How To Wire Your House with Cat5e or Cat6 Ethernet Cable Wiring
Because of multimedia sharing, bandwidth on a home network, and worry about wireless security, you may wish to choose a hard-wired option for home networking, despite the fact that wireless is easier for many individuals to set up and maintain. Having a wired network in your house allows you to have a private, high-speed network for internet access, file sharing, movie streaming, online gaming, IP security cameras, and other uses, as well as for many other things.
This article will take you through the process of wiring your home with Cat5e or Cat6 ethernet wire. The distinction between the two may be explained in further detail in this post.)
Step 1: Considerations and Planning at the Outset
Depending on your requirements, there are specific design issues that must be addressed.
- Which room(s) do I want wired?: I live in a two-bedroom condo, so I knew I wanted both bedrooms to be wired from the beginning. It occurred to me that I also had a TV alcove where my cable TV is located, so it looked like a nice place to connect things as well (especially for things like video game consoles). Because each of these sites had cable television, it appeared natural to approach the network in the same manner.
- How many ports do I want in each of the locations I’m considering?: In order to accommodate numerous game consoles and a network-enabled Blu-ray player linked to my television, I knew I’d need at least three connections behind the television. Because the wall plates are available in 1, 2, 4, and 6-jack combinations (for single gang installation), I just chose 4. Why run one cable when it’s nearly as simple to run four, you might wonder. To give the greatest amount of flexibility without the requirement for local (in-room) switches, I simply ran four drops to each location rather than varying the number of drops. Three sites with four ports each equals a total of 12 ports.
- When it comes to distribution, where is a suitable location?: For me, the most natural site was my laundry room, because my cable TV already runs through it and is shared across the other rooms in the house. It’s crucial to note that my internet connection (through cable) comes into the home from this location as well, so if I relocate my cable modem here, it will be able to provide internet access to the entire network. Yet another item to think about is the amount of space required for a shelf to be installed to keep network equipment.
- What path should the cables take?: This is, without a doubt, the most challenging factor to consider. My condo is on the second (top) story, and I have access to the attic through a skylight. The attic serves as a distribution point for my cable television, so it seemed like a logical choice to route my home network via it as well. The basement may be the most appropriate option for single-story homes with a basement. If you have a multi-story house, you may have to be creative with your design. It’s possible to go outside or down an old laundry chute as an alternative. (I won’t go into detail about all of the alternatives; I’ll simply talk about my own personal situation.) The length of the cable path is another consideration while designing a cable path. The maximum cable length for copper UTP cabling capable of supporting up to gigabit speeds is 100 meters (about 300 ft). This should give plenty of flexibility for the vast majority of home applications, but it is important to be aware of the limitations of the system.
- What kind of network speed do I require?: This will have the most impact on the type of switch you purchase. I used a 10mbps switch since I was given one for free, and it’s still significantly quicker than the average residential internet connection (you can usually find one for very little money, or even for free, at a used computer store). However, if you plan on doing anything over the network (such as playing games, downloading data between computers, or anything else), a gigabit switch is something we strongly suggest. If you’re purchasing a new switch, these aren’t prohibitively costly these days, so there’s no reason not to upgrade to gigabit speeds.
Then it’s on to the tools and materials!
Step 2: Tools and materials that are required
Your tools and materials (as well as their pricing) will vary greatly depending on your requirements and what you currently have. I borrowed a lot of the tools listed below, but here’s a very basic, educated guess at how they were used:
- Ethernet crimping tool (only if you’re crimping the ends of the cable).
- Drill (primarily for drilling through wall top plates, but makes screwing faster too).
- A paddle bit or a hole saw (the size of which depend on how many wires you’re routing).
- Hand saw with a pointed blade (this makes it simple to cut holes for the gang boxes and wall plates).
- Strong string or a fish tape.
- Label maker (optional).
- Sharpie-type marker.
- Stud finder.
- Tool for securing a punchdown (optional). Instead, I made use of a little screwdriver.
- Tester for a laptop or a cable.
- 1000′ spool Cat5e or Cat6, Cat6 recommended (more or less based on your need).
- Retrofit Boxes for a Single Gang (the kind that clamp to the drywall, open back).
- Jacks and plates for RJ45 connectors (get what you need, maybe an extra or two).
- RJ45 plugs (optional).
- Grommet made of plastic (optional, makes the cabling look professional).
- Patch panel is a piece of equipment that is used to repair or replace a patch panel that has been damaged (optional, another professional touch).
- Ethernet switch.
- Router is a device that allows you to connect to the internet (optional, may be required by you ISP)
- Velcro strips are used to keep cables organized (optional)
- Patch cables with a short length (optional).
Let’s put the wall plates up now that we’ve (hopefully) gathered all of the materials we’ll need.
Step 3: Mount the Wall Plates
The cable, as well as the new ethernet cables, exit the wall through the same area between the studs. Make a mental note of the additional cable length in case something goes wrong!
Because I was already aware of the path my cable TV would take and that it would be in all of the same spots as my ethernet jacks, I simply started by locating my cable TV jacks. The stud finder helped me determine which side of the cable jack the stud was on because I couldn’t see it otherwise. Almost all homes have studs that are 16 inches apart, and I knew I wanted my ethernet connection to be installed in the same wall hollow as my cable TV.
You must first pick where you want to install the box before drawing the lines on the wall to accommodate the new box and cutting a hole with a pointed hand saw to secure the box in place. In most cases, you shouldn’t have to drill any starting holes when using a pointed saw to cut through the drywall.
Once the hole in the wall has been made, you can insert the single gang box into the hole and secure it in place with clamps that are attached to the rear of the drywall and screwed into the box. Repeat this process for each place to which you wish to run.
A hole through which the grommet can be inserted. It lends a professional appearance to the piece.
We’ll keep the wall plates off for the time being.
You’ll also want to make a hole in the wall of the distribution room during this time period as well. In this case, you’ll want to cut a hole for the plastic grommet to fit through.
Next: we can run cables.
Step 4: Measure the length of the cables and run them.
The top plate of the wall has a hole bored into it. I lowered a string with a bolt hooked to it so that I could pull the wires up with my hands.
There are a variety of approaches that may be used. You may make educated guesses, measure from floor plans, perform a simulation, and so on. I used the run one approach to complete the task. In order to determine the lengths necessary for each run, I ran one wire from the distribution room to each room, took it out, and built three additional cables similar to it. After that, you can go on a run with all four of your teammates. You’ll also want to name both ends of each wire with a Sharpie to make it easier to identify. This allows you to label the ports on both ends of the connection.
Before you can accomplish this, however, you must first drill through the top plates of the walls in order to be able to lower the wires into the walls where you have already made holes. Identifying the optimal location for drilling in the top plate (to ensure that you get in the correct 16) “It might be difficult to find the perfect space between the studs. Another reason for my decision to use coax wires for cable TV is to avoid interference with the signal. I tracked the cable TV down into the attic and then drilled new holes in the top plate precisely next to the existing cable TV holes to complete the installation. This will necessitate the use of a strong drill and either a paddle bit or a hole saw. Although the hole saw is easier to use, the paddle bit is less expensive. I used a 1 1/4 inch drill bit “The paddle bit was difficult to handle and caused the drill to work harder at times. You may alternatively choose to drill many tiny holes and use one for each wire, however, this will make running the cables a little more difficult because you won’t be able to tape the bundle together as easily.
You may then thread out some wire to determine how much cable you will need for each run, cut three additional equal lengths per run, then re-run the cables after you have the top holes drilled and tapped in place. Make sure to make them long enough so that you have some extra to use in case of stripping or crimping mishaps. Tucking extra length into the wall is always a simple process.
Next up: making connections.
Step 5: Connect the wires to the jacks and patch panel using the wire nuts.
Now that the cables have been run, we may terminate them at the patch panel and at the jacks on the end of the wires. In the materials, I said that the use of a patch panel was optional. Simply pull the raw wire right out of the wall, plug it into an RJ-45 connector, then connect the other end directly to the switch. However, when it comes to permanent installation, I believe that mounting a patch panel is far more professional.
This is a rather simple task. The majority of patch panels and jacks are equipped with wiring diagrams that include wire colors for the typical T568A and T568B wiring standards. To be quite honest, I’m not sure which would be more effective. Despite the fact that I’d seen the letter “A” used for ISDN before when I looked at the T568B color guide, I realized that it was the same as the hundreds of patch cables I’d previously created. As a result, I went with it. Make certain that you use the same password on both sides. Punching the individual wires can be accomplished using the punch-down tool or a tiny screwdriver.
Once you’ve finished connecting all of the wires, you may mount the patch panel to the wall and insert the jacks into their corresponding wall plates on the opposite end of the network. The wall plates can also be screwed directly into the gang boxes if desired.
Note: Up to the switch, only a few short patch wires are required. The aluminum is the bottom of the shelf, which is where the switch is located on the shelf.
Now we can check to see whether everything is working properly!
Step 6: Test Your Connections
Before you begin connecting the majority of the network components, you should thoroughly verify all of the connections to ensure that everything is functioning properly. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways. The likelihood is that you are knowledgeable with network testing if you really have one on hand. You’re completely on your own. My approach was a little different from the norm.
I connected a short patch wire from my patch panel to each of the switch’s ports and switched it on to test it. Due to the fact that it is a controlled switch, I configured each port to be “up/up” and to “auto-negotiate.” Unmanaged switches will not require any configuration on their end.
Another patch cable and a laptop should be used for this stage. Plug each port in each room with a different patch cable and a laptop. After each port, double-check the switch to ensure the “connect” light is illuminated. The ability to create a link checks both the physical layer (i.e., no broken wires, all tight crimps, and no crossed wires) and the data link layer (i.e., no crossed wires) (i.e. negotiation between the network card and switch port). There is no requirement for an IP address or anything else for testing.
Information: Neat and clean labels for each port actually go where they say they do. MB = Master Bedroom, SB = Second Bedroom, etc.
This is also an excellent moment to double-check that your labeling is consistent on both ends. For example, you may ensure that the “Master Bedroom Port 2” on your patch panel truly connects to the second port in the master bedroom by checking the label on your patch panel.
Now it’s time to go online and beyond!
Step 7: Connect to the Internet
The cable is divided into three sections: 1. the main TV, 2. the cable modem, and 3. the second splitter. The second splitter is for each of the bedrooms. I’m less concerned about the signal deterioration in that location, but the runs are short enough that I don’t need amplifiers there either.
We want to link our sophisticated network to the internet now that we’ve installed it, don’t you think?
The first step is to set up the cable modem. My cable modem had been relocated to the distribution room from my second bedroom (which served as my office), so I needed to reconfigure the way my cable was divided. Rather than dividing the main cable inside the home into three sections, I decided to do things a bit differently. Before I did anything, I split the incoming cable with a three-way splitter, sending one to the main TV, one to a two-way splitter for TV in each bedroom, and one to the cable modem. I used a male-to-male barrel connection to link the splitters together.
Now that the cable modem has been installed in the proper location, we can proceed with the network configuration. Some aspects of this configuration may differ depending on your internet service provider. (I’ll just talk about the details of my surroundings, but I’ll try to provide some general advice when I can.)
I connected the ethernet port on my cable modem to the “Untrusted” port on my router/firewall using an Ethernet wire. I linked the “Trusted” port on my switch to the first switch port on my switch. It worked well. If your switch has an “Uplink” port, use it instead of the “Downlink” port to connect. If you are using a switch, cable modem, and/or router, you may require (or already have) crossover cables for these connections, depending on your setup. With my router/firewall configured as a DHCP server, I am now able to give internet connectivity to each port on my network. In addition, the firewall protects my whole network from unauthorized access from the outside world.
Firewall, cable modem, wireless access point, 24 port managed 100 megabit switch, cable management, and patch panel are shown in the diagram above, starting at the top left.
A wireless access point was also connected to my switch, although it is not necessary for this tutorial. This allows me to access the internet via wireless connections as well as wired connections. Because my wireless network is both encrypted and protected by MAC filtering, I am confident in placing it on the “trusted” side of my firewall. If for some reason, I wanted to allow open wireless access while also protecting my network, I would need to configure my connections in a different way. (I won’t go into depth about these changes, but I wanted to bring them to your attention since they may be relevant depending on your network objectives and how they could involve wireless access.)
For the record, my firewall receives a single, static IP address from my Internet service provider’s cable modem. It also serves as a router, assigning DHCP IP numbers to all other hosts on my private network, which is connected to it by the switch and cabling that we recently built.