New house intranet wiring

Liver

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Going to build a 4000 square foot home, hopefully my last.

What networking cabling should I use? I don't think I need fiber optic, and all the associated costs are high.

So I'm thinking of cat6 or cat6e.

Now I learned there is cat7 and cat8.

Want wiring for this year and hopefully for 10-15 years from now. I suppose in the near future, wireless will be just as fast as ethernet and I will transition to that.

So cat6? 6e? 7? 8? Something else?
 

bman212121

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Probably the best wiring right now would be to use Cat6a. It's rated for 10gig and as long as it's done correctly you shouldn't have to worry about that wire for a long, long time. Done correctly meaning face plates with wall jacks and a patch panel on the other end. So if you have issues it's almost going going to be with the patch cables you plug into the wall.

That said, I can't stress enough that wall boxes are run into conduit that comes out to a workable area, or simply run back to a central location. If you're planning on having a basement, it's usually enough to simply stub the wall boxes through the floor so you can feed cable into them at a later time. The only guarantee when it comes to wiring is that something new will come along. Houses don't last 20 years, in many cases they last 100. Trying to retrofit a house for whatever comes along next can be time consuming and difficult, where as having a conduit means it's a very simple replacement job and you don't have to worry about putting holes in the wall or trying to fish through insulation. Literally just dealt with something like this recently, where we needed to add a phone line on an outside wall. Not only was the wall full of insulation, the way the floor met in the basement there was little room for error of where the hole could come out at. It took a couple hours just to get a pull string through the wall, where if there were conduit it would have been a 10 minute job.

I'm sure that the price of conduit isn't going to be cheap, but if you think about even the past 50 years, houses have needed to be retrofitted for:

Phone lines
Coax
Ethernet

It's obviously doable to run new lines, but it's much easier to do if you plan ahead. Where most people run into issues is in multi story houses. Given the square footage I would guess it will have more than one story. You absolutely want to have someone add a few extra empty conduits that go all the way from the bottom floor to the attic. So many people come on here asking about access points, or say my cable modem is located in room x, because it was the one and only room that a contractor put a coax drop into. Not only would I plan for that but possibly even think about places you could hang access points have have a box stubbed out in the ceiling for one. Just having a single box in a central location so you can run a wire to it could make a huge difference in wireless coverage. Or at the very least if you have access to the attic you can run Ethernet from where ever the patch panel is located into the attic and poke a small hole in the ceiling where ever you want.
 
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Outside of installing proper conduit in the walls/ceilings/etc., there is no such thing as future-proofing. Don't try, just do your best to estimate your equipment and needs for now and the near future and build to that. The conduit, spare patch panel jacks (or space for a second panel), and a little time are your future-proofing, without the expense of having a bunch of wire in your walls that you may never need and/or will become obsolete.

Cat 6 would probably be OK. It's spec for NBase-T (2.5/5 Gb/s), and can support (but is not spec for) 10 Gb/s up to ~50 meters (less due to cross-talk once you start bundling multiple runs together). It's also usually not much pricier that Cat 5e. If you plan to have workstations with 10 Gb/s NICs in places away from your wiring closet, then Cat 6a (6e isn't a thing) may be warranted. However, it's much pricier, and more difficult to run/terminate properly while remaining in spec.

Don't worry about Cat 7/8 cable. It's niche datacenter stuff that barely even exists there because everyone uses fiber/direct-attach cables (DACs). Also, you don't need shielded at any grade. There's no way your home will have enough EM/RF interference to warrant it.

Don't forget to find some good places on the ceilings to run conduit/boxes to for WiFi APs. Mesh is kinda a hack, better to have APs with proper ethernet connectivity.

Put your wiring closet in a place where fan noise is not an issue, preferably with relatively consistent temp/humidity.
 

Liver

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I have a dedicated “media” closet. It’ll have all the ethernet cabling run to a single space. It’s a sizable space.

All my internet / intranet gear will be on that rack. I’m having 2 cables run per location at the same time. Labor is the greatest cost, running 2 cables will be trivial.

So, cat6a is what is best / cost effective to run?
 

EniGmA1987

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So, cat6a is what is best / cost effective to run?
Honestly, the cost of the cable itself when building a house is a pittance. 2,000' of the top grade Cat8 only costs $1000, so anything you use shouldnt really have cost factored into it for house building costs. Whats 1k when factored into a loan spread out over 30 years?
That said, I doubt we will ever actually make use of 40gig copper spec anywhere in the world so it seems kinda pointless to install.
If you do the best thing and run conduit, Cat6a would be a great choice. If you dont spend the money on conduit and these will be stapled to the 2x4's, then I would say Cat7 for the extra shielding and cable strength so staples have less chance of damaging things and compromising speed.




 

Liver

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Cost of the cable is irrelevant. It’s the associated cost of the equipment that’s the issue. Hence fiber is out.

Does cat7 use the same connections? Etc?
Right now I have 100/1000, I would like to have 100/1000/10Gb capabilities.

To use 10gb intranet, I’m willing to upgrade my system.
 

Nicklebon

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All my internet / intranet gear will be on that rack. I’m having 2 cables run per location at the same time. Labor is the greatest cost, running 2 cables will be trivial.
If you're going to trouble of running the cable during construction I would at a minimum double that and at least triple it in some places. My primary TV cabinet currently has blu-ray, firestick, tv, receiver, xbox, dtv and a laptop all ethernet connected. Wireless is great but it will always lose to wired when it comes to reliability and consistency. Also, don't forget about running several lines into the attic and crawlspace as well as RG6 cables. Since is this is being done during construction it would also be advisable to run at least 2 lines to every window and exterior door for alarms. The window and door lines could be less expensive 5E and could forego conduit but, everything else should be conduit. Conduit cannot be over emphasized. I also do not understand your aversion to fiber. The associated equipment cost is insignificant compared to the initial cost pulling the cable.
 

techie81

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If you're going to trouble of running the cable during construction I would at a minimum double that and at least triple it in some places. My primary TV cabinet currently has blu-ray, firestick, tv, receiver, xbox, dtv and a laptop all ethernet connected. Wireless is great but it will always lose to wired when it comes to reliability and consistency. Also, don't forget about running several lines into the attic and crawlspace as well as RG6 cables. Since is this is being done during construction it would also be advisable to run at least 2 lines to every window and exterior door for alarms. The window and door lines could be less expensive 5E and could forego conduit but, everything else should be conduit. Conduit cannot be over emphasized. I also do not understand your aversion to fiber. The associated equipment cost is insignificant compared to the initial cost pulling the cable.
2 cables should be fine for most people. You can always add a switch if you need to. This is what we did for my parents new construction and it works perfectly.
 

Nicklebon

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2 cables should be fine for most people. You can always add a switch if you need to. This is what we did for my parents new construction and it works perfectly.
It may work but, certainly not perfectly and is far from ideal. The point of doing pre-construction wiring is to avoid kludges such as you describe. Nevermind that many low end consumer switches lack solid stp support assuming they support it all and that 99% of users even here have no idea how to troubleshoot stp issues if they crop up. It is FAR better to run more cables now.
 

Liver

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If you're going to trouble of running the cable during construction I would at a minimum double that and at least triple it in some places. My primary TV cabinet currently has blu-ray, firestick, tv, receiver, xbox, dtv and a laptop all ethernet connected. Wireless is great but it will always lose to wired when it comes to reliability and consistency. Also, don't forget about running several lines into the attic and crawlspace as well as RG6 cables. Since is this is being done during construction it would also be advisable to run at least 2 lines to every window and exterior door for alarms. The window and door lines could be less expensive 5E and could forego conduit but, everything else should be conduit. Conduit cannot be over emphasized. I also do not understand your aversion to fiber. The associated equipment cost is insignificant compared to the initial cost pulling the cable.
I thought fiber required new terminations and all new networking gear? Most likely I do not understand the technology or the terminology.

please educate me.
 

sharknice

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Cost of the cable is irrelevant. It’s the associated cost of the equipment that’s the issue. Hence fiber is out.

Does cat7 use the same connections? Etc?
Right now I have 100/1000, I would like to have 100/1000/10Gb capabilities.

To use 10gb intranet, I’m willing to upgrade my system.
Cat5, 6, 7, 8, etc. all use the same ethernet connection and are backwards compatible. So you can have a cheap gigabit switch with all your equipment then upgrade to a 10 gig switch later.

You can put 4 ethernet jacks in a wall plate instead of one. I would recommend doing that for every room, or at least to the media centers. Conduit to the media centers is a good idea. Who knows what kind of cable we'll need in 15 years to power our 800k UHDR holographic TVs.
 

Haven

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If I was building a house new again, I would make sure it has conduit for one. I would run a minimum of 2 cables per room, with 4 cables at least for the Living Room, Office, and Family Room.

But that is just me, and I am stuck looking for an 8 port POE switch for my home office because I need more than 2 connections now.
 

/dev/null

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Cost of the cable is irrelevant. It’s the associated cost of the equipment that’s the issue. Hence fiber is out.

Does cat7 use the same connections? Etc?
Right now I have 100/1000, I would like to have 100/1000/10Gb capabilities.

To use 10gb intranet, I’m willing to upgrade my system.
My 16 port 10-Gbit sfp switch was $350 several years ago. You can buy a 4 port 10Gbit switch for under $150. It's SFP+ in which copper sfps exist but most are out of spec, so you go fiber.
I'd say MMF OM3 or better and you should be set for a while. Run copper/RJ45 for iot/access points, and put the desktops on fiber. I run a mix of copper (printers, other consumer devices) fiber (my desktops -> 10Gbit/s switch) and coax (ethernet backend for APS spread liberally around the house) which I adapt to Ethernet using moca 2.0 adapters.
 
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Honestly, the cost of the cable itself when building a house is a pittance. 2,000' of the top grade Cat8 only costs $1000, so anything you use shouldnt really have cost factored into it for house building costs. Whats 1k when factored into a loan spread out over 30 years?
That said, I doubt we will ever actually make use of 40gig copper spec anywhere in the world so it seems kinda pointless to install.
If you do the best thing and run conduit, Cat6a would be a great choice. If you dont spend the money on conduit and these will be stapled to the 2x4's, then I would say Cat7 for the extra shielding and cable strength so staples have less chance of damaging things and compromising speed.




No, do not bother with Cat 7/8. There's absolutely no point. Literally no ethernet spec calls for either. Anything faster than 10 Gb/s is using fiber. No normal house requires shielded cable. And they are much more difficult to install properly.

10 Gb/s ethernet is only just starting to become mainstream for (high-end) home use. It's at the point where 1 Gb/s ethernet was ~20 years ago. And there was much more pressure at the time to upgrade from slower standards. I seriously doubt anything faster than 10 Gb/s will come near to entering the home/consumer market in a similar time span. The introduction of 2.5/5 Gb/s standards that can operate over most existing installs will further dampen any mainstream uptake of faster standards, I believe.

You're also omitting the install price for such cable, which, if you could find anyone to actually do it, would probably be nuts (and you'd need a pro install to get it right, even Cat 6a can be tricky for amateurs).

And if any network installer is stapling network cables to the frame, fire them immediately. Stapling the cable has high potential of disrupting the twist pattern of the pairs, making the run non-compliant. Also, any installer who would do this would probably screw up other things, like ignoring proper bend radius.
 

Nicklebon

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I thought fiber required new terminations and all new networking gear? Most likely I do not understand the technology or the terminology.

please educate me.
Not even sure where to begin ...

1. This is a new installation therefore everything will require new terminations. If you meant terminators see #3. One is verb the other a noun.
2. See the #1
3. Not my job to educate you and most certainly not my interest. Educate yourself.
4. If you're making an investment in a home, likely the biggest purchase you have made in your life, and you think anything then perhaps you're not ready for such a purchase. You should know with 100% certainty. There is no room for I thought. This is how people end up in foreclosure. I thought it was a fixed rate mortgage, I didn't know there was a balloon payment, I though libor was typoed labor. Seriously, you must KNOW!
 

Liver

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Exceptionally thankful the forums have an ignore feature.

I think my core networking gear is 9 years old. Corresponds to when I stopped looking into it, because its not my primary occupation. Its a hobby of sorts. Im looking at new equipment and its overwhelming. In the design phase, getting cabling done is cheap. Basically its the labor. Thats the mistake I'm trying to avoid.

Example. I don't think I will get propane appliances, but things can change. I'm getting all the piping in the walls to avoid that retrofit massive expense if we decide to change.
 

Cmustang87

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Not even sure where to begin ...

1. This is a new installation therefore everything will require new terminations. If you meant terminators see #3. One is verb the other a noun.
2. See the #1
3. Not my job to educate you and most certainly not my interest. Educate yourself.
4. If you're making an investment in a home, likely the biggest purchase you have made in your life, and you think anything then perhaps you're not ready for such a purchase. You should know with 100% certainty. There is no room for I thought. This is how people end up in foreclosure. I thought it was a fixed rate mortgage, I didn't know there was a balloon payment, I though libor was typoed labor. Seriously, you must KNOW!
I honestly don't understand your bullying and negativity in this post. Liver came here asking for help and you basically told them to piss off and learn it on their own. bman212121 and BlueLineSwinger gave the best and most reasonable advice in the thread.
 

Liver

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I'm going to meet with our electrician within 2 weeks.
 

Nicklebon

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I honestly don't understand your bullying and negativity in this post. Liver came here asking for help and you basically told them to piss off and learn it on their own. bman212121 and BlueLineSwinger gave the best and most reasonable advice in the thread.
If you go bback and read post #7 I would disagree. I gave very good advice. The OP then demanded that I educate him which I refused.
 

Nicklebon

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I'm going to meet with our electrician within 2 weeks.
One more piece of good advice, do not let an electrician pull and terminate your network cable. They will almost certainly screw it up. Find a reputable cable installer and get them to do it. They will do a better job and should deliver to you a report that show the cables they pulled and terminated are actually up to the spec they supposed to be. It will do you less than good to pull CAT100 cable and have the finished product spec out at CAT3 because the cable monkey didn't understand the concept of bend radius or more likely stapled through it.
 

reaper7534!

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If you go bback and read post #7 I would disagree. I gave very good advice. The OP then demanded that I educate him which I refused.
Good info here, in the process of building my own house....well, still about 6-8 months, just broke down

Nicklebon,

I don't see where he demanded anything, he did say " please "
 

EniGmA1987

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If you go bback and read post #7 I would disagree. I gave very good advice. The OP then demanded that I educate him which I refused.
The OP actually said "please educate me" when asking about what is going on with fiber, he did not demand that you do so. You then proceeded to be a complete ass.

Anyway, if you are going to be pushing him to go fiber then you should be willing to back up your argument as to why it should be done. Don't just say "do it" and then never want to give a reason.
 

bman212121

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One more piece of good advice, do not let an electrician pull and terminate your network cable. They will almost certainly screw it up. Find a reputable cable installer and get them to do it. They will do a better job and should deliver to you a report that show the cables they pulled and terminated are actually up to the spec they supposed to be. It will do you less than good to pull CAT100 cable and have the finished product spec out at CAT3 because the cable monkey didn't understand the concept of bend radius or more likely stapled through it.
This I would agree with. Electricians don't really know much about data cabling, but since it's cabling with electrical wires, it tends to fall on them because there generally isn't someone dedicated to these for most homes. (Which is why most new construction gets a single coax into one room, and that should be good enough to satisfy all of your data needs)
 

bman212121

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If I was building a house new again, I would make sure it has conduit for one. I would run a minimum of 2 cables per room, with 4 cables at least for the Living Room, Office, and Family Room.

But that is just me, and I am stuck looking for an 8 port POE switch for my home office because I need more than 2 connections now.
The conduit is the #1 part of what you're talking about. You'll never be able to guess how many wires you need, and you'll feel bad if you put two cables into a room and never use them, but then only put 2 cables into some other location where you wish you had 4. If you stub out conduit then it doesn't matter if you even run a single wire to a box or not, you can easily change it later. You might change your mind about which room is the office, so you put 4 wires somewhere only to need to add wires later in another room that needed 4. I prefer to try to have 2 places in a room where I think I might need a drop, and have those stubbed out far enough I can run wires to them later. You can run the wires yourself or even if you need to have an installer come out later you might be able to work out a cheaper rate if it's going to be trivial for them to run wires. The conduit should pay for itself in the long run and make your life a lot easier when you want to change something.

As a side note for the main TV if I'm even considering wall mounting it I'd try to put some 2x6" cross braces to attach the TV bracket to, then have a double gang box somewhere behind the TV. Put like a 1" conduit vertically from the box behind the TV to another box that's at normal height off the floor. That should allow you to sneak an HDMI cable up the wall between a wall mounted TV and some type of cabinet where the components will live. Then you don't need to have any exposed wires and you're not trying to fish that wall later either.
 

Liver

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I have a media closet right behind where the main TV is going. That room / closet is where all the networking gear will go. All the TV gear, all the security camera interface. Everything network related. This isn’t the first time I have done this, in respect to TV and connections.

For the network, I’m going all Ubiquiti. Rack mounting it all.

I’ll make use of what I have right now to get started.
 

Dead Parrot

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2nd the thought of at least one conduit run to each room. Plus one from the most likely place(s) for ISPs to show up outside the house. Avoids that cable run around the outside of the new house to get close to the media closet.
Same thought for any possible satellite TV dish/OTA antenna spots.
 

IdiotInCharge

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I have a media closet right behind where the main TV is going. That room / closet is where all the networking gear will go. All the TV gear, all the security camera interface. Everything network related. This isn’t the first time I have done this, in respect to TV and connections.
I'd be in heaven if this were the standard!

For the network, I’m going all Ubiquiti. Rack mounting it all.
The new Unifi Dream Machine Pro (UDM Pro) is appealing. Their APs are about the best bang-for-buck you're going to get.

Switching at 10Gbps is where it starts to hurt, especially with RJ45 / CAT6 (CAT6a) / 10Gbase-T. Fiber is cheaper on the switching side, for now, and Direct Attach Copper (DAC) cables may be used with the SFP+ ports that fiber transceivers plug in to, and that's pretty cheap as well for in-rack patching.

The bigger challenge is that you're not going to find SPF+ on consumer motherboards, and that you're not going to get an SFP+ card with PCIe 3.0 (let alone new) for anything reasonable. And then of course, you actually have to run fiber where you think you'll need it and figure out adding in the PCIe cards to endpoints too.

I'd say that if that's not something you're already familiar with working, the difference isn't worth it over copper through and through. I'd personally do it to 'do it', but for those interested in something that 'just works', copper is it*.


[* Ubiquiti has had hell with 10Gbase-T; it's worth doing the research to determine whether they're up to snuff today, I haven't looked hard at them in about a year -- personally, I went with an HPE SMB 10Gbase-T switch, and given how simple switching is and how few devices can actually show a difference in performance at >1Gbps, that hasn't been a problem in terms of management and integration, even got LAG going to an old Aruba I got off Ebay with two 10Gbps connections]
 

Liver

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I’ve changed over the years. I used to build a new computer every 2 year (and update in the middle). I used to game often.

I haven’t had a desktop in a couple of years, and even before that, no updates in about 4-5 years.

I’m wondering if WiFi will be enough for me? Since that thought crossed my head, I know that cat7a will be just fine.

electrician said he’d drop the lines for $25, but I have to buy the spools. He estimates 2000 feet, or two spools.
 

IdiotInCharge

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I’m wondering if WiFi will be enough for me?
Enough? Yes.

Either get the best APs you can today and place them liberally, or get the cheapest ones and then swap them when stuff like WiFi 6 and WPA3 become a thing.
 

Mac2

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I’ve changed over the years. I used to build a new computer every 2 year (and update in the middle). I used to game often.

I haven’t had a desktop in a couple of years, and even before that, no updates in about 4-5 years.

I’m wondering if WiFi will be enough for me? Since that thought crossed my head, I know that cat7a will be just fine.

electrician said he’d drop the lines for $25, but I have to buy the spools. He estimates 2000 feet, or two spools.
Unless you are planning to use your house as a datacenter all you need is cat6 which is rated for 10gigs. for the the price you cited wire everything including runs for cameras, home security sensors, etc...
 

Mac2

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As for wireless i would suggest a solution that allows controlling all of them from one location like Aruba instant.
 
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