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Riser, In-wall, or Plenum? differences?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I'm getting FiOS installed & want to run some Cat6 through the house before i call to schedule the appointment.

The house is in Florida and I will be running the cable through the attic crawl space. It can get VERY hot up there during the summer. Less now that there's a roof vent, but still very hot.

I wont be running it through the central air ducting & there's no air exchange between the crawl space & living space.

What kind of cable should I use? I can't even tell the differences besides:

Riser = $
In-wall = $$
Plenum = $$$


p.s. This house will probably be sold in a year so I need the cable to be up to code.
post #2 of 16
Here is a good link to cable ratings.

In a nutshell plenum rated cable is required where running through a space that air flows through, such as a suspended cieling used for air return, or through a stud bay that is used for air return. This cable has a jacket that burns more slowly and doesn't give off toxic fumes. This cable is usually designated by "CMP"

Riser rated cable cannot be used where there is air flow in the space, but is rated for all other use including running between floors of a structure. This cable is required to pass burn tests that help to keep the fire from spreading along the cable from floor to floor. Remember to firestop around the cable where you penetrate between floors. This cable is usually designated by "CMR"

"In wall" is really not a rating, but rather more of a description. Is there a further rating like found in the link? If not I would assume that it cannot be used for plenum or riser (between floors) applications.

You can always substitute a higher rated cable, so for example, you can use plenum anywhere, riser can be used even if not between floors, etc.

For your application it sounds like you would need minimum riser rated cable.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lorenkoeman View Post

Here is a good link to cable ratings.

In a nutshell plenum rated cable is required where running through a space that air flows through, such as a suspended cieling used for air return, or through a stud bay that is used for air return. This cable has a jacket that burns more slowly and doesn't give off toxic fumes. This cable is usually designated by "CMP"

Riser rated cable cannot be used where there is air flow in the space, but is rated for all other use including running between floors of a structure. This cable is required to pass burn tests that help to keep the fire from spreading along the cable from floor to floor. Remember to firestop around the cable where you penetrate between floors. This cable is usually designated by "CMR"

"In wall" is really not a rating, but rather more of a description. Is there a further rating like found in the link? If not I would assume that it cannot be used for plenum or riser (between floors) applications.

You can always substitute a higher rated cable, so for example, you can use plenum anywhere, riser can be used even if not between floors, etc.

For your application it sounds like you would need minimum riser rated cable.

Thanks for that link, it helps.

The "In-wall" is CM which that link says is Communications. It's lower down on the list than CMR which is the Riser cable. So that mean's it's worse in general? If that's true, its weird it costs more at monoprice.
http://www.monoprice.com/products/su...02&cp_id=10234

the "In-wall" is also stranded, which seems like it would be harder to run through a house and inside walls than solid.
post #4 of 16
riser is usually what you'll find. You don't need plenum unless you are running through ducting. Very few homes have plenum airspaces (usually only very large mansions or things like that), you'll generally only find plenum space in commercial buildings and things like that. Based on your description this is not necessary, unless for some reason codes in your area require it. Just follow whatever the local code says, which usually is the NEC.
post #5 of 16
I'm pretty sure that in single family residences, that riser-rated is not required for runs between floors. No time to research it now, sorry. I'm pretty sure that's in the NEC, if you want to pay the $70 to find out, or maybe someone else will chime in.

Briefly, in-wall rated: permitted in 1-2 family residential riser applications

The usual comparison I think you have switched around:
in-wall $
riser $$
plenum $$$

I'm using CL2 rated cable everywhere in my house, but no plenum runs.
post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisWiggles View Post

riser is usually what you'll find. You don't need plenum unless you are running through ducting. Very few homes have plenum airspaces (usually only very large mansions or things like that), you'll generally only find plenum space in commercial buildings and things like that. Based on your description this is not necessary, unless for some reason codes in your area require it. Just follow whatever the local code says, which usually is the NEC.

I think you will find plenum spaces more often than you think in residential construction. Our highrise condo had a ceiling space in part of the unit which was a air return plenum. Also I have very commonly seen a stud bay used as a air return path. The latter though common is easy to avoid with a little planning.
post #7 of 16
CM, CL2, CL3, CATV = UL rated for all residential, single-floor commercial
CMR, CL2R, CL3R, CATVR = Riser rated for commercial multi-floor use (in building's riser)
CMP, CL2P, CL3P, CATVP = Plenum for use in true plenum air-handling space

You can sub a CMP or CMR for CM. You can sub CMP for CMR.

For residential 2 stories or less, I believe all that is ever needed is non-riser general use cabling (even if in what would be considered a Plenum space in commercial buildings). For instance, you don't have to use Plenum above a drop-tile ceiling application. This is because you generally have egress from any habitable room in this situation. Multi-family, and condo generally have to follow commercial codes.

As riser (ends in an 'R') is not MUCH more expensive compared to general use cabling (no 'R') most installers will only stock and use the Riser equivalent - especially for network cabling. It would be rare, however, to find riser rated coaxial cable or speaker wire in a home. Same goes for burglar alarm wire.

Hope this helps (from someone who used to work for a wire manufacturer)

Carl
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

I'm pretty sure that in single family residences, that riser-rated is not required for runs between floors. No time to research it now, sorry. I'm pretty sure that's in the NEC, if you want to pay the $70 to find out, or maybe someone else will chime in.

Briefly, in-wall rated: permitted in 1-2 family residential riser applications.

This may be true, I really don't know. To be honest I have a tough time finding non riser rated Cat 5e or 6. I also do some commercial and residential, so I really wouldn't want to have both in stock.

The in-wall rated being more $ makes sense since it is stranded. I would not recommend stranded for your application. Generally stranded cable is better for patch cords, etc. where the cable may be bent and need to be more flexible. For in the wall solid is generally used, the main benefit is it is much easier to terminate, and most jacks for terminating in wall cable are designed for solid wire. Since it's usual application is patch cords, there probably isn't much reason for it to be riser or plenum rated.
post #9 of 16
Not to take the thread off course but I have a question regrading Cat6 cables. Specifically I am trying to decide between two different cables. The specs on the two cables are nearly identical but the coleman is almost double the price. I realize that monoprice cable is an "off brand" and the Coleman is the name brand but is that the only difference? It seems almost too good to be true and when that happens it usually is for a reason.

The first from Coleman Cable: http://www.broadbandutopia.com/colemancat6.html

The second from Monoprice: http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2

Thanks for you input.
post #10 of 16
For ethernet cables, I think Monoprice is just as good as any other brand, for the same specs.

I note that the Monoprice cable is 'designed to meet Cat 6 TIA/ISO proposed spec', and the Coleman product says 'VERIFIED TO TIA/EIA-568-B.2-1 CATEGORY 6'. I don't really know if 'verified' is better than 'designed to'.

Would be nice to see a spec sheet for the Monoprice cable. Maybe Monoprice has one if you ask.

Looking at the Coleman website, I don't see that Broadbandutopia product listed - I see 600 MHz, but not the 500 MHz spec sheet.

Both have PVC jackets, both UL listed. Same 23 AWG.

I think Coleman paid to have the specs 'independently' verified. 'ETL Verified to TIA/EIA 568B.2-1'. ETL appears to be some kind of testing company.
http://www.intertek.com/marks/etl/

I'm pretty sure the Monoprice cable was made in China - don't know about Coleman.
post #11 of 16
Thanks Neurorad for your reply. I am sure that the Monoprice cable would be fine but something in my gut is telling me to go with the Coleman. Can't explain it but *if* something did go bad down the road with the Monoprice cables I would really be kicking myself. I have used Monoprice HDMI and other small cables in the past and have been very pleased with their performance but they could all be easily swapped out if a problem occurred. With all of this Cat6 soon to be behind drywall I think its worth the piece of mind to go with the Coleman. Of course the Coleman could go bad also. Who knows.....
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by hvr123 View Post

Not to take the thread off course but I have a question regrading Cat6 cables. Specifically I am trying to decide between two different cables. The specs on the two cables are nearly identical but the coleman is almost double the price. I realize that monoprice cable is an "off brand" and the Coleman is the name brand but is that the only difference? It seems almost too good to be true and when that happens it usually is for a reason.

The first from Coleman Cable: http://www.broadbandutopia.com/colemancat6.html

The second from Monoprice: http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2

Thanks for you input.

The Coleman product (and most other brand names) are ETL verified meaning that the wire has been tested by an independent lab to ensure that it IS in fact Cat 6. Also, I can't find the test results at all the frequencies for the Monoprice product. Basically anyone can print Cat 6 on the cable - but to make sure you are getting the real performance, it must be UL or ETL verified.

Carl
post #13 of 16
FWIW, Monoprice claims UL Listed for their cat6.
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

FWIW, Monoprice claims UL Listed for their cat6.

This is just for the flame rating - not for performance. Plus, I'd want to see the full legend on the cable. What e-number are they using? Many import cables (unfortunately) are not actually UL despite what they claim. I would hope monoprice is big enough to verify what the manufacturer claims - but you never know.

Carl
post #15 of 16
Ah-ha! Thanks, Carl.
post #16 of 16
I don't think I kept it, but there was a performance test report that came in my spools of Monoprice cables that showed it was tested to the 350MHz listed... Honestly didn't look at it much, but it at least gave the appearance that the run had been validated...

Jeff
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