Future Proofing My New House

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Starflyer, Jul 15, 2011.

  1. Starflyer macrumors 6502a

    Starflyer

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    #1
    I am about to build a house in the next few months and was just looking for thoughts and suggestions.

    I will definatly have conduit running CAT6 for networking and HDMI for video.

    What else?

    I currently have an Apple TV, Airport Extreme, Airport Express, iMac 20", Macbook and a Macbook Pro.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Paulywauly macrumors 6502a

    Paulywauly

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    Sep 26, 2009
    Location:
    Durham, UK
    #2
    Depends on how you intend to use your equipment and for what purpose, what are you doing with those Macs?

    Personally i'd be lost without my WDTV Live player, iPad and iPhone they bring alot of versitility. Only thing missing is a warp core to power it all! :D
     
  3. ravenvii macrumors 604

    ravenvii

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    Melenkurion Skyweir
    #3
    Personally I wouldn't run HDMI through your house. Those types of standards change too often, and will be outdated before you know it.
     
  4. jtara macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    #4
    Don't waste your money running the CAT6 in conduits. Run it bare, and then run EMPTY conduits next to it. That's your future-proof.

    Standard advice right now is to run two CAT6 from a central place to each location. You should also run two RG6 to each location where there might be a TV for RF distribution.

    HDMI run length is very limited, so it really won't be useful to run HDMI cables. You can get HDMI<->CAT5/6 baluns. I think there may still be issues with 3D over these, though. More recent ones can work over a single CAT6, but most need two. So, add two more CAT6 to each location...

    I'd run at least yet another CAT6, which can be used as house phone wiring, alarm wiring, sensors, door latches, etc. etc. etc. any kind of low-voltage signaling. Just think of it as 4 pairs of "something".

    By code in most places, you have to use ORANGE conduit. This is a color-code to tell construction workers that this is low-voltage wiring. The plastic flexible ribbed stuff is the best. The ribbing actually makes it easier to pull wires. Get a good NYLON fish-tape reel. (It's actually round rather than flat, though, so isn't "tape".) The flat metal tape is garbage by comparison.

    Do some thinking about what a "location" is. Some people advocate a CAT6 to every electrical switch location, every electrical load, because some home automation stuff uses CATx wiring. At least bring it to your thermostat location(s).

    At least get one location on each wall. If needs change, at least you can then route behind the baseboard to get somewhere else on the same wall.
     
  5. Paulywauly macrumors 6502a

    Paulywauly

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    Sep 26, 2009
    Location:
    Durham, UK
    #5
    +1.

    You may be better off streaming video over IP (through either wifi, ethernet or powerline) rather than HDMI. It'll be much easier to adapt your networking setup later with newer devices if you have it running through your Airport network
     
  6. logandzwon, Jul 15, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2011

    logandzwon macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 9, 2007
    #6
    I moved about 3 months ago. This is the first house I didn't run Ethernet in. 5GHz 802.11n network for computers and high-speed stuff. 2.4Ghz 802.11g network for slower speed things, and everyone else. If the house is square and there is a place to locate your AEBS and DSL/cable modem in the middle your all set.

    Conduit is expensive, and there is absolutely no reason to run Ethernet cable in conduit.

    I can see some legit reason to run HDMI, but you will need to get thick cables to do a run any length. Instead, I just got AppleTVs for both TVs.

    As mentioned, don't forget to take your A/C into consideration. They make some neat IP enabled thermostats now. The one I have is also Wifi and powered from the A/C unit itself so I didn't need to do any special wiring.
     
  7. seinman macrumors regular

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    Jun 15, 2011
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    Delaware
    #7
    This is the best advice you will come across in this thread.
     
  8. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #8
    What is future-proofing your house?

    I mean its not like your home will suddenly be obsolete because it lacks HDMI wiring :confused:

    If you need to run some cables for A/V then run them but who knows what direction future technology will take. As for cat6 cables, why bother if you have a decent wireless router.
     
  9. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #9
    It would seem almost like, if you want to truly future-proof your house for wired electronics connections, the thing to do is to build the system, if possible, in such a way that the wiring is modular -- so that you can pull the wallplates off, put different wires in four or five years later, thread in different cables, and then put a different adaptor on the plate. I'm not sure how feasible that is, though. Probably depends on your house's design.
     
  10. BiggAW macrumors 68020

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    Connecticut
    #10
    I'd run at least two CAT-7 and two RG-6QS cables to every location where you want technology. RG-6 is critical, as any type of satellite or cable requires them. Running HDMI throughout a house is pretty much insane. There is no need for whole home video distribution this way anymore, as every provider in addition to TiVo and Microsoft have multi-room DVR options.

    If for some reason you think you would want HDMI, run CAT-7, there are converters that can run HDMI over CAT-7 and can run much longer than a regular HDMI cable, and when you realize that running HDMI through the house is actually crazy, there's a ton of other stuff, including gigabit ethernet that can run on CAT-6/7 cables.

    Also if you want video surveliance, running RG-59, LVDC, and CAT-5 cables to each security camera location is a must. Also, determine if you are going to need 5.1 channel surround, special places for wifi access points, or a cell phone repeater, as these each need their proper type of wiring.
     
  11. BanjoBanker macrumors 6502

    BanjoBanker

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    Location:
    Mt Brook, AL
    #11
    I agree on there being no need for CATx cables in your new hoe. I have CAT5 outlets in every room of my house, except bathrooms, and have not used it in years. I have two AEBSs piggy-backed to provide wifi throughout my house. They also serve to share our iTunes accounts and provide remote print services for my two college age kids. The big plus is I can take the AEBSs with me if I move. Save the money and skip the CATx cables, ethernet in the home is a waste.
     
  12. ThomasJL macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 16, 2008
    #12
    Installing Cat 6 is not future proofing. If you want to future proof, install Cat 6a.

    Also, make sure all the jacks, wall jacks, etc. are Cat 6a certified. That is not an option.
     
  13. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #13
    Yup. Streaming video is the way to go. Been doing that for years. No need for HDMI.

    My central content server is PowerMac G4 with Gigabit ethernet, with 6 internal harddrives. I got Wireless N network too but much faster transfering files with ethernet.
     
  14. FeaRThiS macrumors 6502

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    Mar 25, 2011
    #14
    Don't forget the speaker wire, I can recommend this but you can get it cheaper by the reel. I have this going all o er the front room when I redecorate I am wiring up other rooms aswell.
     
  15. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

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    Apr 26, 2002
    Location:
    Alabama
    #15
    Future proofing simply means have the space and the means to run whatever you need for the foreseeable future... if you need to run anything at all. 20 years ago it was CAT3, then 5, now 6. In 20 years what will it be? Who the hell knows. And it costs nothing to do that.
    Put in what you need now (wires are cheep for the most part), make room for more later, and make it easy to access and retrofit.
    You might consider running nothing except conduit. Wireless is pretty exceptional now. And so what if the inexpensive conduit remains empty.

    Note: You can try to predict the future, but you will fail.
     
  16. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Location:
    Boston
    #16
    I guess my point is that you cannot truly make your house future proof since technology changes so much. I mean 5 years ago people were running cat-5 cables. Now wireless routers are a better option.
     
  17. BiggAW macrumors 68020

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    Connecticut
    #17
    It would be pretty idiotic in this day and age to not have CAT-6/7 cable in a new house. I had to install several runs in the house I am in now, and recently, I have had to add another switch and router that are daisy-chained off of one outlet since that's all we have in that room. Wireless is NOT a replacement for a copper gigabit network, it is simply a supplement so that smartphones, iPod Touches, and undocked laptops can get online. It is not as reliable or as fast as a wired network.

    Try getting a Windows MCE7 setup streaming over wifi. Probably isn't going to happen. Same for TiVos, or any other type of high bitrate video.
     
  18. BiggAW macrumors 68020

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    Connecticut
    #18
    Oh, and CAT cable isn't going anywhere. It is so well engrained in networking technology. Try getting the newest, fastest possible like 6a or 7. RG-6 is also not going anywhere. Good quality with both of those is future-proofing.
     
  19. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #19
    Fixed that for you.
     
  20. munkery macrumors 68020

    munkery

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    #20
    Future proofing is like a hairy dude getting his back waxed.

    It is never permanent.

    Sob....
     
  21. tonywalker23 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2003
    Location:
    SC
    #21
    If I were in your shoes…

    I'd take whatever amount I was going to spend on this project and put it in savings. If you've got a 15 yr mortgage then after 15 years you'll have a paid for house and a little extra savings. Or you'll have a paid for house with 15 yr old technology in the walls.

    Reminds me of my aunts house that has a cassette tape deck in the wall with speakers in the ceiling. Probably was cool at the time but not anymore.
     
  22. BiggAW macrumors 68020

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    Jun 19, 2010
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #22
    Fiber is never going to take off for in-house use. There are some physics that you are ignoring here. When you look at speed and signal degradation, with Ethernet, you are getting gigabit over 100 meters. This is because at that distance, copper is just fine. It's when you are talking about miles, like on the service provider's end, that fiber is useful. As it is now, even FIOS only needs a CAT cable, an RG-6 cable, and a phone line to fully support all of their top services from the ONT. Even that fiber line comes nowhere close to saturating the copper lines in the house, since the copper lines only have to go a few hundred feet, tops.

    The most used cabling tends to be CAT cabling, since you can do so much with it, in addition to Ethernet. Ethernet, however is easily switched and VLAN'ed, so even if you need multiple jacks or networks, they can all share uplink connections into a room. RG-6, OTOH, often has to be separate if you have, say, satellite, and antenna, or satellite and cable, so RG-6 is also very important.

    Where does that leave fiber? Nowhere. Not only does it not make sense for a house with it's high termination and installation costs, but it will never be useful in houses, since technology will tend toward what types of cable people actually have, and that is RG- and CAT- cable, currently RG-6QS and CAT-6a/7. It is best to make sure the runs are CAT-6a/7 capable from end to end, and use 3GHZ RG-6 cable, as that way they are backwards compatible with any type of system that would require anything from CAT-3 and up, and RG-59 and up, as well as stuff like HDMI extenders (can require CAT-6 or better) or satellite TV, that, depending on the system can require up to 2400mhz on the RG-6.

    That's just stupid. It's incredibly dumb not to wire with CAT and RG cable where you are going to need it, as there's no replacement for it later, and it's hard to fish and snake cables through the walls of an already built house. Speaker wire, CAT- and RG- is not going to go out of style like cassettes, as it is used by all different types of technology, and will continue to be well into the future.

    I really can't believe how many people just don't know what they are talking about on this forum considering it is supposed to be a tech-saavy forum. Wiring and connectivity is the most important part of technology, as without good connectivity, most of the tech we use today is not nearly as useful, or useful at all.
     
  23. Peterkro macrumors 68020

    Peterkro

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    Communard de Londres
    #23
    This,make conduits,ducts whatever as big and as accessible as possible,leave a couple of draw wires in place for each run.Do the same where practicable with electric and water.It'll cost not a lot now but when you want a socket in the kitchen or whatever it'll be easy and cheap.Who knows what tech will be around in ten years,you may be able to buy thunderbolt (light peak ) optical cables on 1000 metre rolls for fifty dollars and do the terminations yourself.:)
     
  24. paduck macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2007
    #24
    I don't think wireless is a better option. It is a nice option, but not a complete replacement. I can run Gig-E speeds over Cat5e in my house (2 RG6QS/2 Cat5e at each drop). You can't touch that speed with wireless. It is good when running video. There is no congestion or interference - you basically get sustained speeds close to the system spec. Wireless doesn't give you either.

    I wired my existing home about 18 months ago. I had to cut some holes, etc. I've got pictures and need to post the how-to sometime. I used combination cable with all four wires in it - that made a big difference. If I were building a new home, I would definitely recommend wiring it up. It is a lot easier when the walls are open and the cost is pretty low. I got all the tools I needed, a rack and something like 10 drops for about $1000 and I have a lot of bulk cable still left. If you want a professional to do it, I imagine the cost would be about triple or more.

    In terms of future-proofing, I suppose today I would get Cat6, but that isn't a huge deal. I can imagine uses for faster than Gig-E, but to make that consumer-grade would be a challenge. Compare and contrast with people who say 100% wireless is the way to go. My network probably has 8-10x the speed of 802.11n (if not more). It's rock solid and secure. I have wireless as well, it is a good complement, but my data-heavy devices are all wired. Remember also that AppleTV is 100-base-T, so it isn't pulling in data all that fast even when wired. That might give you an idea of what ten years from now might be like in the home.
     
  25. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
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    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #25
    Just like broadband internet access, right? Oops.

    No, there isn't.

    Fixed that for you as well. Distance is not the only factor to consider when choosing a transmission medium, as every A+ and Network+ "certified technician" knows. You cannot selectively ignore the other significant factor to prove your point. This makes the rest of your post more or less irrelevant since you think that transmission speeds only go up to the one gigabit range.

    Really? It'll never be useful in houses? :rolleyes:
    Likewise. I hope we never get past the gigabit speed on a LAN, because BiggAW says it's impossible to go past that on copper! Oh noes!
     

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