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Networks Home network design choices

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Risky, 26 Oct 2015.

  1. Risky

    Risky Modder

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    We're extending into the garage and the work gives me a chance to improve my rather dodgy cabling efforts to date. I have a reel of UTP cat 5e, but currently some of those runs haven't got a very good speed so I'm hoping to redo the important runs, further away from the mains and use shielded cable.

    I am wondering what grade to get as it can be Cat5e,6, 6a and various S/FTP and other options.


    I haven't an exact measure but the runs will probably mostly be 10-30m and I'm not planning to run every device back to the main router as I have few Routerboard 260GS switches that I will use at the destinations where there are a few devices together.
     
    Last edited: 9 Nov 2015
  2. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Will work for nuts Super Moderator

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    I'd suggest CAT6 FTP, not because it will be any better than a lesser cable now, but because when 10Gb becomes feasible in the home the last thing you're going to want to be doing is replacing cabling.
     
  3. play_boy_2000

    play_boy_2000 It was funny when I was 12

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    Cat5e will only have issues at gigabit if its damaged or improperly terminated. Shielding isnt required unless you run a ham radio or the likes.When it arrives, 2.5 and 5g Ethernet will both work fine on good quality cat5e (although meaningless, the stuff claiming 350mhz is generally good). If you want 10gige, you'll want cat6a - which I think is shielded as part of the standard.

    Bottom line: if you have the cat 5e already, midaswell use it.
     
  4. edzieba

    edzieba Virtual Realist

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    Cat5e is probably fine for the near future, 10gigE is still quite some time from being available at consumer price points.

    To future-proof, don't just run cable, run cable ducts/conduit (basically flexible plastic pipe). That way when some replacement twisted-pair or fibre cable becomes standard, or you just decide you need more drops, you can just pull it between the wallplates rather than having to strip the wall off.
     
  5. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Will work for nuts Super Moderator

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    I'm not so sure - unmanaged switches with 10GbE uplinks are very affordable starting at under £200 these days, with NICs starting under £100.
     
  6. Risky

    Risky Modder

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    Thanks for the responses. Interestingly I went to check the speeds on my current connections and now see that nearly all are at 1000Gbps, which I'm dammed sure wasn't the case when I last looked when I installed the Routerboard switches. The new runs should be better grade as they won't be parallel to power very much at all.

    So perhaps given that it will be possible to rerun cable to most locations (as I am setting it up with ducting in the new room and have clean runs to the attic, I don't need to future-proof at this time. What might be worth doing is to lay in pre-made 6a cables for the two key switch to switch runs as it's going to cost a lot less than a reel and won't suffer from my cack-handed terminations (e.g. £10 for 15m shielded) as it won't be too hard to install terminated cables at this point as opposed to when they're being pulled or poked though a busier duct.
     
  7. Digerati

    Digerati Minimodder

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    I think you have an extra zero, or meant Mbps.

    Anyway, I say go for the best cable you can find - especially if you don't plan on moving to a new home some time in the future. Yeah, it will cost you more up front, but still be cheaper than replacing it later. And I don't know what you have to pull the cable through, but even in a brand new building during construction, pulling cable is not a fun job. So doing it once is always a plus.

    You say you don't need to future proof "at this time". That's always the problem, isn't it? We don't really know our future needs. Do you want to be crawling around your dusty attic when you are 10 years older than you are now?

    10 to 30m really is not excessive. If you are not happy with the speeds (especially if future proofing is not a requirement), the first thing I would do is re-terminate them. And if you don't have a top quality crimper, invest in one. A cheap crimper results in cheap connections. I learned that the hard (expensive) way by wasting my money on budget crimpers. And a decent cable tester is a Godsend.
     
  8. play_boy_2000

    play_boy_2000 It was funny when I was 12

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    That's the problem though, cat6a utp is probably going to be the last (utp/stp) standard that is easily and reliably terminated by low-medium skilled workers. 2.5/5gigE will probably be the next desktop standards, as they are supported by existing cat5/6 and will likely benefit greatest from mass production savings (which is where 10gigE still fails). If/when 5gigE becomes obsolete, then I'm guessing most companies/households will just jump straight to fiber, as cat8 seems stupidly complex to terminate.
     
  9. Risky

    Risky Modder

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    I guess the subtext to this is an attack of realism and thus the decision to give up on running everything back to a single central switch or router. Pulling multiple runs of 10-30m to every location is goign to take time I don't have and if asked whether I really needed to have 8 network cables coming out of the ceiling above my desk I'm not sure I'd have a terribly good answer.

    Hence I'm thinking that buging 305m of cable for £200 isn't that smart, if I can get better terminated pre made cables for the 4 or so key runs for far less.
     
  10. Digerati

    Digerati Minimodder

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    The issue is to use Cat5e now or Cat6. I say go for Cat6 now because it will carry you through further into the future (even if you don't think today you need to future proof).

    I do not recommend premade cables because pulling cables with connectors on them is a real PITA. Not to mention, it requires much larger holes in walls, joists, etc. And the connectors are easily damaged.

    Plus, what do you do if you need a 27 foot cable run? Buy a 50 foot cable?

    Get yourself bulk Cat6 cable, a big box of connectors, a cable tester and a quality crimper and practice. Start by making several small cables. For example, a 24" cable to go between your router and your modem. And several 6' cables. Yeah, you will waste some connectors until you get your skills (and eyes) honed, but it is still cheaper than buying pre-made cables that don't fit your needs. Then make your 27 foot cable.
     
  11. Risky

    Risky Modder

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    If I am to run Cat6A, can anyone see a good price on soem okay cable? I am assuming that goign shielded makes sense as it's not possibel to keep them completely away from powerlines in the home.
     
  12. Flibblebot

    Flibblebot Smile with me

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    No need for shielding, it'll cause more problems than it solves.

    Electricity cables aren't the massive bugbear that people think they are: as long as you can stay a foot or more from powerlines you should be fine. If you have to cross a powerline, make sure you do it at right angles. When going round corners, make sure the radius of the bend is no smaller than the radius of a coke can.

    I used to do home automation installs, I've run thousands of feet of unshielded Cat5e alongside power runs and have never had a single problem - as long as you keep to the general guidelines above.
     
  13. Digerati

    Digerati Minimodder

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    I agree, you don't need special shielded cables. Not because it can causes more problems, but because it costs more and is a pain to work with to ensure the shielding is doing its job.

    This was really a bigger problem when analog data was being sent through these lines.

    If you were running a bunch of runs in parallel right next to each other, or right next to power cables then shielding might be beneficial. Or if you live next to a big microwave tower or airport radar you might need extra shielding.

    The best advice up there is to cross over power (and other cables too) at right angles and no sharp bends in corners.

    Your biggest concerns, really, should be ensuring your RJ-45 connectors are properly and securely attached. As I said, investing in a quality crimper and practicing first will pay off in the end.
     
  14. Risky

    Risky Modder

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    Well for the new room I was planning to run parallel ducts for pipes, power and data. Also some speaker cable I guess which doesn't help. In the rest of the house there won't be much parallel but there could easily be a few metres here and there. It's an old building at their is no void betwen the celing and upstairs floor so cables aren't easy to hide and running lots of separate visible trunking is a good way into a big row!


    That said the though of terminating shielded Cat 6A scares me.
     
  15. RichCreedy

    RichCreedy Hey What Who

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    I used Matrix CAT6 cable, works well.

    I ran 4 cables to the living room, 2 to main bedroom, 5 to back bedroom ( 3 of which go to a connection box outside to feed my mancave, which has 3 steel reinforced cables running underground one of which carries phone wires and 2 network) and 2 in the hallway to feed the 2 broadband lines to the cabinet on the wall in entrance hall.
     

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