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By muchagecko (Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:19:31 PM EST) (all tags)
I like wires.




Those of you that follow me on FB saw months of home building pics. I'm glad to be in my new home, but also wish I'd been alerted to some stuff I would have liked to have done while they were building it. I posted a rant about the crappy salesperson on FB, so I won't bore you all with it here.

One of the most frustrating things is that my home isn't networked. I should have realized that everybody is wireless these days and that wiring my home would be something I'd have to ask for.

Now it's up to me to network my home. A friend suggested wiring through the attic - which seems like a good idea, but figuring out where to drill has been problematic. If I drill through what looks like the beam above the wall, will I be able to drop a wire through to the first floor? Would running my lines outside (my dad's suggestion) be a better alternative?

Anybody have any experience with DIY networking? Any resource suggestions?
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home networking | 27 comments (27 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
On a two story by jimgon (4.00 / 2) #1 Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:28:03 PM EST
there's no direct access through wall space from attic to the first floor or basement.  There are wood blocks in the way to prevent a fire from racing from basement to attic.  There are going to be places where the electrician will have drilled through to run wires from the basement to the attack and you may be able to run a wife up through there.  Usually they drill a slightly larger hole than they need.  So bottom floor through the basement and then run a line up to the attic and then do the top floor from the attic.  You can run the wires outsid the building, that's how the cable companies do it to save on labor.  It just doesn't look nice.




---------------
Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."


Since when? by lm (4.00 / 2) #6 Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 07:38:58 PM EST
Code at some point may have specified that but no house that I've actually lived in has had that. Going from floor to floor through the wall has always been pretty easy for me.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]

It's not code but it works. by Gedvondur (4.00 / 1) #2 Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:31:02 PM EST
Drop the wires down or next to your heating and cooling plenum to get from basement to second floor.  It's not code, but then again we are talking about Cat 5 here, not really gonna cause a fire.




"So I will be hitting the snatch hard, I think, tonight." - gzt


Not so sure (about code) by wumpus (4.00 / 1) #15 Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:12:11 PM EST
My experience is that cat5 is always plenum rated (made buying the stuff for mil-spec easy). The reason is that cat5 is universally run through raised ceilings that are also considered "plenum".

Wumpus

[ Parent ]

Huh... by prestidigitizer (4.00 / 1) #20 Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 02:05:15 PM EST
That hasn't been my experience, at least in small business. I've got two different manufacturer's 1000 ft. spools by my desk that I got from local contractor supply places, and they are riser-rated and carry warnings not to use in plenum spaces. Last time I looked, plenum-rated cable was definitely at a whole different price point than riser-rated.

[ Parent ]

Unless I'm mistaken... by prestidigitizer (4.00 / 1) #19 Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 01:56:57 PM EST
I think it's not so much about not causing a fire as it is about resisting fire and/or burning cleaner if it does catch fire. In the event of a fire (regardless of cause), smoke getting into the air handling space is bad enough without adding actual flames and toxic fumes from burning cable jackets.

[ Parent ]

Of course... by prestidigitizer (4.00 / 1) #21 Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 02:16:01 PM EST
I'm only talking about cabling actually inside the air handling space - running alongside does not necessarily carry the same risk.

[ Parent ]

Have you considered by dmg (4.00 / 1) #3 Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:31:17 PM EST
Powerline ethernet? Devolo make some pretty good gear for that.
Or do you have some unusual requirements?
--
dmg - HuSi's most dimwitted overprivileged user.


I didn't even know about it. by muchagecko (2.00 / 0) #8 Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 09:57:42 PM EST
The review I just read said it would be fine for gaming, web browsing, etc.

It would definitely make networking easier.

Thanks.


A purpose gives you a reason to wake up every morning.
So a purpose is like a box of powdered donut holes?
Exactly
My Name is Earl

[ Parent ]

Additionally by dmg (2.00 / 0) #10 Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:13:28 AM EST
You can get power outlet plates with power line Ethernet built in if you want it to look hard wired.

Solwise have a UK style socket, I'd imagine there must be an equivalent US spec version.
--
dmg - HuSi's most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]

£78 per socket??? by anonimouse (4.00 / 2) #14 Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:43:47 AM EST
...that's like a bazillion dollars in US money 

Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL
[ Parent ]

Be aware... by prestidigitizer (4.00 / 2) #18 Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 01:34:38 PM EST
Make sure you change the device encryption passwords to something non-default, as I have personally seen network traffic from home powerline devices pass between buildings, passing through two power meters.

Also, it may be unlikely depending upon your scenario, but there are concerns about radio interference from these devices on shortwave and other frequency bands. If you or someone in your immediate vicinity is a shortwave listener or amateur radio operator, they may experience harmful interference which, if identified as coming from your premises, would be your responsibility to resolve (presumably by putting in the data cabling you were trying to avoid.)


[ Parent ]

Through the garage should work by georgeha (4.00 / 2) #4 Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 07:01:32 PM EST
If you don't want to run it outside.





holy smoke. by muchagecko (2.00 / 0) #11 Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:36:49 AM EST
I can connect at least 3 rooms through the garage. There's already a ton of wires running through it - what's a few more?

Thanks for suggesting this - super easy.


A purpose gives you a reason to wake up every morning.
So a purpose is like a box of powdered donut holes?
Exactly
My Name is Earl

[ Parent ]

wiring a finished space is extremely annoying by clover kicker (4.00 / 1) #5 Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 07:16:29 PM EST
Is the basement finished? Is the attic finished? What kind of insulation in the attic?

Running wires outside will look terrible.

If it looks like a beam above the wall it might indeed be a load-bearing beam that will be no fun to drill through and probably shouldn't be messed with.

If you haven't done this before you're going to have a helluva time making a neat job of it.

I've done a lot of ethernet wiring. I wired my basement office, but when I bought a media player box for the TV and it's wireless connection turned out to be quick enough to play movies, I decided not to bother running a wire to it and stuck with wireless.




No basement. Crappy loose insulation by muchagecko (2.00 / 0) #23 Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:54:16 AM EST
in the attic. 18" of the stuff. Although I'll still consider wiring through it if I have to.

I'm going to start with georgeha's suggestion of wiring through my garage first. I can get a few rooms connected that way. It won't be neat, but it'll be connected.


A purpose gives you a reason to wake up every morning.
So a purpose is like a box of powdered donut holes?
Exactly
My Name is Earl

[ Parent ]

It depends on quite a few things by lm (4.00 / 2) #7 Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 08:01:48 PM EST
The first question is the extent to which you want the wiring done. While living in Ohio, it was pretty easy to run a cat-5 and coax from one spot on the second floor to one spot on the first floor so that both floors could share cable and Internet. But if you want connections in more than one room, that may or may not be easy.

The second question is the design of your specific home. I've lived in houses where running cable through the wall up through multiple floors into the attic was easy. But those were all older homes built back in the 1930s, 1920s, or earlier. More modern homes may have the sorts of things that jimgon brings up that prevent running a wire straight up through the wall.

In other words, this may be a piece of cake and it may be a nightmare. It all depends on what you want to do and what it looks like in the walls of the house you're doing this to.

One clever solution I've seen is to run 4" conduit through out the house with easy access junctions at strategic places. The husband of an aunt of mine did this so that he could wire or rewire at ease in the future. But whether that is feasible or not depends on a large number of factors.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic


conduit would be nice. by muchagecko (2.00 / 0) #24 Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:58:51 AM EST
I've never worked with it before. Tips?


A purpose gives you a reason to wake up every morning.
So a purpose is like a box of powdered donut holes?
Exactly
My Name is Earl

[ Parent ]

conduit is something you run by clover kicker (4.00 / 1) #26 Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 08:16:55 AM EST
before the gyprock goes on, to make rewiring easier.

It's essentially plastic or metal pipes run down the wall to empty electrical boxes. Hopefully with a pre-ran pull cable inside. If someone was fancy they might even run to central junction boxes.

Of course that costs money so home builders would never do it unless specifically negotiated.


[ Parent ]

Investigate the space, plan, plan again, then wire by jaxom green (4.00 / 3) #9 Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:06:29 PM EST
First decide where your router will be going.  We'll assume you have a cable/phone drop there already for the modem.  From that space you need to figure out how to get wires to each room you need a drop.  Likely the easiest method is to pull wire from below and above the living spaces.  I wired every room in my house 30 years post construction.  The second floor rooms have jacks that run into the attic then over to a space where two closets stack on top of each other (1st and 2nd floor).  Wires run from each 2nd floor room, into the attic, over to this closet, down into a corner of the closet, through the interior space of the closet, through the floor into the 1st floor closet and down into the basement.  In the basement each drop runs to the wiring closet in the basement where the modem and router is.  Drops on the first floor run from the wiring closet along the basement ceiling to just underneath each wall where I want the jack and then up into the wall space.

Each place where I have a jack was cut into the drywall I used a standard low voltage box designed to be installed after drywall is up.  It has little ears that fold out so it can be slid into a precise hole in the drywall then tightened up to it.  A fishtape (semi rigid wire designed for pulling cable through closed in spaces) was used to run wire from the basement/attic to each hole in the drywall.  You will need a drill with a bit long enough to go through the wall's floor/top plate, the stringer depth plus a few inches to spare.  They make flexible bits for just this purpose but you can usually get away with a spade bit and extension if you have good access.

Depending on your needs you may be able to make use of an existing wire run to pull your cat5.  If you only want to pull one cable from the basement to the attic you might be able to run the fish tape inside the plumping wall alongside the stack pipe.  There might be a cable tv drop you can run the fish tape along, or possibly the wire for your thermostat to furnace.  I ran too many cables to do that so I used the stacked closets and cut a 1" diameter hole in the floor and ceiling of each in order to run multiple cat5, rg6 and cat3 cables from basement to attic.  Then I used fire rated spray foam to close the holes back up.

The problem around doing it right is trying to run wire from floor to floor through a wall, in order to properly hide it you need to open up drywall on the first floor near the ceiling and on the 2nd floor near the floor so you can drill between the floor (through a top plate, ceiling, stringer bay, floor, and floor plate which can add up to 18" or so).  Then you can do the same to the basement and attic and have totally hidden wire runs.  It's much easier to make use of the corner of two stacked closets.





Cripes - closets. by muchagecko (2.00 / 0) #12 Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:45:33 AM EST
I don't have stacked closets - but a bit of planning and mapping - I think I can connect the last few rooms with the closets.

I actually have video of the walls before the drywall went up - I bet I could easily find the holes they drilled - although I think most of those lead into my kitchen. I'll have to check the video.

You really know what you're doing - you aren't anywhere near Washington, are you?



A purpose gives you a reason to wake up every morning.
So a purpose is like a box of powdered donut holes?
Exactly
My Name is Earl

[ Parent ]

sorry, greater Boston area by jaxom green (4.00 / 1) #22 Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:06:22 PM EST
Eh, I've just done it a couple times.  First back in '97 with 10base2 ethernet in a rented house with two other engineers through and beside heating ducts with non plenum cable, then in a couple other rented places with modern cat5 and finally my own and my parents houses.

Others mentioned running a pull string along with the cable - very good idea.  You will decide you need another cable run at some point and leaving a pull string in the wall is awesome.  You mentioned the garage - that's a great place to run from the basement to the attic if possible.  You should check that video before you get too far in planning - see if there is fireblocking in each of the wall stud bays.  Some places require it, some don't.  If it's there you'll have problems and might end up putting your low voltage wall plates above/below the fire blocking on the 2nd/1st floor respectively if you run cable from the attic and basement.



[ Parent ]

Conduit by anonimouse (4.00 / 2) #13 Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:31:44 AM EST
If you do cabling, plan for its replacement, perhaps by creating conduits so you can take the old wiring out and put new wiring in.

Also I found it a wise decision to have 4 port Ethernet sockets instead of just a single one per room; now that everything seems to want to hook up to the Net, including satellite TV boxes and TVs themselves, this was a good idea. I have a Gigabit Ethernet switch in the attic, also connected to a wireless router for mobile phones and those devices which don't have network ports



Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL


Multiple drops... by prestidigitizer (4.00 / 3) #17 Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:58:51 PM EST
I second the opinion on multiple drops. If you can't afford to run multiple drops up front, at least a) run a pull string alongside your initial cable to make pulling subsequent ones easier, and b) get faceplates with multiple cutouts and little blanking inserts for the ones you're not using yet.

[ Parent ]

4 sockets. by muchagecko (2.00 / 0) #25 Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 02:01:19 AM EST
That sounds like a good idea.


A purpose gives you a reason to wake up every morning.
So a purpose is like a box of powdered donut holes?
Exactly
My Name is Earl

[ Parent ]

Just checking... by prestidigitizer (4.00 / 4) #16 Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:24:12 PM EST
do you use your phone jacks? My wife had her (now our) house built 5 years ago, before I was in the picture, and also didn't specify networking. We rely exclusively on our mobiles and don't have phone service to the house, getting our Internet service via the cable TV provider. When the need arose for wired networking, it turns out the builders had used CAT5 for the phone wiring, and all I had to do was change the wall jacks and stick a patch panel in where the phone drops had been tied together and voila - networking in every room. Strictly speaking, they may not have pulled the phone cabling to the same standards as a data installation, but we're not seeing any problems yet.



great idea by clover kicker (2.00 / 0) #27 Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 08:20:09 AM EST
And even if voice is cat5 you could consider using the existing wires as a pull cable to get two cat5 cables into those boxes, and replace the phone jack with a phone/data jack.

Is every room wired for TV cable? You could use the cable as a pull cable and replace the jacks.


[ Parent ]

home networking | 27 comments (27 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback