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Pre-wiring house with Cat6(or Cat7?) - What type of cables to use


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While building my house, even though most home automation will obviously be wireless, I know it's a good idea to wire the house while the walls are open.  I planned on doing Cat6 throughout the house to each room and leading back to my rack closet.  However, there are a lot of different types of network cables so I wanted to find out which is best to use.  In addition, it seems Cat7 is out now?  Should I be using that to prepare for future?


When you look at monoprice, there are so many different Cat6 cables in 1000ft:



You can see for example:

-  Bulk Cat6 23AWG Solid UTP Riser-Rated (CMR) Ethernet Network Cable, 1000ft Black

-  1000FT Cat 6 Bulk Bare Copper Ethernet Network Cable UTP, Solid, Plenum Jacket (CMP), 550MHz, 23AWG - Blue - GENERIC

-  1000FT Cat 6 Bulk Bare Copper Ethernet Network Cable STP, Solid, In-Wall Rated (CM), 550MHz, 23AWG - Gray - GENERIC


I'm thinking the In-Wall rated one would be the best?  I don't mind spending more (the prices between these varies quite a bit) to make sure I get the best cables for the job, but don't really want to mess up getting something that may not be suitable for the job.  Any suggestions?


Also should I be considering Cat7 now to prepare for the future?

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The only differences in the CAT6 cable you listed from Monoprice is the jacket material.  There is plenum, riser and in-wall rated jacket material.   You need to ask yourself a few things.

  1. Are there any building codes in your area that would apply?
  2. Do you have a multiple story home?  Riser rated cable is supposed to be used when going between floors
  3. Does any of your cable need to be routed through a plenum (air handling space).  In a home you usually can bypass heating/cooling ducts but cold air returns often are created using the space between floor joists.

If you used plenum cable you would be covered for all the scenarios mentioned above but it probably is also the most expensive too.


Regarding CAT6 vs CAT7.  I looked around and there is not much out there yet for CAT7 other than it being mentioned for Datacenters, etc.  I realize your trying to plan for the future but not sure if CAT7 is the way to go at this time.


You might be better off running conduit to strategic locations in the house that are most likely to need to be updated at a later time so you can easily fish new wire when needed.


Not to steer you to a different site (affiliated with this one though) but the forums at Homeservershow has a lot more people that are active and knowledgeable on home networking.  http://homeservershow.com/forums/

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Good point by Cskenney on code and using the proper jacket.

Any good Cat 6 cable will support 1Gb Ethernet. If you are looking at support 10Gb Ethernet over copper RJ45 most switch vendors seem to be in the Cat 6A camp.

There are a few vendors that offer multiple cables per jacket, quad Ethernet or two RG6 and two Ethernet.

I would include a nylon string to each room in case you need to pull more in the future.

I would do at least one Ethernet and one RG6 to each room. More to family/living rooms. I would do at least one Cat6a to my main media room.

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What has been said here is spot on.


I would do a Cat 6 plenum rated cable, monoprice really does have quality cable for the price. I used it to wire my home.


The pull string and conduit will make life easier in the future when you need to replace or add new cable.


In addition to the one-per-room minimum I would also think about where you may want to put an Access Point, IP Camera,  or IP Phone in the future and pre-wire those locations with Cat6 too.  If you are a music buff you can pre-run speaker wire as well.


I've seen Combo-bulk wiring used a lot with home audio/video in the past as it's a lot easier to run one cable and split it into different locations at the end of your run.


One last thought, if you plan on running a hidden home theater (TV on the wall, receiver and media boxes in a closet or located somewhere else) it's easier to run two cat6 lines to the TV than it is to run a thicker, longer HDMI cable. Cheaper too often.  If you do this I'd run 3 cat6 lines. Two for HDMI and 1 for internet (Smart TV's)  You have an HDMI converter (monoprice: http://fave.co/1PkNRAO)at ether end of the run.


Since this is also the home automation forums, I would take advantage of your open walls and consider if you want to run any special lines to windows for automatic blinds or curtains, if you want to run wired door/window sensors to a central place, if you want to run external camera's, landscape lighting, or smart water valve controls.  All have special needs for power that is hard to do later when drywall is up and pretty.

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Great information guys.  THank you so much.


I do plan to have all of what cscompton mentions.  I will be putting cat6 wiring to various corners of the house outside and inside for security cameras, in-cieling speakers have already been purchased and will have several in each room, including 6 in the main living room area.  All these items will go into a closet including cable boxes, HTPC, etc.


I like the idea of using cat6 instead of HDMI but I wonder if there is limitation to extenders and support for 4k? Since I think in the next few years, this will be standard, I wonder if I should get HDMI 2.0 cables instead?

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4K over cat6/6a/7 seems to be possible still, but it's new to me so unless someone else can verify it I would go hdmi, but still run a couple of cat6 cables for backup/future needs. You can always leave the cat6 runs in the wall or a wall box to pull out of/when you need them if it's a cosmetic concern.



I did find this though, pricey:


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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey Guys,


So I am at the point where I need to purchase and plan everything out.  I'm struggling a bit as far as locations and wanted to get some opinions.  From outside the house, I will have phone line and coax coming into the house.  My electrician suggested getting a low voltage panel and bringing these two into the panel (in my garage) where it's easily accessible (as opposed to behind a rack in a closet).  In this panel, he suggests doing the hub for coax that splits it for each area of the house.


Then in my media closet, I can have my components such as DVR, HTPC, Amp, etc with hdmi cables, network cables, etc feeding to each room in the house.


Is this the common way to set it up?  I'm confused as to having the low voltage panel in the garage with a coax hub though because it seems I would still have to then feed ALL these back to the closet to connect to the cable boxes, etc anyway.  Am I missing something here as far as this design concept goes?


How do you guys recommend structuring this?  I'm a bit lost here.

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With out beating you up for too much information, does your house have a basement? How hot and cold does it get where you live?

I live in Minnesota, cold and dry in the winter and hot and damp in the summer. Around here I like to run everything to a patch panel in the basement. If you don't have basement, the garage may work as long as the weather is not to extreme.

If your Media Closet will be the location for your computer and network equipment, I would terminate everything there, if that is possible. 

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