Established Sharer

Ethernet Advice Needed

I am in the planning process of wiring my house with ethernet and need some advice from some of the very knowledgeable people here.

 

1) Is it really worth the extra cost for cat6 vs. cat5e? I do not plan on selling my house anytime soon and it is a normal sized, two story house (1700 sqft). Is there is a real world advantage to cat6 or is it just lab/perfect conditions/ultra high volumes type of differences?

2) Is there any real world advantage to using solid copper vs. copper clad aluminum cable? Again, if CCA does the job and it's another lab/perfect world situation is the extra cost for 100% copper really worth it?

3) Any advice for easy ways of running cables in exterior walls where there is no real attic space (slab foundation also so no basement/crawl space either)? What I have come up with is either punching holes in the wall, drilling through the studs, then patching the walls (not ideal) or running a channel along the wall right above the trim (hopefully the better half doesn't object).

 

Thanks!

6 REPLIES
Spectrum Employee

Re: Ethernet Advice Needed

[ Edited ]

1.  Personal use? I use flat Cat7 STP, when I can, for internet purposes.  I buy it in bulk, and although Cat7 STP costs more than Cat5e, it "futureproofs" (although I hate that term because in reality there's no such thing) for many more years in case 10 Gbps become more popular in time (which it likely will, for it's going to take the better part of decade just to phase out 100 Mbps for 1 Gbps; because 1 Gbps internet isn't really affordable yet).  I like flat wires because they are easier to fish, easier to go around bends, and easier to conceal (or even stack onto one another when using zipties)

 

2.   Not really, honestly, 100% copper versus copper-clad has very little difference.  There is a difference, but it's usually negligible.   If you want to make it a bit more reliable, particularly for a longer-distance run of wire, get STP (shielded twisted pair) ethernet for the added protection again EMI sources (whether that be motors, flourscent lamp ballasts, or even just your high-powered cellular LTE signal bursts).  I like to keep it clean & reliable, but then again I'm a pretty particular, high-precision kind of person.  You certainly don't have to use STP, I just like to. Smiley Embarassed

3. Use a conduit, PVC plastic piping.  It's easy to pull wires though and not as unsightly (looks organized).  Paint the conduit if you want too, to make it blend in better. Plus then if you ever have to replace a wire, it's much easier to pull through.  It seriously irks me how many electrician "experts" out there think it's a good idea to staple-gun coax and ethernet wires to the studs inside walls before drywall is put up... sometimes putting the staple right through the wire or crushing the wire, damaging it for good.  And keep in mind, if it can be kept inside out of exposure to the elements (sun UV radiation, rain water, and ice expansion damage), the longer it will last.

 

 

 

My postings on this site are my own, off-the-clock, and don’t necessarily represent TWC’s/Charter's strategies or opinions.
Expert

Re: Ethernet Advice Needed

CCA is junk, don't use it. It also should require special connectors which people don't use

 

Established Sharer

Re: Ethernet Advice Needed

So after a lot of research I've decided on cat6 solid core copper for most runs. Some of the house is accessible via the attic or internal spaces like under the stairs or through closets. Where I have to I'll run channels along the top of the trim for those areas not accessible from the attic. Cat 7 seems like overkill for my purposes...unless maybe if I decide to run speaker wire for surround speakers in the same channel? Is that a bad idea or would the shielding of the ethernet wire be good enough? 

Established Sharer

Re: Ethernet Advice Needed

If you are not going to use CAT-7 with its individually shielded pairs and special connectors, there's no real justification for CAT-6 either.  I would just run traditional CAT-5e UTP and keep it 6 inches away from any AC power wiring as well as unshielded speaker cables.   The only spacing variance would be if you use grounded metallic wall boxes instead of plastic for mounting the termination jacks.  Do NOT connect CAT-5 shield to the metal box!

Established Sharer

Re: Ethernet Advice Needed

I've talked myself out of putting speaker wires in the same channel just to avoid any interference issues. 

 

So...cat5e vs. cat6. I think the only real difference is the 100 mhz vs. 250 mhz frequencies so are you saying this really has no real world consumer level impact and the difference only being realized in high quantity data transfer situations?

Established Sharer

Re: Ethernet Advice Needed


reds91185 wrote:

I've talked myself out of putting speaker wires in the same channel just to avoid any interference issues. 

 

So...cat5e vs. cat6. I think the only real difference is the 100 mhz vs. 250 mhz frequencies so are you saying this really has no real world consumer level impact and the difference only being realized in high quantity data transfer situations?


That is correct.  Don't confuse working frequency in MHz with data speed in Mbps, they are NOT equivalent.  Wikipedia states that CAT-5e is approved for data speeds up to 1 Gigabit.  Quoting specifically:

 

"This type of cable is used in structured cabling for computer networks such as Ethernet over twisted pair. The cable standard provides performance of up to 100 MHz and is suitable for 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX (Fast Ethernet), and 1000BASE-T (Gigabit Ethernet)."

 

LAN cards, routers, and LAN switch ethernet ports are 10 Mb, 100 Mb, or 1 Gigabit.  You have to use Gigabit cards and cable for anything above 100 Mb.  A 1000 BaseT [1 Gigabit] connection uses all 8 wires in the cable; 100 BaseTX or less uses only two of the pairs.  So if a Gigabit wired home is your goal, you can run CAT-5e.