Wiring the house

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RacerX330

Occasional Visitor
Hi all,

New here. I am going to be having an electrician wire my mom's house for network. We're going to be installing a wireless mesh system and running the backhaul over wired ethernet.

I'd like to have it wired with Cat 6 cable to future-proof when 10-gigabit becomes ubiquitous. What bulk cat 6 cable specification does the hive recommend? Also do the cable ends and the RJ45 jacks need to be anything special other than specific to Cat 6?

Also any recommendations on a patch panel would be helpful if that needs to be anything special again other than cat 6 specific.

I'll probably just buy a 1000ft box of bulk cable

Thanks so much in advance.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Welcome to the forums.

Do a 'Better Search' for your wiring needs with @Trip as the 'By: member'.

Note: the search is actually called 'better search', I'm not just saying you should search better. :)

Off the top of my head, you will want quality CAT6a cable UTP or (better yet) STP rated cable if your runs will be 55M or greater. Using cheaper materials won't be a cost-saving measure if you need to rip out walls/ceilings in the future.
 

RacerX330

Occasional Visitor
Thanks i'll do that search. We're not ripping out any walls/ceilings, we have a suspended ceiling in the basement and good access so that's not a huge issue. The only drywall ingress will be for the wallplates/jacks. I definitely want to buy the right cable because i only want to do this once and do it right.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Run the wires, do the terminations, but hire someone (or rent the proper equipment to do it yourself) to test everything before you try to fire up a network on the new wiring. :)
 

RacerX330

Occasional Visitor
the electrician is going to run the wires. i don't want do that LOL. do most electricians know how to wire patch panels/jacks and terminate cat 6 cables?
 

MakeItEasy

Occasional Visitor
Hi,

My recommandation is also CAT6A, SSTP if possible as it is not necessary more expensive. I did this 15 years ago and I don't regret it.

You can ask your electrician to wire the house but for jacks better do it yourself or ask for a specialist to do that job.
 

degrub

Very Senior Member
Make sure they will test and certify end to end, including terminations, for the spec bandwidth 10 Gb, for example. Not just continuity. If they dont understand that, then they either need to hire a sub that will certify the runs or you need to get a specialist that can do the runs and certifications. They also need to follow wiring practices for 10 Gb
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Most? No. I would hire a specialized network IT worker, not an electrician.

While an electrician can run the cables, will they know how careful they will need to be while curving/bending them? Will they guarantee they won't cause issues by stressing the runs too much?
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
I would hire a specialized network IT worker, not an electrician.
Yeah, if you are going to hire anybody, hire the right body.

OE
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
@RacerX330 - If all runs will be under 55m (~180 feet), I would recommend Cat6 over Cat6a: cheaper, lighter, thinner, easier to terminate and almost as PoE-efficient, for all but the most high-power requirements. Also, regarding shielding/grounding, unless you know 100% that one or more components will require grounding (highly doubtful) or you have unavoidable in-wall EMI, I would skip shielded cabling. Proper shielding requires measurable extra work to terminate, plus grounding every single item connected to the cable fabric. Not a trivial task, and I would argue largely unnecessary in most cases, provided proper-quality UTP is used. On that note, I'd only use domestically manufactured, commercial-grade, tested and verified cable -- example USA brands would be Belden, Berk-Tek, General, Mohawk, Panduit, Superior Essex, Vertical Cable etc. -- the kind you'll find at electrical suppliers, online wholesalers like FalconTech. IMHO, the minimal extra cost over the Chinese whitelabel stuff like Monoprice is worth it.

If you do have runs that are over 55m/180ft, I would look at Cat6a UTP of the proper quality. The "Cadillac" choice would be Belden 10GXS, which approaches Cat6 slimness, is fully PoE-compliant out to 100m and provides STP/FTP-level EMI resistance without the need to ground. That said, the price is in the stratosphere (~$1500 per 1000 feet), so probably not conducive for a home project. If you can get away with Cat6, all the better.

For your copper termination accessories, you could probably get away with anything generic (I prefer it to be at least UL-listed) but again if you want to stick to top-tier all the way, look for commercial brands like Leviton, Panduit and the like.

Another tip: a quality electrician does not always equate to a quality data cabling tech. Make sure you vet this person's/company's abilities and/or certifications. If they check out, great. Otherwise, I'd bring in a high-end AV/IT firm to handling the data work. You won't regret it. They'll also be apt to recommend (and exclusively use) commercial-grade cable and components.

Lastly, if you're going through all the trouble to run ethernet throughout, I would skip consumer-grade mesh (and consumer-grade products) entirely and run SMB-grade, discrete components (wired router, PoE switch and controller-based APs). Wireless access will be cleaner, more reliable and the network will run more like an appliance and less like a toy -- for you that means few, preferably zero, random help calls from mom regarding the network not working. For more details as to why this is, I'm happy to expand, but something like a full Cisco small-business stack -- RV340 router ($190), SG110-16HP switch ($150) and CBW140AC APs (~$150 ea., ~$400 for a 3-pack) -- wouldn't be too much more costly than a high-end consumer mesh product, but would likely be way more reliable.

Hope that helps.
 
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RacerX330

Occasional Visitor
@Trip thanks! this is incredibly helpful. I have reached out to an IT firm as well to have them come and speak with us about what i want where i want etc. Great suggestion on the CAT 6 UTP cable, I think that's probably what I will do. As I understand it running shielded cable has to be grounded properly and unless one is going to do it all the way it would be worse than just running unshielded UTP cable.

I love the idea of a cisco small business stack! I prefer cisco or possibly ubiquiti. I'd like 802.11ax (wifi 6) access points and i want to run the wireless backhaul over ethernet hardline (one of the primary reason for running the cable) the house doesn't have a very open floor plan and there are lots of obstacles and anytime we've run extenders where the backhaul runs over wireless they just suck really bad, and of course we've played with locations and placements etc.

ETA: we'll be running cabling only on the inside of the house and no runs over 55meters
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
Considering all runs will be under 55 meters, Cat6 should be fine (quality solid-core, 23AWG, UTP).

Re- 802.11ax ("Wifi 6"), even if most of mom's devices were AX-capable, the benefits in the real world at this point are minimal, at best, and will likely remain that way until well after Wifi 6E comes to prominence (at least another 1-2 years), and by then you'll need to rip and replace this current AX stuff in order to take advantage of 6Ghz. So for the sake of staying on more proven gear, plus recouping the extra would-be cost, I would just stay back on AC-class stuff for the time being. Besides, you'll get more performance from proper site survey and topology design than you would from just jumping to the next wifi standard, plus, quite honestly, I don't think mom would likely "feel" the difference between AC or AX (everything else remaining equal) for a good few years to come, if not longer.

That being said, if for some reason you really must put in AX gear, neither Cisco nor Ubiquiti have anything production-ready (well, Cisco does, but only in their "big boy" Catalyst/Aironet gear, and that stuff would cost you thousands). For SMB grade and cost level, you'd need to look at something like EnGenius and their EnSky controller-based APs: EWS357AP (2x2) and EWS377AP (4x4). The controller, however, is not embedded into the APs themselves, so a discrete install or appliance would be required (just like UniFi); that could come in the form of an EnGenius switch instead of a Cisco one (which has the wifi controller built in), or a SkyKey, or a locally-installed or cloud-hosted EnSky instance. Other very similar options would be Zyxel Nebula (discrete controller) and/or Aruba Instant On (embedded controller like Cisco CBW).

Regardless of whatever you choose, all five brands use Qualcomm wifi chips in most of their APs, plus similar antennas, so link-layer performance should be very close across the board. It really just comes down to which ecosystem best fits your preferences.

Hope that helps again.
 
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RacerX330

Occasional Visitor
that's a fair point on the ax, and you're right that ac is probably more than good enough. stability is certainly preferred, so i'll stick with that. thanks again and extremely helpful.
 

RacerX330

Occasional Visitor
@Trip ok so let's say i grab one of the cisco 110 series PoE capable switches and mount 3 or 4 of the CBW140's around the house. when i move from one room to another will the APs automatically handoff to each other as is most optimal? assuming they are all setup on the same SSID; or will they let the device manage what AP gets connected to?
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
@RacerX330 - Yes, they should -- provided, of course, the client you're using is 802.11r/k/v capable and intelligent enough to execute a proper roam. The wireless system itself can only provide so much help.

Also FYI, per this Reddit post, the CBW140AC is appears to be just an Aironet 1815i running a stripped-down version of the Mobility Express controller. That would mean it's based on their enterprise code-base, which hopefully means a very stable product right from the get-go (much akin to how Aruba uses the Instant code base for Instant On).
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
Panduit is awesome, yes. Love working with their cable. Their patch cords are my favorite. Spendy as heck, but great. It's data-center grade stuff. So it will be more-than-sufficient for your needs. Regarding plenum, sounds good. I stock it exclusively and just bill off the premium, just so I know everyone is covered all the time from a fire code standpoint.
 

RacerX330

Occasional Visitor
@Trip the access points and the switch arrived today, i've started toying with them a little bit.
I am quite impressed how easy they are setup, administrate, and just how capable they are.
I did purchase the panduit cable, all the plugs and jacks, patch panel and network rack. It turns out a neighbor is an IT network guy and knows how to terminate cables, so he is going to assist with that.
For the moment we're going to stick with the current router and shutoff the WiFi on it. Should the need arise in the future to equip a more sophisticated router, we'll pickup one of the Cisco small business routers.

I greatly appreciate all your help. The Cisco equipment is was a excellent recommendation.
 

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