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post #1 of 35 Old 04-11-2012, 12:47 PM - Thread Starter
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I expect to soon be leaving the limitations of a renter behind as I'm looking to buy my first home. One of the things I'd like to do with the training wheels off is to set up a hard-wired network in my new place. Frankly, I have NO IDEA where to start.
  • How difficult is this to do on your own? (I know much of this depends on the layout of your house, but just in general.)
  • What are some of the dos and don'ts?
  • Is this something I should do on my own, or are there cost-effective means of hiring someone to do the work?
  • Are there any good guides you'd recommend?

Thanks all, I look forward to reliable Blu Ray streaming in my future!
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post #2 of 35 Old 04-11-2012, 01:28 PM
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Here are some guides for ya. Like you said it all depends on your homes layout, access, and how much your willing to open up the walls if need be. Good luck.

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-...r-6-For-Ether/

http://www.crutchfield.com/S-iKupwRc...ng.html?page=3

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwXAWsp9wps


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post #3 of 35 Old 04-12-2012, 08:15 AM
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It's easy to do, but it takes a little bit of time figuring out how and where you want to run the cables.

You will need some tools such as:
http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2

Also know the difference between stranded and solid Cat cables. I use solid lines. Stranded are recommended for short run. Furthermore, you need to buy the correct modular plugs as well. There are modular plugs for solid and stranded cables. It isn't recommended to mix them because there is a pretty good chance you will not get the right connection.

Then you have UTP vs STP. Unshielded Twisted Pair cable, and Shielded Twisted Pair cable. I use Solid UTP Cat5e cable. I've got a coupled of 90 feet runs that to from the inside of the living room to the outside back inside on the other side of the house, and I've got no issues. If you can afford it, I would suggest to go with Cat6

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post #4 of 35 Old 04-12-2012, 08:48 AM
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LOL @ SOLID vs STRANDED advice. So very true. I didn't know the difference and had a H3LL of a time trying to terminate stranded cat6 with plugs intended for solid cable.

Anyways, the most difficult part of the job (IMO) is fishing wire inside your walls. You'll inevitably need to cut holes in the walls not only for the outlets themselves, but also at critical junction points where you need access to get the wire through. You want to have some knowledge as the more holes you make, the more patching you need to do, the more work you make for yourself, and consequentially, the more risk you run into making it evident that you cut a hole in the wall and painted over it.

In general, you typically centralize everything to start (or come back to) the basement, usually near the electrical box (not right beside it, just near the same location / room). Then for the first floor, you try to go directly to the room you need a run in when you can. If not, you do what you do for the second floor which is to go from the basement straight to the attic and then back down to the individual room in question. You'll also want to try and use the inside walls as much as possible, as any exterior walls will have insulation in the way.

Supplies needed are relatively simple, you need cable obviously, then wallplates, 1-gang / 2-gang mounting brackets, keystone jacks, termination plugs, network switches (at least 1), cat/RJ45 crimper tool, and lastly a tool to test your connections with.

If you're not a very handy guy or aren't comfortable having to fish wire inside walls, you could always hire someone to do that for you (I did). Audio stores will usually offer this service, you can also search online classifieds in your area and get in touch with a few people for quotes. You could also use an electrician as a last resort (since they would be familiar with fishing wire inside walls) although they're probably the most expensive labor option.

PS. You should probably mention what city you're in, this way people in your area can provide you with references if they have any.
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post #5 of 35 Old 04-12-2012, 09:11 AM
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There are probably who threads about this but why wouldn't someone just get powerline type adapters and use the electrical wiring as physical transport? A brief look at some of the hardware suggests speeds ~500Mbps.

I ask because I'll be moving from my house which I wired with Cat5 many years ago to a home which likely won't have network cabling. I'm quite happy with the 100Mpbs I getting now.
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post #6 of 35 Old 04-12-2012, 09:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David James View Post

There are probably who threads about this but why wouldn't someone just get powerline type adapters and use the electrical wiring as physical transport? A brief look at some of the hardware suggests speeds ~500Mbps.

I ask because I'll be moving from my house which I wired with Cat5 many years ago to a home which likely won't have network cabling. I'm quite happy with the 100Mpbs I getting now.

Yeah powerline adapters

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post #7 of 35 Old 04-12-2012, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GusGus748s View Post

Yeah powerline adapters

Thanks for your help.
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post #8 of 35 Old 04-12-2012, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GusGus748s View Post

Yeah powerline adapters

Recently got the WD Livewire and was easy to set up just plug in wall and works
very happy with performance without running cable everywhere

http://www.amazon.ca/Western-Digital.../dp/B003VWY0VY
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post #9 of 35 Old 04-12-2012, 10:56 AM - Thread Starter
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No other solution has proven to be as stable or reliable as hard wiring. Once you have that setup, you're good for a long, long time. I could also look into MOCA, which did work for me, but I want to see if I can just get everything hard wired. I do have an advantage that my sister-in-law's brother runs an electrical contracting company. I may be able to get it done cheap by him. I just wasn't even sure how difficult it is to begin with.
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post #10 of 35 Old 04-12-2012, 01:20 PM
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second the cat-6 advice.

I home ran every cable to a "wiring closet", coax, cat-6 and security cam.

2 drops to every room except bathrooms. I did 4 drops of cat-6 and 2 RG-6 to HT equipment rack and 4 drops of cat-6 and 2 RG-6 to my main LR tv location.

Every other room got two drops coax (RG6) and two cat-6.
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post #11 of 35 Old 04-12-2012, 01:25 PM
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+1 on the additional drops to all locations. You can use cat wire for just about anything if need be.


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post #12 of 35 Old 04-12-2012, 08:57 PM
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Not sure he really needs the cable crimper, I much prefer the punch down CAt5 plugs that pop into the various faceplates. Of course everything should be home runs, and I second the 2+ drops per room. The job is relatively easy on a one floor home with either a basement or attic, but can be done with little damage for a two story home too. One trick I've used many times is to remove the baseboard and punch holes behind it, no need to do any repairs -- if the base is wide enough...
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post #13 of 35 Old 04-13-2012, 01:19 AM
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We are planning / hoping to buy a 5 bedroom house (4 bds 1 office) by the end of the year brand new. The cabling / electrician guy is going to go nuts because I am requesting:
1)All the run starting from the office room, which will have a server room with at least 2 panels
2)Master room --- 6 cat6 runs
3) all other bedrooms --- 4 cat6 runs
4) bathrooms --- 2 cat6 runs (at least 2 bathrooms)
6) Living room ---- 10 cat6 runs (this will change depending on HT room location)
7) backyard --- 4 runs
8) Garage --- 4 runs

For a total of 40 hook ups . I am trying not to use any switches within the house, and only have direct connections. I want all the crazy switching / panels / routers in the office / server room

Note, I am unsure on how many RG and power cables I will be needing. Still working on it!

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post #14 of 35 Old 04-13-2012, 07:22 AM
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GusGus,

Don't forget power and cable to your eaves/porches/patios if you want security cams.
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post #15 of 35 Old 04-13-2012, 07:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tulsaweather View Post

GusGus,

Don't forget power and cable to your eaves/porches/patios if you want security cams.

Fixed. Still working on this. It will depend on the layout of the house...

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post #16 of 35 Old 04-13-2012, 07:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David James View Post

There are probably who threads about this but why wouldn't someone just get powerline type adapters and use the electrical wiring as physical transport? A brief look at some of the hardware suggests speeds ~500Mbps.

I ask because I'll be moving from my house which I wired with Cat5 many years ago to a home which likely won't have network cabling. I'm quite happy with the 100Mpbs I getting now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GusGus748s View Post

Yeah powerline adapters

Quote:
Originally Posted by David James View Post

Thanks for your help.

LOL

To actually answer your question, PowerLine adapters are fine if you don't have the option to hardwire. Its a step up (IMO) to wireless, but still not as reliable or as fast as a hard-wired line. I tried them out for a bit back with the 200Mbps models, but could only achieve roughly 20-30Mbps speeds, which was better than my WiFi (which was roughly 10-15Mbps and spotty), but not quite what I was looking for. They're also prone to interruptions when certain appliances turn on (such as your freezer / fridge, stove, microwave, dryer, etc.). Its YMMV though as it depends on what circuit those appliances are on and what the electrical wiring is like behind the walls.

I'm sure they've improved since then, but you're really comparing a shared system to a dedicated one (ie. a truck that's designed to pull weight will always be better than a SUV that happens to have a trailer hitch), so a dedicated hardwired line will be less prone to problems than one that is shared with other elements. Hope that helps.
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post #17 of 35 Old 04-13-2012, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -Axle- View Post

LOL

To actually answer your question, PowerLine adapters are fine if you don't have the option to hardwire. Its a step up (IMO) to wireless, but still not as reliable or as fast as a hard-wired line. I tried them out for a bit back with the 200Mbps models, but could only achieve roughly 20-30Mbps speeds, which was better than my WiFi (which was roughly 10-15Mbps and spotty), but not quite what I was looking for. They're also prone to interruptions when certain appliances turn on (such as your freezer / fridge, stove, microwave, dryer, etc.). Its YMMV though as it depends on what circuit those appliances are on and what the electrical wiring is like behind the walls.

I'm sure they've improved since then, but you're really comparing a shared system to a dedicated one (ie. a truck that's designed to pull weight will always be better than a SUV that happens to have a trailer hitch), so a dedicated hardwired line will be less prone to problems than one that is shared with other elements. Hope that helps.

Thanks for your help (and this time I mean it )

Since my post I have done some research and found reviews talking about ~14Mbps early on to a more recent review of over 150Mbps.

My first choice would be to run Cat5/6 but depending on the home we get, it may be more trouble then it's worth. There are just 2 of us and the likelihood of 2 simultaneous BD streams running through the wires are slim. I am concerned about how other appliances and/or the quality of the existing wire would impact throughput. We'll see what happens when we decide on a house.

Thanks again.
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post #18 of 35 Old 04-13-2012, 10:56 AM - Thread Starter
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You could also look into MOCA, depending on how you intend to get cable. It doesn't work right with Satellite I've heard, nor will it work with Uverse. (Though with Uverse you get built-in HPNA networking through your STBs - they just won't tell you that!)
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post #19 of 35 Old 04-19-2012, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GusGus748s View Post

We are planning / hoping to buy a 5 bedroom house (4 bds 1 office) by the end of the year brand new. The cabling / electrician guy is going to go nuts because I am requesting:
1)All the run starting from the office room, which will have a server room with at least 2 panels
2)Master room --- 6 cat6 runs
3) all other bedrooms --- 4 cat6 runs
4) bathrooms --- 2 cat6 runs (at least 2 bathrooms)
6) Living room ---- 10 cat6 runs (this will change depending on HT room location)
7) backyard --- 4 runs
8) Garage --- 4 runs

For a total of 40 hook ups . I am trying not to use any switches within the house, and only have direct connections. I want all the crazy switching / panels / routers in the office / server room

Note, I am unsure on how many RG and power cables I will be needing. Still working on it!

That seems... a tad overkill. I can understand future-proofing your house, but what in the heck are you ever going to do with 2 wired connections to each bathroom?

I guess I can understand not wanting to have a switch sitting out in your living room, but it seems like it would be much more efficient just to stick a switch in a wall access panel rather than running, say, 10 separate cables to your living room. If you're worried about increased lag or something, a switch has nearly zero effect - you're looking at maybe 1-2 ms tops. I guess if you can afford it there is really no reason not to do it your way, just seems very wasteful. When I did this I decided that realistically there wasn't a situation where I needed more than 1 gbps between a given room and central server location, so I just did single cable drops and picked up a couple cheap GB switches from Monoprice for the office and living room (incidentally, the runs were short enough that I didn't need anywhere near 1000 ft of cable which seems to be the smallest amount widely available in bulk; turned out to be much cheaper to buy a couple pre-terminated 50-foot Cat6 cables and just cut them to the length I needed, then put punch-down female jacks on the ends).
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post #20 of 35 Old 04-19-2012, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by demonbug View Post

That seems... a tad overkill. I can understand future-proofing your house, but what in the heck are you ever going to do with 2 wired connections to each bathroom?

I guess I can understand not wanting to have a switch sitting out in your living room, but it seems like it would be much more efficient just to stick a switch in a wall access panel rather than running, say, 10 separate cables to your living room. If you're worried about increased lag or something, a switch has nearly zero effect - you're looking at maybe 1-2 ms tops. I guess if you can afford it there is really no reason not to do it your way, just seems very wasteful. When I did this I decided that realistically there wasn't a situation where I needed more than 1 gbps between a given room and central server location, so I just did single cable drops and picked up a couple cheap GB switches from Monoprice for the office and living room (incidentally, the runs were short enough that I didn't need anywhere near 1000 ft of cable which seems to be the smallest amount widely available in bulk; turned out to be much cheaper to buy a couple pre-terminated 50-foot Cat6 cables and just cut them to the length I needed, then put punch-down female jacks on the ends).

That's my set up right now in our 3bd/2b home, and I had a really hard time with my network speeds due to combining 100mbps and 1gbps lines. For some reason or another my switches kept using 100 mbps rather than the gigabit because some of my devices are not gigabit, and for some reason or another the 100 mbps devices would take over, which just bugs the hell out of me.

I know I am over doing the runs, but I rather have them and not need them, than to need them and not have them.

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post #21 of 35 Old 07-23-2012, 12:19 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm wondering if I should just buy some individual, long cables from Monoprice. 1000' of bulk cable seems a bit of overkill, when I only really need drops in 4 rooms, and I don't mind a single drop to each, maybe 2. I'm also considering trying to find a place that can do it for me, it does look a bit problematic as it's a 2 story with a full basement. Need drops in 2 basement rooms, one drop in the main floor living room, and one drop in the master bedroom.
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post #22 of 35 Old 07-23-2012, 01:27 PM
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Having done this a number of times, I have to say usually it's not too difficult, but it can be time consuming. If you know your house well it helps. Cold air returns are a great way to drop cables from the second floor. Usually in the basement they are just sheet metal nailed to the floor joists and can easily be opened up. It's can also be relatively easy to drop cables down from the attic. If you get one line up to the attic you can install a switch there and feed what ever rooms you want from that point by just drilling down through the top plate into the various wall cavities. Odds are you wouldn't even need a fish tape in that situation.
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post #23 of 35 Old 07-23-2012, 02:51 PM - Thread Starter
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It's interesting you mention cold-air returns and such. My brother in law said he could do it, and his real skill set is in HVAC, though he can do electrical too. I've also contacted a local place to get pricing, and he says it would cost around $85 per jack, basically. It would be professionally done, however, so I'm considering that.

If I did do it myself, what are the recommendations as far as cables? I can get fairly long runs of Cat5e at work or on Mono price without going the bulk route. I was thinking one 100' cable to get from the basement to the attic, then a few 50' cables to get to the other rooms I wanted to get to. It would cost me a lot less than 1000' of bulk Cat5e plus the connectors and tools.
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post #24 of 35 Old 07-23-2012, 10:54 PM
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If you do it yourself, get some CAT 5 or if you want CAT 6 that is riser rated. Putting ends on is a pain, but easily doable if you want to invest the time. If not, go the Monoprice route. I just redid the connections to one of my 8 port switches, over the years many of the clips broke, I needed 7 12"-16" cables so I bit the bullet and made them up. took a bit over an hour but all worked fine. All you need is a decent crimping tool, I paid ~$35 for mine that may defeat your purpose and it might be cheaper go with the pre made cables.
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post #25 of 35 Old 07-24-2012, 09:53 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm wondering if a 100' cable is sufficiently long to get from the basement to the attic in a 2 story home. Would I run it through vents? Or run it outside the home in some way?
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post #26 of 35 Old 07-24-2012, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GusGus748s View Post


That's my set up right now in our 3bd/2b home, and I had a really hard time with my network speeds due to combining 100mbps and 1gbps lines. For some reason or another my switches kept using 100 mbps rather than the gigabit because some of my devices are not gigabit, and for some reason or another the 100 mbps devices would take over, which just bugs the hell out of me.


I know I am over doing the runs, but I rather have them and not need them, than to need them and not have them.


Over Kill or Well prepared ?

I was fortunate enough to buy/build a 5 bd / 4 ba .. .which enabled me to get in when no Sheetrock was present .. easiest way to plan and run ETH,SECURITY,CCTV.. Also allowed me to set in 5 2" Conduit between Attic and Basement and also get all my cable elevated and on hangers in the attic

Every room has 3 walls with a RG-6 and Net Cable ports ... My known locations for TV/Media were doubled ( 4 ETH , 2 RG-6 behind Central TV Locations ) (4 ETH behind PC/Desktop Locations )
All runs down to a Patch Panel then to a Netgear 1gig Switch located in a "server" room (8'x5') located in basement.

I didn't future proof for technology change ... It was due to my wife and her need to re-arrange a room based on a "feeling"

I didn't do the bathrooms tho ... but did weigh in possibly a CCTV Monitor only screen in the Mbath to monitor entry door


Shop around for bulk 1000' ft ..

Deepsurplus was ok priced .. I used them for all the wall plates
I was also able to go to a local telephone supply and pickup my cat5e < $100 a box


Go ahead and Label your cables ... I didn't .. and found myself having to use a fluke meter and identify them later
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post #27 of 35 Old 07-24-2012, 10:33 AM
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If your home is already cable (COAX RG-6) wired and your Cable/ISP is FIOS just use MoCA network.

All you'll need is this:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005DIQ2OC/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?ie=UTF8&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER
in each room where you need wired internet.

If you need multiple network point in one room you can add ethernet switch.
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post #28 of 35 Old 07-24-2012, 12:16 PM - Thread Starter
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I have used MOCA successfully in the past, but I am going with DirecTV at the new home. It sounds like there may be a way to do that, but DirecTV does use the coax for whole home DVR now as well, so I'm not sure.
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post #29 of 35 Old 07-24-2012, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Irishdoom View Post

I'm wondering if a 100' cable is sufficiently long to get from the basement to the attic in a 2 story home. Would I run it through vents? Or run it outside the home in some way?

100' seems overkill. If you figure 9' per floor ( 8' floor to ceiling + 2x8 or so) 20' should get you into the attic, then just add you horizontal runs to your wiring closet and distribution point in the attic.

What I would do is find a well located cold air return on the second floor, drop a fish tape to the basement and pull the CAT5 up to that point. Then I'd pop a 1/2" hole in the top plate of the cold air return and feed a good amount of cable up the cavity. In the attic I'd located the same stud space, feed a fish tape with a hook end on it and try and grab the cable. Might take a few tries but usually works. If your cold air returns are close to the ceiling as in most new homes, I'd opt for a drill extension and drill up rather than down. Once you get the cable into the attic for good measure fill the holes with fire-stop caulk - not cheap ~$12 tube - but good practice and required by code in new construction/remodeling.

I'd mount an 8 port switch in the attic, you never know how many connections you might want at some point, and then just run drops to what ever rooms you want. I usually run 2 per bedroom, making sure that cable will not run across doorways or such and taking into account furniture arrangement. When you open the wall for the wire all you need is the low voltage plastic frames - I usually see orange ones - no need for a box. The frames have plaster ears on them and grip with flip out wings behind the drywall/plaster. I use the punch down connection, no need for an end on the wire. Same can be done at the other end, make up a patch panel and just buy or make short jumpers. The punch down connector make the whole thing pretty fool proof.

If you have to run the cable outside I'd put it in a conduit, but usually you can get the wire into the attic without resorting to that. As for the MOCA option with coax, I see added expense and possibly poorer performance, any time a signal gets processed you loose a bit of quality. plus, for me, there is a kludge factor.
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post #30 of 35 Old 07-25-2012, 09:13 AM - Thread Starter
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If I bought Cat6 cables with ends on already at various lengths, is there some kind of passthrough I could use in each room rather than these keystone jacks and punch downs? Or would it be best to snip the existing ends off at the termination point and use the punch downs? Do I need a different type of punch down jack for solid cable, if I went with that throughout the home? I've worked out how many drops I want to have. 4 to the main living room, 2 to the master bedroom, 2 to the office, and 2 to the basement/rec room. I can get the cables from where I work, along with any faceplates and tools and such. (At a discount!)
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