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radon 02-20-2008 12:56 PM

How to route cat5 & coax?
I hope I'm in the right forum with this - I'm looking to route cat5 and coax to each bedroom and various other "makes sense" spots in the house. All the walls are open (complete gut job rehab).

So I know where to run it - but how? I want to avoid running it alongside full-voltage electrical to limit signal interference... which means lots of new holes through studs & joists (ugh). I'd love to limit that where I can.


Can I run the wires underneath joists in the basement? I can't do that with full voltage electrical... but maybe with this low-voltage data stuff?

Are the requirements for my "data panel" (located in the basement) the same as those for my electrical panel? ie can I get away with lighter, smaller plywood, etc?

Are there requirements to staple the cable to studs/joists just like electrical wire... or are the requirements less stringent (or nonexistent)?

Should I terminate the far end of these wires (in the rooms) in electrical boxes, or just poke a hole through the eventual drywall and stick a plate over the hole?


Don in CT

badgerbrian1974 02-20-2008 01:32 PM

Terminate in Plastic low voltage gang boxes and leave the wire in the box until your sheetrock is up. then use a coax or cat 5e/6 wallplate or keystone jacks to terminate.
Run all your cat and coax away from electrical cables - as it can cause interference. If you do have to cross electrical cable do so at a 90 degree angle.
Make sure if you use staples - they are wide cable ones - alot of people will tell you to use cable ties instead to avoid nicking or stressing the cable.

Not sure about the rules in terms of the box.
however - for the data cables your going to need a switch, and obviously a location for the cable/dsl modem.
I use racks myself in a closet with air duct for venting and keeping equipment cool.

handyman78 02-20-2008 02:49 PM

An alternative for when you have the walls wide open is using flexible conduit by Carlon specifically for this purpose- "structured wiring". It is orange in color and uses similar color lo-voltage boxes for installing the coax and cat5e cables. This might be better if you are staying in this residence for a long time and might upgrade the wiring in the future. You secure the conduit, not the cables and this allows for you to replace with any new technology that comes along such as fiberoptics without opening the wall for the connections. :wink:

Here is a link of what this might look like:

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