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Old 06-29-2011, 07:51 PM   #1
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Running Network Cable in preexisting home


Hello all,

My wife and I just bought a house and I'm preparing on running Cat6 cable to all bedrooms, living room, and the family room.

A little background on the house:

Front-to-back Split level house
-Upstairs has Office, living room, and master bedroom
-Downstairs is the basement and also finished
-Downstairs has the family room, and 2 bedrooms.
-The utility/laundry room is in the basement/downstairs and the ceiling is open, the walls are finished
-There is an attic above the upstairs portion and above the garage(2-stall)
-All walls are finished with plaster

I'm not really sure how I'm supposed to run the cable to the family room and 4th bedroom when there is no access anywhere. The 3rd bedroom is next to the utility room so that won't be a problem if I can get the wires ran from the attic to the basement. That's another question mark.

The attic which I just looked in has a bunch of white puffy insulation in it and finding the walls might be a pain.

Any ideas on the best method of running this? Thanks for any replies.

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Old 06-29-2011, 07:53 PM   #2
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Running Network Cable in preexisting home


Pop the baseboards out and cut access holes and run that way? I'm having trouble visualizing your layout.

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Old 06-29-2011, 07:59 PM   #3
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Running Network Cable in preexisting home


Why not do wireless?

Save yourself some money and LOTS of frustrating work to fish all that CAT6.

I'm connected to my network wirelessly. Also my printer. I stream movies and TV from my slingbox wirelessly all day long.
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Old 06-29-2011, 08:00 PM   #4
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Running Network Cable in preexisting home


I plan on putting single gang boxes in the walls where the cables will be, but I'm having trouble figuring out where to run the cable.

Since the basement is finished, it's going to be a real pain to run the cable, in fact I'm not really sure even what to do. I would have to tear out part of the wall near the ceiling in the basement with a wall that lines up with an upstairs wall so I can drill a hole all the way through.

I've thought of the cold air return, but I don't see where it comes out at in the basement.

My network layout is basically 2 ports in each bedroom with the exception of the family room (6), connected to a router & switch. These will meet in the closet of the office which is the upstairs bedroom. The utility room with the open ceiling is below this room.
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Old 06-29-2011, 08:02 PM   #5
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Running Network Cable in preexisting home


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Originally Posted by Leah Frances View Post
Why not do wireless?

Save yourself some money and LOTS of frustrating work to fish all that CAT6.

I'm connected to my network wirelessly. Also my printer. I stream movies and TV from my slingbox wirelessly all day long.
Wireless is too slow for hd streaming in 6 rooms. Right now it's fine, but I plan on being able to use an htpc in the living room, family room, and all 3 bedrooms, and anything in the future.
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Old 06-29-2011, 08:07 PM   #6
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Running Network Cable in preexisting home


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Originally Posted by Nate8727 View Post
I plan on putting single gang boxes in the walls where the cables will be, but I'm having trouble figuring out where to run the cable.

Since the basement is finished, it's going to be a real pain to run the cable, in fact I'm not really sure even what to do. I would have to tear out part of the wall near the ceiling in the basement with a wall that lines up with an upstairs wall so I can drill a hole all the way through.

I've thought of the cold air return, but I don't see where it comes out at in the basement.

My network layout is basically 2 ports in each bedroom with the exception of the family room (6), connected to a router & switch. These will meet in the closet of the office which is the upstairs bedroom. The utility room with the open ceiling is below this room.
In the office, you'll need to open up a little section of a wall and drill a pilot hole down so you can locate where it comes out in the utility room. Once you find that, widen the hole to whatever size you need to run your cables. You can then pop the baseboards in the office and run the cables at the bottom of the wall to minimize the amount of plaster you'll have to repair.

Or did you mean the utility room is below the closet of the office?
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Old 06-29-2011, 08:10 PM   #7
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Running Network Cable in preexisting home


:shrug: I guess I've never tried streaming more than one thing in HD. But, there is only one TV in my house and three computers running off the network connection.

If it was my house (and I've got plaster, too), I would tackle this project as I did other things in the house.

Fishing line is a PITA (and a time sucker - I've had to spend tons of time trying to find workable paths - I've only got two places in the house where I can run wire up to my 2nd or 3rd floor), I would only choose to do it, as I had other things open.

BTW - my father spent countless hours when he re-wired his house to run CAT5 everywhere. 5 years later it goes unused.
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Old 06-29-2011, 08:16 PM   #8
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Running Network Cable in preexisting home


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Originally Posted by oatlord View Post
In the office, you'll need to open up a little section of a wall and drill a pilot hole down so you can locate where it comes out in the utility room. Once you find that, widen the hole to whatever size you need to run your cables. You can then pop the baseboards in the office and run the cables at the bottom of the wall to minimize the amount of plaster you'll have to repair.

Or did you mean the utility room is below the closet of the office?
I think it's below the closet, I measured the distance from the exterior wall to the far wall in each room and they're similar.
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Old 06-29-2011, 08:20 PM   #9
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Running Network Cable in preexisting home


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BTW - my father spent countless hours when he re-wired his house to run CAT5 everywhere. 5 years later it goes unused.
Every time my wife wanted to move the computer, I spent hours running cat5 cable. Now that we are wireless, she can move the computers anywhere she wants.

I have not tried HD streaming, but my wireless router is rated for up to 150 Mbs transfer rate and my DSL connection is only 6 Mbs.

David
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Old 06-29-2011, 08:35 PM   #10
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Running Network Cable in preexisting home


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Originally Posted by Nate8727 View Post
I think it's below the closet, I measured the distance from the exterior wall to the far wall in each room and they're similar.
I think I might be confused, so I'll start over. When I ran my cables, I came up from my crawl space for my first floor and down from my attic for the second floor. My router is in my garage. I ran up from there through my bonus room wall and into the attic to get cables up there and then back down into the bedrooms.

It's definitely a pain working in the attic. You want to look for the stud walls in the attic to find where to run down. Get an approximate idea where you think the walls will be, pull the insulation aside, and look for a 2x4. The drywall will butt up against it (or should). Once you find the top plate for the wall you want, drill a hole and feed your cables down....look for the romex electrical lines for the outlets on that wall as a clue that you're in the right location.

I would buy a fish tape (http://www.amazon.com/Klein-Tools-56.../dp/B0026TA6RK) if you don't have one and also when you run your cables down to their locations, include a pull string (http://www.industrialnetworking.com/...String-430-500) in each run so that if you ever need to add more later, all you have to do is tie it to that cord and pull from the other end.

You'll probably have to cut some holes in your walls, which always sucks.

Does any of that help? Basically, go down from the attic if you can or up from below if you can't.
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Old 06-29-2011, 08:42 PM   #11
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Running Network Cable in preexisting home


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Originally Posted by Jessidog View Post
Every time my wife wanted to move the computer, I spent hours running cat5 cable. Now that we are wireless, she can move the computers anywhere she wants.

I have not tried HD streaming, but my wireless router is rated for up to 150 Mbs transfer rate and my DSL connection is only 6 Mbs.

David
I have DSL also, and it's terrible. Surfing the internet and downloading at the same time with DSL is pretty much a no-go. I'll be switching to comcast business soon which is better than T1.
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Old 06-29-2011, 08:48 PM   #12
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Running Network Cable in preexisting home


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Originally Posted by Jessidog View Post
Every time my wife wanted to move the computer, I spent hours running cat5 cable. Now that we are wireless, she can move the computers anywhere she wants.

I have not tried HD streaming, but my wireless router is rated for up to 150 Mbs transfer rate and my DSL connection is only 6 Mbs.

David
Advertised bandwidth on wireless routers is theoretical, and rarely actual.

I ran cat5 in my house as part of installing my IP cameras and smarthome systems (and also for street cred because I am a sysadmin,) and I can definitely see a need for it with multiple htpc's. But if they're all pulling content from the WAN simultaneously then you'll just be hitting another bottleneck.

I guess my point is wireless just can't hack it when it comes to running multiple very high-bitrate video streams... But usually it's fine for most people

Last edited by RedHelix; 06-29-2011 at 08:52 PM.
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Old 06-30-2011, 05:19 AM   #13
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Running Network Cable in preexisting home


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Advertised bandwidth on wireless routers is theoretical, and rarely actual.

I ran cat5 in my house as part of installing my IP cameras and smarthome systems (and also for street cred because I am a sysadmin,) and I can definitely see a need for it with multiple htpc's. But if they're all pulling content from the WAN simultaneously then you'll just be hitting another bottleneck.

I guess my point is wireless just can't hack it when it comes to running multiple very high-bitrate video streams... But usually it's fine for most people
I agree, run the cable you will be happier in the end. Maybe some pics or a layout can help. I run a lot of wire at work, might be able to help you.
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Old 06-30-2011, 11:56 AM   #14
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Running Network Cable in preexisting home


I have stayed with my DSL connection through AT&T because it has been amazingly reliable. I cannot remember the last time the system was down. As I said, I have not tried HD streaming and I do not have other high bandwidth needs. While the router speeds are theoretical, it is clearly well beyond the maximum speed of my DSL. When I first got the DSL over 10 years ago, I did install a CAT5 line from the router to the phone junction box outside to avoid running through the old phone wiring in the house.

At some point in the future, I will likely upgrade and I may find that wireless may not be good enough.

David
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Old 06-30-2011, 12:06 PM   #15
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Running Network Cable in preexisting home


I have no problem streaming HD on wifi through a Roku box. As for six tvs, what is this a frat house? With the basement finished, you are never going to properly pull Cat-6 or Cat-5, without having to use Panduit to hide the cables. I have Cat-5e in my house, the fastest I plan on going is 100mb, because we use U-Verse for Tv. Cat-6 is overkill for a home network.

If you really want to do this, you will need a patch panel, or two, depending on the number of runs. 24 port 1u patch panels can be had for cheap on ebay if you look. Also, will need a rack to mount in, and shelves for the modem, switch, router. Figure out for each room, at least four runs, (if using laptops, keep those on Wifi), with the living room you can place a 1gig switch on a single run to feed multiple devices. You also need to figure out a central point for this equipment, and where the placement of the Wifi A/P.

I have spent probably $500 on my network, so if you are looking at doing this, you are probably looking at over $1200, not including your labor time to do. Keep in mind, that today's home & future home may never reach 10gig speeds, which Cat-6 is rated for, Cat-5e is rated for 1gig and will work fine.


Last edited by gregzoll; 06-30-2011 at 12:13 PM.
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