13 votes

Help with wiring my house for Ethernet

I am wanting to run a few Ethernet cables through my house to reach various rooms and electronics, and to be able to move my router to a more central location. In terms of cutting through walls and where to put the cables, I have figured that out, but I need some advice on what I will need in order to properly run the cables.

I clearly need the cable itself, but I'm not sure what kind to get or what tools to get to install. I don't need anything fancy, just enough to get the job done.

15 comments

  1. drawkcab
    (edited )
    Link
    Here's what I did for my house about a year ago. Please bear with me...there's a bunch of parts to go over. Cable: CAT6A Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) CMR in-wall rated. Edit: I highly recommend...

    Here's what I did for my house about a year ago. Please bear with me...there's a bunch of parts to go over.

    Cable:
    CAT6A Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) CMR in-wall rated.
    Edit: I highly recommend CAT6A versus any of the other standards. For now and the foreseeable future this will meet almost all needs up to 10Gb speeds at 100meters in length per-run. If you really need more than 10Gb speeds...let's have a different discussion and consider fiber optics. On the same point, the cost savings to go lower than CAT6A really isn't worth it considering the time and investment you will make to get this all installed. There are exceptions but we can have discussions if you have other concerns in mind.

    Check pricing at Amazon or monoprice...get whichever is cheaper after shipping. I bought my wire from Amazon via monoprice because it was cheaper at the time with Prime shipping.

    I got two spools of 1000 feet with different colors. The amount you buy is obviously up to the project you're working on.

    There is a relation (standard) to the color of the cable and the intended purpose. If you want to follow this, give this a read. If you aren't that picky, you can be like me and use your own colors to differentiate the runs.

    Pulling wire tips
    When you pull the wire, there are measurements on the actual cable in 2-foot increments. Pull multiple runs at the same time at the same length using those measurement markings. Once you estimate the length, add some additional slack to make sure you have enough when pulling through walls. I write down each measurement on the cables and then use a permanent marker to write a unique identifier on each end of the cable. You can use something as basic as a letter for each group of runs. I usually run 4 cables to each room, so I label A-1, B-1, C-1, D-1 on both ends. Make sure to label both ends...you'll appreciate it later.

    Use electrical table and join all lines of runs together into a group that is going to a single location. Then attach the group to your fishing wire or pull cord also using lots of electrical tape. Document the group of cables to identify the room it goes to so that you have an easier time wiring this up to your central patch panel later.

    Since the wire is on a spool, I used two saw horses and a coat hanger pole from my closet to feed through the spool making it easier to pull the wire.

    When pulling the wire to my second floor, I actually sacrificed an existing cable run to the attic. I then used that to pull the new wire up to my second floor. Every house is different so this may not work for you.

    Wall stuff:
    CAT6a toolless keystones:
    I got a variety of colors, that's up to you how you want to organize your pulls. This way you can segment cables to each room for various tasks identified by the color. Again, that's up to you how you want to organize.

    1-gang low voltage mounting bracket (old construction)

    Blank wall plate inserts:

    F Type RG6 (cable) inserts
    You can often combine new runs of CAT6 with existing RG6 into the same wall plate. Optionally up to you.

    6-hole wall plate for keystones:
    I use 6-hole since I run four cables plus RG6...giving me one extra to fill with a blank tile.

    Patch panel stuff
    Patch cables for your switch:

    CAT6A Rack patch panel:
    Get the patch panel with the number of ports appropriate for your project.

    8U Network wall rack:
    I run all my cables to a central location.

    Rack tray:
    Good for free-mounting devices like cable modem, etc.

    Rack mount screws
    You may likely need additional screws to mount items into the 8U rack. These will work great.

    Optional tools
    Steel pull line:

    Wire Noodler:

    DryWall saw:

    Edit:
    Wiring pinout info
    I should have also pointed out that when wiring up the toolless keystones, you will need to pick a wiring pinout for both ends of the cable. There are two standards for this, many often pick T568B as the wiring standard. You will see on the CAT6A cable each wire color described in that article. The keystones will even tell you the two standards and have wiring colors listed to make it easier for you.

    15 votes
  2. [4]
    asoftbird
    Link
    I probably can't help you on the specifics, but: Get shielded cables. I've made that mistake once, and the electromagnetic interference from the fridge's power cord shut down my internet at fairly...

    I probably can't help you on the specifics, but: Get shielded cables. I've made that mistake once, and the electromagnetic interference from the fridge's power cord shut down my internet at fairly regular intervals. Avoid putting that cable anywhere near AC power lines.

    6 votes
    1. drawkcab
      Link Parent
      I don't agree on the shielded cables. The extra cost and complexity to ground the shielding properly can be problematic. All components in the chain also need to be shielded for this to work...

      I don't agree on the shielded cables. The extra cost and complexity to ground the shielding properly can be problematic. All components in the chain also need to be shielded for this to work properly.

      Ethernet cable should stay at least 6" from AC lines for noise separation and in places where they need to cross paths should be done at a 90 degree or perpendicular to the power wires. Checking local code would be the best option to make sure the wire is in compliance.

      7 votes
    2. [2]
      Keegan
      Link Parent
      Thanks for the suggestion. That would suck to have to have to redo the work of fishing it through a wall.

      Thanks for the suggestion. That would suck to have to have to redo the work of fishing it through a wall.

      1 vote
  3. tomf
    Link
    If you're cutting cable, you can use CAT6 for landlines (RJ45 / CAT3), even if you're not actually using landlines. Run 2x CAT6 everywhere you're running phone, then when landlines are actually...

    If you're cutting cable, you can use CAT6 for landlines (RJ45 / CAT3), even if you're not actually using landlines. Run 2x CAT6 everywhere you're running phone, then when landlines are actually obsolete, you can just cut it and pop the ethernet connection on the same cable and have two lines per wall.

    Also, if you're running cable yourself, put some screws with eyelets near each outlet and run string through there and back to your main area. Tie off the ends and then down the road you can use this as a pulley to run fresh cable to those spots. Make sure you label them! :)

    3 votes
  4. Loire
    Link
    You'll want to find some fish tape for the running process. Alternatively there are these fiberglass rods that screw into eachother that you may find even easier than the fish tape.

    You'll want to find some fish tape for the running process.

    Alternatively there are these fiberglass rods that screw into eachother that you may find even easier than the fish tape.

    2 votes
  5. Hidegger
    Link
    Depending on location and ease of access as well as the number of hard-wired connections you intend to make will determine what you actually need. For starters, where do you currently have an...

    Depending on location and ease of access as well as the number of hard-wired connections you intend to make will determine what you actually need.
    For starters, where do you currently have an incoming line and a modem? Is this where you want to run everything back to or do you want to run everything back to a centralized wifi router?
    You can do something like; Modem > Hub/Switch/Router > WiFi hot-spot in a central location and then run everything back to an ethernet hub/switch/router.

    Materials:
    Cat6
    1 gang LV mounting brackets
    Either whisker straps https://www.amazon.com/Fosmon-Opening-Passthrough-Voltage-Installation/dp/B072L2J5DF/ref=sr_1_4?keywords=whisker+strap&qid=1585263203&s=electronics&sr=1-4
    or Ethernet straps or the straps with square holes and the ethernet ports that fit into them.
    RJ45 ends
    Handy straps
    Zipties

    Tools:
    Keyhole saw - to cut the sheetrock for the mounting straps.
    Fiberglass fishing sticks - to fish from either the top plate or the bottom plate of the wall to your hole in the sheetrock.
    Wire stripper or knife - to score the jacketing of the cat6 and be able to pull it off (stripped).
    RJ45 crimper - to put RJ45 ends on the wire.
    Punch tool - if you decide to get the ethernet straps instead of the whisker plate almost all of the ports would use a punch tool. You could probably get by without the tool and use your fingers to wedge the wire in and a cutter to trim the excess wire away.
    7/8" drill bit - if you go smaller you only add to your struggles of fishing through the wall, yes it's possible, but why struggle with a smaller hole.
    Side cutter - this will be useful for working on the RJ45 ends, trimming the extra stuff inside the cat6 cable and trimming the zipties.

    I recommend doing the whisker plates and just putting excess wire coiled up in your wall with an RJ45 end on it. Less stuff to buy, less splices from router to device and the wire can extend out or be pushed back into the wall as needed. Saves from needing the punch tool as well.

    With the RJ45 ends there are 2 types, one that allows the wires to be pushed out the other end and lets the crimper trim the excess off, and the ones that don't allow for this. Get the ones that the crimper trims the end off, they are significantly easier to do neatly.

    2 votes
  6. Lawrencium265
    Link
    From a residential building science perspective make sure that you're paying attention to air sealing penetrations between conditioned and unconditioned space. You probably already have a lot of...

    From a residential building science perspective make sure that you're paying attention to air sealing penetrations between conditioned and unconditioned space. You probably already have a lot of air leaks from wiring and plumbing, but there's no reason to create more. You can use caulking, can foam or mastic to seal up any holes to prevent that hi it/cold air from entering your walls.

    2 votes
  7. [6]
    envy
    Link
    What you need is dependent on your routing options. I just needed a long drill bit and cable staples, because I wanted to route my cables down through the crawl space. I also got some nice wall...

    What you need is dependent on your routing options. I just needed a long drill bit and cable staples, because I wanted to route my cables down through the crawl space. I also got some nice wall sockets so I can plug the ethernet cable directly into the wall.

    1 vote
    1. [5]
      Keegan
      Link Parent
      Yeah I plan to do something similar to manuever horizontally. I'm also concerned about how to terminate the ends, since it seems like otherwise you have to buy premade lengths of cable.

      Yeah I plan to do something similar to manuever horizontally. I'm also concerned about how to terminate the ends, since it seems like otherwise you have to buy premade lengths of cable.

      1. envy
        Link Parent
        The purchaseable wall connectors have the ability to easily splice the individual color coded lines into the color coded terminals.

        The purchaseable wall connectors have the ability to easily splice the individual color coded lines into the color coded terminals.

        1 vote
      2. [3]
        drawkcab
        Link Parent
        See my post with all the parts that I've listed. You can use toolless keystones for both ends of the cable, they're easy to install. You will want to fish/run solid copper cable in the walls that...

        See my post with all the parts that I've listed. You can use toolless keystones for both ends of the cable, they're easy to install. You will want to fish/run solid copper cable in the walls that is CMR rated. Don't run stranded patch cables in the walls.

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          Keegan
          Link Parent
          Toolless seems best, since it seems like otherwise there's another item to have to consider getting. And I'll make sure not to do patch in the wall thank you.

          Toolless seems best, since it seems like otherwise there's another item to have to consider getting. And I'll make sure not to do patch in the wall thank you.

          1. drawkcab
            Link Parent
            I edited my post to also include the wiring pinout examples with a link to explain it better than I can. If you have questions, let me know and I'll try to help.

            I edited my post to also include the wiring pinout examples with a link to explain it better than I can. If you have questions, let me know and I'll try to help.

            1 vote