Ethernet Cable Recommendations for Home

southerndoc

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Feb 22, 2021
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I'm wanting to upgrade my ethernet cable from CAT6 to 6a. I currently have the following powered via PoE from a central switch (2.5G, may upgrade to 10G):
  • 4 PoE access points, which I plan to upgrade to WiFi 6-compatible (probably 2.5G links)
  • 6 PoE-powered switches, OK with them running 1G
  • 2 NAS servers in 2 different locations with NIC that supports 10G
  • 4 computers that I would like to have 10G access
Because of the size of the house, 10G likely wouldn't be supported with standard CAT6.

Given the bundle of cables leaving the network cabinet/master switch isn't that much, and the PoE that's being generated is <8W per run, would it be beneficial to install F/UTP or is standard UTP without shielding OK? I don't have any plans to power PoE++ equipment through the ethernet cables. However, I do plan to eventually add 8-10 cameras around the house (4K cameras, not sure of wattages they will require).
 

southerndoc

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Feb 22, 2021
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The 4 computers for 10G are from 50-150 feet (network cabinet/master switch is in the basement, going to offices and bedrooms on top floor). One of the AP's is 25 feet away, one is 75, one is about 100, and one is 150 feet on the other end of the house on the top story.
 

tubs-ffm

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Sep 1, 2013
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I would go with fiber for the main drops and between servers and workstations. Install 10G devices today, but use cable that is ready for 100G. Then you are ready for the future.
 

Samir

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Jul 21, 2017
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You have to decide if PoE or 100G is more important. Personally, if I'm going to ever have to re-wire or install new wiring, I will have coax, ethernet, and preterminated fibre in a conduit if possible.
 

southerndoc

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Feb 22, 2021
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It took almost all day to get the fish tape down the conduit from the attic to the basement. It kept getting hung up between the corrugation and the wires. Tomorrow, I plan to pull 4 100' segments (I can trim it later if needed) plus 1 fiber optic. 3 runs to the office, one as a spare, and the fiber to the office. I've decided that CAT6 is probably enough for the 2.5G links for the access points so there is no need to change those out. If I do, I can simply cut the current cable, tie a CAT6a to it, and pull it from basement to attic with the current cable.

Trying to get the fish tape down was a real pain to say the least. Now that that's over, I can pull the wire up. Here's praying it doesn't come off the fish tape as I'm pulling it up!
 

Samir

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Jul 21, 2017
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Yeah, this is why anytime we've run conduit, it's been 2" pvc pipes--that blue stuff is never going to be easy being corrugated as it will hang on everything shoved in it.

To keep the wire from coming off the fish, I usually tape it using packing tape about 2-3 ft along the tape--then it is just like the tape coming back out and won't hang on anything. I'd be tempted just to run the fibre as that will have more than enough bandwidth and because it is a bit more delicate than the other wire.
 

southerndoc

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Feb 22, 2021
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I was tempted to just run fiber, but when I took the wall plate off one of the current office pulls, the cable is damaged with exposed wire. I'm surprised I'm not getting a ton of issues from it.

I'm going to pull a draw string with it in case I need to pull anything in the future.
 
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southerndoc

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Feb 22, 2021
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I also found where they ran CAT6 and terminated it (probably due to running out of cable and needing to "splice" it together). What did they terminate it with? 5e. :rolleyes: Not sure if it would actually prevent 2.5G connections to an access point.
 
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Samir

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Jul 21, 2017
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I was tempted to just run fiber, but when I took the wall plate off one of the current office pulls, the cable is damaged with exposed wire. I'm surprised I'm not getting a ton of issues from it.

I'm going to pull a draw string with it in case I need to pull anything in the future.
It's amazing how overengineered the ethernet spec is as stuff like this will just retry and work even though you'll see the detailed statistics with the right equipment.

As far as the draw string--I've seen those things deteriorate within a few years so I'd either use some sort of wire or just forget about it and think of just wiring this once and for all.

I also found where they ran CAT6 and terminated it (probably due to running out of cable and needing to "splice" it together). What did they terminate it with? 5e. :rolleyes: Not sure if it would actually prevent 2.5G connections to an access point.
Lovely. I don't think there's any way to properly 'splice' a wire like this without terminating it on both ends and using a coupler. If they did it right, I don't see why it would interfere with 2.5G, but termination is usually the weak point as even the best people still have bad ones. :(
 

southerndoc

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Feb 22, 2021
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Out of curiosity, if I had gone with shielded cable instead of unshielded, how does one ground the shielded cable? Do you ground at the cabinet with a shielded patch panel and simply run the ground wire to the grounding bus bar or is there more to it?
 

southerndoc

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Feb 22, 2021
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Finally got the CAT6a and fiber optic line run. I dropped 3 lines + 1 fiber optic to my office. Getting it up was just as hard as getting the fish tape down. Probably would've been a ton easier had I pulled 1 line at a time. The head of the ethernet cables (that I did a great job taping but didn't use too much tape) was getting caught probably between the other cables that were already dropped. Took quite a few tries but was finally able to get it up.

Initially, two of the drops didn't work. I thought I messed up the termination (I was using A, but thought I might've terminated one B). Everything was OK though. I ended up repunching them and it started working. I guess the punchdown didn't have enough force initially.

Everything is working well now. Waiting on my US-16-XG to come in so I can get 10G up.