Cat6 or Cat6a for home?

Discussion in 'Networking & Security' started by farscapesg1, Jan 31, 2018.

  1. farscapesg1

    farscapesg1 2[H]4U

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    Now that we are settling into our new home one of my first projects is to get some networking run and move a couple coax lines. I'm planning on putting a communications box or short-depth rack in the closet under the stairs (if anyone has a good recommendation for something no deeper than 12", I'm listening). At some point they put a 14x14 panel in the garage for the coax.. but it doesn't appear anything is connected and they have a direct feed from the outside cablebox to one drop in the house??? That will be fun tracing everything out.

    For the networking, i already have about 500ft of Belden Cat6 cable that I salvaged from my previous workplace after some construction was done. I don't see any of these drops being more than 50 ft on the first floor, and will most likely pay someone to run the upstairs so I don't have to mess with dropping cables two stories. Theoretical specs mean all the drops should be 10g capable if wired/connected correctly and I should be able to run all the downstairs with the cable I have.

    Any real reason to spend the money on Cat6a cable for a residence with relatively short cable runs? I'm looking at running 4 lines to the office room (2 on one wall, 2 on the opposite), 2 to the living room, and 1 for an AP. Upstairs will have 2 in the bonus room and 1 for a second AP. I plan on upgrading my storage server and desktop to 10gb sometime in the future but don't forsee any other devices needing that speed. I'm actually shrinking my household computer footprint since I don't need a VM lab for my work anymore.
     
  2. cjcox

    cjcox Gawd

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    6a will get you "in spec" runs for 10Gbit. You can get away with just 6 for shorter runs from my own experience. If you're not running 10GBase-T, who cares (you know?).
     
  3. KazeoHin

    KazeoHin [H]ardness Supreme

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    A home is a long term investment, go with the future proof solution.
     
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  4. Khahhblaab

    Khahhblaab Limp Gawd

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    Cost of Cat6 = free
    Cost of Cat 6a = gotta buy.

    For your runs, free is cheaper ;) and effectively will allow the same speeds for the length of your runs.

    https://www.diffen.com/difference/Cat6_vs_Cat6a

    ....wish I knew more about the ease you have on spending cash on something you already have that will work as well.....but not as future proof :cool:
     
  5. farscapesg1

    farscapesg1 2[H]4U

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    While generally I agree... the house we just sold was pre-wired and while I thought that would be a selling point our realtor said that the feedback he received was "who cares we use wifi" from the buyer's agents. So any "long term" benefits would be for myself only.

    There isn't any ease... it's just an option :p We knew going into the house there would be some things we wanted to change/improve and at this point $200 for Cat6a cable isn't that bad when looking at everything else.
     
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  6. Dead Parrot

    Dead Parrot [H]ard|Gawd

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    Had a similar but older tech scenario. Agency where I worked at the time was moving and we were told all of the network wiring was being "abandoned in place, take all you want". It was the older Cat5 stuff, not 5e. I took what seemed like a lot. Should have took more. Wired my house with it. At the time 100mb was high tech stuff, at least for home networks. That now 20+ year old cabling is working just fine for Gig speed even though not officially rated for it. Like the OP's situation, shorter runs, under 100'.
     
  7. SvenBent

    SvenBent 2[H]4U

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    What is the longest cable lenght ou are going to run ?

    i belvei cat6 is perfect for 10gbit speed up to like 40meters or so
     
  8. farscapesg1

    farscapesg1 2[H]4U

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    Cat6 spec says 33-55 meters. I have to actually measure to be sure but I’m 99% positive all my downstairs drops will be 30 meters or less even with going up/down walls from he crawl space. Upstairs runs (if I can do them myself) should fall in the 30 meters range if I take the cable straight up from the closet, along the attic down the hall to the bonus room and down a wall. Might push 35 meters.
     
  9. SamirD

    SamirD [H]ard|Gawd

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    I think you'll be good with just the cat6 you have. In the future when home buyers get smarter, they will watch for good structured wiring as all new constructions I've seen have ethernet wired in each room along with the coax and phone wires. So your investment will pay dividends, but I don't see someone looking for 10g in each room as a buying point.
     
  10. tangoseal

    tangoseal [H]ardness Supreme

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    Weak....

    Run multimode fiber to everyroom. Thats future proof!
     
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  11. farscapesg1

    farscapesg1 2[H]4U

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    Yeah, I think I've settled on CAT6 for now, just got to work out the communication enclosure aspect. Whatever I do, it has to look good, so the plywood/pegboard setup won't pass family requirements. There's only so much room in the closet, anything deeper than 12" won't work, so that rules out a lot of wall-mount racks. Will probably just buy a 28" structured wiring cabinet and mount it on the wall.

    The other option is putting it in the garage, where it looks like the previous owners installed a small (14") enclosure with some of the coax runs centralized. I say some because it was half-assed with 1 room downstairs not run and 2 upstairs rooms not run (still trying to track those cables down). I could mount another 28" enclosure, or even a wall-mount rack out there. At minimum I would run all the drops (network, coax, telephone) out there and would need a network switch, POE adapters for APs, and a UPS. Ideally I would put the cable modem and router out there also, but I could run those in the office room. Just not sure about trying to run that gear in a Tennessee garage with heat and humidity during the summer.

    LOL.. don't tempt me :p If I was still planning on running my home lab I might actually think about it for at least a couple devices. Alas I'm probably going to retire my R710 ESXI setup since I don't need it with my new job. Trying to figure out what all VMs I really need that I was running and move those tasks over to a small desktop or two.
     
  12. EVIL-SCOTSMAN

    EVIL-SCOTSMAN [H]ardness Supreme

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    My theory is, if you are cabling up your house and running alot of cable, then use the best spec that you can afford or get get the best spec you can get your hands on, employers IT depts are ripe for the plucking.

    Cat5e is ok for the moment, but you need to think longterm unless you dont mind recabling every few years.

    Do it once and get the best that fits your needs and wallet a d a little extra on top for futureproofing. cat5e is the minimum, cat6a is a good choice for atleast 10 more years unless you scale up and outgrow it, in a house I doubt that but you never can tell what weirdo is running pornhub servers from their house using google fibre.

    I run cat 6a and have never experienced any problems, I stream 4k over the network and have numerous devices hooked up and running 24/7 and have no problems except in one particular spot, its where one of the cables comes into view and idiots either catch it with the hoover or instead of lifting their feet when walking they do the shuffle and catch the cable.

    I never even planned to use cat6a, I just happened to magically find a nice big phat roll of it and I cut and terminated as needed.

    If the runs are long, buy a few ethernet repeaters/boosters to boost the signal.

    Again, unless you are going to be doing crazy amounts of lan to lan traffic, I doubt you will need anything more tham cat6a.
     
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  13. heman22union

    heman22union n00bie

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    I just love those "We will use Wi-Fi. Who the hell cares about a wired connection...Gross!!" people... lol

    I think you will be more than fine to use the Cat6 you have. I also am running 1Gig connections on Cat5 no problem. Those lengths you provided are in spec. I think it might just come down to what MHz the cables are rated to. Since it's free might as well use it. When you do the runs, just leave a pull string that you can use to do more/new runs if needed, making any future stuff a lil easier. Ask the person you hire to do the 1st to 2nd floor runs to leave a pull string too.
     
  14. farscapesg1

    farscapesg1 2[H]4U

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    Yeah.. unfortunately my wife is starting to fall into that camp "why can't we just use wireless everywhere?" :( Getting a list of things I need to order to start this project that I don't already have and I see her frowning at the $$$ but if I'm doing this I'm not listening to "it looks like crap".

    Looking at at least 10 network drops to start (4 in office, 2 living room, 2 bonus room, 2 APs). Gave up on the garage idea.. just not comfortable putting the electronics out there. Will probably order the following today with hopes of starting the project next weekend (this one is tied up with kids activities);

    Leviton 47605-28W structured media cabinet - $60
    Leviton 476TM-624 24-port Cat6 patch panel (worth the $40 more for 12 more ports IMO) - $130
    Leviton 47690-6C2 1x6 Passive video splitter - $30
    Leviton 476TL-T12 Telephone Distribution - $70
    (2) Leviton 47612-UBK Universal Brackets - $36/each
    (4) Leviton 47612-MMA Multimedia Brackets - $8/each

    Still on the fence whether to get a "RF Transparent" cabinet or just the basic metal one. I won't be putting a wireless router in there.. but if we ever move someone else might. Leaning towards the one above because it can be surface mounted instead of cutting out drywall and I plan on wall mounting a UPS underneath it to power the electronics (narrow power strip on the bottom of the enclosure connected to the UPS through one of the bottom knockouts). Haven't figured out a good way to feed UPS power to a mounted J-Box on the cabinet (google is failing me). Seems like the options are just for surge protection.
     
  15. SamirD

    SamirD [H]ard|Gawd

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    I think you're on the right path. I'm glad you gave up on the garage idea--not a good place for electronics at all. And my wife is one of those, 'why can't magic ethernet just be everywhere at full speed' types too. Quite annoying at times as well as 'it looks like crap'. What we put up with as husbands that we would have flicked off and turned and walked away when we were single...
     
  16. farscapesg1

    farscapesg1 2[H]4U

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    Well, that made the decision easier... had time to pull the old security box off the wall and the wall studs are not 16” apart. Not enough clearance to recess a panel, so a metal surface mounted one it is. Will make powering it with a UPS easier. Offered to save a few bucks using a CAT6 24 port panel I already have with a simple 1u wall mount rack above the cabinet, but if we are spending the money might as well run all the cables clean and terminate in the enclosure.
    Whoever installed that security box needs to be shot. Looks like they just took a screwdriver and started jabbing the drywall until they broke out a couple holes big enough to fish cables through. Then they didn’t want to take the time to drill through a stud to fish two lines through so they just chilled out a channel in the drywall and slapped the box over everything. :(

    Thought I would add a photo of their excellent drywall skills. Can't decide if the hacked away at it with a screwdriver or if they held a beaver up to the wall to chew through. The red cable was actually ran from the left hole to the right (through a gouge in the drywall) to bring it in with the other wires... when there was a knockout on the left side they could have used.
     

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    Last edited: Feb 17, 2018
  17. farscapesg1

    farscapesg1 2[H]4U

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    Additional question.. what's a good recommendation for conduit within drywall? Hard PVC type? Flex conduit (ENT)? Thinking about picking up a couple 10' 2" conduit pipes from Home Depot/Lowes and cut them to fit. In my past "field IT" life, cabling contractors always used the orange flex conduit but $45 for 25 feet seems a little crazy.

    With the enclosure having 2" knockouts on top it makes sense to me to run flex conduit from the crawlspace, through the drywall and all the way into the enclosure rather than having bare cables coming out of the wall and into the enclosure. 1 for CAT6, 1 for RG6 and that leaves 2 1" knockouts for any later cables. No sure about the U-turn out of the drywall and down to the enclosure though... that will seriously restrict how many cables I can pull through. May be better off with bare cables coming out and just velcro/ziptie bundle them up since it looks like 2" fill capacity for Cat6 is 14-20 cables (my Belden Cat6 spool doesn't have the plastic spline in it).
     
  18. Mackintire

    Mackintire 2[H]4U

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    FYI... last time I looked cat6a terminations cost a pile more then cat6 ones.

    I remember cat 6 ends being about $1.00 each and cat 6a end being $4.97 each.
     
  19. farscapesg1

    farscapesg1 2[H]4U

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    Yep, 6a cable is more expensive also. Good thing is I already have a box of CAT6 connectors and a handful of snap on ports from some time back. Picked up a 6 port wallplate for the office and I’m just planning on putting connectors on the ends of the AP runs, no point in putting a plate up there. The office plate will have 4 network jacks and 2 coax for tv tuners.
     
  20. farscapesg1

    farscapesg1 2[H]4U

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    Got the downstairs cabled and and the panel installed. Still have to figure out how to run the cables from the bonus room upstairs over the garage down... there's really not a good path to follow without a lot of sheetrock removal and repair.

    Ended up cutting out out the sheetrock on the left side of the stud for the cabinet and squaring off the craptastic sheetrock work the security company did on the right side to put in a power inlet. Ran a new power outlet into the closet under the cabinet and just have to mount the UPS to the wall (currently just sitting on a shelf) to provide UPS power to the gear inside (router, switch, cable modem, magicjack).
     

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  21. sanders4617

    sanders4617 [H]Lite

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    Cat6 would suffice imo. Can always replace little at a time- as you go.
     
  22. heman22union

    heman22union n00bie

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    Looking good! Could you take pictures of inside the box? What patch panel did you go with? Have you considered monoprice for parts?
     
  23. heman22union

    heman22union n00bie

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    Also what did you do for conduit? Take more pictures of the closet.
     
  24. farscapesg1

    farscapesg1 2[H]4U

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    Ended up not using conduit :(. There just wasn’t room between the studs with two electrical boxes and a 4 gang light switch. I looked at flex conduit but the pricing I could find was more than I wanted to spend and I really didn’t need 50+ feet. I did by some 1-3/4 inch PVC and cut about 1 foot to run between the floorboards between the crawl space and the wall, still need to fire block that.

    I’ll take some inside pics later... they aren’t going to be the prettiest because I’m trying to cram quite a bit in the 28” cabinet.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2018
  25. nEo717

    nEo717 [H]Lite

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    We built in 2010, the best thing we did (technology wise) was to use all Cat6a in every room - I used Belden SSTP Cat6A - Excellent performance and perfect connections every time on full duplex 10G Clients.
     
  26. SamirD

    SamirD [H]ard|Gawd

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    May be a little too late, but I've seen contractors use the grey pvc in our commercial constructions, which doesn't really differ from the white except in color. I think this is to keep plumbers from connecting to them as 'drain' pipes. :eek:
     
  27. SamirD

    SamirD [H]ard|Gawd

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    You ran and terminated cat6a in every room? :eek: And you've got 10G in every room? :eek: What are you using for a switch?
     
  28. nEo717

    nEo717 [H]Lite

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    We ran everything in PVC pipe (less change interference - though with Shielded Cable it drains noise off) - ICC Cat6A STP Jacks at both ends (today I would use ICC Cat6A SSTP bulk cable as well if had a do over), ICC module panels and mini rack - We started with Netgear Smart Plus 10G Switches (at time was only 8 port and later 12 port) and moved away from them recently (got tired of having to reboot them every couple of weeks) to Netgear XS508M which seem to be very solid switches at good price.

    I'd recommend that if you a 2 story home to run a 3" PVC Pipe from upstairs (attic) to MDF (patch panel) for any ease of future cables or repairs.

    We are lucky in that there's Comcast Gig Cable in our area, we only stream TV (Xfinity Stream, NetFlix, Hulu, and Vudu).... I game (a lot), FPS games mostly (lol, its all about latency for my old reaction times these days), and have 4 other PCs for grandkids and others to game on as well - However my day job is IT Engineer (do little bit of game and hardware testing from time to time as well), the Cat6tA and 10G has been blessing we've not regretted as such.

    I'm not really Netgear fan, it's just hard to find 10G products priced reasonably - Though I will say I recently upgraded our router to the Duma OS Netgear XR500 and love it... awesome router and Duma OS that it has is second to none for gaming in my opinion.
     
  29. SamirD

    SamirD [H]ard|Gawd

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    Pretty awesome setup. Good to hear some personal feedback about the XS508Ms as they're some of the first switches out there that also support 2.5Gbit and 5Gbit.

    What do you have for upload on the Comcast gig? They only give us 35 up here on the gig plan so I skipped it. And AT&T seems to be heating up the action as they're running fibre to each unit in our building to offer their 1gig package which I believe will be symmetrical 1gig. :D
     
  30. nEo717

    nEo717 [H]Lite

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    They offer here 2 plans... 1 is cable with 55mb upload (get around 100mb) and other is fiber 2gb/2gb symmetrical for $299. ATT not in our block (next door, just not here yet) - They are offering the 1gb/1gb though in this area.
     
  31. farscapesg1

    farscapesg1 2[H]4U

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    I said I'd post an internal pic.. not the prettiest since I still need to do some cable management.

    I went with a Leviton 28" metal SMC because i was afraid I would have to mount it externally on the drywall from the dimensions I kept seeing listed. However, once I got it I found that it fit between the studs fine. Otherwise I would have gone with the 30" "transparent" version just in case I wanted to put something with wifi in the cabinet.

    Since I went with Leviton, I ended up getting the adapters to go with it.
    24 port CAT6 panel (could probably have gotten by with 12 ports)
    Telephony panel (Magicjack connected to line one for our home phone and fax)
    4 multimedia brackets (what the Edgerouter, network switch, and POE adapter are sitting on, 2 unused)
    2 universal brackets (using one for the cable modem, one still in the box)
    J-box outlet (wired to the inlet to the right of the SMC)
    1x6 COAX splitter module (not used)
    some random 3 outlet + 2 USB port power strip

    Ideally I'll replace the Xyxel switch behind the edgerouter with a Unifi POE switch when I get a chance and remove the POE adapter since I still need to run another AP line for upstairs at some point with a couple additional lines. Have to plan ahead in case I need to move my office upstairs at some point and use the downtairs office as a bedroom. I get a signal up there but I plan on converting our bonus room into a home theater.

    For now, I'm not using the COAX splitter since I just need two lines for the modem and my HDHomeRun Prime so I used a simple 2-way splitter to avoid too much signal loss.

    If I did this over again, I would skip the J-Box and by the parts myself at Home Depot. I looked all over and either my Google-Fu was bad or no one posted it, but you could get away with a switch junction box, standard outlet and faceplate for a lot less. I thought about getting their 4 outlet expanded J-Box.. but I would have still been short on outlets. I might do that later and swap them out if/when I replace the switch with a POE option.
    2018-03-26_09-13-39_238.jpeg
     
  32. SamirD

    SamirD [H]ard|Gawd

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    We can get the 2gb plan here too, but I think it still comes over cable and is still asymmerical. It's too expensive for me to seriously consider so I never did complete homework on it. :eek:

    I'm curious what the at&t plan will cost. I think it was just at $100 at our old apt complex before we moved--it would be sweet if they offered that price point here.
     
  33. SamirD

    SamirD [H]ard|Gawd

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    Very nice! I think it looks pretty great--much better than ours in our apartment that was 'professionally' run. Looks like you've future-proofed pretty well too.

    Don't forget that coax can be used for Ethernet at near gigabit speeds with a moca adapter--might make that office wiring upstairs a little easier. (y)