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Cat5/6 question.

Discussion in 'Audio Visual' started by Mottie, 1 Aug 2020.

  1. Mottie

    Mottie

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    As I’m having my flooring up soon, I’m thinking of laying some cat5/6 cables under the floor. I’ll worry about fitting the ends at a later date but have I got this right:

    Router is located in hall. I’m thinking of one cable from router to lounge for smart tv. Another cable from cctv in loft to router for viewing over the internet and one other cable from cctv in loft to tv in lounge. Does that sound right? What cable should I use? Is there a neat way of running cables to router other than just having them come out between the skirting and floor - some kind of junction box on the wall for example?
     
    Last edited: 2 Aug 2020 at 8:06 PM
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  3. Notch7

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  4. rsgaz

    rsgaz

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    Yep, normal cat5e. (UTP)
    As above.
    Might need coax (WF100), or HDMI over cat5, in which case cat5e SF/UTP would be much better to stop interference on other cables nearby. What cable depends on what outputs your CCTV has and what you want to view. For example on my downstairs TV, I have it set to always show me the front door camera live, no matter what the main CCTV screen is showing, this only needs a coax cable.
     
    Last edited: 1 Aug 2020
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  5. Lucid

    Lucid

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    CAT
    From the router to the loft, and router to lounge, both sound fine. Going from the Loft CCTV to TV; I'm guessing that's for monitoring the CCTV recorder, so this is in place of what would be an impractical length for HDMI, which means you'll be using a balun system to convert from- and back to- HDMI. If that's the case, the Ethernet cabling requirement for that will be set by the Balun system.

    In my experience, you may need IR control back up to the recorder, so that would normally require two Ethernet cables. The safest option is to buy or research a suitable Balun system first, then install the recommended cabling. Failing that, two shielded CAT6 cables should cover you.

    [[On a side note (and mainly for the benefit of any casual readers rather than the OP), most baluns don't use IP compatible signalling. The fact that CAT cable and Ethernet connections are used is incidental. Balun signals won't mix with IP signals or the hardware used for IP signalling such as switches. The exception to this is HDBaseT. However, although these signals will pass through switches, its still good practise to keep these in a separate system.]]


    Shielded vs unshielded.
    Personally, I would avoid using shielded CAT cables unless there's a very strong reason to go down that route. Shielding undoes the benefits of the isolation provided by Ethernet connections because it physically bridges the source and receiver gear.

    For grouping purposes, CAT cable and mains cable will live reasonably happily together in a domestic installation. Keep your aerial cables a minimum of 10" (25cm) away from mains and CAT cable where they have to run parallel for several metres. Where the signals have to cross, do so at 90 degrees.


    CAT5e vs CAT6
    There's a lot made about the extra bandwidth of CAT6, but the fact is that good quality CAT5e will theoretically support Gigabit networking up to around 100m for single cable lengths. In practise, a more realistic limit is 40-45m for single cable runs since cable handling and bend radii and terminations all take a toll on the maximum throughput speeds. Still, 40m is long enough for most domestic installations.

    Having said that, the price premium for CAT6 isn't much over CAT5e so long as both are all copper cables, so I'd use CAT6 myself, but be mindful that it needs more careful handling. It won't go as tight round bends and you need to be careful when pulling it not to put too much strain on the cable. Also be aware that clipping or cable tying it too tightly will impact on speeds because it deforms the construction and increases crosstalk noise.


    How much speed do I need?
    This is another area where it's very easy to get lost down the rabbit hole. Unless you're running some workstation and a huge solid state NAS drive at home, then the chances are that you're not really shifting that much data around your home network, so over-spec'ing the network cable could be a waste of time and money.

    The bottlenecks to your file transfer speeds will be things like the speed of the Ethernet ports and network cards in your various devices. A good example is ISP-supplied routers. There's a lot of stuff around that's still 10/100Mbps. If your network uses that as the central switch, then you'll never get the benefit of the Gigabit speeds of CAT5e or CAT6. For this reason, a good Gigabit network switch might be a better choice as the central point in your network, and then link the router to that with a patch cable.

    This brings me neatly to the next point - patch cables. Most are crap and act as another bottleneck to throttle network speed. You're far better off using some of the network cable you bought for the install' and making up your own leads than relying on the promises of online vendors. Here's some evidence.

    Beyond this there are hardware limitations such as hard drive speeds and the data bus speeds in PC hardware.


    Now lets relate this back to the speed of your internet connection, and what you're likely to use where speed is important.

    The rise of data streaming video services such as Netflix, amazon Prime, Disney+, NowTV, BBC iPlayer, BT Sports and the rest won't have gone unmissed by many. To go with this, there's also a lot of stuff available in 4K UHD, and that means it needs a bit more oomph from your broadband supplier if you want to get the full beans experience.

    Currently, the most data-hungry streaming feed is BT Sports Ultra HD service. BT recommend 44Mbps as your ISP service speed. In reality, the service speed is closer to 30Mbps. That means data moving in your network at 3% of the Gigabit (1000Mbps) network speeds capable via CAT5e and CAT6 cable. Even 10/100 Fast Ethernet devices have at least double the speed capacity.

    Things change a bit when you're moving data files or downloading from the net, but since those activities can be completed in the background then the speed is more about convenience rather than necessity. A single physical drive with moving platters will generally give you around 30-40MBps (an MB with a capital B is a MegaByte, and it's 8x the size of a Megabit which is what your internet speed and network speeds are measured in.) The equivalent network speed is 240-320Mbps; still nowhere near Gigabit speeds. Internet download speeds will be governed by the speed of the servers (out of your control) and how fast your ISP data service is by the time contention is taken in to account. You can purchase more speed, but it's not possible to control how many other people are online at the same time all using the same fibre line to your local cabinet.




    When CAT cable isn't CAT cable at all
    One big potential trap for cable purchasers is fake CAT cable. Anything with CCS or CCA in the product description isn't an all copper cable. CC stands for 'copper clad'. The S or A is for steel or aluminium. These cables then are cheaper base materials with an anodised layer of copper.

    Here's the important bit - There's no specification of CAT cable that allows for anything other than 100% copper cores. If it's not solid copper, then it's not a true CAT cable.


    (TL;DR) Go with good CAT6 (all copper cable, not CCS or CCA) from a reputable brand. If cost is prohibitive, drop down to a good CAT5e rather than use a poor CAT6 cable. Make up your own patch leads; they'll often be better that cheap off-the-shelf alternatives. Be careful how you pull, clip and terminate cable; network cables don't like being crushed or bent. Physical separation (10" or more) is better than compromising the network isolation with shielded cables. Check the specs of any devices such as baluns before committing to cable runs.



    If this and other replies were helpful to you, then please do the decent thing and click the T-H-A-N-K-S button on all those the posts. This isn't a big thing to ask of you. It takes a couple of seconds to do, and it costs you nothing.

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  6. mattylad

    mattylad

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    Only 1 cable to the lounge?
    What if you get sky or perhaps a playstation/xbox or something else that also needs a connection?

    I'd put a minimum of 2 in to each room.

    My daughter has 2 in her room and is wanting another 2 to be added.
     
  7. Mottie

    Mottie

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    Well, probably not going to need those connections as we'll never have Sky or an Xbox - kids long left home and we watch most of our stuff on digital tv plus Prime and Netflix. Come to think of it, I do have a fire tv box in the lounge and that has a cable connection although I’m currently using WiFi for that and the TV. Same for the upstairs tv and firestick. Anyway, for my use what would you suggest - at the moment I’m just interested in getting the cables under the hall where I can go up to my loft following an existing wiring route up a disused heating chimney. The lounge ones can wait until the carpet is changed in a few months time. So what cable would you suggest and what sort of termination box would I need near to my router? This is all new to me so assume me to be at idiot status! For example, I have 4 outputs on my router, one of them is connected to my hive box and the other to my powerline connector (for the cctv dvr in the loft). That leaves me just two spare connection ports - how can I run more than two cables from those?
     
  8. mattylad

    mattylad

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    What Lucid said..^^^^

    Add a "switch" (its like a hub but better) that gives 1 port per cable going to it that links to the router.
    Then you can have many more connections to the router, I have a 1gb 16 port switch - seems to work OK for me.

    Use good quality CAT6 cable as Lucid has suggested, the demands on it are only going to get heaver and not relax so the better cable the better.
    Termination plates - whatever you feel best with.
    I use the ones that give 2 ports per single socket faceplate as I have multiple cables per room (not all are used yet) to future proof it.

    Try and replace anything thats using WIFI with a wire, you will improve the connection that way.
     
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  9. Mottie

    Mottie

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    Right, I think I’m getting an idea having watched a YouTube video. He describe 'daisy chaining'. Didn’t like the way he ran surface cables for some devices and the missus won’t have any of that so all I’m interested in is cabling to fixed items which will basically be a couple of smart TV's, a cctv hdr and the Fire TV box. Everything else such as tablets, phones, kindles, Alexa etc. would use WiFi. We only have a 36mps Fibre internet and I doubt I’d we'd ever increase that speed.

    So, have I got this right - excuse my terminology. Using cat 5e or cat 6 cable I’m thinking of running just one cable from my router to a switch under the stairs. From there I could run two cables to my lounge tv area for the TV and Fire TV box and another cable from that switch up to another switch in my loft which will allow me to connect to my CCTV and drop down into the bedrooms as required. I’ll also run a cable from the cctv to the TV and convert that to HDMI using a Balun system. Does that sound right? Assuming it does, can someone give me some links for the equipment I’ll need for good quality cabling, switches, Balun system ends and I assume I’ll need some tools for connecting terminals onto the cables. Thanks.
     
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  11. magicmushroom666

    magicmushroom666

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    Cable wise, make sure you get solid copper cores, some of them are plated aluminium. A simple punch down tool is all that is required to terminate it to the face plates. Then you can just buy pre-made 1m or so patch cables to connect between the wall and whatever you want. The pre-made patch cables will be flexible internally as well rather than the solid core of fixed wiring.
     
  12. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    My preference would to use a patch panel and run one or more cables from there to each and every location that might need a connection in the future.

    That allows for the system to be configured using patch cables at the patch panel. No changes or additions to the house wiring required ( assuming enough cables were installed from the beginning ).

    I also say use solid copper and do not use CCA or CCS,
     
  13. Lucid

    Lucid

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    Without seeing the Youtube vid you watched, I'm not sure what you mean by "daisy-chaining" when it comes to networking. I understand what daisy-chaining means as a phrase; and I also understand how electricians use it to wire from one mains socket to another to another. However, in networking, we don't generally daisy-chain anything unless the device has a built-in hub or switch, and for that the devices need a minimum of two Ethernet sockets for networking purposes. Some Sonos home audio gear has this, but most other devices have a single Ethernet port.

    Similarly, we don't daisy-chain network ports for wall sockets either. Each socket is wired back to a central point with its own cable. If you have 6 network wall sockets in your home (presuming that they're all wired from the word go, and why wouldn't they be?), then you'd have 6 cables running back to a patch panel or switch. If it was 10 sockets there'd be 10 wires. 20 sockets, 20 wires and so on.

    For small domestic network switches, Netgear is a safe buy for a novice. Have a look at the 8-port Gigabit switch GS208. It's under £20. One of the ports will be used for the connection to your Internet wireless router. The remaining 7 ports are available for you to use for your house sockets and device connections. They make larger switches too. The GS316 looks a bit more commercial and has 16 ports. These are unmanaged switches which means that your router controls the flow of traffic through the switch. That's perfectly fine for a simple domestic or small commercial system.

    Cable - Kenable 23AWG CAT6 is inexpensive and solid copper. It's a safer bet that some unknown product of dubious spec coming out of China or India. The 23AWG bit refers to the thickness of the copper cores. AWG is American Wire Gauge. The lower the number the thicker the core; therefore 23AWG is better than 24AWG.

    We've already covered the wiring topology in some detail in previous posts. However, since you bring it up again:

    Router to switch - 1 Ethernet cable
    Switch to CCTV - 1 Ethernet cable
    Switch to TV - 1 Ethernet cable
    Switch to any other device - 1 Ethernet cable per device
    Switch to any single Ethernet socket - 1 Ethernet cable per socket

    Wire as many sockets as you need now, then add +1 at each point for future expansion.


    HDMI out from CCTV to balun - 1 HDMI cable
    Balun to Balun connection - as per manufacturer instructions, or 2x shielded CAT6
    Balun to TV - 1 HDMI cable
    The Balun set should also provide IR relay back up to the CCTV device. i.e. make sure you buy a Balun system with IR relay.

    Balun signals do not go through the network switch. Do not put Balun signals through your network switch. You will crash your data network.


    If this and other replies were helpful to you, then please do the decent thing and click the T-H-A-N-K-S button on all those the posts. This isn't a big thing to ask of you. It takes a couple of seconds to do, and it costs you nothing.

    You'll find that the Thanks button appears when you hover the mouse pointer near the Quote Multi-quote buttons.

    This is the proper way to show your thanks and respect for the time, experience and help someone gave to you when you were in need. Be a good forum user and say thank you in the proper way. It will help to ensure that you continue to receive advice
     
    Last edited: 4 Aug 2020 at 3:05 PM
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  14. Mottie

    Mottie

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    Hi Lucid.

    Thanks for the advice so far but in the YT video I saw, he described 'daisy chaining' as
    router to switch - 1 Ethernet cable and then on to whatever devices you have

    For the daisy chaining bit, he said switch 1 to switch 2 - 1 Ethernet net cable.

    I was thinking one switch for anything downstairs plus one cable on to switch 2 for any upstairs devices.

    I was thinking that should I want to run a cable to each bedroom (3 bed house) instead of running a cable to each room which will involve a lot of work taking up the landing and bedroom floors, it would be easier to run just one cable up from the switch through an existing route to the loft and then connect to another switch in the loft. From there it would be easy to connect to cctv in loft and to drop down through ceiling to each bedroom. Would that work?
     
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  15. Lucid

    Lucid

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    Thanks for the clarification. What you initially described makes more sense now.

    Doing what you describe will work. Theoretically, it could add a little additional latency. However, this is really a technical problem for someone running a very large corporate network or a system with a lot of live streaming rather than folk surfing the Web in a typical domestic home.

    One thing to point out is that any problem in an upstream device will knock out the network connection for everything downstream. But again, it's only a small system so it's not like you'd have a big problem working out that the router has died or someone unplugged one of the switches to use the socket.

    Go for it.
     
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  16. Mottie

    Mottie

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    100m of solid copper cat5e cable and a 15m 4K HDMI cable ordered and coming Monday. I’ll just chuck them in while the floor is up for now and worry about the connections/switches at a later date.
     
  17. Lucid

    Lucid

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    I hope you're not going to try to run 4K over 15m of plain copper HDMI cable.
     
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