Pre Wiring in New Timber Frame House

drew1000

New Around Here
Hi all,

I am new to this forum so apologies if this has been asked previously but do not see any FAQs hence the post. I am currently building a new timber frame house and would like to install some wiring to future proof and enable me to install some SMART devices at a later date as Im not sure what I want at this time. I do have Alexa in my current home but not connected to anything SMART and would maybe take this option further but open to ideas and suggestions from the community on :-

1. Advice or links to flood wiring ie type, numbers etc. To provide for mainly audio, video security etc.
2. Hardware that I could experiment in my current home to use with Alexa ie best hub or anything else I should start researching or learning.

Thanks in advance

Regards
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
Most "smart" devices connect wirelessly using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Z-Wave and Zigbee are also used and depend on hubs or gateways that are usually connected via Ethernet.

So the "smart" backbone has evolved to be Wi-Fi. In many cases multiple access points will be needed. These access points should be connected via Ethernet for highest bandwidth and reliability.

The best advice I can give you is this.
Determine where your broadband service will enter your home. This will usually be at one end of the house, closest to the road or driveway. The utility closet or room closest to the service entry is where you will want to locate your network center patch panel. Run two cables of CAT6 (or 6E) from this point to the points where you will most likely locate access points, or want highest bandwidth and reliability Ethernet network connection.

Another DIY network design/install is chronicled here:

When I built my 3500 sq ft, two level home years ago, I had the electrician pull two runs of CAT5e to a duplex box in each bedroom, living room and kitchen. I did all the cable termination myself.
I wrote a series of articles about the experience here:

Looking back, I should have also run Ethernet to the attic, which can be a good place for an AP. I also should have run coax from the network panel to the attic, which is where I ended up installing a high-gain UHF antenna for OTA TV. It might also have been helpful to run Ethernet to the garage and maybe an port under the covered porch to mount an AP for better outside coverage.

Since it's only my wife and me in the home, most of the cables have never been connected. I also installed speaker wiring for surround sound that I ended up never using.

In short, the most flexible and useful cabling you can install is CAT6/6e. Good luck.
 

drew1000

New Around Here
Most "smart" devices connect wirelessly using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Z-Wave and Zigbee are also used and depend on hubs or gateways that are usually connected via Ethernet.

So the "smart" backbone has evolved to be Wi-Fi. In many cases multiple access points will be needed. These access points should be connected via Ethernet for highest bandwidth and reliability.

The best advice I can give you is this.
Determine where your broadband service will enter your home. This will usually be at one end of the house, closest to the road or driveway. The utility closet or room closest to the service entry is where you will want to locate your network center patch panel. Run two cables of CAT6 (or 6E) from this point to the points where you will most likely locate access points, or want highest bandwidth and reliability Ethernet network connection.

Another DIY network design/install is chronicled here:

When I built my 3500 sq ft, two level home years ago, I had the electrician pull two runs of CAT5e to a duplex box in each bedroom, living room and kitchen. I did all the cable termination myself.
I wrote a series of articles about the experience here:

Looking back, I should have also run Ethernet to the attic, which can be a good place for an AP. I also should have run coax from the network panel to the attic, which is where I ended up installing a high-gain UHF antenna for OTA TV. It might also have been helpful to run Ethernet to the garage and maybe an port under the covered porch to mount an AP for better outside coverage.

Since it's only my wife and me in the home, most of the cables have never been connected. I also installed speaker wiring for surround sound that I ended up never using.

In short, the most flexible and useful cabling you can install is CAT6/6e. Good luck.
Many thanks for the information Mr easy, I will check out the links provided before I start the wiring. Regards Drew
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
On top of what Tim has said, additional pointers:
  • Conduit / Smurf Tube - If you foresee a high possibility of staying in this home for the long haul, I would look at the feasibility of running call your Cat6/6a inside of conduit or smurf tube, to allow for easier additional pulls or replacement pulls, should you desire to in the future (for the next category of copper, or fiber). Also, make sure the diameter of the conduit/tubing allows enough space for any aggregation and/or added runs to the same tube in the future.
  • Quality Cable & Connectors - Use commercial-grade, solid-core 23AWG Cat6 or 24AWG Cat6a. Avoid the Chinese whitelabel stuff, Monoprice included (recent recall for not meeting spec). Look at brands such as Berk-Terk, General, Mohawk, Vertical Cable, maybe even Belden or Panduit if you can pickup surplus somewhere for a discount. The same goes for your keystone jacks, patch panels and all termination accessories. If it's an off-brand, at least make sure it's UL-listed and spec-certified, with enough legit positive reviews.
  • Higher Port Density - Better to have too many runs than too few, as reasonably as you can foresee the need anyways. I would pull at least two cables to at least one wall per room, plus at least one run to every ceiling that could conceivably host a wifi AP (and/or IoT fixture). Even if certain runs go un-terminated, better to have a few extra service loops at the ready, then to have too few runs and have to layer on the access switches. This is also why it's worth using conduit/smurf-tube, for easier additional pulls later on.
Hope that helps. Please feel free to ask any questions.
 

drew1000

New Around Here
On top of what Tim has said, additional pointers:
  • Conduit / Smurf Tube - If you foresee a high possibility of staying in this home for the long haul, I would look at the feasibility of running call your Cat6/6a inside of conduit or smurf tube, to allow for easier additional pulls or replacement pulls, should you desire to in the future (for the next category of copper, or fiber). Also, make sure the diameter of the conduit/tubing allows enough space for any aggregation and/or added runs to the same tube in the future.
  • Quality Cable & Connectors - Use commercial-grade, solid-core 23AWG Cat6 or 24AWG Cat6a. Avoid the Chinese whitelabel stuff, Monoprice included (recent recall for not meeting spec). Look at brands such as Berk-Terk, General, Mohawk, Vertical Cable, maybe even Belden or Panduit if you can pickup surplus somewhere for a discount. The same goes for your keystone jacks, patch panels and all termination accessories. If it's an off-brand, at least make sure it's UL-listed and spec-certified, with enough legit positive reviews.
  • Higher Port Density - Better to have too many runs than too few, as reasonably as you can foresee the need anyways. I would pull at least two cables to at least one wall per room, plus at least one run to every ceiling that could conceivably host a wifi AP (and/or IoT fixture). Even if certain runs go un-terminated, better to have a few extra service loops at the ready, then to have too few runs and have to layer on the access switches. This is also why it's worth using conduit/smurf-tube, for easier additional pulls later on.
Hope that helps. Please feel free to ask any questions.
Trip, Many thanks for the info. Think I will do the basic 2 runs of Cat 6 as that seems to be the standard these days. Also I have a drum of 25mm flexible conduit which I knew would come in handy one day so think I will make good use of it in the new build. Thanks again Drew
 

CaptainSTX

Part of the Furniture
Trip, Many thanks for the info. Think I will do the basic 2 runs of Cat 6 as that seems to be the standard these days. Also I have a drum of 25mm flexible conduit which I knew would come in handy one day so think I will make good use of it in the new build. Thanks again Drew

By timber frame home do you mean what in the US we call 2 x 4 studs? If yes be sure you coordinate running the conduit through studs with both the plumber and the electrician so you don't weaken the studs with to many holes. Also regardless if you use conduit or run the cables directly be sure to use nail guards on both sides of the studs to protect your cables from nails or dry wall screws.
 
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