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post #1 of 20 Old 08-19-2013, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
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I've browsed the site for a few months looking for some answers but haven't found anything definitive.

I'm building a new three level house of about 6500sqft and would like to know how to best wire it. While I know we can't future proof anything, I'd hate to get the walls closed up and then say "d'oh!" because I forgot something obvious..

  • I'd like all the "boxes" in some central location in the lower level (perhaps next to the media/exercise room)
  • We're not a big home entertainment family and all are adults
  • TVs in 4 bedrooms, family room, office and lower rec room. One add'l TV in media/exercise room
  • Surround sound in media/exercise room only - no need to get real fancy here either
  • Only three TVs would ever be used at any given time
  • Needs to be idiot proof once set up
  • No phone needed. There will be a landline going to one jack in the kitchen
  • Most computers will be wifi with a wireless router at either end of the house. One in kitchen and one in office will be hard wired
  • Audio will be handled via iPad or internet radio in whichever room we need it in. No need for whole house audio.

Sources
  • TV antenna (any suggestions here would be welcome too)
  • DirecTV
  • ROKU
  • DVD in media room

Questions
  • How do I wire everything? What (and how many) do I run to each room
  • How do I control everything? Everybody has an iPad and each room will probably have a Wifi computer. Nobody minds getting up to push a button.
  • Can I use any of my existing stuff?
  1. Sony DTS 5.1 receiver (6 years old- with digital audio input)
  2. Bose cubes plus center plus rear speakers
  3. Harmon Kardon Citation 11/17 amp/preamp
  4. AR 10pi speakers
  5. Cerwin Vega subwoofer
  6. A handful (3) of spare Dell D430 computers running Win7

I'm sure that I'll have lots more questions once I figure out how to wire the house.

TIA
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post #2 of 20 Old 08-19-2013, 02:27 PM
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Start by reading this:

http://cocoontech.com/forums/files/file/64-wiring-your-new-house-101/

And I'm not sure how you didn't find the dozens of other threads with general "pre-wire" of "new construction" questions... Did you hit on that search? biggrin.gif


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post #3 of 20 Old 08-19-2013, 07:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. I saw that but it doesn't really answer the questions and is 7 years old. There is much discussion of landline wiring while it seems that the recommendation today it to just use CAT-6

Am I overlooking something or has there no advancement in the last 7 years?
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post #4 of 20 Old 08-19-2013, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by ceb1 View Post

Thanks. I saw that but it doesn't really answer the questions and is 7 years old. There is much discussion of landline wiring while it seems that the recommendation today it to just use CAT-6

It was started 7 years ago. Been added to over the years. Replace "cat5e" with "cat6" and everything there is likely still applicable. You should wire rooms for "landline" handsets, but that's done with category wire and home run like the rest of the structured wiring.

In short - lots of category wire, at least 2-3 per display location, plus enough RG6 (at least one per location, two provides a lot of flexibility). Other non-display locations should get at least 1 category, 2 is much better.


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post #5 of 20 Old 08-20-2013, 07:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Got it. Thanks. Everything homerun to the patch panels in the lower level. 2xRG6 and 2xCat6 to each location should do it - right? One can split the cat 6 for landline/network, also right?
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post #6 of 20 Old 08-20-2013, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by ceb1 View Post

Got it. Thanks. Everything homerun to the patch panels in the lower level. 2xRG6 and 2xCat6 to each location should do it - right?

To the display locations, that's a minimum for distributed A/V. For "primary" areas, more cat6, and flex conduit for future-proofing.
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One can split the cat 6 for landline/network, also right?

While it's possible, there are limitations, and no one should be using that hack for new construction. Run cat6 lines for each.


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post #7 of 20 Old 08-20-2013, 11:10 AM
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When I wired my family room for land line phones, I purchased 2 pair cable instead of 4 pair cat cable. To some this may seem silly because the 2 pair cost as much as the 4 pair. I just never liked using 4 pair for phones because 2 pair makes a neater install. I would not split the cat 6 for LAN and phones. I am glad to see you running cat cable instead of going wireless. Man, you are getting a 6500 sq ft home. Do it right.

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post #8 of 20 Old 08-20-2013, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
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The only reason I was thinking of "splitting" the CAT6 was because I'm not going to have a landline with the exception of one hard wired phone in the kitchen. I'll have Vonage with another hard wired phone and everyone else will just be using cell phones. I would, of course, run a dedicated phone line to the landline in the kitchen.

6500 square feet only sounds big until you realize that you're combining my 3000sqft house with my mom's 5000sqft house. She and my aunt are both in their 80's so the resulting system should be pretty simple - although both have iPads and very "electronics savvy" for their ages - although I still the occasional call when they push a wrong button on the TV remote.

I guess the easiest way to do this is to get a whole house DirecTV DVR "Genie", hide the little boxes (along with a ROKU box) on the back of each TV and have the antenna as a backup for DirecTV unfriendly weather (which is when you really want the locals). I guess two coax would technically answer the mail (or does that "genie" pass through antenna signals - in which case one coax would do) for current TV technology and the CAT6 runs would do network and (if required) phone.

I think what I'm trying to do is break it down into two major groups - what I need now and what I might need down the road. Would it make more sense to just install what I need now and run a conduit to each location from the lower level for future cabling needs?
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post #9 of 20 Old 08-20-2013, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ceb1 View Post

I guess the easiest way to do this is to get a whole house DirecTV DVR "Genie", hide the little boxes (along with a ROKU box) on the back of each TV and have the antenna as a backup for DirecTV unfriendly weather (which is when you really want the locals). I guess two coax would technically answer the mail (or does that "genie" pass through antenna signals - in which case one coax would do) for current TV technology and the CAT6 runs would do network and (if required) phone.

I think what I'm trying to do is break it down into two major groups - what I need now and what I might need down the road. Would it make more sense to just install what I need now and run a conduit to each location from the lower level for future cabling needs?

Yes, sounds like the Direct TV Whole House DVR functionality would suit your purposes fine. Also don't worry about getting sucked in to extra sat boxes because a lot of the newer ones have RF built in and you can use them for more than one area (especially if you have an area that does not get used a lot i.e. office). I would def run at least two coax (one for direct tv and one for antenna) to each location that way your covered.

And to answer your last question, the philosophy around here is run all the wire you can now while the walls are open but still put in conduit for future wiring. Do not make the mistake of not doing conduit....it is cheap compared to trying to fish wire up second story walls (trust me I know)!
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post #10 of 20 Old 08-20-2013, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ceb1 View Post

The only reason I was thinking of "splitting" the CAT6 was because I'm not going to have a landline with the exception of one hard wired phone in the kitchen. I'll have Vonage with another hard wired phone and everyone else will just be using cell phones. I would, of course, run a dedicated phone line to the landline in the kitchen.

I'll tell you right now with 6500 sqft that when the phone rings in the kitchen you'll have no chance of making it there before they hang up. You'll want wired phones elsewhere in the house (perhaps cordless systems).
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6500 square feet only sounds big until you realize that you're combining my 3000sqft house with my mom's 5000sqft house. She and my aunt are both in their 80's so the resulting system should be pretty simple - although both have iPads and very "electronics savvy" for their ages - although I still the occasional call when they push a wrong button on the TV remote.

Since you're constructing for older folks - you want phones in most rooms - those are always available and in the same physical spot.
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I guess the easiest way to do this is to get a whole house DirecTV DVR "Genie", hide the little boxes (along with a ROKU box) on the back of each TV and have the antenna as a backup for DirecTV unfriendly weather (which is when you really want the locals). I guess two coax would technically answer the mail (or does that "genie" pass through antenna signals - in which case one coax would do) for current TV technology and the CAT6 runs would do network and (if required) phone.

While you can combine the OTA signals (using a diplexer) on the DirecTV SWM system, they apparently conflict with the DECA networking bandwidth, which will force the use of Ethernet (and is not "officially" supported). If you plan to wire for OTA, I'd run two RG6 cables and keep everything else simple. The cost of the dipexers would be more than the cost of the wire anyway. And the wire is useful for other things...
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I think what I'm trying to do is break it down into two major groups - what I need now and what I might need down the road. Would it make more sense to just install what I need now and run a conduit to each location from the lower level for future cabling needs?

Yes and no. The wire is cheap, so run everything you could reasonably expect to use, add some more to be sure, and save the conduit for the unpredictable future. You probably won't run conduit to all locations - that would be costly, certainly more than "one spare cat6 line to each location".


Jeff


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post #11 of 20 Old 08-20-2013, 05:40 PM
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When you run your land line phone, be sure to use 6 pin Keystones instead of 8 pin ones, it cuts down on the confusion. I also would put more than 1 land line connection in. It gives you a choice of more locations to locate your answering machine, especially for elderly family members.I don't like cell phones. I too have Vonage and the audio is much clearer than any cell phone. Especially for the elderly. Also, what about faxing, won't you need some land lines for those, that is if that is important to you.

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post #12 of 20 Old 08-20-2013, 06:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post

I'll tell you right now with 6500 sqft that when the phone rings in the kitchen you'll have no chance of making it there before they hang up. You'll want wired phones elsewhere in the house (perhaps cordless systems).
Since you're constructing for older folks - you want phones in most rooms - those are always available and in the same physical spot.
While you can combine the OTA signals (using a diplexer) on the DirecTV SWM system, they apparently conflict with the DECA networking bandwidth, which will force the use of Ethernet (and is not "officially" supported). If you plan to wire for OTA, I'd run two RG6 cables and keep everything else simple. The cost of the dipexers would be more than the cost of the wire anyway. And the wire is useful for other things...
Yes and no. The wire is cheap, so run everything you could reasonably expect to use, add some more to be sure, and save the conduit for the unpredictable future. You probably won't run conduit to all locations - that would be costly, certainly more than "one spare cat6 line to each location".


Jeff

All good points. Thanks. You're right, cabling now is cheap.
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post #13 of 20 Old 08-20-2013, 06:32 PM - Thread Starter
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When you run your land line phone, be sure to use 6 pin Keystones instead of 8 pin ones, it cuts down on the confusion. I also would put more than 1 land line connection in. It gives you a choice of more locations to locate your answering machine, especially for elderly family members.I don't like cell phones. I too have Vonage and the audio is much clearer than any cell phone. Especially for the elderly. Also, what about faxing, won't you need some land lines for those, that is if that is important to you.

You guys have convinced me about the wiring for the landlines for future proofing. I haven't answered my landline in several years and don't even know the number. I use it for the alarm system and to yell at the electric company automated answering service whenever I report an outage. Off topic - I hate that perky voice with the "thank you for reporting the outage, a crew has been dispatched to your location and we expect power to be restored in two days."

I also use that phone for the periodic faxes for those places that can't use a scanned image emailed.

That said, a hard wired phone in each bedroom and office makes loads of sense.
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post #14 of 20 Old 08-20-2013, 09:19 PM
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You need to future proof for medical devices, take it from me. When my dad was in the last years of his life we had all kinds of medical devices around that needed phone lines. Luckily when the house was built in the mid 60's ATT encouraged that massive bundle of wires, there might be 12 pair, and it is run next to EVERY electrical outlet in the house. I made use of that feature any number of times as things changed. Most used FAX like communication and could be quite picky in sending. Run an extra set of something to the areas the older folk will occupy, you never know.

As I mentioned my house was built in the 60's, it's two story, about 4000sq. ft. Over the years I've fished what seems like mile of CAT5, I would never rely on wireless. Home runs from each room should not be that difficult in the building stages, you can easily add a switch if multiple connections are needed. My media area has an 8 port switch, my bedroom and library have 4 port switches and I have 16 port by my computer. Everything that can be hard wired is, and that is the only way I'd do it.

BTW there are much better and cheaper alternative to Vonage out there. Used Vonage in our office for a while, total rip off.
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post #15 of 20 Old 08-21-2013, 11:41 AM - Thread Starter
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You need to future proof for medical devices, take it from me. When my dad was in the last years of his life we had all kinds of medical devices around that needed phone lines. Luckily when the house was built in the mid 60's ATT encouraged that massive bundle of wires, there might be 12 pair, and it is run next to EVERY electrical outlet in the house. I made use of that feature any number of times as things changed. Most used FAX like communication and could be quite picky in sending. Run an extra set of something to the areas the older folk will occupy, you never know.

As I mentioned my house was built in the 60's, it's two story, about 4000sq. ft. Over the years I've fished what seems like mile of CAT5, I would never rely on wireless. Home runs from each room should not be that difficult in the building stages, you can easily add a switch if multiple connections are needed. My media area has an 8 port switch, my bedroom and library have 4 port switches and I have 16 port by my computer. Everything that can be hard wired is, and that is the only way I'd do it.

BTW there are much better and cheaper alternative to Vonage out there. Used Vonage in our office for a while, total rip off.
Very good points about the medical devices. I've already caved. Lots of CAT6 everywhere and two RG6 runs to every room that might have a TV.

A bit off topic - I use Vonage to call Europe - what's a better alternative?
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post #16 of 20 Old 08-21-2013, 12:28 PM
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Glad to hear you are adding a few more wires, it can make a difference. My dad made it to 95 and for the last couple of years had a scale that called in his readings twice a day, had a small computer that would check his o2 levels, BP and respiration and call in daily among other devices. Made life much better and was a great help in avoiding moving to assisted living. While he was quite mobile I certainly did not want cords running here and there so it was great just to pop a phone outlet where ever needed.

I've looked at any number of voip services, tried a few and found them all quite good. My personal favorite is VOIP.ms, they have POP in a number of locations, even Europe. I don't make a lot of calls and find that $25 will cover my phone use for 3-4 months, very good rates. Also a number of folks like Ooma, but I have no idea what their service to Europe is like. For all but Ooma you need a simple adapter that can be had for $30 or so. Some can be setup to use Google voice and eliminate fees all together.
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post #17 of 20 Old 08-21-2013, 12:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Glad to hear you are adding a few more wires, it can make a difference. My dad made it to 95 and for the last couple of years had a scale that called in his readings twice a day, had a small computer that would check his o2 levels, BP and respiration and call in daily among other devices. Made life much better and was a great help in avoiding moving to assisted living. While he was quite mobile I certainly did not want cords running here and there so it was great just to pop a phone outlet where ever needed.

I've looked at any number of voip services, tried a few and found them all quite good. My personal favorite is VOIP.ms, they have POP in a number of locations, even Europe. I don't make a lot of calls and find that $25 will cover my phone use for 3-4 months, very good rates. Also a number of folks like Ooma, but I have no idea what their service to Europe is like. For all but Ooma you need a simple adapter that can be had for $30 or so. Some can be setup to use Google voice and eliminate fees all together.
Your dad's long life bodes well for you. This is exactly why this forum is so great - it answered my "what am I forgetting?" question.

My sister spends summers in Europe so we tend to talk a lot. We all have Google voice but I've yet to figure out how that works overseas.
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post #18 of 20 Old 08-21-2013, 02:26 PM
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Matt L, I am happy with Vonage. $13.50 a month tax included is a deal. I got a welcome back deal from them and they claim that price is forever. I had Verizon land line and the bill was around $50 with taxes. I asked them when I quit why don't you compete with other carriers. No good answer. I hope I didn't anger any one by going off topic. ceb1, glad to see your going with extra wiring.

Vonage even sent me a VOIP box free. I still think the old fashioned phone wire to the home was the best, audio wise. But I guess they just can't compete with the VOIP Companies.

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post #19 of 20 Old 08-21-2013, 05:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Landlines will always have a place until the VOIP people figure out how to power a phone without any external power. I will always have a land line even though I hope that I'll never need it - kinda like insurance.
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post #20 of 20 Old 08-22-2013, 09:02 PM
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Matt L, I am happy with Vonage. $13.50 a month tax included is a deal. I got a welcome back deal from them and they claim that price is forever. I had Verizon land line and the bill was around $50 with taxes. I asked them when I quit why don't you compete with other carriers. No good answer. I hope I didn't anger any one by going off topic. ceb1, glad to see your going with extra wiring.

Vonage even sent me a VOIP box free. I still think the old fashioned phone wire to the home was the best, audio wise. But I guess they just can't compete with the VOIP Companies.


Good price. In my experience they quickly got almost as expensive as ATT with all the fees and add-ons.

Hope all goes well with the new home.
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