tend to prefer a hard line if that's an option. And to even overkill it more what I did was run dedicated HDMI lines as well. I figured my bases will be covered if that hdmi cable becomes problematic or just all out dies then I have the cat6 lines to fall back on.

Another thing that is a good idea and if you really want to future proof the job depending on if your drywalling the ceiling or not. I am drywalling the ceiling so I ran a flex conduit to each location from my utility room. All the lines that I've pre run I ran outside of the chase tubeing. All that's in the tube at the moment is a pull string. So if down the road I need more lines or need to add something new I can.

Here's a shot of my "remote closet" or "IDF". Nothing more then a small gig switch that links back to the switch in my basement really. I can add lines and terminate them to the wall in that closet. Right now it's just a 4 port switch but if I add more I'll need to get maybe an 8 port. Not sure that will ever happen. But it's nice to know I can! smile.gif



link to my build thread is in my sig. It's no where near as impressive as jautor's build but I'm doing what I can with the space I got rolleyes.gif
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post #21 of 30 Old 05-01-2014, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by thestoneman View Post

What is the best way to get internet access to my basement? Currently, my router is 1 floor up and 40 feet over from my gear. I haven't checked yet, but does a standard Fios router have an ethernet or Cat6 out? I'm guessing there is a shortcut here to get internet hardwired to my new HT location.

I agree with gec's post. If it were me, I'd run a cable (or two) from your fios router down to the basement to a second wireless router. If you want, you can set the network name and password to be the same as your fios router. Then your devices would automatically connect to whichever signal is the strongest. Putting a second router in your basement will improve wireless signal. If wireless isn't a concern, you could get by with a gigabit switch and hardwire everything in the basement to the switch.

Smart TVs require a network connection (wired or wireless) to access all the "cool" online features. So you can plug the cat 5 or cat6 cable directly into the network port on the TV.

Other uses for cat 5/cat 6 cable (this list is not all inclusive.)

- Telephones
- Ethernet/Internet connectivity
- Distributed Video (HDMI over cat 6 as well as HDBaseT)
- Audio Distibution (When run along with speaker wires to control panels)
- Remote control lighting if run to the light switch and control box.
- IR distribution (Hide your components and repeat your remote control signals over long distances.)
- jewelry (ok, stretching a bit.)
- As stated earlier - It's a jack of all trade wire.

FWIW - I've been using this switch in my basement for about 2 years. It's been great. Between blue ray player, Uverse boxes, A/V receivers, HTPC...the ports do get eaten up fairly quickly.

As for routers and wireless speeds. D-link has new cloud routers that are dual channel. (2.4 ghz and 5ghz at same time). Bought one last week when my DIR655 went out. The cloud router connects to my laptop at a consistent 270 Mbps. Not to open a can of worms. I think wired is the way to go if at all possible, but wireless is getting faster and more reliable.

I'm confused too.

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post #22 of 30 Old 05-02-2014, 07:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Great advice. I may just hardwire everything since the space is currently unfinished. Thanks for the tip on the Monoprice switch!

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post #23 of 30 Old 05-20-2014, 09:15 AM
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I didn't read through all the posts, but you got a lot of good advice. I might add (and maybe I missed it), that if you think you might want a long HDMI cable run and you want to run those Ethernet repeater thingies, you should use CAT6. You need two too! That's what I did. I tend to try and future proof as much as possible especially since the walls were open. Of course I outfitted my media room with just about every type of connection I would ever want/need. Most people won't need half of what I put in. smile.gif I also ran individual 20-amp circuits for all outlets to different areas in my room, since I have multiple systems to power. Only the ceiling lighting is 15-amp. - Rick

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post #24 of 30 Old 05-20-2014, 09:32 AM
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One more thing that cat5 or cat6 can be used for is power. It requires you have a POE (power over ethernet) swtich but it's possible. The device your trying to power needs also have a POE port. I will be adding some security cameras throughout my basement and other parts of the house inside and out. This is a handy way to get power to the cameras so you don't have to worry about wireing up an outlet at each location. I have access to get network to all the locations that I would want a camera through out my house. So Instead of needing to wire up hidden outlet or worse seeing power cords running around my ceiling all I'll need to to do is get a network run to the camera.
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post #25 of 30 Old 05-20-2014, 05:15 PM
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If the only networking you are doing is connecting to the internet more than likely your speeds will be limited by your modem/ISP long before you max out the speed of your wireless router so you will have the same speeds of downloading HD movies whether you are connected to your router wirelessly or wired.  Unless you have an old piece of equipment with 802.11a or b.  Any newer equipment has 802.11n or 802.11ac with 802.11ac able to achieve the same speeds as 1000BaseT wired networks.

 

That said, I agree with everyone else that CAT5/6 should still be run.  Even though the speeds of wireless networks have improved the reliability still isn't as good as a wired network.  And as others have said, the uses of CAT6 cable are endless.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by stoudtlr View Post

If the only networking you are doing is connecting to the internet more than likely your speeds will be limited by your modem/ISP long before you max out the speed of your wireless router so you will have the same speeds of downloading HD movies whether you are connected to your router wirelessly or wired.  Unless you have an old piece of equipment with 802.11a or b.  Any newer equipment has 802.11n or 802.11ac with 802.11ac able to achieve the same speeds as 1000BaseT wired networks.

That said, I agree with everyone else that CAT5/6 should still be run.  Even though the speeds of wireless networks have improved the reliability still isn't as good as a wired network.  And as others have said, the uses of CAT6 cable are endless.

I haven't found this to be true at all. I have new equipment (both computer and router), and cat6 blows away wireless. There's no comparison. I can run youtube or anything else on cat6 full speed, and on wireless, it's constantly dropping out. Also, I move large files sometimes, and it takes freaking forever on wireless. It's much faster on cat6.

For instance, if I switch my HT computer to wireless from wired, it's unwatchable (I use HDHomerun and Homerun Prime, so I have tons of HD video). If I switch back to wired, it's fine. Perhaps that's because I can record up to five HD shows at the same time (most that usually happens is we watch one HD show while at most two will record), but still wireless is useless for this purpose.

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From your basement, run as many drops up through the walls to your first floor rooms as you can. Even if you don't think you'll ever need/use hardwired Ethernet in that room. I know it can be a hassle, but while wireless is good, hardwired is better and more reliable (except if you have Comcast frown.gif ) in just about every way. Especially for devices that are more permanent to the room - like Smart TVs, desktop computers, HTPCs, Blu-ray players, music streamers, etc. Laptops and tablets of course should be wireless. In my previous home I had e-jacks in all the upstairs bedrooms, loft, living room, kitchen and several drops in the basement. I'm trying to do the same in my current house as I build out my basement. Nothing like wide, open access to the floor above to add drops to the rooms on the first floor! smile.gif - Rick

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post #28 of 30 Old 08-15-2014, 12:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Can someone confirm if this setup will work? I am not sure HDMI splitters are designed to work this way. I want to be able to switch between 2 video sources.

Updated to say I know this can be done with an HDMI switch...not splitter.
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post #29 of 30 Old 08-15-2014, 05:00 PM
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Quote:
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Can someone confirm if this setup will work? I am not sure HDMI splitters are designed to work this way. I want to be able to switch between 2 video sources.

Updated to say I know this can be done with an HDMI switch...not splitter.
Yes, although if your only output will be an extender(s), I'd suggest you get a matrix switch with the HDMI extenders built-in, to reduce the chances of incompatibility...

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post #30 of 30 Old 08-15-2014, 08:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, although if your only output will be an extender(s), I'd suggest you get a matrix switch with the HDMI extenders built-in, to reduce the chances of incompatibility...
Can you recommend a good switch? And thanks for your input...again!

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