Home & Garden

Home Network - Cat6e Cable Setup

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  • Jun 26th, 2021 10:51 pm
[OP]
Newbie
May 21, 2020
64 posts
6 upvotes

Home Network - Cat6e Cable Setup

Hi there,

I am in the process of choosing upgrades for my pre-construction home. I am technologically illiterate. I’ve read several threads on Cat5/Cat6 cables and have a better understanding of the differences. Will likely choose Cat6e cables to future proof my home.

What I am struggling with is how many cables to run. Some info which I’m not sure is relevant -
- House is 3,600 sq ft (located in Oakville in case anyone is familiar with internet providers...not sure of this is even relevant)
- No dedicated office; opted for loft space on 2nd floor instead of a 5th bedroom.
- Walk-out basement; will eventually use this space often and build a home theatre
- Exterior security cameras; I have not decided on what cameras to use and am aware some do not require Cat6 cables

Based on some homework I’ve done...
(1) Acquaintances have recommended only 2 Cat
6e cables in my ENTIRE house. I’m no expert but...???
(2) RFD recommend 1-2 cables per room. Lol

I understand some people simply prefer Wifi, while others prefer the stability and speed of connecting directly to the network.

In layman’s terms, do all cables from each of the room sockets come together in a central location, generally in the basement? And the cable ends are connected to a patch/switch panel?...Lost again. And where is the ideal location for a modem/router (I would prefer to hide if possible)?

Can you share your setup?

Thank you!
23 replies
Temp. Banned
Jun 4, 2020
1634 posts
1657 upvotes
Clarington, ON
Yes. Central location. This is where you would put a switch/router/NVR.

Expect $200 a drop.

I honestly appreciate hardwired, but are you going to use it. I would put wired drops in key places - office loft, entertainment center etc. Are you really going to plug your laptop in?

Perhaps some stretegic drops to deal with a mesh wifi system?


Edit: cat6e isn't a thing.

Also, ensure a quality cable is run. Something succ as hubbel. The "brown box" cable your builder will run likely wont test with cat6 characteristics despite being labelled as such.
Member
Nov 30, 2005
368 posts
212 upvotes
North York
SARAHLEEK wrote: Hi there,

I am in the process of choosing upgrades for my pre-construction home. I am technologically illiterate. I’ve read several threads on Cat5/Cat6 cables and have a better understanding of the differences. Will likely choose Cat6e cables to future proof my home.

What I am struggling with is how many cables to run. Some info which I’m not sure is relevant -
- House is 3,600 sq ft (located in Oakville in case anyone is familiar with internet providers...not sure of this is even relevant)
- No dedicated office; opted for loft space on 2nd floor instead of a 5th bedroom.
- Walk-out basement; will eventually use this space often and build a home theatre
- Exterior security cameras; I have not decided on what cameras to use and am aware some do not require Cat6 cables

Based on some homework I’ve done...
(1) Acquaintances have recommended only 2 Cat
6e cables in my ENTIRE house. I’m no expert but...???
(2) RFD recommend 1-2 cables per room. Lol

I understand some people simply prefer Wifi, while others prefer the stability and speed of connecting directly to the network.

In layman’s terms, do all cables from each of the room sockets come together in a central location, generally in the basement? And the cable ends are connected to a patch/switch panel?...Lost again. And where is the ideal location for a modem/router (I would prefer to hide if possible)?

Can you share your setup?

Thank you!
Ask the internet installer to put the modem in a corner of the basement so all your cables would go there.. if you got a conduit pipe, put it close to there so it's easier but no deal breaker.. I would run 2 cat 6E per floor including basement... and use something like a ubiquiti ceiling mount AP .. you would onr want somewhere close to front door so you garage camera , front door camera etc will have a strong signal and other other one somewhere central to the house... upper floor.. space them out evenly... forget hardwire wire to each room.. wifi is very stable and I have never had issues ..maybe a reboot once a year or something..

They key is get a good stable router..not the cable modem.. and good access points.. I know there's some crap about ubquiti security breach but don't cheap out on access points and 1 router.
[OP]
Newbie
May 21, 2020
64 posts
6 upvotes
KevinM56081 wrote: Yes. Central location. This is where you would put a switch/router/NVR.

Expect $200 a drop.

I honestly appreciate hardwired, but are you going to use it. I would put wired drops in key places - office loft, entertainment center etc. Are you really going to plug your laptop in?

Perhaps some stretegic drops to deal with a mesh wifi system?


Edit: cat6e isn't a thing.

Also, ensure a quality cable is run. Something succ as hubbel. The "brown box" cable your builder will run likely wont test with cat6 characteristics despite being labelled as such.
Thank you very much for sharing your insight! I’ll check with the builder what type of cable they will install.
[OP]
Newbie
May 21, 2020
64 posts
6 upvotes
MrDiscount wrote: Ask the internet installer to put the modem in a corner of the basement so all your cables would go there.. if you got a conduit pipe, put it close to there so it's easier but no deal breaker.. I would run 2 cat 6E per floor including basement... and use something like a ubiquiti ceiling mount AP .. you would onr want somewhere close to front door so you garage camera , front door camera etc will have a strong signal and other other one somewhere central to the house... upper floor.. space them out evenly... forget hardwire wire to each room.. wifi is very stable and I have never had issues ..maybe a reboot once a year or something..

They key is get a good stable router..not the cable modem.. and good access points.. I know there's some crap about ubquiti security breach but don't cheap out on access points and 1 router.
Thank you for sharing your advice! I have a lot of homework to do!
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Nov 1, 2010
5497 posts
1695 upvotes
Kanata
Personally, I'd ask for conduits to be installed. You may be technologically illiterate but if you're handy you can still do it yourself. After the conduits are done, order a bunch of things from primecable for fraction of the cost and finish it yourself. It comes out cheaper and you have the flexibility of running whatever you want. cat6 is definitely better but cat5e is enough for residential use, but if you have conduits you can go cat5e yourself. Then cat6 for whatever other things you need.

I think they still include 3-5 cat5e correct? Ask them to install those where you would most likely need it (for the router on the main or second floor) and streaming TV? Whatever else you need. This way it's ready when you move in. Then ask conduits to be installed for the rooms, basement, a couple on the main floor etc and take your time with it.

You may feel better by saving $1k+ now but down the road you and your future buyers will benefit from it. Anything that can be done before the walls go up, you should do it.

For all the stuff you need:
https://www.primecables.ca/topic-1706-e ... collection
Uh, yeah, I'd like to speak to a Mr. Tabooger, first name Ollie.
Member
Aug 30, 2009
244 posts
74 upvotes
Congrats on your new home. in some parts of Oakville you may only have a choice of slow DSL from Bell (50mbps) or a reseller, or gigabit cable from cogeco.

I'll chime in here with some thoughts on installing residential network infrastructure.

According to some home builders I've talked to, it's not often people consider it during new construction or when the house is gutted and stripped to the studs. And when that happens most home owners don't know enough to make insightful decisions. Also, the builders don't want to do it anyway. A friend of mine did a new home build close to Casa Loma a few years back and I said make sure you get the house wired up with cat6. After construction I asked about it and he said yeah the builder put in cat6, but when I checked, the house wasn't wired up at all, it only had a 4 camera security system installed which used 4 runs of ethernet back to the NVR. My friend did not know the difference, he thought his house was "wired with cat6". Needless to say a wasted opportunity. You only install it as utility if the costs are reasonable, otherwise, it gets installed as an ad hoc, piecemeal network (that's what your acquaintances are talking about).

Let me explain what I mean by utility.

When planning network infrastructure for a new office building, you get the floor plans and look at how the spaces are going to be used. Where are the conference rooms, where are the desks and phones, where might people be using devices (not just computers) that need a plug n play network connection? In all of those places you install the network jacks. Even if the office won't be at full capacity on day one or ever, you install in it all those places because at some point in the future someone may need to plug something in there and there is a jack waiting for them. Think of it like electrical outlets, you install it into every room even if you won't ever have devices plugged into all of them at the same time. It is utility. It's there when you need it.

OTOH, imagine you call an electrician to install one or two electrical outlets only when you want to plug in a new device? You need to open up the wall and run the cable back to the panel just to service your one new device. Everyone understands this is ridiculous. But this is what we do with computer networks because of circumstance; the house is already built and it's too much work to open up all the walls so just run the one or two cables that you need to where the computer will be (and never move that computer for the next 10 or 20 years). So most of the time folks are resigned to wireless and most of the time it meets basic connectivity needs.

Here's some wired devices to consider: IP phones, cameras, wifi access points with wired backhaul, game consoles, TVs, media streaming boxes, game streaming boxes, receivers, printers, smart/automation hubs. If you aren't going to be moving the device around, the stability and convenience of a wired connection is better in certain ways. I say convenient because you won't have to mess around with connecting the device to wireless network. It's easy if you know what you're doing but do you know how to troubleshoot if it doesn't connect or how to stabilize the connection if it's dropping all the time? What if you change your wifi network do you really want to go around the fuss with getting all the devices onto the new network?

If the house was pre construction or stripped to the studs I run ethernet to all the rooms where there is likely to be a networked device and I would run at least two cables to each location. My last house I did 4 cat6, 2 RG6Q, and 2 100mbit (split cat5e) for PoE devices to each bedroom. I did this because it gave me the flexibility to turn any one of those bedrooms into an office with a 2nd line for internet (gigabit only available from rogers in that area hence the RG6Q). I ran it myself and opened up walls and patched the drywall and painted. It was a lot of work, and yes, there is wifi throughout the house, but on wifi trying to use satellite view in google maps on a 4K screen was just an exercise in anger management. Online gaming is another use case where wired and wireless experience can be night and day. Not just online, but I use steamlinks (remember those?) on a wired connection so from my gaming rig I can play on any one of my screens in the house and while it does work on wifi, it's just not always solid and I want to have that reliable, high fidelity experience all the time.

OP, in your situation since you can't do it yourself, it's going to be cost prohibitive to implement the network infrastructure as utility, but you have the opportunity here. If you have kids they may eventually want a console(s) or TV in their bedrooms, or you have multiple devices in the family room, home theatre can have many devices as well. You may not always or ever have devices in all locations, but the jacks will be there if you need it.

As what Tabooger was saying, at least have the builder run the cables and then terminate them later. But use cat6. Your house is big, the runs are longer, and you want better quality cable for 2.5, 5, and 10Gbe in the future. Cat6A is available too, but it's harder to find someone who knows how to properly terminate shielded 6A.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 13, 2004
11815 posts
3472 upvotes
Ontario
Run Cat6 the price difference wont be much and Cat6 is going ot be more future proof then Cat5e,

When my friend built his house I went in and wired at least 2 Cat6 cables to each room if not more. We put 5 jacks in his living room alone due to, smart tv/android box/future consoles/ any other devices that connect to the internet.
We also ran Cat6 for his security cameras which were 8 or 9 cameras. Everything goes into the basement which is currently plugged into a 48port network switch (basement is not finished) From the switch i ran another cat6 cable to the center of the house where we have his modem/router so he has good even wifi coverage for the home. We also ran 1 cat6 & 1RG6 cable outside to his backyard incase he ever wants to connect a tv or something on the deck. We also ran RG6 to every room in case he ever gets cable tv in the future.

At minimum I would put 1 Cat6 line to pretty much every room, worse case you can get a small 5port switch and now you can plug in other network devices as needed.
Jr. Member
Mar 9, 2019
185 posts
97 upvotes
just completed a new build and ran cat6 to every room on the second floor and that's it. Its easy to run them on the first floor from the basement. $200 a drop. Ran cat5e for cameras since you don't really need cat6 for security. They usually terminate all runs to the panel in new builds. Congrats on the new home!
Deal Addict
Apr 26, 2003
1748 posts
835 upvotes
GTA
Run Cat6a, it's marginally more expensive and futureproofs your house a lot longer. I ran Cat6a in my house when we gutted it and have a drop in each room. I kind of went overkill in the basement with two drops in each room, but the walls were open and I could pull cable anywhere I wanted.

All the cable drops have to terminate in a central spot so that you can connect them all to a network switch.

This is a picture of my cable runs in my basement.

Network Wiring.jpg
[OP]
Newbie
May 21, 2020
64 posts
6 upvotes
My apologies for the delayed response. Thank you very very much for sharing so much insight!
[OP]
Newbie
May 21, 2020
64 posts
6 upvotes
Tabooger wrote: Personally, I'd ask for conduits to be installed. You may be technologically illiterate but if you're handy you can still do it yourself. After the conduits are done, order a bunch of things from primecable for fraction of the cost and finish it yourself. It comes out cheaper and you have the flexibility of running whatever you want. cat6 is definitely better but cat5e is enough for residential use, but if you have conduits you can go cat5e yourself. Then cat6 for whatever other things you need.

I think they still include 3-5 cat5e correct? Ask them to install those where you would most likely need it (for the router on the main or second floor) and streaming TV? Whatever else you need. This way it's ready when you move in. Then ask conduits to be installed for the rooms, basement, a couple on the main floor etc and take your time with it.

You may feel better by saving $1k+ now but down the road you and your future buyers will benefit from it. Anything that can be done before the walls go up, you should do it.

For all the stuff you need:
https://www.primecables.ca/topic-1706-e ... collection
Apologies for the delayed response. Thank you for the advice! We are opting for 2 conduits! And yes, the builder is including 2 Cat5e which we are upgrading to Cat6.
[OP]
Newbie
May 21, 2020
64 posts
6 upvotes
speedrun wrote: Congrats on your new home. in some parts of Oakville you may only have a choice of slow DSL from Bell (50mbps) or a reseller, or gigabit cable from cogeco.

I'll chime in here with some thoughts on installing residential network infrastructure.

According to some home builders I've talked to, it's not often people consider it during new construction or when the house is gutted and stripped to the studs. And when that happens most home owners don't know enough to make insightful decisions. Also, the builders don't want to do it anyway. A friend of mine did a new home build close to Casa Loma a few years back and I said make sure you get the house wired up with cat6. After construction I asked about it and he said yeah the builder put in cat6, but when I checked, the house wasn't wired up at all, it only had a 4 camera security system installed which used 4 runs of ethernet back to the NVR. My friend did not know the difference, he thought his house was "wired with cat6". Needless to say a wasted opportunity. You only install it as utility if the costs are reasonable, otherwise, it gets installed as an ad hoc, piecemeal network (that's what your acquaintances are talking about).

Let me explain what I mean by utility.

When planning network infrastructure for a new office building, you get the floor plans and look at how the spaces are going to be used. Where are the conference rooms, where are the desks and phones, where might people be using devices (not just computers) that need a plug n play network connection? In all of those places you install the network jacks. Even if the office won't be at full capacity on day one or ever, you install in it all those places because at some point in the future someone may need to plug something in there and there is a jack waiting for them. Think of it like electrical outlets, you install it into every room even if you won't ever have devices plugged into all of them at the same time. It is utility. It's there when you need it.

OTOH, imagine you call an electrician to install one or two electrical outlets only when you want to plug in a new device? You need to open up the wall and run the cable back to the panel just to service your one new device. Everyone understands this is ridiculous. But this is what we do with computer networks because of circumstance; the house is already built and it's too much work to open up all the walls so just run the one or two cables that you need to where the computer will be (and never move that computer for the next 10 or 20 years). So most of the time folks are resigned to wireless and most of the time it meets basic connectivity needs.

Here's some wired devices to consider: IP phones, cameras, wifi access points with wired backhaul, game consoles, TVs, media streaming boxes, game streaming boxes, receivers, printers, smart/automation hubs. If you aren't going to be moving the device around, the stability and convenience of a wired connection is better in certain ways. I say convenient because you won't have to mess around with connecting the device to wireless network. It's easy if you know what you're doing but do you know how to troubleshoot if it doesn't connect or how to stabilize the connection if it's dropping all the time? What if you change your wifi network do you really want to go around the fuss with getting all the devices onto the new network?

If the house was pre construction or stripped to the studs I run ethernet to all the rooms where there is likely to be a networked device and I would run at least two cables to each location. My last house I did 4 cat6, 2 RG6Q, and 2 100mbit (split cat5e) for PoE devices to each bedroom. I did this because it gave me the flexibility to turn any one of those bedrooms into an office with a 2nd line for internet (gigabit only available from rogers in that area hence the RG6Q). I ran it myself and opened up walls and patched the drywall and painted. It was a lot of work, and yes, there is wifi throughout the house, but on wifi trying to use satellite view in google maps on a 4K screen was just an exercise in anger management. Online gaming is another use case where wired and wireless experience can be night and day. Not just online, but I use steamlinks (remember those?) on a wired connection so from my gaming rig I can play on any one of my screens in the house and while it does work on wifi, it's just not always solid and I want to have that reliable, high fidelity experience all the time.

OP, in your situation since you can't do it yourself, it's going to be cost prohibitive to implement the network infrastructure as utility, but you have the opportunity here. If you have kids they may eventually want a console(s) or TV in their bedrooms, or you have multiple devices in the family room, home theatre can have many devices as well. You may not always or ever have devices in all locations, but the jacks will be there if you need it.

As what Tabooger was saying, at least have the builder run the cables and then terminate them later. But use cat6. Your house is big, the runs are longer, and you want better quality cable for 2.5, 5, and 10Gbe in the future. Cat6A is available too, but it's harder to find someone who knows how to properly terminate shielded 6A.
I am sorry for not responding sooner! Wow!! First off, thank you so very much for sharing all this advice. It is daunting buying a pre-construction house for the first time. It’s hard to know what we should do to future proof our home. We will definitely take your tips into consideration to avoid headaches down the road! Many thanks again! Hope you don’t mind if I reach out in the future with questions.
[OP]
Newbie
May 21, 2020
64 posts
6 upvotes
sickcars wrote: Run Cat6 the price difference wont be much and Cat6 is going ot be more future proof then Cat5e,

When my friend built his house I went in and wired at least 2 Cat6 cables to each room if not more. We put 5 jacks in his living room alone due to, smart tv/android box/future consoles/ any other devices that connect to the internet.
We also ran Cat6 for his security cameras which were 8 or 9 cameras. Everything goes into the basement which is currently plugged into a 48port network switch (basement is not finished) From the switch i ran another cat6 cable to the center of the house where we have his modem/router so he has good even wifi coverage for the home. We also ran 1 cat6 & 1RG6 cable outside to his backyard incase he ever wants to connect a tv or something on the deck. We also ran RG6 to every room in case he ever gets cable tv in the future.

At minimum I would put 1 Cat6 line to pretty much every room, worse case you can get a small 5port switch and now you can plug in other network devices as needed.
I apologize for the late response, but wanted to thank you for sharing your experience! I wish I had a friend like you to do my setup haha I think we will consider a similar setup. May I please ask what are your thoughts on having the modem and router in the basement?
[OP]
Newbie
May 21, 2020
64 posts
6 upvotes
urbanshack wrote: just completed a new build and ran cat6 to every room on the second floor and that's it. Its easy to run them on the first floor from the basement. $200 a drop. Ran cat5e for cameras since you don't really need cat6 for security. They usually terminate all runs to the panel in new builds. Congrats on the new home!
Thank you, and apologies for taking so long to respond! I wouldn’t mind future proofing and getting a CAT6 to each room on the second floor. But I wonder how likely we are to use all of them? The time I’ve spent considering this vs just paying for it is questionable lol
Sr. Member
Jan 21, 2011
810 posts
334 upvotes
GTA
Run cat6 for whatever is going to be fixed. Tv, printer, cameras, router and satellites. It good to have a pipe going to each floor as well. I have two going to attic that I can reach from attic hatch. I have 1 going to first floor into a bulkhead where I might put a access panel in the future. Try to keep pipe runs as straight as possible.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 13, 2004
11815 posts
3472 upvotes
Ontario
Ideally for best wifi coverage you want it on the main floor in the middle of the house. If its in the basement in the corner likely by the electrical panel then you may not get or have weak signal on the other side of the home on the top floor. I would run a cat6 from the basement where all your connections terminate to the middle of the main floor in case you do need to move the modem to the main floor because of poor wifi strength. Better to have it just in case IMO.

let me know if you have any other questions
SARAHLEEK wrote: I apologize for the late response, but wanted to thank you for sharing your experience! I wish I had a friend like you to do my setup haha I think we will consider a similar setup. May I please ask what are your thoughts on having the modem and router in the basement?
Sr. Member
User avatar
Oct 2, 2018
933 posts
790 upvotes
Toronto
I would recommend placing all newer cables either Cat 6 or Cat6A.

Run Cat 6 where the runs are approximately 100 feet or less (35m to 55m max for 10 Gbps, 1 Gbps for longer lengths) as at shorter distances it still supports 10Gbps.
Run Cat 6A where you are longer than approximately 100 feet (100m) as it supports 10 Gbps all the way up to 100 meters in length.

Cat5e you can run to low bandwidth security camera's and such, personally i wouldn't as who knows if in future the needs change at that location.

While historically cabling have all run back to the central location in the basement usually next to the electrical panel, routers / gateways have better wifi coverage when centrally located. If you have a theatre / games room more central i would consider that, with a Cat 6 or Cat 6A back to the main service entry point which is in the basement. You might wish to run two cables back as a precaution in case you go with two service providers.
Youth is the gift of nature, while age is a work of art.
Sr. Member
Jan 7, 2006
612 posts
320 upvotes
Toronto
I have cat 5e run in wall at my place, with a few newer cat 6 runs for drops I added over the years. Never thought I'd run 10 gig at home, so I didn't really care to be "future proof". Plus,

I was setting up some new 10 GBe equipment for somebody and wanted to test and config it at home before installing it on site. Hooked up the 10 Gbe switch in the basement, took my longest 5e runs (about 60 to 70 ft) and plugged in the new switch, installed the new 10 Gbe nics and ran Netperf. First of all, linked up at 10 gig no issues... and got 8000 Mbps over cat 5e. Did the same test with short 6A patch cables (3 ft) with all the gear in the same room and got 8800 Mbps... sure I got a 10% loss, but it runs otherwise with no errors.

So unless you live in a house that needs 500 ft runs, 5e is just fine for the near future of 10 Gbe but probably not for when/if 100 gbe comes out. I wouldn't use run 10 gig in a corporate environment over 5e, but in a non mission critical home network where your 4k netflix stream might drop down to HD, it probably is ok.
Jr. Member
Mar 9, 2019
185 posts
97 upvotes
SARAHLEEK wrote: Thank you, and apologies for taking so long to respond! I wouldn’t mind future proofing and getting a CAT6 to each room on the second floor. But I wonder how likely we are to use all of them? The time I’ve spent considering this vs just paying for it is questionable lol
I have a Eero setup in my house and its run great for me. I personally just put a connection in each room for a TV hookup (hardwire receivers instead of wifi) not really computers. Everyones house and setup is different some maybe overkill and some bare minimum. Ive been running cat5e for 8 years on my surveillance cameras and now just upgraded my cameras to 4k and still works fine.

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