Wiring the house for Ethernet/Gigabit?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by kaelell, Dec 20, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2009
    #1
    Hi,

    so we are having a considerable extension and some work on the house done over the next few months and at some point soon we have to have the conversation with the Architect about what kind of ports we want to put in around the house.

    I just wanted some advice on what I should be asking for with regards to the Ethernet ports as its something I understand very little about. Importantly I want to future proof it so even if its speed/tech that wouldnt be used by my devices now, its important that its there for future use as long as theres no negatives to consider. Thats when the question of Gigabit ethernet comes in ? I dont understand anything about it and what I would loose out if I simply said "I want gigabit ethernet ports through the whole house". So if someone could please clarify for me.
    what would I need in addition to have this all on the same network?

    many thanks in advance


    Some background to what devices will be in use

    Study/Office -> ( need at least 3 Ethernet ports)
    iMac x 2 ( 2011 & 2012 )
    Synerlogy Nas drive x 1

    TV room -> (need at least 4, preferably 5 ports)
    TV
    Apple TV
    PS3
    Xbox
    Sky

    Living room -> (need 2 ports)
    Heres where my Virgin Broadband router is located, which has 4 ethernet ports.w
    Sky Box x 1


    Spare room -> ( 1 port just in case)
    no devices currently
     
  2. macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    Location:
    UK & Russia
    #2
    Simply put "flood wire" the place with Cat 6 standard cable and points, all coming back to a chosen point, perhaps a cupboard that also has power and your cable/phone/sat/tv terminations/supply points.

    The cable is cheap, if you think 2-3 points are enough now after a year it won't be. :rolleyes:
     
  3. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #3
    I put ethernet ports into our new house. And use them far less than I thought I would. YMMV, of course. What I think I really should have done - and this is my advice to you.... I wish I had put conduits into every room intead. Then you are not tied to ethernet. In the next few years optical Thunderbolt may be released. Or you might decide you need to put coaxial cabling into a room. If you can swing it, put the conduit in. For now you can put ethernet cables into the conduit.

    When I do use ethernet, it's wonderful. All cables come to a common point and connect to Gigabit switch. We are using Cat5e (I think have the notation correct?) and it's working at or near gigabit speeds (1000 Mbs vs the regular 100 Mbs) - I'm sure someone will correct my abbreviations.

    Luck. And Congratulations on the addition.
     
  4. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    Location:
    Illinois
    #4
    The comment about running conduit makes the most sense. I ran wire under my addition, on top of a slab, and after reading that comment, not regret that I didn't think of conduit.

    I have ethernet cable, TOSLink, telephone and speakercable all running underneath the floors and through the walls, but thinking back, a couple of empty conduit pipes would have futureproofed the space.
     
  5. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2009
    #5
    Many thanks for your very helpful replies. Just to elaborate on conduits , are these essentially pipes we can feed different wiring through if required in future ?

    Also would I essentially be placing the gigabit switch next to my router / or my mac? (if it was compatible)
     
  6. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    #6
    I was about to do the same thing and wire up my house with ethernet, but it would have involved extra work (since I wasn't getting something else done like the OP is). However, I decided to give PowerLine networking a go and found that it's actually very capable now; it just uses your regular power cables as a network (currently up to 500Mbps shared between all devices). You even get some neat replacement wall sockets with built in ethernet, rather than having to use adapters; however it is fairly pricey compared to ethernet cabling.


    Since you're getting work done anyway then ethernet cabling probably is the better option though as it's cheap, and currently much faster. I'm not sure about the quantity of cables you'd need; personally I would just do one cable per room, maybe two in a study so you've got a choice of sockets (one each in two corners for example). Your network has to pass through a switch at some point, so routing extra cables really only means you'll need a bigger switch (or multiple switches) wherever they meet up (e.g - under stair cupboard or whatever). You can get 4-port gigabit ethernet switches extremely cheaply these days so personally I'd just aim for single ethernet port wall sockets and slap a switch onto any that are being used for multiple machines, this way you don't need a really high capacity switch as a hub, which hopefully means you can get a lower capacity one with QoS which I think will be better overall.

    Conduits definitely seem like the smart choice regardless of what you put in; they're just "tubes" that you can run cables through fairly easily, try not to get any that are too narrow though as I have one in my house and it's a bloody pain to get cables through ;)

    You can buy ones that go on your walls, if you can put them inside the walls or under the floor instead then it's much neater.
     
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2012
    Location:
    Columbia, MD
    #7
    Your router is in the livingroom right? So you are placing the 16port gigabit switch there? Then you need 10 leads out of the livingroom.

    My recommendation: Find a little closet or space to put certain devices which don't require you to constantly look at. Move the router, switch, synology, etc into that space. Some networking devices have small fans which get noisy and placing your infrastructure devices in 1 location allow you to provide better physical and environmental controls.

    Then you have:
    Study/Office -> ( need at least 2 Ethernet ports)
    iMac x 2 ( 2011 & 2012 )

    TV room -> (need at least 4, preferably 5 ports) consider a local small switch for this instead.
    TV
    Apple TV
    PS3
    Xbox
    Sky

    Living room -> (need 1 ports)
    Sky Box x 1


    Spare room -> ( 1 port just in case)
    no devices currently

    Closet -> minimum 8 ports out, coax in for the modem
    Synerlogy Nas drive x 1
    Virgin Router
    Switch
    Battery Backup for networking
     
  8. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2010
    Location:
    Winnipeg MB
    #8
    You might save yourself a bit of trouble by only having one port in each desired room, then having standalone small gigabit switches in rooms you need more than one port. I do this and it works great in my office and home theatre.
     
  9. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2009
    #9
    Thanks guys all replies very helpfull.
     
  10. macrumors 65816

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #10
    I've done this kind of thing twice -- both times with the walls/ceilings/floors open.

    Conduits are an excellent suggestion. Make sure the electrician leaves at least one and preferably two "strings" in each conduit (used to pull new cable, if needed).

    I'd wire with CAT 6 or 6e now, and maybe you won't need to rewire.

    But if you want to seriously future-proof, pull fiber.

    I have several rooms with multiple ethernet ports, one on each wall. I don't like to string cables all around from a switch or multi-port wall plate. And if you change the room arrangement, you could have an ugly cable mess.

    So I'd say that for every room where you might think you need more than one, or where you might move work/entertainment locations around, get a port on every wall. If you were wiring after the fact that might not be cost-effective, but when it's all open, it's easy and should be cheap.

    Having everything come to a central point is tremendously useful. You can put patch panels there, so that you don't have to have an available ethernet connection for each outlet. For example, in my wiring closet I have 24 cables running out to the rooms, but only one 8 port gigabit switch. I never need more than 8 active at once. When I move a device, I just change one patch cable and it's done.
     
  11. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2010
    #11
    Conduit is the best way to go so that later on if you want to run newer cables or different stuff you can. Make sure you put string in the conduit so you can run cables at a later date.

    Run gigabit. But run what you need. If you need 6 run 6 not 1 and put a switch in. It will hamper your download speeds.

    Use 1/2 or 3/8 conduit. 1/2 you can get maybe 6-8 Cat5. 5-6 cat6e. Some people might think this isn't a lot for the conduit but there is a proper way of doing it and the cheap way of doing it. Do it the proper way. You want to make sure your cable is loose in the conduit not tight.

    If you have a D-mark for your phone that your phone company put in, I'd run everything to there. I wouldn't do it in the living room.

    An central area that is easy to access and you can put it on the wall and make it look nice.

    Gigabit switches are becoming cheaper and cheaper as they become more common. I bought a 24 port for my house. Only needed 12. And I got it for around $200.
     
  12. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2012
    #12
    If you run a single outlet to each room, and branch off from there, you are putting a bandwidth cap on room-to-room data transfers.

    This might not be a problem today, but in the near future you might saturate the network while streaming video and have no room to grow. Especially if you put in a central server for media or backups, etc.

    I always run a couple extra lines, but just put in the required number of outlets. But should expansion be needed in the future, the wiring is just behind the cover plate.

    Plus, Cat5e is being used for HDMI and anything else you can think of now. It never hurts to have more cable in the walls.
     

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