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 [H]ard|Gawd

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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 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 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 at 11:44 PM
  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.