New Home Construction: Cat5 cable for phone and LAN?

Discussion in 'Apple, Industry and Internet Discussion' started by Porshuh944turbo, Feb 1, 2007.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2003
    #1
    I'm having a new home built. The builder uses Cat5 cable for all the phone lines in the house. My question is, can I use this same cabling for my LAN simulateously with my phoneline (dialtone & DSL)? I mean, can I plug my switch into the wall and connect my computers into it?
     
  2. macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    This has been SOP in business for more than a decade.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2003
    #3
    Care to explain the technology then? Of mixing dialtone and IP? Will Ethernet performance be hindered by incoming/outgoing phone calls? Keep in mind I'm not asking about mixing dialtone and DSL -- that is not the question.
     
  4. macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #4
    I'd ask them to put extra cables in (though I'd probably try to get cat6) and put in the wall plates. Running the cable is probably the biggest expense. You don't want to use the same cable, since the signaling will interfere. Plus most wall jacks for phones only terminate 1 or 2 pairs (RJ-11s don't have enough contacts.)
     
  5. macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #5
    Running phones over CAT-5, sure. Mixing voice and data? Like heck! The signaling isn't compatible other than with VoIP.
     
  6. macrumors 68000

    dernhelm

    Joined:
    May 20, 2002
    Location:
    middle earth
    #6
    You can run it, but only do so if the guy doesn't try to charge you much extra labor for it. I actually have a friend that pulled fibre through his whole house, he could run a high speed supercomputer cluster with systems in different rooms if he wanted to. It all goes unused to this day, he just uses wireless because it's easier and more flexible.

    If I'm you, I don't bother, most people can get away with wireless just fine.
     
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Location:
    Diddily Daddily...
    #7
    actually, with Cat5E you can run voice and data over a single cable. Cat5 only uses 2 pairs, and voice only uses a single pair. a lot of businesses have single cable drops to desks with a splitter on them (sometimes in the wall, sometimes its a little dongle) that gives 2 plugs. the other end is simmilar, except its wired into the patch panel and then connected to data/voice, respectively.

    I should mention this is not possible with Cat6, because it uses all 4 pairs. however you could just get a run of cat6 and a run of cat5 (or regular two pair telephone cable) to each point.
     
  8. macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #8
    Yeah, but home phone wiring is often serial, from jack-to-jack, not back to a patch panel- pretty much killing its network usefulness. You also have the issue of what the ring voltage is going to do to interfere with the data signal. You can sometimes get away with splitting in a business environment with digital phone systems, but if you have an issue, it's pure hell to track down- anyone who's ever had those issues will tell you it isn't worth it.
     
  9. macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #9
    You might not be able to mix voice and data over a stretched string between tin cans, but it is very much standard fare with CAT5 cabling.
     
  10. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2007
    #10
    According to this guide to Cat5 cables, the cat5e has added specs for far-end crosstalk, and it's a better choice for 1000BaseT connections. :)
     
  11. macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #11
    I know I'm late to the party, but if anyone's still listening...

    The ethernet specification left the middle pair (blue and blue-white) unused specifically so it could be shared with a single POTS line. However, in practice, this is very rare, and thus "non standard" in a de facto sort of way.

    Gigabit Ethernet uses all four pairs, so if you do this, your network will never be faster than 100 Mbps.

    Couldn't tell you what effects the cross-talk might have, but those are comparatively huge voltages going down the phone lines (upwards of 70 volts during ring signals...) so you want to be VERY careful you don't accidentally miswire something, and make sure the system is very well documented so the next guy doesn't damage anything!

    A better solution would be to build a patch panel where all the lines terminate (every line IS a separate run, right?) and use short patch cables to connect each wall jack to either a POTS hub or Ethernet switch as your needs require.

    With multi-handset cordless phones, you can put phones in every room of your house and require only one actual phone jack. On the other hand, a lot of set-top boxes like to be hooked up to phone lines nowadays.
     
  12. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    #12
    computer and phone over same CAT5 cable

    This is also really late but still might help.

    I don't have the option of running new cables, at least not easily, and the existing cable is just CAT5, not CAT5e or CAT6. It works fine for me with no problems like crosstalk.

    As NOTJUSTJAY mentioned, using a single cable for phone and computer would limit the connectivity to 100BaseT as 1000BaseT uses all 4 twisted pairs in a cable. Gigabit is overkill for my needs so I was able to do it.

    As Compuwar noted, your building needs to have the phones wired in a star configuration, not a ring configuration, but the latter is usually using the old non-twisted 4-conductor phone wire that was used more than 15 years ago. Since this is about using CAT5 cable, it's likely that you're wired in star configuration.

    I used a patch panel with RJ45 sockets for standard Ethernet cables to plug into. I wired the ports on the panel to my router ports using the standard 568B wiring scheme that was used in all the CAT5 cables in the house. Then I wired the two phone wires (TIP and RING) to the center pair of all of the RJ45 ports on the panel. If you have two phone lines you should be able to use the remaining pair too, although I haven't tried this.

    The only potential problem in wiring computer and phone through one cable that I can think of is that some phone equipment could have connections to more than just the center pair of the cable for whatever reason. I wasn't sure about that so I took the precaucion of installing dual port wall jacks with an RJ45 connector for a computer and an RJ11 connector for a phone at each location throughout the house so there's no way they could be mixed up except if someone plugs an RJ11 phone cord into an RJ45 connector. They do fit, and there's really no way to make these dummy-proof so you might want to at least lablel the jacks on the wall plates just in case.

    The DSL modem comes with phone line filters that plug into the wall jack and the phones in turn plug into them. I installed one at the input of my patch panel where the phone lines are injected, and also at each phone's wall jack. This might be overkill but it should't degrade the signals. They're designed to filter out noise from computer signals so they're not audible on the phones, and I don't know if they work the other way to prevent noise or voltage from the phone line from affecting the coputer equipment. I just know I don't have any detectable crosstalk.

    I've been using this configuration for six years and have switched back and forth between DSL and cable, and have gone from 300kbps to 6mbps with no problem.
     
  13. macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #13
    Wow, thread resurrection ;) You know what's funny? I didn't notice the date on the thread, so I started reading and by the time I got to post #7 or so, I was thinking "man, I have to hit 'Reply' and set these people straight" -- and then I saw my reply from almost exactly 2 years ago!

    I think today the need for phone jacks is dramatically lessened by the prevalence of wireless technologies. As I mentioned earlier, you can buy a multi-handset cordless phone system and have phones in every room in the house, but only need to plug into one wall jack. And you can now have a very robust wireless network using 802.11n technology. When I had my house built, I specified CAT5 drops to almost every room with the intent of wiring them into a patch panel. But almost two years later, I haven't even started that project, because I've been doing fine on my wireless network and cordless phones!
     
  14. macrumors 65816

    FX120

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    #14
    The cable is cheap, 1000ft rolls of high quality Cat5e can be had for $125, Cat6 for $150. Just have your builder run more lines. You'll never regret having an extra line just in case. Wireless is OK for most things, but only to a point.

    What I did in my house durring the remodel was this:

    All rooms in the house (except the bathrooms and closets) got 1 line of Cat5e, 2 of Cat6, two RG-6 coax, 1 14ga speaker. The office got two extra Cat6 lines.

    The only room that was different was the living room, which in addition to one wall plate like the rest in the back of the room, behind the TV got 1x cat 3 for the IR bug, 4x Cat6, 3x HDMI, 1x toslink, 7x RG-6, and 4x 12 ga. speaker lines.

    All of these lines terminate into a closet right behind the living room where all the AV equipment lives with the exception of the PS3 and Xbox which are beneath the TV, pluged in using the HDMI ports behind the TV. All the networking gear, media/ flile server, phone patch, and tv patch are also in this closet.

    Trust me, put the wiring in now, you won't be sorry. Don't be afraid of going overboard either. Extra lines of Cat6 now mean that you won't have to put in a switch when you eventually need more than one device in that location.
     
  15. macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #15
    Yep. My jaw is dropping as I read the list of what FX120 has piped into every room, and my first instinct is "Holy overkill, Batman!" But then I look at some rooms in my house where I ran one cable and now wish I had two, or put a cable in one wall and wished I had thought to put another in a different wall. Far easier to do it right the first time than have to go back and pull more cables after the walls are up.
     
  16. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #16
    OK, total network newbie here, but..... we are in the process of building a house. I know I want to run network cable to all main rooms now, 'cause it's cheap to do at this point. I want to future-proof the house, as much as possible - within reason.

    I want to be able to stream entertainment media (music, movies, content from the internet) into every room so that where-ever some decides to plunk a computer down they can watch, for eg, a HD movie - and since I work with large photoshop files I would like to be able to move a 2 or 3 GB file from an external HD to wherever I am quickly - gigabit speeds should be adequate.

    What kind of cable, in your opinion, should I have installed now?

    Thanks

    I don't mind hijacking this thread since I think the OP has likely finished the project, and there is some good info here for future readers who do a search.

    Thanks again.
     
  17. macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #17
    Have them run CAT6 to every wall which you might turn into a jack to plug in a computer, phone, PS3, XBox, streaming radio, PVR, set-top box, etc. Make sure the other end of the cables all drop somewhere accessible, usually in a big bundle somewhere in the basement.

    If your builder uses CAT5 or CAT6 lines for the phone jacks in your house, and they specify that the lines will each be individually run to the basement (as opposed to stringing all your phones together point-to-point-to-point), then you can convert the phone lines into network jacks, and ask them to give you more. When I bought my house, it was one price to ask the builder for an extra phone jack but a much higher price for a "network data connection". So I just asked for a bunch of extra "phone jacks" everywhere, and wired the new plates myself after I moved in.
     
  18. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #18
    OK, thanks....

    Seth
     
  19. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2009
    #19
    Id check the price on running a cat5e or cat6 line. In my house, we have a few cat5e lines. One in my room, one in the kitchen, and one in the basement. I could run a cat6 myself no problem. Run a network wire from one jack up the wall to the ceiling and to the patch panel. Really, it's not that bad. It's just wiring the right order in the sled.:)
     
  20. macrumors 604

    ravenvii

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Location:
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    #20
    This sounds kickass right now, but are you sure this is wise? What will you do when the latest technology move on from HDMI to something else?
     
  21. macrumors 65816

    FX120

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    #21
    Fortunatley becuase the AV closet is directly behind the TV wall, running the new lines would be easy. The original install was only RG-6 for component video to the TV and from the XBOX, because at the time HDMI was not common, and I had no gear that used it. Later on when I bought a Yamaha reciever with HDMI, my new TV, PS3 and XBOX all which used HDMI I installed the additional ports behind the TV by simply cutting a hole in the wall and putting in the wall plate.

    The rest of the house is fairly future proof, Cat6 can theoretically be used up to 10GBASE-T if and when it becomes available, and the RG-6 I used is very high quality Belden suitable for use at frequencies up to 5GHz, meaning it is useable for 3G-SDI, and possibly higher if a newer standard is released (I have heard rumors of a single-link 2K SDI standard being developed). I could potentially send digital 1080P video from a device in the media closet to a TV somewhere else in the house without using HDMI. I doubt I would ever need to do this as I perfer to source media locally, but the option is there.
     
  22. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    #22
    old homes and guest cottage

    I have an older property with a small guest cottage. In planning to rent out the cottage I ran a dedicated phone line from the outside telco box to a central location for a dedicated dsl line. There is currently no cat5 installed. The original interior phone lines are daisy chained from the telco box. Well plans have changed. My elderly mother wants to live in the cottage part time. I need to get her phone and internet from my house about 40 yards away. I was thinking of putting a small patch pannel in my main house attic where I currently have a pannel that serves the house with phone and internet (not original construction), and running phone and internet in one cat5e cable outside and the 40 yrds just underground to the cottage. There I would put a small exterior patch panel where I would seperate off the phone into the original daisy chained system and then run the internet, now in a dedicated cat5e cable, into a central interior location from where I could put a slaved wireless router. The dedicated dsl phone line I had recently installed would be ignored for now. What do you guys think? Will that work? I'm hoping the only problem would be her hearing my fax ring as thats the line I was planning sharing with her.
     
  23. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2008
    Location:
    Austin, TX, USA
    #23
    Why not just run multiple cables to each room? For example, run four cables to a drop in a room, then make three of them ethernet and one phone or something? It's not like running four cables is going to be any harder than just one.

    Terminate them all at a patch panel, this way it's easy to connect them all up to the POTS network or to a ethernet switch while keeping everything nice and hidden away.

    All my cables run to patch panels in a closet, most of them connect to a 24-port GigE switch. My router's in the same closet as well-- my internet connection enters in there too.
     

Share This Page