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Wiring Home Network

Hey all! I just got fiber gigabit internet installed in my new house and I'm working on plans to wire the entire house. 

Right now, the basement is unfinished, so I have easy access to the walls for wiring, and the entire process should be relatively simple. 

 

I do have a few requests for recommendations and advice.

 

In case it matters, here are my use cases. Me and my wife often work from home, taking video calls simultaneously. We also are avid gamers, and often are downloading or streaming games at the same time.

I also plan on having a home entertainment server soon. Often we have 2 online games and 2 HD videos streaming at the same time.  

 

Here are my questions. 

 

1st, I will be dry walling the basement soon, and I want to future proof for 10 gigabit speeds (which probably wont be available in my area for a few more years). What cabling would you use? I probably need 500-1000 ft. Each run should be no more than 50 feet.  

 

2nd, I will be wiring from the modem in the basement to two other locations in the basement (where our server, entertainment center, and gaming PCs will be post remodel), and two rooms upstairs (where our gaming PCs will be pre-remodel, and our bedroom). Each of these locations will need between 2 and 4 separate wired connections. As I see it, I have a few options. 1. Running 2-4 cables to each location and wiring a 1 to 1 plate. 2. Running 2 to each room and splitting as needed. 3. Running 1 to each room and splitting to a 2 or 4 output plate. This informs the next question, as if I run 4 cables to each room, that means I have as many as 16 lines. 

 

3rd,  I need a switch to manage all these wires. Depending on the answer to question 2, I could have as many as 16 lines I need to manage. While I want my wiring to support 10 gig, my switch does not need to and I don't mind upgrading in a few years. I'm mainly looking at a cost effective option. Realistically, no more than 3 wires will be in use at any given time, so my gut says I don't need a managed switch.

 

Bonus question! I have a good router for wifi in the basement, but I really want to make sure that the upstairs has great wifi too, as I often take work video calls on my deck and in my living room. What is the easiest and most cost effective way to boost wifi upstairs? As most of my heavy use is over wired connection, this would at most need to support a couple video streams simultaneously.  

 

 

Thanks everyone! I should mention, I'm pretty tech-literate on the PC hardware side, but networking is a mystery to me.

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8 minutes ago, keltys said:

-SNIP-

For 10 gigabit you would need to go with CAT6 or ideally CAT6 A which can be beneficial with the extra shielding especially if you are running through walls or near power lines. CAT 6 should suffice for your needs as you said the runs are mostly short and it support 10 gigabit up to around 30M.

 

For most things it won't really require 10 gigabit so I personally would just run CAT6 and even a few lines since a roll of cable is cheap but the cost and effort of pulling line especially if you need to later on punch holes is costly and time consuming. This was you have enough connections without the need to have multiple switches, one for each room if you run out of connections but instead have a centralized switch in the basement with the modem.

 

If you then find later on you need a lot more connections that what was run you can then segregate slower or less critical devices to a single one of those lines and a switch. 

 

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1 hour ago, W-L said:

For 10 gigabit you would need to go with CAT6 or ideally CAT6 A which can be beneficial with the extra shielding especially if you are running through walls or near power lines. CAT 6 should suffice for your needs as you said the runs are mostly short and it support 10 gigabit up to around 30M.

 

For most things it won't really require 10 gigabit so I personally would just run CAT6 and even a few lines since a roll of cable is cheap but the cost and effort of pulling line especially if you need to later on punch holes is costly and time consuming. This was you have enough connections without the need to have multiple switches, one for each room if you run out of connections but instead have a centralized switch in the basement with the modem.

 

If you then find later on you need a lot more connections that what was run you can then segregate slower or less critical devices to a single one of those lines and a switch. 

 

Thanks! Any suggestions on a main switch? Not really sure what to look for.  

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I did this myself recently! So you'll have my "wish I coulda" perspective on the process. Sorry for the lengthy reply but I think you are needing something like this to answer all your questions.

 

Question 1:

W-L Definitely has a good point with the difference between Cat6 and 6A. If you can guarantee you won't be running near other lines like power or cable/telephone then Cat6 will be fine but if you aren't sure or can't avoid those other lines Cat 6A all the way. Considering you'll be running up to 4 lines next to each other to a single destination could be worth the overkill to do 6A. Make sure to buy this in bulk so that it is cheapest possible.

 

Question 2:I ran individual lines from modem to destination. It is possible to get wall plate splitter that takes one line and spits it to two ports but I didn't want a point of failure. It is hard to get that wall plate configured because of all the thick wires and you need a lot of room in your wall, i needed to cut out some insulation to make room. I used keystone jacks and compatible wall plates(pictures in spoilers) and it was tedious to do and cost some money getting an ethernet tester and the tools to terminate yourself. I also was able to order jacks in colored pairs so that it was easy to label but that all depends on if it is worth it to you. You could run your lines yourself and have a local IT store come out and terminate all your ports and test them for you.

Spoiler

1998302703_keystoneethernet.jpg.ed40a259d5cace8d9fd03ffd400b269d.jpg

916492909_keystoneplate.jpg.81d5e2da2914f0b45c74b93a12ec94a0.jpg

Pictures just pulled from google for reference. Definitely search around for best pricing.

 

Question 3:

I've used an unmanaged switch for my use case. My setup consists of one wired pc like what you describe(lots of download and uplaod), one wired home server for smart home activity, media, and data backup, 2 wired nvidia shields (this is important because I have the media server wired to these shields through the unmanaged switch). I have been gaming and had both the shields streaming from local sources and online sources and have had no problems. I think unmanaged would be fine if you didn't want to fiddle with managed. But you may need to do managed depending how important your bonus question is.

 

Bonus:

This is what I wish I would have done. I decided to use a consumer mesh network setup for wifi instead of getting dedicated access points. As much as Mesh wifi is great it still isn't as good a enterprise solutions. I was using the google wifi mesh network setup and I had to keep adding more and more to get good connections farther away from the modem location. Recently I upgraded and got 2 new Asus mesh wifi 6 access points in my home and I still have drop offs in signal when on Video calls when walking between zones. However it did fix my distance between access point problems. I wish I had done this sense I was running the ethernet cables anyway. In the spoiler is a old video from LTT talking about the Ubiquiti access points Linus bought with his own money. He even mentioned in a recent vid on floatplance that he is still using these. I couldn't remember which vid it was though. I would say it is totally worth it.

Spoiler

Make sure to look for ones that support that seamless hand off feature.

Ubiquiti also has switches that do PoE(Power over ethernet) which could have some ease of use and there software is great and kept up to date. It would definitely be a nice ease of use to have your switch and wifi all in one portal to be able to check and manage all in one place. They are pricey but in what I've read and experienced the performance and ease of use is unparalleled.

 

If you need any more details or have anything you want to bounce off me fell free to DM me! Hope this helps.

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5 minutes ago, j1philli said:

I did this myself recently! So you'll have my "wish I coulda" perspective on the process. Sorry for the lengthy reply but I think you are needing something like this to answer all your questions.

 

Question 1:

W-L Definitely has a good point with the difference between Cat6 and 6A. If you can guarantee you won't be running near other lines like power or cable/telephone then Cat6 will be fine but if you aren't sure or can't avoid those other lines Cat 6A all the way. Considering you'll be running up to 4 lines next to each other to a single destination could be worth the overkill to do 6A. Make sure to buy this in bulk so that it is cheapest possible.

 

Question 2:I ran individual lines from modem to destination. It is possible to get wall plate splitter that takes one line and spits it to two ports but I didn't want a point of failure. It is hard to get that wall plate configured because of all the thick wires and you need a lot of room in your wall, i needed to cut out some insulation to make room. I used keystone jacks and compatible wall plates(pictures in spoilers) and it was tedious to do and cost some money getting an ethernet tester and the tools to terminate yourself. I also was able to order jacks in colored pairs so that it was easy to label but that all depends on if it is worth it to you. You could run your lines yourself and have a local IT store come out and terminate all your ports and test them for you.

  Reveal hidden contents

1998302703_keystoneethernet.jpg.ed40a259d5cace8d9fd03ffd400b269d.jpg

916492909_keystoneplate.jpg.81d5e2da2914f0b45c74b93a12ec94a0.jpg

Pictures just pulled from google for reference. Definitely search around for best pricing.

 

Question 3:

I've used an unmanaged switch for my use case. My setup consists of one wired pc like what you describe(lots of download and uplaod), one wired home server for smart home activity, media, and data backup, 2 wired nvidia shields (this is important because I have the media server wired to these shields through the unmanaged switch). I have been gaming and had both the shields streaming from local sources and online sources and have had no problems. I think unmanaged would be fine if you didn't want to fiddle with managed. But you may need to do managed depending how important your bonus question is.

 

Bonus:

This is what I wish I would have done. I decided to use a consumer mesh network setup for wifi instead of getting dedicated access points. As much as Mesh wifi is great it still isn't as good a enterprise solutions. I was using the google wifi mesh network setup and I had to keep adding more and more to get good connections farther away from the modem location. Recently I upgraded and got 2 new Asus mesh wifi 6 access points in my home and I still have drop offs in signal when on Video calls when walking between zones. However it did fix my distance between access point problems. I wish I had done this sense I was running the ethernet cables anyway. In the spoiler is a old video from LTT talking about the Ubiquiti access points Linus bought with his own money. He even mentioned in a recent vid on floatplance that he is still using these. I couldn't remember which vid it was though. I would say it is totally worth it.

  Reveal hidden contents

Make sure to look for ones that support that seamless hand off feature.

Ubiquiti also has switches that do PoE(Power over ethernet) which could have some ease of use and there software is great and kept up to date. It would definitely be a nice ease of use to have your switch and wifi all in one portal to be able to check and manage all in one place. They are pricey but in what I've read and experienced the performance and ease of use is unparalleled.

 

If you need any more details or have anything you want to bounce off me fell free to DM me! Hope this helps.

Awesome answer! Thank you for the detail!

 

 

 

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I did CAT 6A from my router to:

 

1. My main desktop rig's location

2. The location of my NAS (2x to it)

3. The media PC that plays back on my projector

4. A spot I might someday use as my office (meaning my main desktop would now be there)

 

My logic was that a 4K Bluray with 7.1 surround sound streams at 100 mbps, the best I've ever gotten off Steam is ~400 mbps (I have a 2 gig fiber drop for the house and live 25 miles from the Steam server for my region) so saturating a 1 gig connection to one device takes some serious effort.  Really the only things that saturate my network are direct file copies and when I'm using the feature of letting one Windows box share its updates with others on the LAN (and that happens at 4 am, so meh).

 

My theory is that someday when I'm rocking an 8K projector or something I might be happy I have 10 gig between my NAS and media PC, but honestly I question if even that would saturate 1 gig.  So I'm fine with sticking lots of Cat6 in the walls, and like W-L says, do lots of drops.  It's more about support a bunch of devices each wanting say 200 mbps than one device wanting 10 gig.  

 

I'd also add on, think about where you want wifi spots and home automation. 

 

With regard to wifi, I wired up all my closets on the grounds I might someday hide a wifi access point in there or a mITX build or something.  That way all my access points do wired backhaul for sending data back to the router.  I operate on the assumption someday we might have a faster wifi that has an even shorter range, so I hit all the bedroom closets, the garage, the coat closet on the first floor, etc.  I came in just about the top shelf in each situation so in theory I can just toss the wifi device up there and feed it via power over ethernet and I don't need to have it actually in my bedroom with its lights blinking away all night.  I also have a drop up in my attic so that I can snake a cable out of a roof vent and I have a pair of access points on my roof, one for the front yard and one for the backayard.  It's much easier to have coverage in your yard when you don't need to punch through an exterior wall to get the signal there.  I thought about doing a drop on my back deck, but I was concerned over the ease of physical access to it.  So I figured Wifi 6 is good enough.  

 

With regard to home automation, doing power over ethernet vs having the device on wifi and a battery you need to change/recharge is much nicer.  

 

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I did a write up of my own CAT6a/Ubiquiti networking setup here

 

I would definitely recommend CAT6a for futureproofing, at least for your longer runs (better shielding), and also agree that if you're going to run it all over the house, than dropping 2 or more cables to areas like living rooms (for media setups) and even more for places like the office will be worth your while in the future. Splitting your connections may mean splitting your bandwidth at some point, so generally it's recommended to run as many cables as you want plugs for for a particular location - running 4 cables is just as much work as running 2. 

 

Switches are pretty modular, so you can go cheap now and fancy later - I'm a full Unifi guy so I'll always go managed, and PoE switches mean that if you're going to use access points for WiFi (HIGHLY recommended rather than mesh) you're only running one cable for both power and networking. 

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