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Hi all,

I am in the process of retrofitting my pier and beam 1940's home with structured wiring. I plan on running the wiring in the crawlspace underneath the house and having 2 cat5e+2RG6 (Quad Shielded) to most of my drops. I am seriously considering going with one of the off the shelf bundled cables for these runs as I imagine that it would be *much* easier to pull, save me *a lot* of time crawling around underneath the house and be much neater. I've seen a couple of posts on here saying that the bundled cable is harder to trouble shoot, but it doesn't seem like it really would be. Seems like with either a bundled cable solution or individual cables if you get a bad cable (wife drills through the wall to hang a picture, etc)you replace the offending individual cable. The worst case scenario with the bundled cable is that if something happens to one of the individual cables in the bundle you'll have a dead cable in your bundle which you replace with a new (individually run )one. Not so bad in my opinion. The other argument I've seen is that I may not want to run exactly 2 cat5e+2RG6 to every drop. True, but in those cases I can still run individual cables alone or to augment the bundle. Other than possibly the extra cost of the bundled cable what are the compelling downsides to this? I don't really see any?


edward
 

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Seems like you've covered it pretty well. Go for it.


You'd be pulling 4 cables at once instead of 2 at a time (if you had one RG6 roll and one Cat5 roll). If you were pulling more than one bundle into a room, you may also consider having the supplier wind half of it onto another spool so you can pull 8 cables at a time into that room...
 

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I used Belden "banana peel" type 2+2 for all basic runs. A rubbery "spline" holds the 4 cables into a single bundle in lieu of an overall jacket. When ready to terminate the ends, just peel the 4 individual cables off the spline to get a workable, proper length service loop at each end. It's stiffer than individual RG-6's and cat5e's of course, but not as stiff or hard to work with as the 2+2 types with an overall jacket. No outer jacket means it is more susceptible to scrapes or nicks during rough-in, but with reasonable care this is not a big problem. Having the 5e's attached to the RG-6's also reduces the risk of putting too much pull force on any one cable, and eliminates kinking to which the 5e is somewhat vulnerable. The cost per foot of 2+2 is about the same as 4 individual cables of similar quality.


I also bought reels of individual RG-6QS and cat5e for "extras" and cases where the 2+2 was overkill or wrong location. Example: in a bedroom you typically need maybe just 1 cat5e for phone on the bed wall, but may want a full 2+2 on the opposite wall where you will likely put the bedroom TV and entertainment equipment.


Since you are retrofitting into existing construction, you will have some interesting access issues at the ends of many of your runs. Presume you will drill up from the crawl space into the wall stud cavity at each location? Post photos of your progress if you can.


Mike
 

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I went with PVC coated 2xRG6, 2xCAT5e + 2xFiber Speedwrap (the fiber was a just-in-case, and wasn't that much more than without) to each room. The bundled cable was really easy to pull, and saved a huge amount of time & costs during installation. One other issue with bundled cable to keep in mind, however, is that you have a bit less flexibility in the positioning of your drops. Occasionally, you may not want to have your RG6 (Video) and CAT5E (Internet/Phone) drops together. As an example, in the master bedroom, I wanted the video drops in the corner of the room where the TV was going, however, I wanted the Internet jack over in the corner by the desk. So, I ran one extra CAT5E to the desk location, which worked fine. Make sure you take your furniture/AV positioning into account as well during planning your drop locations. It doesn't make a lot of sense to spend a lot of time and money to hide the wires inside the walls, only to have to run long wires across the room because your drop is in the wrong place.
 

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ekun has a very good point on the location of all your different types of drops in regard to structured wire. Flexibility may be an issue for your situation. Going with individual runs instead of structured would be just as easy if you have the RG6 or Cat5 on several spools so as to pull multiple pieces at once to the same location. Structured = more cost less work...Individual = less cost, possibly more work...


chris
 
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