Ethernet cabling in new house? Shielding, Cat 5/6/7/fiber?

Discussion in 'Networking & Security' started by brumwald, Nov 3, 2014.

  1. brumwald

    brumwald Gawd

    Messages:
    598
    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2006
    I was wondering what kind of network cables you would want in a new (small) house?
    Regular (unshielded) cat6?

    From what I've heard shielding will result in:
    1. Much stiffer cables.
    2. Only drawbacks regarding performance unless every piece of cable and device in the network is properly shielded (not likely in a home setup), because otherwise the shielding with act as an antenna...

    So, from that it kind of made sense to avoid shielded cables and that would effectively eliminate cat 6a and cat 7 since they are always shielded (can't find any without it at least). And I wouldn't mind that either considering the cost of 6a/7.

    Now the cables will be alongside the mains inside walls, under the house etc. which to me shouldn't be any problem even for unshielded cables?

    Is there a special type of cable I should avoid/consider? I saw LSZH (Low Smoke Zero Halogen) cables online which would be beneficial in a fire and didn't seem to cost anything extra so I guess that makes sense, but is there anything one should consider with permanent installations in walls etc.?

    Another question I have is that there will be a small guest house that I'd like to include in the network, the cable distance will be slightly less than 100m and there will be mains cables running in the ground between the houses. Fear of lightning got me wondering if fiber would be an alternative. First impression is that is seems to be quite expensive even for the cheapest setups and I wouldn't need the performance or range benefits over copper anyway. Waste of money? (I've heard of lightning striking network cables lying in the ground but seeing as the mains for the house will be running alongside will everything will probably be toast anyway?).

    Any pointers or ideas?
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2014
  2. bds1904

    bds1904 Gawd

    Messages:
    1,005
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2011
    Cat6 greater than 12 inches from power (parallel) will be just fine. What kind of speeds do you need between the guest house and the main dwelling? If you have line of sight wireless will deliver good speed and reliability for much less money than fiber. A point to point wifi bridge setup will run you less than $150. And deliver 100mbit speeds.
     
  3. BlueLineSwinger

    BlueLineSwinger Gawd

    Messages:
    638
    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2011
    Do not use Cat 6:
    - The cable, jacks, etc. are more expensive.
    - It's more difficult to properly install. The cable is thicker (i.e., wall install will be more cramped), it's more sensitive about bend radius, and harder to properly terminate.
    - Cat 5e is perfectly adequate for anything done in the home outside of rare edge cases. Properly installed, 1Gb connectivity is a given to 100 meters.
    - Literally nothing calls for Cat 6. It's barely a real standard. The next step up from Cat 5e is 6a, and that's even more expensive and more difficult to properly install.

    You don't need shielding:
    - Virtually nothing in the typical home will generate enough interference to affect network performance when installed properly. Simply follow best practice and stay at least a foot away from AC lines, and run perpendicular to them if if have to come closer. Try to put some part of the structure between the two if possible (e.g., wall framing, joists).
    - You're not dealing with sensitive info that someone might want to snoop from your network runs.
    - It adds another layer of unneeded installation difficulty.

    For the guest house, I would strongly recommend a fiber run or some sort of directional radio:
    - Fewer issues with distance.
    - You maintain electrical isolation of the two buildings.

    If you can get the LSZH/plenum/etc. cabling for the same cost as the stuff with normal jacketing, then sure, go for it. If it's more costly I wouldn't bother unless local code for low-voltage residential wiring requires it.
     
  4. iroc409

    iroc409 [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,231
    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2006
    Everything's pretty much been mentioned, I agree with the above suggestions (BLS and bds).

    You should be using solid cable inside the house generally, not stranded. I didn't know this until recently, but when I did a lot of cabling for a company I used to work for, they always had me run stranded with RJ45 instead of punch-down jacks and patch panels. I don't know how many miles I ran, all stranded.

    If you're doing any runs through HVAC ducts, they really should be plenum-rated cables (code and life safety issues), but otherwise unnecessary.
     
  5. RavinDJ

    RavinDJ 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    3,934
    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2002
    Another vote for Cat5e... unless you need 10Gbps, Cat5e will easily handle Gigabit connections. If you want to make sure you're by the book, get the Plenum rated one. It's more expensive, but still cheaper than Cat6 (I think).
     
  6. ashman

    ashman Gawd

    Messages:
    805
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    I concur, Cat5e is perfectly fine, did my house with it and have zero issues, 1Gbps connectivity is more than fast enough.
     
  7. m1abram

    m1abram 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    3,175
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2002
    To say 1Gbps is more than fast enough is not true for everyone. I currently saturate 2 1Gbps bonded connections and could easily use more bandwidth between my workstation and fileserver.

    But that is were you need to determine your requirements. Me I wired Cat6 and when I can get the cash together will be adding a 10GbaseT switch.
     
  8. dandragonrage

    dandragonrage [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    8,298
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2004
    Whether I'd recommend CAT-5e or CAT-6 depends on length of cables, but I tend to go for CAT-6 myself. Edit to note:you can still use CAT-6 with CAT-5e punch panels and keystones and such, so the only downsides are a very slight cost increase and the very minor amount of extra time wasted clipping off the plastic separator between the pairs inside the wire. Bend radius is actually not different in practice and if you've EVER had an issue with bend radius in ANY copper cable EVER, you are doing things incorrectly.

    Whether I'd recommend those or CAT-6a depends on whether you want 10GbE or not.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2014
  9. ashman

    ashman Gawd

    Messages:
    805
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    True enough, however given the situation of a home setup, typically 1Gbps should be enough for most people, and that was all I meant. Of course certain people might have specific requirements but then I would assume if that were the case they would already know what type of cable they would need and not be asking.
     
  10. JPF_

    JPF_ Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    494
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2011
    Me personally, I would only do wireless in my house. I do nothing that warrants needing wires. Maybe use cat5 for longer HDMI connections.....its whatever to me. I am not picky.
     
  11. dandragonrage

    dandragonrage [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    8,298
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2004
    Wireless still doesn't go through multiple walls that well, doesn't support many concurrent users (though you might only have one or two using more than a minimal amount of bandwidth), is much less secure, has higher latency, lower speed, less reliability, has more expensive equipment with often MUCH worse driver/OS support, and rarely actually has any benefit at all other than saving a little effort running wires which only needs to be done once anyway.

    Most people would agree with you and maybe that's fine for casual usage, but for most people that would frequent a site like this, it is a horrible idea to the point that I'm wondering if you're trolling us.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2014
  12. ltickett

    ltickett [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,125
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2000
    I would have to say if I was wiring a new house i'd want to future proof it... So i'd at least go for Cat6a.
     
  13. Justintoxicated

    Justintoxicated [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    14,083
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2002
    I ran some Cat5e in my "old house". It was free though so price was the deciding factor for me.

    Wireless has it's uses, you won't find me wanting to connect Ethernet cable to my phones or tablets.

    If you don't staple the cables it will be easy to upgrade later anyways :)
     
  14. dandragonrage

    dandragonrage [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    8,298
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2004
    Fucking casuals. What power user doesn't run quad 10Gbps links to their phone? Come on now.

    It's a little inconvenient dragging 25-mile-long cables with me to work, but if I can make it work, so can you.

    :D
     
  15. brumwald

    brumwald Gawd

    Messages:
    598
    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2006
    Thanks everyone!
    Really appreciate the responses.

    I really can't figure out how I, even in the future, would be limited by 1 Gb/s considering that this will be a vacation house. I could imagine getting 10 Gb/s between my desktop and the fileserver within a few years but that's not something I'll take with me on vacation :p
    Then again, I remember back in the days when 100 Mbit/s was just ludicrous. You could transfer a whole CD in less than than a minute - mindblowing! Gigabit speeds was just some theoretical thing that you imagined only datacenters could benefit from (which, coincidentally, was what I thought about 10 Gb/s a couple of years ago as well...).
    But hey, maybe I'll do a slim fileserver and get some fancy SSD RAID setup to store media and surveillance on - and then I might perhaps use that to serve iSCSI to avoid even local boot storage in the HTPC. If it's cheap enough 2025 ;)

    But the cost between 5e and 6 for the cable really is negligible in this context (seems to be about $100 in total, and then I get LSZH for 'free') and I doubt that any of the cables (except for the one running to the guest house) will exceed 55m which, should allow for 10 Gb/s even on cat 6 if I'm not mistaken (and 10 Gb/s ought to be enough for anyone...).
    So to me the question between cat 5e and 6 is installation effort.

    Regarding wireless:
    Since this is a new house being built I almost consider it a crime not to wire ethernet from the get go considering how little effort it is compared to doing it afterward. And although there certainly will be wireless available I really prefer going wired and wouldn't dream of using wireless to my desktop. I actually bought my very first wireless access point this week...

    Now, running fiber to the guest house might be overkill, I'm sure that I could cover it with wifi but not sure about the reception everywhere and fiddling with directional wifi is going to cost time, ugly and be cumbersome. Fiber doesn't seem to cost much more than directional wifi would anyway (after a quick check, not sure what I'm after really but can't imagine I'd need something fancy).
     
  16. BlueLineSwinger

    BlueLineSwinger Gawd

    Messages:
    638
    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2011
    Since this is new construction consider putting in conduit. Put it everywhere, even in places you don't need wired networking now but may later. It'll make future cabling additions/upgrades much simpler.
     
  17. +Eric

    +Eric Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    128
    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2012
    I also say consider conduit.

    As far as the guest house you really need to either do fiber or wireless. With copper you could have grounding issues between the two buildings and you won't be having any fun at all with that.

    With fiber you could just use some converters on either end, they're not terribly expensive, and put a small switch in the second house. Both switches could be bought to support fiber, so you wouldn't need the converters.

    With PtP wireless it would just be a bridge. You could get outdoor radios, point them at each other, lock them down and connect them to switches on either end. Ubiquiti Networks makes what you would need to accomplish that and it wouldn't be all that expensive. It's not going to be as fast or as reliable for that matter as the fiber though.
     
  18. mi7chy

    mi7chy 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    3,985
    Joined:
    May 22, 2013
    Really no reason to go CAT5e. You can often find cable installers on Craigslist selling partially used shielded solid plenum CAT6 spools from a job for really cheap. Stick to quality brands like Systimax, Commscope, Belden, etc. Use conduit to keep rodents from chewing on it.
     
  19. KazeoHin

    KazeoHin [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    7,805
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Not to take over the thread, but pretty much everyone seems to be against Cat7 in the research I've done. My wife and I will be building a new home soonish (3-5 years) and we plan on living there for decades, all things considered. I want 10gig connectivity, as I hope to run a few beefy file servers for the home.

    What are my options? Is Cat6e good enough to maintain bandwidth for 10-20 years?
     
  20. /usr/sbin

    /usr/sbin Successfully Trolled by Megalith

    Messages:
    3,927
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2010
    This.

    I'd put in conduit and run Cat5e. Gigabit speeds should be good for at least a decade. If you do decide to rewire having conduit will make it very simple.

    I'd go with 3/4" or 1" "Smurf Tube". Cheap and easy to install, especially since it's a new build with the walls open.
     
  21. m1abram

    m1abram 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    3,175
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2002
    Everyone says put conduit it you can pull cable later. Great advice if you follow 1 rule, all conduit must be straight, no turns at all. If you need a turn you need a junction box to pull through. Reason for this is once you add a couple of cables you will not be able to pull anything through that turn cause it will get seriously twisted.

    Drywall work is not that hard, if it is new construction yes put conduit through the floors. But if you can pull from basement(crawlspace) to attic then you should be able to pull cable to any room with out much work.
     
  22. dandragonrage

    dandragonrage [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    8,298
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2004
    You can have turns in conduit; you just don't want 90 degree hard turns but gradual curves like this (link is just first one I found in a quick Google search) http://installationmaterials.com/catalog/13073/product/534/JMKL50_ENG1.html

    Harder to install with these, but possible in many cases.


    CAT-7 doesn't seem to be a real standard, or not one that many companies follow. 10Gbps should last a long time - yes, in mine (and many of your) lifetimes we've seen ethernet go from 10Mbps (or lower) to 100Mbps to 1Gbps to 10Gbps but each increase is good enough for longer periods of time. Just like how we don't need 128-bit addressing in our CPUs anytime soon (maybe not even in our lifetimes).

    Regular CAT-6 can likely support 10Gbps at very short lengths (not guaranteed) and will be more sensitive to installation (try to keep each pair the same length - if you use a wallplate and your pairs differ in lengths by multiple inches, it may cause an issue at 10Gbps), but CAT-6a (not e) is what you really want if you want to be (nearly) sure that it will work at 10Gbps, can find it for a reasonable price and/or you want more than very short lengths.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2014
  23. m1abram

    m1abram 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    3,175
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2002
    Have you actually run cable through it after the fact? I have an it is not good, I ended up cutting a hole at the very gradual bend to pull the cable through. It was actually 2 45 degree bends separated by about 1 foot. After a few pulls it was worthless. Note it was 2" smooth conduit
     
  24. dandragonrage

    dandragonrage [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    8,298
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2004
    Used it in my last install when I had a house (couple years ago) and was fine, though the lengths were pretty short.

    Do you pull with string, use fish tape, or just feed the wire in?
     
  25. Red Squirrel

    Red Squirrel [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    9,211
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    I'd use unshielded cat6. It's not much more expensive than cat5. Setup a patch panel in a central location that will act as a data/server room. Where you think you'll need 2 jacks, install 4. Use cat6 for phone too, that way you can convert it to ethernet if ever needed.
     
  26. JPF_

    JPF_ Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    494
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2011

    1) Every company i've worked for has used many WAP's where it went through cement walls with rebar. I have a house with drywall and no insulation.

    2) I don't game, torrent, much less have any network storage, from your perspective I am a simpleton. I do watch an occasional youtube video. I don't watch mini series, hulu or netflix.

    3) Where I live is all people who work construction, manufacturing, and general labor jobs. No one is hacking my wifi anytime soon, even more so with mac filtering. And if someone takes the time to crack into my wifi, kudos....cause I don't do online banking, I dont have network storage as mentioned before.

    Just because I work in IT, doesnt mean I have eleventybillion petabytes of NAS and stream on all the 20 custom built PC's, all the while Folding@home and so on and so forth....


    I own a 3 year old Windowsphone 7.5 smart phone, and company provided laptop and iphone 5s.........that is all.

    I love IT, but dam if I got the funds to throw around to have the latest and greatest. Nor do I care about networking that much to install a home network.
     
  27. klank

    klank Killer of Killer NIC Threadz

    Messages:
    2,140
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2011
    Good luck with that. The very nature of WiFi broadcasts clients and APs MAC addresses in clear text. It is trivial to bypass mac filtering.

    But then again you have "nothing" a hacker would want :rolleyes::rolleyes:

    But anyways your post does nothing for the OP.

    OP since its a vacation house and you said that you don't foresee using 10Gbit then CAT5e will be just fine. Much easier to terminate properly.

    As for Ethernet runs, run at minimum two for each room, preferably 4. Also put in a couple of runs for where you would put your APs. Fiber to the guest house is your best bet to prevent grounding differences. Pre-terminated fiber is relatively inexpensive.
     
  28. m1abram

    m1abram 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    3,175
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2002
    I used both pull string and fish tape. Had to use fish tape once the pull string got too tangled.
     
  29. bman212121

    bman212121 [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,530
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2011
    On a 3/4" conduit if you want to fill the tube the only good way is to pull the old wires out, bundle them all together with the new wires, and pull them all back through at the same time. Just tape your fish to the old wires before you pull them out of the conduit, and then use that to pull everything back through. I had a heck of a time try to do a run for some floor boxes that went through 3 or 4 90 degree turns with existing wires in them. Think that was the only way we got most of the wires we wanted to the boxes. (I think there were around 8 wires in the conduit with the turns.)
     
  30. Red Squirrel

    Red Squirrel [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    9,211
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    Also for electrical it's code to not have more than 365 degrees worth of turns before you hit a LB or junction box. I would use that as a rule of thumb even for data as it will make it easier to pull wire through. I never worked much with conduit myself but I heard that a vacuum cleaner can work to suck a string through which you can then use to pull the wires. Just be careful how you run this conduit, you don't want to be drilling 2-3 inch holes through every single stud of a wall or through floor joists etc.

    Personally I would just ensure that everything left accessible and not worry about conduit. Don't drywall the basement ceiling, use drop ceiling or other ceiling system that can easily be removed and put back. From the basement you can put a jack pretty much anywhere upstairs as you make your hole in the wall for the jack box then drill down with a really long bit then you can find the hole in the basement and feed the wires through.
     
  31. dandragonrage

    dandragonrage [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    8,298
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2004
    The only code that applies to low-voltage stuff is fire code.
     
  32. bds1904

    bds1904 Gawd

    Messages:
    1,005
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2011
    I've worked with plenty of conduit in buildings jam packed with wiring.

    Quick drying low residue cable lube is your friend...