Question In-wall setup

Sep 17, 2021
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In the middle of renovating a 1200 square-foot single-level house. Having a hard time deciding how to set up the in-wall cabling for AV and networking. I am at a blank for what cables to tell my contractor to set up. I have a few general ideas and I hope you folks can fill in the blanks and offer some suggestion.

1. In my old place, I've used mesh wifi with mixed result. Frequent disconnection is frustrating. I can use mesh in this new place for phone/tablets but perhaps a network jack(or two in my office room since I use 2 computers) in every room to help with speed, connection stability. But which network cable to buy? Cat 6, 7, 8, types??

2. For my living room where I plan to hang a TV on the wall, what cable/wall jacks I need set up behind the TV? 1 power out, 1 ethernet, 1 usb with a USB hub near the floor, 3 hdmi?? Do I run cables out of the wall or setup keystones?

3. What kind of outlet at the base of the TV for future-proof purposes? I would rather setup more than necessary and not need them now than call my contractor years down the road to come to setup something I didn't get done this time.

4. The home is small and I'm struggling to figure out a place to setup my cable modem and mesh router. Should I just have it plop down at the base of the TV and have a bunch of CAT cables running into the wall from it to each room? Or have the internet cable lead to a closet somewhere and setup my modem/router in the closet instead?

Sorry for the newbie questions. First time ever doing in-wall cabling and just want it well-thought through and do it once.
 

boju

Titan
Ambassador
Cat 5e is fine for most things home networking and lengths depending how bandwidth intensive and frequent your tasks are but generally 115MB/sec give or take, depending on storage drive configurations (gigabit nics, ssds etc) is generally more than enough usually. If thinking of the future then probably Cat 6 or 6a for 10GBE. 6a compared to 6 extends full bandwidth from 45m to 100. I doubt your runs wouldn't be more than 45m but if not much difference in price then 6a, for the better quality would make sense.


If want to hide cables behind TV then probably few Hdmi, as many the TV can have for devices below(Home theatre/projector forums will talk in length about the types of wall plates are typical and which cables to bridge with ~ ie ultra high speed), antenna if use free to air. A network port and power outlet behind TV if want to hide these ~ check measurements how far out the TV must be for clearance. Two network ports below TV behind entertainment unit which A; leads to TV and B; router room. Using B for point of access and A connect to TV. B extended to network switch to bridge A and add console/ players.

Have router where you'll mostly be using main PC, easier access if need to do something/reboot it. Have each room cabled to wall plate there. Add wireless extender in area if lacking coverage, those have antennas receiving a much stronger signal than phones etc with no antenna so signal strength will be improved.
 
Your best "future proof" is to run plastic flexible conduit so you can replace the wires in the future. This is kinda like the guys who said SVHS video connectors where the future and it turns out that was wrong and it is now all HDMI. Token ring used to run 16mbps when ethernet only ran 10mbps.

For things like TV many people still run conduit since the number and types of cable may change. It will be less messy to run the ethernet cables to some cabinet. You would then place a switch to connect them all. You could put the router here or in a different room and run a lan cable back to the switch. There is no correct answer both have advantages and disadvantages.

For ethernet run cat6a if the cost is not too high. Otherwise run cat5e. Cat6a will give you 10gbit rates and cat5e will give 1gbit. As of right now there is very little need for 10g and I suspect that will be true for a number of years.

Cat6 cable provides little benefit over cat5e. It is only rated to 1gbit even though it can be made to run 10g at shorter distances this is not actually part of the official standard. The cost of the copper metal has gotten so high that the difference in manufacturing costs between cat6 and cat6a is very little so you might as well get cat6a that is officially rated to run at 10g.

Cat7 cable was not fully certified and it also run at 10g but cost more than cat6a. It might be better in extremely narrow conditions mostly in data centers.

Cat8 I don't know if the standard is even final. It is used for 40gbit connection. This again is something that will be used in data centers but most those are using fiber for these type of connection rates and fiber is getting cheaper and cheaper unlike copper cables where the metal is constantly getting more expensive.

The largest thing about ethernet cable is to get quality cable. The metal costs have gone up massively so you see lots of fake cables. Make very sure the wire being used in is pure copper with wire size 22-24. Things like CCA cable and cables with thinner wire are not certified ethernet cables.
 

gggplaya

Distinguished
Typically yes, all the wires should go to a central closet or cabinet somewhere nice and hidden. The modem, main router and switch should also be there. Then spread your wifi nodes throughout the rest of the house and set them to ethernet backhaul mode.

Make sure your cabinet is in a place where the ISP brings in their connection, like coax cable or fiber.
 

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