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What wires do I need to wire my house with? (ie Coax, Cat-5, etc.)

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I'm looking for suggestions on what to run in my new house. It's my first home and i'm getting it renovated but not taking down all the walls. It is a single story and I have attic space to run the cables through.

I read IVB's Wiring Suggestions which make a lot of sense but call for 7 CAT5e cables for everything. I'm worried though I might not be wiring my house for resale. I don't have any plans on selling any time soon but having 7 CAT5e cables instead of a regular phone line or coax cable might actually be a negative to someone who doesn't understand they can just buy a baluns.

I was wondering what other people thought about this. Also this obviously creates a cable mess of at a central location so I was wondering how to organize this. I'll likely want to have this in a closet I have set aside for this and the security system but its unlikely this will be the source for the video or possibly even the Internet. I'm going to have a small computer rack in one of the bedrooms i'm using for an office but i don't want all the cables going into there since obviously a potential future buyer wouldn't understand this either.

Thanks for the help
post #2 of 9

I am currently in the process of wiring my house so I can tell you what I am using and you can always tweak that to fit your needs. The reseller I used, Graybar Electric "http://www.graybar.com", is located in San Jose, California. The following is a list of the items and the current prices for each.

35 units of Z6A-02 (RJ45 JACK) = .026 / lb. each = $10.15 each; 35 = $355.25
1 of MX-PNL-48 (PATCH PANEL) = .9 / lb. each = $45.13 each; 1 = $45.13
5 of MX-FP-S-02-02 (2 PORT FACE PLATES) = .064 / lb. each = $2.26 each; 5 = $11.30
5 of MX-FP-S-03-02 (3 PORT FACEPLATES) = .062 / lb. each = $2.37 each; 5 = $11.85
7 of MX-FP-S-04-02 (4 PORT FACEPLATES) = .064 / lb. each = $2.26 each; 7 = $15.82
1000FT OF CAT6 CABLE, 9C6R4-E4-02-RBA = 28 lbs. each = considered as quantity of 1 = $349.38
1000FT OF CAT6A Z-MAX, 9C6R4-A5-06-R1A. = considered as quantity of 1 = $509.68
, weight for 1 reel is 48 lbs.

I am wiring my house for 10g in my attempt to future proof my home the best I can. I even built a media server for whole house media distribution that I have in a standard 19in rack and so forth. I am using Siemon Z-Max (Cat 6A) cable for the network, Siemon Cat 6 for everything else (telephones, RS-232 over Cat, and PoE for cameras), and Belden 4Ghz sat cable for my DirecTV runs. For today;s standards it is a bit overkill, but I'd rather have more than I need in terms of cable performance, and still have plenty of overhead for multiple concurrent network users, HD Video streaming, Lossless Audio Streaming, and Home Controls (automation, security, and PoE Cameras). In my particular case I find it easier to upgrade hardware that has easy access then to upgrade all the wiring in my home to take advantage of some new piece of hardware that is useless without the proper wiring.

I hope this helps, and if you need any more information just let me know.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
montereywill, what are you planning on running over the 4 wires in those 7 rooms? are you going to use baluns then to convert?
post #4 of 9
The Z-Max cabling uses a special termination tool included with the cable since it can only be terminated to a proprietary (female) RJ-45 jack so everything is backwards compatible with existing Cat5e/6 installations. Siemon sells pre-terminated Z-Max patch cables for hooking things up past the jacks. You cannot terminate any of the Z-Max cable to a traditional (male) RJ-45 plug to make your own patch cables, and still maintain the 10G rating of the network. The jacks are individually shielded for maximum signal integrity. So for now I am using just your typical network cable connections, no need for baluns or anything else.

Now as far as the rooms go I will be using a Netgear GS748TP Smartswitch to handle LAN side traffic (once I receive it). I am going to team the four duplex 1Gb-Ports on my Intel EXPI9404PT Nic to four aggregated ports on the router so the server should never have any issue supplying network demand as the switch supports 96Gbps of thoughput. The reason I went overkill is because I am not using any compression or conversion to store my DVD's and Blu-Ray discs, and I don't want my movies to stutter during playback because the network cannot support the bandwidth. Secondly, with everything going to this internet streaming mentality and so forth, I foresee a day in the when streaming multiple HD movies from any online provider could bog down the network. Besides, the router I have at home is a Netgear FVS336G which has two wan uplinks on it, so I could always team two cable connections together for even more bandwidth. At present I am using My Movies 2 to catalog my movies, and I am using AnyDVD to rip them to my media server in the VIDEO_TS form (for the DVD's) and the ISO form (for the Blu-Ray's) to playback on either several micro-atx computers I build, or some sort of off-the-shelf media extender if I find one I like (possibly the Netgear EVA9150). Since the media server I built has a Raid-6 Array of 26 Terabytes (and yes I have the screenshots to back that up) I am not worried about space at this time. So yes its definitely overkill, but for me its worth it. I found it cheaper and more flexible to build a system like this rather than go out and look for something like a $20,000+ Kaleidescape system that still couldn't do everything this setup can.

Sorry for rambling on!
post #5 of 9
you may also want to read the Sample Matrix Switch wiring page. 7 CAT5e is certainly way overkill, most normal people & locations are probably fine with just the 5 RG6 run back to the central wiring closet, and maybe 1-2 cat5e.
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Well i'm not sure I need the speed Z-Max offers or to try and future proof my house. However I am interested in home automation and want to run all my tvs off mythtv boxes so I do need fast Internet to stream HDTV over my network. I'm also interested in whole house audio. Additionally I think i need to wire for regular coax and phone.

I like the idea being able to run like 4 cat 6 lines that I could use for whatever I want but when I go to sell my house I can switch two of them to a phone line and coax line just to make my house more sell able. Is that possible without having to buy baluns? Z-Max seems to have that but it looked like you needed to use their cable too. Additionally there are a few places I think running like one or two cat6 cables might be preferable. Ultimately I would like to be able to switch later what I want to use these ports for. For example I only have a cell phone but I know someone buying would probably like a phone jack in the kitchen. If I could use the cat-6 in the kitchen for a kitchen pc and switch it later that would be great.

I also need to know how wire these all up in my closet so I can use them for Internet or like coax and a phone line. I mean with Internet I need a switch and i'm not sure how you link up phone lines or coax. Is what I want to do even possible?
post #7 of 9
In my business anytime we remodel one of our commercial or residential properties I always have the installer run at least 1 Cat 6/Cat 6E line (depending on whats available at the supply house) for network, 1 Cat 5e line per 2 voice connections, and 1 RG6 for cable connection. In order to terminate your phone lines you should have some central point where everything is run into your house or on the side of your house. One separate box typically for Cable Company's connection and one for the TelCo. From that box you have any number of feeds coming into your home, and if you have an easy way to channel all this to a central point (wherever you are installing the network hub, etc.) then all you need to terminate your telephone lines is a RJ-11 Patch Panel, or you can use a 110 wiring block. IF you use the RJ-11 Patch Panel then you match color to color from your phone line feed to the back of the patch panel. The front of the panel will have the RJ-11 jack ready for you to plug your RJ-11 plug into that feeds the phone line to the locations in your home. If you choose to use the 110-block (more difficult route) then you need the block plus a punch down tool and the block has the line feed(s) from the TelCo punched down on one side, and then the home lines punched down on the opposing side. It's works like a pass-thru essentially.

By the way, you can terminate Cat 5/5E/6/6E/6A to be used as either Voice lines (RJ-11) or data lines (RJ-45) so you can always change the connections at either end by changing the jacks/plugs appropriately. However, in my opinion of course, you are better off running at least two network lines to each location seeing as the cost effective way to purchase cable is in bulk (Home Depot/Lowe's sell 1,000 ft of Cat6 for around $250.00), and you will probably have enough for multiple runs to the same locations. Lastly, be sure you handle the cable properly during installation. You want to be sure you do not have any binds, twists, kinks, or tears in the jacket as you unroll it. If any of this happens you run the risk of having to rewire a run or two if you don't keep that part mindful.
post #8 of 9
montereywill-cat5 handles 4 lines telco(ring/tip) requires only 2 wires.maybe im missing something.

i have been running wires for over 12yrs now.having worked for cable co,telephone co,alarm co and a systems integrator.
im not familiar with the Z that you are referencing so i dont want to guess at the requirements.as for a structured setup,i would run 2 cat5/6 from a central location to your NID on exterior as well as 2 RG6QS to your cable/sat GB.from your central location i would run 2 RG6/RG6QS and 2 cat5e/6 to each room(you can have all 4 at 1 outlet,or split them to opposite sides of the room in case you move things around).

going a step further,in our house we just moved into(2800sf).i have 32 coax/45 cat/40+ 22/2+22/4(alarm),12/2 7.1ch home theater/10 14/4 for zoned audio.

im of course not using all of them but if you pull 1 wire down you might as well pull more.Im using leviton/channel vision and onq enclosures for everything.the panels are in the garage as well as one in a closet where i plan on installing all my a/v equipment and a rackmount server(only 4Tb's)

i had the mix of panels left over from other jobs and unused stock so thats why they arent all one brand

currently i dont have much in the form of high end a/v equipment pretty much just basics.i concentrated on my infrastructure and security first.(as well as my reef tanks).

the one thing i will finish with is pull the highest rated wire/cable now so it will be there in the future,it is only slightly higher priced than lower rated and having to get up in your attic and fish the new wire down isnt great fun(unless you do it for a living)

1ghz coax is cost effective but especially with satellite and interactive TV 2ghz and 3ghz are better equiped to handle these formats.
post #9 of 9
Cocoontech.com has a good Wiring 101 Guide for Low Voltage Wiring that you should probably read.

I don't think most people would suggest running ONLY cat5e wire. You need to run the proper wire for the job. If that is OTA broadcasts, cable or satellite, then that means RG-6. If it is network or telephone then that means Cat5e or better. If it is alarm contacts, then that means a 2 or 4 wire bundle. etc, etc, etc

You really need to write out a list of your goals and planned use for the house. Then you can start figuring out what wiring you need in each location.
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