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murphybad 04-24-2012 02:55 PM

Network cable in existing house
Hi everyone. I'm new here, so I hope I am not posting this in the wrong place.

Is there a good book or site with instructions and tips for running computer networking cable in the walls in existing construction? I did it in my former house, which was a one story Ranch house with a big crawlspace. It was very easy. But my current house is two stories on a slab. Not only can I not go under the house, but I need to get things to the second floor. I want network ports in at least six rooms, covering both floors and spanning the width of the house. I can put the patch panel in the coat closet in the middle of the house.

I want the end result to look as clean as possible. I'm not ok with cables running outside of the walls. I am expecting to have to cut and patch a lot of drywall, but I'm sure there are right and wrong ways to go about this project. And ways that will result in as little drywall cutting as possible. And what about running perpendicular to joists? Is it ok to drill holes that way? Even if I do, that would require cutting a hole in the ceiling every few feet I think. I hope there's a better way.

What resources should I read?

itsnotrequired 04-24-2012 03:02 PM

do you have an attic you can access? that would help with reducing the cuts into walls. you could identify where you want the panels in the upstairs rooms, drill the wall top plates in the attic and run the wires down through the stud cavities to the devices.

a good way to run low voltage cable along walls is to remove the trim at the floor and run the cable in the gap where the drywall meets the floor. much better than hacking up the whole wall.

if you do open walls up, consider placing the ports for rooms with shared walls to utilize the same wall (i.e. back-to-back). easier to open up one wall rather than two.

without an attic or basement and everything finished off, not too much you can do. have you considered wireless?:laughing:

Evstarr 04-24-2012 03:08 PM

+1 on removing baseboard.

murphybad 04-24-2012 03:12 PM

There is an attic that's accessible, but it doesn't cover the entire space.

With the attic, for getting a cable from one end of the house to the patch panel, both on the first floor, are you suggesting pulling the cable two stories up the attic, across, and then back down two stories? I guess it would work. Seems like a pain, but I suppose this will be a pain no matter what I do.

I have wireless now, but the house is big enough that one wireless access point doesn't reliably cover it. If nothing else I'd like to be able to have a wired connection between the router on the first floor and a second wireless access point on the second floor, to cover the rest of the house. But that ideally should not only be on the second floor, but also on the other end of the house, because that's where the biggest coverage issue is. So it's not as easy as just running a cable up one floor. Even if I wanted to, because of the location of the router, that would put the second one in the master bathroom, which isn't ideal.

Also my experience is that wireless isn't the greatest for streaming video. It works ok until someone uses the microwave, or a cordless phone or the access point gets into a bad mood. It really sucks to be watching a movie and have it stop working or drop to a low quality level because the wireless is being flaky. It's better in the 5ghz band, but that covers even less of the house. Everything worked much more reliably when I had a wired network for all of my stuff, and just used the wireless for laptops, tablets and such. I'm willing to go to a significant amount of work and expense to make it happen.

itsnotrequired 04-24-2012 03:34 PM

the attic may not cover everything but it sounds like it covers something. one approach would be to locate the main panel on the first floor along a wall that extends all the way up into the attic. drill the top plate in the attic and open up the wall/ceiling at the same location on the first floor, to drill open the top plate of the first floor. you now have a 'chase' which runs from the panel on the first floor up into the attic. run the cables for the rooms that can be reached from the attic up through the chase and then down to the second floor rooms. you could do the same thing with the first florr rooms as well (chase at each location from attic to first floor). might be easy, might be hard. you'll want to consider where existing electric, pipes, duct work run in the wall to avoid it.

Jay 78 04-24-2012 10:03 PM

Are you going to run Cat 6?

murphybad 04-24-2012 10:16 PM


Originally Posted by Jay 78 (Post 906865)
Are you going to run Cat 6?

I haven't bought the cable yet, but probably. It's more expensive, but if I'm going to go to the trouble of doing this, I want to do it the best way I can.

theatretch85 04-25-2012 01:21 AM

Sounds like you are already planning on doing patch work, but in areas where you may need access to later, I would suggest installing a 2 gang low voltage bracket and a 2 gang blank wall plate. I did this at the last house I was at, near the baseboard for a main trunk line run from the basement, past the first floor and into the attic.

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