New Home Build Wiring Recommendations 2020 Edition

PigLover

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Jan 26, 2011
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40GBASE-T was specified in 2016 :D
And AFAIK, nobody in the world is building product. 40GB is effectively dead even on fiber. Wire is unlikely.

OTOH, 25/50 copper options are being developed and may gain legs.
 

edge

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Apr 22, 2013
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@i386

Cat8 with a 30m distance restriction. Nice spec, but now we need commercial viability. 100m is dead. The 30m limit means it is an in rack option only.

10Gbt spec was ratified around 2006. It took another 6 years to start showing up on motherboards. That was when it became viable for in rack use and possibly from rack to end of row if you used lacp, but fiber makes more sense in that use case. It has struggled getting to a reasonable price for home use where you see sub $300 l2 switches.

The question then becomes - is 40Gbt viable in rack. I would argue that in rack, 100Gb is minimum.

I don't see the market for 30m 40Gbt.
 

edge

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Apr 22, 2013
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@PigLover

25g and 50g make more sense. I just don't know for how long.

I can't see storage existing on its own network architecture much longer, though I have wished fibre channel dead for a long time. FC lives on only because marketing bought into the idea that storage is special so it needs special handling (thus the DCE/DCB bs). What storage can use is RDMA and its variants: I think they are integral to making disaggregation feasible. At the point which storage shares the same infrastructure as comms, I think bandwidth requirements increase dramatically.

Of course, the data center politics of wiping out the SAN/storage guys is formidable. Anyway, I am way off topic and should move these thoughts elsewhere.
 

kapone

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May 23, 2015
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I still don't understand why we're talking about 25/40/50gbps for home drops...You guys seriously think we're gonna need that much bandwidth at each drop in rooms even 25-30 years from now?
 

edge

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Apr 22, 2013
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I was at an MS windows server conference in the early 90's, and Bill Gates said: "We always overestimate how much the world will change in 2 years and underestimate how much it will change in ten."
 
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am45931472

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Feb 26, 2019
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Thanks for all the great responses, the debate has been greatly helpful.

After doing some more research i think the points made about shielded vs unshielded cable have some real merit. That said I will have an 240V air compressor in the home. home is also work.

I dont care about the cost of the cables themself however the potential for poor performance, network issues because of noise/grounding is something to consider. Shielded cable however would still cut down on crosstalk and I will have many cables bundled together in conduit so wouldn't shielded cable still be the best way to cut down on that cross talk. How would connecting an unshielded ethernet cable to one of the drops effect all this.

Again, trying to cut down on switches. 1 switch to all the drops would be nice. I do have a Brocade ICX 6610-48P i'm thinking about using for this.

I dont forsee the need for 10GB at every drop, at least for now, but yeah exactly who knows what the future holds. I have seen some HDMI over Ethernet devices that want the highest cable quality possible just to get a stable signal. When the biggest cost in this is really time not cable why not go with overkill. I dont have much time these days to do cabling like this however in 6 months when the home is move in ready I will have alot more time on my hands to get good at terminating cables, thus the planning now.


@edge Cat 6 isnt thick, but isnt Cat6A thick? with the plastic divider in the middle. I've terminated cat6a before, remember it being huge.

That said I do think you guys have talked me down off the Cat7/8 train. Just not the right cable for this. Maybe not the right cable for anything really.
 
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Sealside

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May 10, 2019
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I was in the same situation. Went with cat6a unshielded. Shielding will add thickness, crosstalking won't be bad unless you have live power wires running in parallel. I even have a cat6a 30m cable running alongside a 230V cable for 4m, and I can run 10G on it without any problems.

The cat 6a cables really vary in thickness, see my pictures of the two types I have been using, both are unshielded.


 

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Thorzeen

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Jun 15, 2018
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I ran Cat6A all through my house about 3 years ago. Most rooms have 4 drops and a coaxial. Was going to do 2 per room but changed it to 4 because running wire in a house is a giant PITA and i never want to do it again! 48 shielded runs all passed fluke tester. Home run to server room. I have no regrets!
 
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am45931472

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Feb 26, 2019
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I ran Cat6A all through my house about 3 years ago. Most rooms have 4 drops and a coaxial. Was going to do 2 per room but changed it to 4 because running wire in a house is a giant PITA and i never want to do it again! 48 shielded runs all passed fluke tester. Home run to server room. I have no regrets!
Did you use a patch panel in the server room. If so do you know which one. Using the fluke tester did you test for grounding.
 

PigLover

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Loto_Bak

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Mar 10, 2011
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I rewired my low voltage during home during a renovation 1.5 years ago.
Here are my recommendations and discoveries after the fact;

Cat6 wiring:
  • Use boxes of Cat6a. Cost difference to cat5e is negligible and support for video and 10g over cat6a is superior.
  • Cat6a terminates to keystones easily. Get a decent punch tool
  • Use cat6 for analog audio routing as well. I used it with balun's like these.
  • Run cat6 to your TVs. 2 for network, 2 for audio (in and out). Run 2 more if you want to do video distribution via cat6.
  • Run cat6 into closets/cupboards/ceiling where you may put access points. Use POE to power the access points.
  • Run cat6 for POE security cameras
  • Run cat6 to the doorbell
  • Run cat6 to thermostats/heatpumps to potentially interface with them in the future.
  • I ran cat6 audio for bluetooth modules around the house, though I find I use chromecast on the TV more for music.
  • Leave extra runs in attics and crawl spaces. They will come in handy.
Speaker Wiring
  • I did in ceiling speakers. Don't expect miracles in audio quality from ceiling mounted speakers. Staging sucks.
  • I ran 12ga but that was likely overkill.
  • Run for exterior speakers
  • Run some to the walls for subwoofers
  • if you have a home theatre area run 5.1/7.1 to eliminate wiring on the floor.
Coax
  • Run some to the attic and stick some homebuilt antennas up there for OTA.
  • If possibly using Sat make sure you use the quad whatever cable required for the LNBs
  • I did a coax run to all tvs. Have not used any of it as my OTA is connected to a HDhomerun
Other
  • I put in 40+ 12v motion sensors through the house using 4 conductor security wire. They are interfaced to a couple arduino megas onto the network via MQTT. This worked well but required custom mods to the motion sensors.
  • I wired all windows and doors with magnets and sensors that also interface to MQTT via arduino. I did not want to modify the windows so glued reed switches above the frame of the windows and glued super magnets to the window itself. The stock magnets are not strong enough. Everything is hidden this way.
  • Get a wire tracer thing off ebay. They're 3o bucks and save TONS of time figuring out which wire is which.

Regrets
  • I wish I had ran fibre to my office. Fiber 10G modules are so much cheaper and more reilable than 10G-baseT
  • I ran long distance HDMI 4k cables. Two copper and one fibre. All from monoprice. I get sparkling on one of the copper HDMI cables at 4k. Wish I had run fibre for all of them
 

am45931472

Member
Feb 26, 2019
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Anyone here have any advice/insight on proper grounding of shielded Ethernet cable (That said I am leaning against using shielded cable)
 

Thorzeen

New Member
Jun 15, 2018
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Did you use a patch panel in the server room. If so do you know which one. Using the fluke tester did you test for grounding.
Used 2 Cable Matters 24 port patch panels CAT6a. Grounding was checked I have a friend from work who runs the networking division and he used our company's $30,000 fluke tester. The $60,000 dollar one was out in the field that weekend so i had to use the spare :)
 

Thorzeen

New Member
Jun 15, 2018
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Anyone here have any advice/insight on proper grounding of shielded Ethernet cable (That said I am leaning against using shielded cable)
Use the cat6a keystones in your room and ground to the keystone casing ( not the box ) then ground to your patch panel. Ground your patch panel to a grounding busbar in your rack. and that (busbar) should ground to your electrical panels ground which in a perfect world would ground to at least your water system (if it is metal and runs underground at least 10' That is code in my area ) AND to an outside grounding rod (at least 8 feet from house )
 

am45931472

Member
Feb 26, 2019
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Was at Microcenter recently, saw this.

Inland Cat 7 Bulk Network Cable 1,000 ft. - - Micro Center

1000ft, Cat7, only 159$? So what gives. Seems cheap, doesnt add up. looking further into it looks like 26AWG twisted pairs and FSTP but no shielding around the entire cable.

Am I correct in assuming that this is what the whole cat7 being an unapproved standard can mean. A big variation in what different manufacturers call Cat7.
 

am45931472

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Feb 26, 2019
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Thought I'd give an update on what I ended up doing in the end. The home build is nearing completion but I had about 2 weeks in early june to get wiring done.

From all over the house I ran cables to a single point in the basement. Its there that I will install a wall mounted rack cabinet next to where I will put my main 42U rack. Its also the demarcation point where the ISP (spectrum) will install their ONT and any other hardware.


I ended up doing 45 cat6a UTP runs, 2x MMF OM4 runs and 2 SMF OS2 runs. I also put 12awg wiring in walls and celiling in what will be our media room and also into a small den that we will have.

In the end I did not run any RG6 even though I had originally planned on it. I have a tivo for my cable tv and it broadcasts over ethernet to satelite units in the house so running ethernet is much more important than RG6. That said I will still probably end up running at least 1RG6 line from the basement to the attic to install an antenna if "Nextgen TV" aka ATSC 3.0 ends up being worth it. I'd then use something like a tivo OTA to also rebroadcast that signal over the local network.

It took 2800ft cable to cover the house and I feel like I did a good job of trying to make runs as reasonable short as possible while also staying away from as many electrical lines as possible and crossing them at 90 degrees when I had no choice. 1000Ft of cable on a spool sounds like a lot until you start doing 150ft+ runs. From my garage to my basement was the longest run at 180ft. Most runs where in the 45-55ft range. The shortest run to my second floor from the basement was 120ft. Also hillarious (or annoying) but the home breaker panel in the basement is on the opposite side of the house from where the mains power comes in and that is not a wire that you want to run Ethernet around.

in major tv areas I ran no less than 4 lines, to kids bedrooms I ran 2 lines. I ran 4 lines in the house for ceiling mounted APs, 3 for security cameras. In 2 area in the house I ran 2x lines for desktop Pcs at a desk area.

4 lines to each tv sounds like alot but I dont think its overkill. again I have tivo. some tv's have roku. Tv's themselves also have an ethernet port. I plug all thoes in and that leaves only 1 port free. or some HDbaseT distribution systems require 2x rj45 inputs. I thought it would be dumb to run 2 lines to a tv knowing that I will immediately fill both of those outlets with no extra.

I put fiber in the places where I was likely to have a high end personal PC, or media PC, or edge switch, or need potential future high bandwidth video distribution. God single mode fiber cables can be cheep despite also being faster than MMF cables but I did still also run MMF because tranceivers can be much cheeper.

In the end I spent 642$ on 3000ft of cat6a cable.
around 75$ for 250 awg speaker cable
around 75$ for 4x fiber cables.

Running all these lines took alot of time. The house was also really hot. Had all insulation put in and it was 95F over the weekend I did most of the runs. I also added some of my own batt insulation work to where the builder doesnt do it.

Once I move into the house I'll have the joy putting outlets for these runs into the walls and terminating the cables. I was asked by the builder not to terminate the cables or put electrical boxes on the walls for them so as to not confuse their workers.

There is an area in the house where I will be able to run conduit basement to attic once I move into the house but I did not do any before the walls were put up. Thats ok though because where I will run it should be easy to do when the home is finished.

So yeah. thats that. I ran all cat6a, no cat6, which in the end cost only about 120$ more. Easily worth it I think. cat6a is definetally thicker. I was able to squeeze only 6 lines though each 1inch hole I drilled before I though it got too tight. I did test out 8 in a 1inch hole but decided that was a bad idea even though they did technically fit.

I'm looking at something like this Tripplite cabinet to house the home's patch panels, 1u router ,2-3 switches, PDU, UPS and ISP equipment and probabbly cable managers.



I am also still trying to decide if I want to build patch panels using all keystones or get a punch down panel or use a combination of the 2 since I will need something for the fiber lines anyway. not alot of cat6a UTP patch panels out there.

I also anticipate running some more lines in the house for my basement work area when I move in but that can be easily done. The basement is unfinished. I started all this wanting to avoid running dasiey chained switches and I think i ran enough lines and in enough places to do that.

I also have 2 dedicate 20a outlets run to my rack area for good power.
 

EngineerNate

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Jun 3, 2017
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I agree with your plan to run both SMF and MMF fiber for your edge switches/PCs. Fiber is cheap and which type is cheapest to get the connectivity you want with a given type of equipment seems super variable.

I bought F/UTP shielded for my house. To simplify termination I ponied up for the nice toolless keystones from leviton. My rack is 4' from some of the 6ga copper ground wires that ground the whole house to the rods outside, so I shouldn't have any trouble getting a good ground on that end. My upstairs networking box is piped down to the rack with EMT and LFMC and has great ground continuity too, so I'm not overly worried about getting my grounding right.

U/FTP and S/FTP look like a nightmare to terminate.

Did you end up running pipe to all your drops or no? Pipe is nice for fiber. No chance of exceeding your bend radius requirements when the pipe's min-radius is bigger than the fiber's!
 

lahatte

New Member
Jul 8, 2020
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If i had it to do over, I would do all fiber. 40gbe is cheap these days since it is obsolete. You can get 40gbe switches for $200 or less.
 

EngineerNate

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Jun 3, 2017
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I think having copper anywhere you want an endpoint that's not a PC/Switch is still a good idea. Also hard to do PoE over fiber. ;)

One of my main purposes in getting a wired connection up to my second floor is that I can then punch ethernet up through the ceiling into the attic (I have a stub of EMT conduit going up for this purpose) and run cheap IP cameras to my heart's content and not worry about how to get power to a bunch of USB powered cameras or worry about wifi signal or batteries dying.