building new home; networking; do i cat 5, wireless?

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by michaelwcpa, Aug 18, 2003.

  1. michaelwcpa macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2003
    Location:
    West Chester, PA (near Philly)
    #1
    New to the forum. Thanks in advance for advice. Somewhat on a budget.
    I am building a new house and am confused (and weak on tech knowledge) on how to obtain my internet and networking needs.
    My desire is to utilize cable broadband internet anywhere in the house and on multiple machines simultaneously. I would also like to network all my machines together.
    Equipment: E Mac (running osX), older G4 (running os9), i Mac (running 9, but could switch to 10) and last and certainly least my heathen peecee laptop (compaq running windows 95).
    Questions:
    Do I run cat 5 all through the house or go wireless?
    Can I use cable broadband to use simultaneous internet connections?
    Can we be file sharing and be internet connected simultaneously?
    If I need to go the cat 5 route I would need to hardwire 14 seperate locations. Is there such a thing as a 16 port router? Is there a better method than a 16 port router?
    (if cat 5) Can I move the computers from room to room without having to adjust the router or other settings anywhere?
    If hard wiring is the way to go should I consider cat 6?
    Would DSL make more sense then cable broadband?
    If I left any thing out that is needed (or desirable) please advise.
    Thanks folks!
     
  2. KentuckyApple macrumors regular

    KentuckyApple

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #2
    If you are on a budget, go wireless. You know all of your costs up front. Get a 802.11b router from best buy. Get a bunch of airport cards from Apple. If you do decide to hard wire, get cat 5e cable. I just did a job with it. Make sure to shop around and don't use Home Depot. You can get a spool of 1000ft for about 45 bucks if you look. Oh yeah, go with broadband cable. I get at least 300 Kbyte/sec downloads. DSL is nowhere close! You can file share and surf the web at the same time with no problems at all. Any decent wireless router will let you share your internet connection. If you want to take the time to hard wire all 16 connections, more power to ya. The only drawback with wireless is that your signals could be weak if you are building a big house or if the walls are real thick.
     
  3. mstecker macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #3
    Unfortunately, I totally disagree with the above poster. Becuase you're building your new house, you have a unique one-time-only opportunity to inexpensively run network wiring through your house.

    My suggestion is to have someone run 2 (I'd run 3) Cat-6 cables to a wall panel in every room in your house, in a star topology, terminating in your basement.

    You can use one of these for phone, one of them for ethernet, and keep one for "future use".

    Some people will tell you that Cat-6 is overkill for phone lines. They're correct. For today's phone lines. Think you might have digital phones someday? Who knows?

    People will tell you that you don't want a star topology for phone lines. They are wrong. Want to have dedicated stations and PBX-like functionality? That's what you'll need.

    The point is, it'll cost you so little to add the wiring capacity now, even though you're not totally sure what you want to do with it, that it's a no-brainer. Say you spend $10K on wiring - you will get this back in the value of your house when you sell.

    That being said, you'll probably ALSO want wireless. Probably a couple of different access points (which will be easy, because you already put in all of the wiring). Laptops want to be wireless. Desktops and servers want to be wired.

    My .02 - tinted with the frustration of just having bought a 60 year old house, and having the whole thing torn to pieces to put in proper network wiring.
     
  4. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #4
    Re: building new home; networking; do i cat 5, wireless?

    if you use a router, yes. it will handle NAT (network address translation) for you.

    yes

    the hub has the multiple ports (though some routers come w/ built-in hubs). yes, you could find a 16 or more port hub. or, you could get a smaller hub and just plug in the ports you're using.

    yes

    i believe most people are still using cat 5e. but you may want to consider it for future expansion.

    for easy configuration, set up your router to provide DHCP so you don't have to hardcode any IPs. some routers can also be set up to provide DNS values, again saving you effort across your machines.
     
  5. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #5
  6. LimeLite macrumors 6502a

    LimeLite

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    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Ca
    #6
    I'd say the general rule is to use wireless when necessary, but to use wired as much as possible.
     
  7. tazo macrumors 68040

    tazo

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2003
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest, Seattle, WA actually
    #7
    just get a wireless router from someone like d-link. it'll cost 100 or so for the router, and 50-100/wireless internet card
     
  8. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #8
    Run the cables.

    I faced the same choice a few years ago, but with the house already built. In my case, I had to redo phone wiring anyway, so I had network cables installed at the same time. On the good advice of the networkers I consulted, I had an "end run" cable strung from each room to a central junction panel in the garage, rather than use any kind of daisy chaining. It takes more cable but isolates each line for instant troubleshooting. At the time, cat5 was the way to go, but you can go beyond that. Remember, this is your one and only chance to run the wiring, and you can always update routers and other equipment later.
     
  9. MacAztec macrumors 68040

    MacAztec

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2001
    Location:
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    #9
    DO this

    Ok, I was talking to my dad about this the other day.

    Run pipes to each room so it will be easy to run not only Cat-5 cable through them, but cables of the future (optical).

    Build a small, centralized closet for all your routers, servers, etc.

    You can have one or 2 WAP around your house.

    Just run PVC pipe because if you run Cat-5 now, its going to be a mess in teh future when its time for optical and stuff.

    You want Wired and Wireless. Wired is great for everything, Wireless for laptops.

    [EDIT]

    Also, they make something called HAL. It connects with your Phone Lines, and you pick up the phone, and you would say..."HAL, Im going to bed". It will shut off lights, set AC settings, turn off pool, etc. Read about it.
     
  10. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #10
    Re: DO this

    "i'm afraid i can't let you do that, dave."
     
  11. MacAztec macrumors 68040

    MacAztec

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2001
    Location:
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    #11
    Re: Re: DO this

    Hahah that was pretty funny. Heheh


    No really though, there is something like that. It does everything.
     
  12. tazo macrumors 68040

    tazo

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2003
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest, Seattle, WA actually
    #12
    Re: Re: DO this

    I agree. That would be just to wierd for me to deal with every night.

    "Hal, dim the lights to a romantic level."
    "But dave, you are by yourself"
    *pulls out shotgun*


    :D
     
  13. skymaXimus macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2003
    #13
    I have to agree w/ the folk who sudgest going in the direction or both wireless and wired. I would drop a cat6 cable next to every phone line. Get a wireless 4 port router and then get a cheap 16 port switch and uplink it to the router to handle all the wall drops.
    Go w/ cable over DSL any day.
     
  14. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

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    Location:
    New Zealand
    #14
    I read somewhere not too long ago, that they're considering using powered Ethernet for small appliances, rather than your standard 110/230/etc volt socket. So I'd have to recommend running Ethernet. It'll be nice and easy while the house is still getting built too.
     
  15. Powerbook G5 macrumors 68040

    Powerbook G5

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    Jun 23, 2003
    Location:
    St Augustine, FL
    #15
    Wired gives you more speed and reliability and it's cheaper, so I'd definitely go for that. Plus, since you are building your house, you can have it integrated easily with your house.
     
  16. WannabeSQ macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2002
    #16
    ditto on the wired. You got one shot, so with the cost of the actual wire extremely inexpensive compared to wireless, I would run more wire than you think is necessary. Like previously said, add some extra lines for "future use". They dont even have to connect to anything, just behind the wall (write down their locations in case you forget. I would go beyond just 1 cable per room, I would do at least 2, maybe 3, so if you decide to put the computer on a different wall, you dont have to run cable across the room, just plug into the other jack. And if you dont want to buy a huge 50 something port switch, buy a cheap patch panel and the 16 port switch, and just patch over the ones you use.

    You can always buy a wireless access point later, but they are so cheap now, like less than $50 i would go ahead and get it for the laptop. Who knows, maybe after surfing the net all around the house you might want to go all laptops!
     
  17. MacAztec macrumors 68040

    MacAztec

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2001
    Location:
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    #17
    Listen

    Buy (somewhere, maybe eBay) like a big spool of CAT-5 cable. It is like 1000 feet or something for 40 bucks. Then, go down to RadioShack, and buy some tips (tip of the cable). Then, buy a crimper.

    Make your own cable. Thats what we did. Its very cheap. Its not hard to do either.

    Then, but you can get like an 8-Port Router (Make SURE its 100 Base-T and FULL DUPLEX).

    Then, get like a Wireless-G thing (preferrably by the same company) for like 80 bucks.

    You're set. But make sure you build PVC pipe into the walls so it makes it very easy to run the cables. It will save you bundles of time.
     
  18. GOATEATER macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    #18
    Re: building new home; networking; do i cat 5, wireless?

    When I had my house built, I planned it out well. My house is 1950 square feet and I had a drop put in every room (16 drops...including the garage, backyard patio, and ummm bathrooms...a sure conversation piece...hehehe). You can find special bundled cable just for this purpose which includes CAT-5, RG-6, fiber, and speaker wire, online. My house has 2 Cat-5, 2 RG6, and one pair of stereo speaker wires going to each drop.

    Since I have done termination, before, I just had them run the wire to boxes. I saved a lot of money by doing that. The subcontractors plastered over the boxes, but that was okay. As long as the wire is there, that's what matters. Just be sure they leave you enough slack at the boxes for termination...I would recommend an 18 inch loop, at least.

    I would have run the wire, myself, but the builder wouldn't allow it due to codes, regulations, liability, etc. They subcontracted the house alarm wiring guy to install it. He didn't have much experience with network wiring, but it worked out okay. I just had to keep on top of things to make sure it was installed properly. Once the wall is sheetrocked, there is not much you can do, afterwards.

    All the cables terminate in a metal box set into the wall which is designed for network wiring. It's about 3 feet tall and has a locking cover.

    If I could do things over, I probably would have added another CAT-5 cable for each drop. And, maybe, I would have added fiber. But, this would have increased the costs. As it is, with the wire and labor, they only charged me $800 for the whole job. Some places will want to rip you off by charging you megabucks for terminating everything. But, it's pretty easy to terminate and you have the flexibility of doing things your way.

    Actually, I wound up using one of the CAT-5s for running audio from my PC upstairs to my stereo downstairs. Since my stereo is wired to my speakers on the outside patio, I can listen to streaming audio in my backyard. :)

    I would also recommend having them install wiring for surround sound. I had them install satellite speakers for a Dolby Digital 5.1 system. Of course, they now have 7.1, so I'm semi-obsolete...hehehe. But, that's okay. I get all kinds of compliments on how "neat" and "elegant" my satellite speaker solution is (no exposed wires).

    As far as functionality is concerned, the cable service provider cable plugs into my cablemodem. The cablemodem connects to a cablemodem router with a built in 4-port switch. One of the switch ports goes out to a 16-port hub. The CAT-5 runs plug into the 16-port hub and go out to the various rooms throughout the house.

    Anyway, the whole key to everything is planning. Notate where each of your boxes will go. And, when they install the wiring, be sure they installed it right. Check for nicked wires. Check the wiring insulation for tears.

    Finally, after they run the wire and before they sheetrock, I would go through the entire house with a camcorder so you will have a record of where all the wires are. It is really helpful to know where everything is (network wiring, 110volt electrical, pipes, etc.) down the road.

    Best of luck to you!!!!!
     
  19. MacAztec macrumors 68040

    MacAztec

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    Oct 28, 2001
    Location:
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    #19
    Re: Re: building new home; networking; do i cat 5, wireless?

    Dude, I think you did get ripped off. Not by todays standards for people doing it (they charge thousands)! it is very easy to do. We did our whole house (2700 Sq. Ft.) in less then a day.

    When my dad had the house built, he put PVC pipes to each room for cables and stuff. It makes it super easy to run teh cables.

    It probly cost us total (with 14 drops) 250 bucks. That included labor! 50 bucks to my bro, and me. 100 bucks for cable/tips. 50 bucks for accessories.

    When fiber optics are the new thing, its going to be easy to add, just run the cable through the pipes!

    I agree about running speaker wire, but only do it in the entertainment room. Do a good job too!

    We have a stereo throughout our whole house (you know, it has speakers high on the ceilings), and it is obselete now. The knobs to adjust volume were degraded, and now hardly work. And..the worst part, our Amp (like 1970 Kenwood) burned out! This puppy is the best amp i have ever used. Its made out of aluminum/metal and hardwood. It looks great too!

    If I were to redo the house, I would connect everything (lights, AC, pool, sprinklers, etc.) to a main computer. Then, when you go to bed, you can turn everything off without going anywhere!
     
  20. BrandonRP0123 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #20
    I'll stay out of the argument, but I too am a wired (for flexibility) and a wireless (for those times I like to sit and eat cereal at the table with my PowerBook).

    A thought:
    Most 802.11 card vendors do not have Windows 95 drivers, for one, and for two, that laptop might not support CardBus (which is what most of the PeeCee cards are).


    Just my .02.
     
  21. mnkeybsness macrumors 68030

    mnkeybsness

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2001
    Location:
    Moneyapolis, Minnesota
    #21
    remember that you can always get wireless at a later time. running cat5 cables now is a helluva lot easier than doing it later.

    also just to reiterate some great things said...

    -run the cables through pvc pipe. it will be easier for future expansion
    -make your own cables. you can go to home depot and get 100ft rolls of cable for under $20. you can buy wall mounts and cable ends cheap too.
    -put your cable box by your circuit breaker. put your router directly from the cable box. make a nice shelving system or closet for all that stuff...and keep the wires organized and labeled...trust me, if you have problems, it will help a lot.
     
  22. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    Apr 24, 2003
    Location:
    Colly-fornia
    #22
    Go with both. You'll want a good, fast wired network to plug in to for reliability and speed. But you will want to have wireless access as well. I use both, and both have their uses. I just wish i could build my own house so I could get rid of all these cables. Oh, and put an ethernet out by your entertainment center, I don't think it will be long before you will be sending audio/video from your computer to the stereo.
     
  23. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #23
    While the walls are open, you might want to consider something a Bose salesman told me about: speakers that are set inside the wall. I have no experience with them but the idea that they are totally invisible (while supposedly fine in performance) intrigued me.
     
  24. GOATEATER macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    #24
    > Dude, I think you did get ripped off. Not by todays standards
    > for people doing it (they charge thousands)! it is very easy to
    > do. We did our whole house (2700 Sq. Ft.) in less then a day.

    "I would have run the wire, myself, but the builder wouldn't allow it due to codes, regulations, liability, etc." I would have done it myself, if I could have. The cable would have still cost several hundred dollars. I wasn't simply running 0.08 cent CAT-5 to each drop.

    > When my dad had the house built, he put PVC pipes to each
    > room for cables and stuff. It makes it super easy to run teh
    > cables.

    I agree. Conduit is the best solution. But, conduit costs money. And, again, most builders would probably not allow you to install it yourself due to building code regulations. Plus, unfortunately, they want to make money on it, themselves.

    > It probly cost us total (with 14 drops) 250 bucks. That included
    > labor! 50 bucks to my bro, and me. 100 bucks for cable/tips. 50
    > bucks for accessories.

    If you buy the cable in bulk, that might be possible. But, you'll have to run 5 wires to each drop. The prebundled cable is more expensive but easier to work with.

    > I agree about running speaker wire, but only do it in the
    > entertainment room. Do a good job too!

    I wanted the option of having whole house audio at a later time. If I decided to go that route, I wanted to put high quality bookshelf speakers in each room...not the recessed "speaker-in-the-ceiling" kind. I don't think it's bad to have the "speakers in every room" option available. I still recommend it. (On a side note, I did have them run the speaker wire to boxes so I could add volume controls at a later date.)

    > If I were to redo the house, I would connect everything (lights,
    > AC, pool, sprinklers, etc.) to a main computer. Then, when you
    > go to bed, you can turn everything off without going anywhere!

    You can do this now with existing X-10 technology. You just add X-10 modules to each outlet and get an interface and software for your computer. There is no need to run extra wires for this.

    I honestly don't think I got ripped off. Yeah, I could have done it, myself, for maybe $400 in materials (CAT-5, RG-6, 14-gauge speaker wire, termination boxes, volume control boxes, and the master termination enclosure)...add $30 for beer and pizza for my buddies. $800 is still a lot less than the several thousand most "professional" installers charge.
     
  25. nuckinfutz macrumors 603

    nuckinfutz

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2002
    Location:
    Middle Earth
    #25
    GOATEATER has it right

    When building your house you have this opportunity to add the stuff right from the getgo.

    AVS Forums for Home Theater Integration

    This is an excellent resource for how to set up your new home for Structured Wiring. The Ethernet is a piece of cake but you may not know some of the option you have for Video distribution as well. Do it all at once and it will not cost that much and it will add value to your Home.

    Wireless can be added anytime. It will never match Wired speeds but both together work great. I envy you. I dream of a Home with Network Storage attached to Gigabit and Wireless nodes in areas where laptops are useful.
     

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