Cable from back office studio to main house?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Soundhound, Jan 20, 2014.

  1. Soundhound macrumors 6502a

    Mar 29, 2006
    I have my office/studio in a small back house (converted garage) and we keep our airport in the main house for optimum coverage throughout the house. The Airport reaches the back house just fine, but I've always wanted to get a hardwire connection between the airport and my main mac which is in the back house.

    We're having some work done and have the opportunity to replace/update cables, put an additional conduit in etc.

    My question is what cable should go in there? Gigabit ethernet? Thunderbolt? I know there aren't many thunderbolt devices out there at the moment, but in theory apple is pushing the Thunderbolt idea. My iMac isn't even thunderbolt, but I'll be getting one next time I upgrade, not sure how long it'll be till I do that.

  2. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Thunderbolt is not really intended for that type of application. It is more for video or data output from your computer to a nearby device. Although with Mavericks now TB can do ethernet over IP.

    The limitation for a standard TB cable is 10 feet. There are optical TB cables sold that are longer, but they are very expensive.

    What you want to do is just run some standard CAT5E or CAT6 ethernet cable through there. I would run two or three cables through there for expandability later. You can buy CAT5E cable by the foot pretty cheaply at your local Home Depot (assuming you are in the US) and they have the cable end kits. It is pretty easy to do.
  3. Soundhound thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 29, 2006
    Thanks! I'll look into it. Last time I thought about this several years ago cat 5 or 6 was the thing to do also, so that hasn't changed? All good for the fastest wired networking to date etc (gigabit Ethernet?) ?
  4. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Yes... still the standard and it will do GB. Just make sure you get CAT5E not just CAT5.
  5. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2013
    Cat 6 can do 10G not just 1G
    but with TB can do a lot more. 10G is however something like 1k for 8 port switch :(
  6. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    I would run at least 2 runs of Cat6 or Cat5e plus coax (for TV). That should cover any need for a reasonable time.
  7. FrankHahn macrumors 6502a

    May 17, 2011
    I would like to suggest to run also an optical Thunderbolt cable from the main house to the back house although you have to spend much more money.

    With an optical Thunderbolt cable, you can transfer data between your two houses.
  8. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    A 30 meter optical TB cable is $ 899....

    Ethernet would be much cheaper, even if you needed a repeater.
  9. markfc macrumors 6502a


    Sep 18, 2006
    Prestatyn, Wales, UK
    Just check (I imagine it is) that this out building is on the same electricity supply as your house.

    If it isn't, the building could be on a different electrical phase and joining the two buildings with copper wouldn't be recommended.

    One other thing, use external grade Cat5e even if the cable is being buried in conduit.
  10. monokakata macrumors 68000


    May 8, 2008
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    The price difference between CAT5e and CAT6 isn't great, so go for CAT6, with a couple of cables (as others have said).

    An extra cable run is good insurance, but exterior ethernet cable is actually quite robust. I laid about 200' of exterior-grade CAT5e in PVC pipe, between buildings, some parts above ground and some below (the issue was lava rock) in a wet area subject to earthquakes and volcanic fumes and rain and high humidity.

    After 5 years it's doing fine. I have to go up there (near Kilauea Volcano) next month to install a used iMac, and I'm not expecting to find anything wrong with the very simple, inexpensive, installation.

    If you have people to lay real conduit you'll be in great shape for years.

    My only other suggestion would be to ask the installers to leave a "string," that being something like mason's twine, that runs the length of the conduit and is tied off at both ends. Then in the future if you want to pull another cable (fiber!) you use the string to pull the cable through the conduit (along with a new string, for later).

    Strings are good.
  11. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Ethernet for now.... Monokakata is absolutely correct, the best way to future proof your installation is to use plain ordinary old tech string in the conduit. Regardless of whatever else you put in there.
  12. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    Run a couple of cat 6 cables and if you want to really future proof a fiber patch cable. 30 meters will cost about $100.

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