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Future proofing

Discussion in 'Home Automation' started by padstar, 29 Dec 2019.

  1. padstar

    padstar

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    I am currently preparing the house for a full rewire and want to make sure i have allowed for everything to be run in the walls before it gets a skim coat. On top of power and lighting to each room, i have been told to run a Cat5/6 as well as most modern day extras are run through CAT 5. Just 1 point per room? Should they be linked to a central point in the loft for an integaration into a (media) panel.

    Is there anything else i should run at this point. Any other bits that are starting to become common place within the house.

    CCTV and Alarm have been installed separately.
     
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  3. mattylad

    mattylad

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    I say this every time and I get agreement from others - "run more cable than you think your going to use" - there will always be something else that comes along.
    If you think you need 1 cable, run 2 - if you can run 4. You won't get another chance at running the cable, but you are likely to have something else that needs a connection
    in the future and WIFI is still not as good as wired - IMO never will be.

    Also - if you can do it - go CAT6 and a 4 way data plate.
    Or CAT6 and 2 way data plates in 2 locations within the room.

    smart TV, computer, PS4, Xbox, laptop, printer, the fridge..... there are a whole lot more things than this that want connections and in future who knows what does.
    At least you will be ready when they appear.
     
  4. Tigercubrider

    Tigercubrider

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    If possible, run in accessible routes to add stuff later. If that means loosing 25mm off a room to include a panel that hides cables, so be it. Being able to route a cable from living room to loft after decoration is brilliant - less so if you have to destroy a small area - and a nightmare if you have to make holes everywhere. Access panels can be hidden. Bits of string left in walls help
     
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  5. ericmark

    ericmark

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    My old house has telephone cables 8 core run to most rooms with double sockets, one to incoming line, and one to internal line, so the fax machine would auto disconnect phones when a fax came in to speed up the receive, today all redundant, my son put a LAN socket next to each radiator to control the TRV, then found could only buy wireless TRV heads.

    And this is the problem, things change, so a tube in the wall through which you can thread new wires as and when required yes, but it is near impossible to future proof, I ran LAN cables all over my mothers house, this house the Sky Q boxes have removed need for LAN and TV cables other than to first box in the house.

    Skirting trunking maybe, actually wires, waste of time.
     
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  6. IT Minion

    IT Minion

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    You get the most benefit from the first wires. I tend to have clustered devices, if there's one thing that needs ethernet then there's four to ten. So I use the ethernet lines to connect to switches which then feed the other devices. It also scales well as you can buy another switch cheaply.
     
  7. Lucid

    Lucid

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    I'm a bit late to this thread, I know. But this above is the best advice.

    We can't really future-proof. The best we can do is make it easier to manage change when it comes. Having the ability to pull new cable (and remove old) trumps any idea of flooding a place today with cabling to last the next 10 years. Standards change too quick.


    Network points: I think these are a good idea because they take the pressure off the Wi-Fi networks. My general advice is to hardwire anything with a network socket so that Wi-Fi is dealing just with the stuff that can't be hardwired. Consoles, smart TVs, streamers - if they're not already capable of streaming UHD 4K then the next time you upgrade then they will be, so if they can be hardwired then do it.

    Put the network points in the locations of the hardware. If the telly is on the wall then the network point should be behind it. Having an Ethernet socket at floor level or across the other side of the room is useless. If there's a streamer or a Sky box or a Freeview/Freesat recorder on the shelf below, then put a network socket behind that too.

    How many Ethernet cables in a point? Always go with '+1' Whatever you need today, plus one extra. There are several reasons for this: If something happened to your #1 cable, you've got a back-up without chasing out the wall. Second, we don't know what the future holds. Third, just because a cable comes to your hub point, it doesn't mean you have to wire it up today.

    Cat5e or Cat6 or higher? Unless you're moving huge amounts of data around your home network, then Gigabit (1,000Mbps / 1Gbps) speeds are going to be more than sufficient. To put that in perspective, Netflix recommends about 25Mbps for streaming UHD 4K. BT Sport UHD is said to require 40Mbps. The average Fibre Internet service is around 35Mbps. Even the really high speed stuff doesn't get much faster than 1/10th of what a Cat5e cable can handle.

    Cat5e will do Gigabit speeds over 100 m individual cable runs. Most domestic installs won't have a single cable run of more than 100 m. Cat6 cable will do 10Gigabyte speeds (10,000) up to 55 m, and 1,000 Megabyte at 100+ m. So, Cat5e is more than sufficient for domestic networking. Install Cat6 if you feel the cost difference is worth it, but unless your devices and Ethernet sockets and all the rest of the hardware is 10Gb rated, then you'll be working at 1,000Mbps sec max.

    There's a cable cost difference between Cat5e and Cat6, but it's not crippling. Cat6 cable does need more careful handling than Cat5e i.e. the bend radius is much larger, and its more difficult to terminate. Where you really get spanked though is on the patch panels and switches. There's a colossal difference in cost. A decent 24-port Gigabit unmanaged switch will cost you around £60. A 10-port 10Gb managed switch will cost you the thick end of £500. There are very few of us outside of cyber criminals who need to spend that much for a domestic system switch.

    Is there anything that can mess up 1000Mbps speeds? Yes. Bad cable. Cat5e is specified as 100% copper cable. It's not aluminium with a copper coating (CCA); that's cheap crap from China that is brittle and slow.

    Any places I should definitely be using Cat6? Yes. If you've got a need to send 4K video over more than 5 or 6 metres distance - say for a ceiling-mounted home cinema projector - then you're probably going to use HDMI baluns. They convert a HDMI signal in to something that can travel greater distances, then convert it back at the other end. These use two Cat cables. They're a point-to-point alternative to very expensive HDMI copper cable or HDMI fibre-optic solutions. The distance and resolution depends on the quality of the cable. Cat6 allows better resolution over longer distances than Cat5e.


    What about Wi-Fi? Wireless speeds are continuing to improve, and in theory at least, they claim to be faster than 1,000Mbps networking. That's not really true yet other than as a paper exercise comparing apples and oranges. There are a lot of things that can get in the way such as distance, signal crowding, the slowest device in the chain, handshaking and a bunch of other complications that all make a big impact on what wireless can achieve in reality. However, wireless is still an important way to connect, so it should be planned in as part of the complete strategy.

    To make the best use of Wi-Fi requires wireless access points at key places in your home. Each point needs an Ethernet cable from your central hub location. The reason for this is speed. Connecting a wireless router to a wireless access point via Wi-Fi cripples the speed. Give the access point a wired connection to the network and that won't happen.


    Aerial and satellite cabling: In a world of streaming video, it's tempting to disregard the humble TV aerial and satellite dish. However, they're going to be around for quite a while to come yet because they're high bandwidth signal carriers, and they reach places that high speed broadband really struggles to service. This means that there'll be content on Freeview and Satellite that either doesn't make it in to streaming, or if it does, large sections of the population still won't be able to access it.

    For any major refurb', I would spec an aerial, and a satellite dish with a Quattro LNB, then hook them up to an 8/16/24-port Multiswitch. This will take care of servicing all but the largest of houses.



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  8. padstar

    padstar

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  9. Lower

    Lower

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    Personally, i'd put the cabling in for wireless access points on each floor and other strategic positions around then house and then focus on putting in as many plug sockets as is practicable. I wouldn't bother with other network cabling.

    Wireless networking is the way forward, but you need power for the device you want to network.
     
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  11. padstar

    padstar

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    Can you recommend a decent wireless access point unit. At the moment Wifi signal is lost at one end of the house so that is something i need to resolve. I would also like signal to reach out into the garden. I see you can get external boosters for this.

    Any recommendations for kit would be much appreciated.
     
  12. jonbey

    jonbey

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    Def. internet cables - I need cables in my house because the thick brick walls seem to stop wifi pretty quickly.
     
  13. Lower

    Lower

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    We have these throughout our offices at work.

    https://www.4gon.co.uk/ubiquiti-unifi-ac-pro-indoor-outdoor-access-point-p-6638.html with 50 users connected to 3 access points. I'd install a switch somewhere that they could all be cabled back to and then install cat6 cable to connect the switch to the ISP''s router.

    We have a 1920's house with an unusual Z shaped floor plan and thick walls. Wifi range has therefore been a problem and i've tried a range of solutions. The only one that's worked was the BT whole home mesh 3 disc system. We now have a good wifi throughout the house and out to the limits of the garden.
     
  14. Lucid

    Lucid

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    Relying purely on wireless is a risky solution. The answer is to have both.

    With a wired Gigabit network switch, I can have several devices all talking to each other, and all running at the maximum speed that each pair will allow, and all at the same time. It doesn't matter which way the data is moving either, or whether I have two devices side by side, both talking to different parts of the network, or even how old some bit of tech is; but we'll come to all that a bit later.

    With ordinary wireless networking, each device has to take its turn accessing the router or WAP. (The exception is MU-MIMO, which I'll come to in a minute as well.) So as not to have too much of a delay for any single device, this 'taking turns' is done but something called interleaving. The router or WAP gives little time slots to each device in turn so each gets a slice of its requirement before the next gets a turn and so on. The catch with interleaving is that each device must work at the pace of the slowest. In practise, your fast wireless (ac) iPad works at the pace of your slower (n) smart TV. The greater the distance from the router or WAP a device is, then the slower its speed too. Where you have a lot of devices, all trying to access and move data at the same time, and they're spread over the house, then things can get really quite slow.

    MiMO was developed as part of the Wireless ac standard to speed up data flow for a single device accessing a wireless router or WAP by using multiple aerials to increase the number of data links between two devices. The problem is when several devices want to connect, MIMO isn't enough, hence why MU-MIMO was developed. It's the multiple version of MIMO.

    MU-MIMO has its limits though. First, it only applies to gear that has the later wireless ac standard built in. All the things you have running on 802.11 b g and n are excluded. Second, the number of connected devices is linked to the standard of MU-MIMO employed which is governed by price. Four-stream (4x4) MU-MIMO are more expensive than 3x3 and 2x2. Third, the streams are spatial. Only one device per direction can benefit. If you imagine north, south, east and west; then two people with Mu-MIMO iPads sitting on the sofa together, only one of them will benefit from the tech. Lastly, the data flow is in one direction only. Good for those streaming video to a smartphone, but not so good for someone trying to Facetime or Skype chat or save a big file to a home NAS drive.

    Wired networking doesn't have any of these problems. True, not every device can be wired. But connecting those that can be to an Ethernet port takes some of the load off the wireless network, and that in turn helps the wireless devices to perform better when needed.

    The Ubiquiti WAPs are good, but you pay for that performance. The Ubiquiti UAP-AC-LITE is now their entry-level product at around £70 a piece. It's only MIMO rather than MU-MIMO. Going further up the price range step gives progressively better toys until you reach the £150 version with 4x4 MU-MIMO. It's the same story with other manufacturers too. This is one of those times where you really need to understand what you're buying.


    If this or any other reply was helpful to you, then please do the decent thing and click the T-H-A-N-K-S button. It appears when you hover the mouse pointer near the Quote Multi-quote buttons. This is the proper way to show your thanks for the time and help someone gave you.
     
  15. padstar

    padstar

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    Ok - so wired points to each room back to a switch in the loft that is connected to my ISP router all run in CAT6.

    The BT router seems to provide a good signal downstairs so if i installed a Ubiquiti unit (£150 model for the sake of the extra money) upstairs that should give good signal throughout? What sort of range do these units have?
     
  16. Lucid

    Lucid

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  17. padstar

    padstar

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    Lucid - Great article. They look like the right thing for me. I think 1 upstairs and 1 downstairs and it should easily cover the entire house and back garden. My AV guy at work has just installed them in someones house and says they work very well and fairly easy to set up.
     
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