AVS Forum Special Member
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Long Beach, California
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Here is my opinion, others may disagree. I'm as good an idiot as the next guy . . .
Select a place for a wiring closet. This is where you would run all of your Cat6 wires. Make sure it's big enough for your main network switch, and it is also a good place for your file storage (although that is not necessary). I have my wireless access-point and my NAS in that closet. The closet locks, so if ever the house was broken into, my data is pretty secure. The closet should be central to minimize the amount of wire needed, and for better wireless signal strength. PoE devices can then be powered from the closet.
You only need one run to each room, although for a big room, you might want multiple runs to have access on opposite walls. If you need multiple devices in a room, you just need an additional small network switch for $25. There is no easy way to predict how many devices you might need at any particular location, so the switches give you that flexibility.
Get gigabit switches, but be prepared to upgrade to 10-gigabit ten years down the road. For that reason, you should use Cat6a cabling. Some people will say I'm nuts (which I won't deny), but I was also told I was nuts when I said to be prepared for gigabit. The future is not always your friend.
Do not run any telephone wires - run your network cables to any phone locations instead, and run them to the same wiring-closet. If you go land-line, cat6 works fine for phones. But by having the same wiring, you can run IP phones over your Ethernet instead of dedicated phone wiring. I'm currently converting my phone system to an Asterisk VOIP system running over my network. Also, I don't have any cable-TV cable, as I also run my TVs over the Ethernet. Everything is going Internet-protocol at my house.
While I was typing, B0gus and Herushan both posted. We all seem to agree about the closet, but Herushan makes a good point about the redundant cables. Also, make sure you test the cabling before sealing everything in sheet-rock, although cables can still be damaged as the sheet-rock goes up.