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Wiring the house for...

April 22nd, 2009 (08:50 am)

cvirtue and I are considering wiring the house for Ethernet. We've already got a couple of cables running through the pseudo-attic to the front room and the living room, but, ah, the aesthetics are poor. (Insert stronger description from cvirtue here.) We've got the opportunity coming up (we're having siding put on, so maybe we can have cables run while the side of the house is exposed), so this is the time to think about it.

Anybody done this before? On one point in particular I'm just guessing: I'm hoping that installing a two-port jack won't cost significantly more than a one-port jack, since the installer should be able to run both the wires at the same time, instead of doing one the whole way and then going back to do the other.

It's going to be Category 6 cable, to support Gigabit Ethernet. If the cost isn't much more, I'll probably go with Cat6a, to support 10GigE. (10GigE can work with Cat6, but the range is limited to 55 meters. Since our network runs out to my lab in the garage, its diameter could easily go over 55m.) I'm not about to buy 10GigE any time soon, but I want to be future-proof.

We're probably also going to have new coax run, although maybe not to as many rooms. The Ethernet will go almost anywhere I can reasonably think of putting a desktop or server, which means pretty much everywhere except the bathroom—I left out the kitchen, but cvirtue suggested it. Coax, I'm not sure. We need one drop for the TV, one for the cable modem, and that's it...but, from the point of home values, it might be worthwhile putting it into all the bedrooms, too. Each room could have a faceplate with two Ethernet jacks and one coax connector.

Comments

Posted by: C. Virtue (cvirtue)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2009 01:38 pm (UTC)
Summer House

Also we need to find a contractor who can show up to do this in a fairly narrow time window which we do not yet know.

And, if this works right, there will be next-to-no cable fishing through walls; the studs will be exposed and insulation removed.

Posted by: goldsquare (goldsquare)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2009 03:19 pm (UTC)

Robin used to work with wiring professionals, when she did a lot of work on IT school renovations.

Pro's will cost, but might be worth it. Ask her advice on how to find a good pro.

Posted by: Who, me? (metageek)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2009 03:31 pm (UTC)
Definitely using professionals

Pro's will cost, but might be worth it.

Oh, definitely. Since we want it done quickly (having the skin off the house is not something we want to prolong), I'm not even considering doing it myself.

Ask her advice on how to find a good pro.

Thanks!

Posted by: Jane Waks (msmemory)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2009 02:09 pm (UTC)

Coax to the kitchen too. Many folks put a small tv on the kitchen counter for the amusement of the primary cook (and since iirc your laundry abuts the kitchen, someone may want tv while folding clothes).

The added effort for coax and Ethernet to every bedroom plus the kitchen is close to nil, if you're already opening up the walls, and some future homebuyer may be very attracted by it.

Posted by: Who, me? (metageek)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2009 02:36 pm (UTC)
Kitchen TVs

Coax to the kitchen too.

Oh, yeah, good idea. Thanks!

Posted by: C. Virtue (cvirtue)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2009 09:53 pm (UTC)

Good idea. I'm thinking probably put the jack over above the counter next to the stacked w/d -- that's probably where I'd put a TV if I were to have one.... Do you remember our kitchen well enough to think about location?

Posted by: blue shark of friendliness (ckd)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2009 03:17 pm (UTC)
cpu

Are you running everything to a central location with a patch panel type setup? If so, where (and how accessible) will that be?

I'm with msmemory; run the coax as well as the TP everywhere. I suspect that the labor cost of a run is significantly higher than the materials cost these days, even with 6a instead of 6 or 5e.

Posted by: Who, me? (metageek)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2009 03:28 pm (UTC)
Central location

Are you running everything to a central location with a patch panel type setup?

That's the plan.

If so, where (and how accessible) will that be?

If we can make it work, the option I want is a small closet that mostly contains our water meter. Small as in maybe 3' tall; it's left over from a full-sized closet that was in a wall we had removed. If it's got enough space, it'll be less accessible than, say, what you'd expect in an office setting, but it'll be usable with a minimum of swearing.

If that doesn't work out, we'll probably go with the closet in the master bedroom. However, that would require running cable about 4' through the ceiling.

Posted by: goldsquare (goldsquare)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2009 03:22 pm (UTC)

Also consider - speakers and stereo systems, other sorts of wiring. Are there light switches you want to add/move or is this the time to consider recessed lighting?

Plumbing?

Often, the cost of such things, when you add in walls and paint, get high.

For example, when I remodeled my old two family, I had them run empty pipes for heat and water to the third floor. Just in case. Cost me about a grand more.

When I sold, I probably got 10,000 more, because the pipes were there and no changes needed to be made.

Will you ever add another story to the house? Would a new buyer ever want to?

Posted by: Who, me? (metageek)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2009 03:43 pm (UTC)
Other components

Also consider - speakers and stereo systems, other sorts of wiring.

Yeah, I've thought about that. Our stereo system would be nicer if we could listen to it throughout the house.

Are there light switches you want to add/move or is this the time to consider recessed lighting?

Well, we're only going to open up the outer walls, so recessed lighting isn't on the menu. Light switches, though—good idea. The switch by the back door is on the wrong side; moving that would be nice.

Will you ever add another story to the house? Would a new buyer ever want to?

cvirtue used to speculate about doing that someday, but it sounds awfully traumatic to me—almost as bad as moving to a larger house. But, yeah, we should revisit that idea before this project, to decide whether to get new pipes installed.

Posted by: goldsquare (goldsquare)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2009 03:50 pm (UTC)
Re: Other components

Even though it is only the outer walls, the workmen will be there - having them run electrical through the attic, cut some holes, and install recessed lighting isn't going to add much to your costs. Presuming you would want such a thing.

I'm just blue-skying all the stuff you could do, that would involve bringing the same folks back, or messing up your walls again. You know, skylights or light-pipes, windows, that sort of thing.

Posted by: C. Virtue (cvirtue)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2009 09:24 pm (UTC)
Re: Other components

Is it electricians who run coax and Cat6? Because we're not currently planning any electrical work.

Thank you for the blue-skying, even though it's making me want to hide re: feature creep.

Posted by: goldsquare (goldsquare)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2009 11:10 pm (UTC)
Re: Other components

You can hire either data wiring professionals, or electricians. Up to you.

More blue sky - security system?

Set a budget, do only what is in the budget.

Posted by: JT (learnteach)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2009 05:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Other components

... 2 ethernets and a coax run? I'd run 1 and 1, and not speakers; the devices to have speakers on an ethernet are very available and not more expensive than speaker drivers. If you're running to a patch area, why would you need 2 ethernets?

Small switches (even for 10G) are pretty cheap, and can be remotely programmed if you need to change subnets. Fitting in a half closet would be no problem.

The comment about wiring is dead on. With the walls off, add all the switches/outlets.

Good luck, have fun!

Posted by: Who, me? (metageek)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2009 07:21 pm (UTC)
Re: Other components

If you're running to a patch area, why would you need 2 ethernets?

It's only a patch area at one end; I don't want to have switches at both ends. Ideally, one switch in the closet would do for the whole house (and another out in the lab).

Small switches (even for 10G) are pretty cheap

Er...for GigE, yes, but not for 10GigE. I can find an 8-port GigE switch for about $35; I can't find any 10GigE switch for under $2000. I can't even find a 10GigE card for less than $400. I'll wait a few years. :-)

and can be remotely programmed if you need to change subnets.

Mmm, I don't think I'll worry about that; I know a business-grade managed switch can do a lot more, but I'm inclined to get an unmanaged switch that I can plug in and ignore. Maybe if I were wiring up a big shared household, with the possibility that some people would like to isolate their systems.

Good luck, have fun!

Thanks!

Posted by: C. Virtue (cvirtue)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2009 09:26 pm (UTC)
Re: Other components

You should do me up a ballpark cost on this project, sweetie, and send it to me by email.

I would love to put another floor on the house, but it's not likely to happen anytime in the next 5 years unless we make a killing on something surprising.

Posted by: C. Virtue (cvirtue)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2009 09:25 pm (UTC)

This third floor of yours -- was there anything there at the time you ran the pipes up?

Posted by: goldsquare (goldsquare)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2009 11:12 pm (UTC)

It was a dead space, totally unfinished attic.

I ran up copper pipes for hot and cold water, and forced hot water heat. No need for drains - they already extend to the roof in a modern home.

Posted by: C. Virtue (cvirtue)
Posted at: April 22nd, 2009 11:30 pm (UTC)

Thanks for the extra detail -- that gives me a handle on advisability.

What we have is a crawl space, filled with W shaped trusses every six or something feet, possibly 4' high at the tallest. A second floor would be such a big undertaking that opening up a portion of first floor wall to plumb it would be a minor part of the total renovation.

Posted by: goldsquare (goldsquare)
Posted at: April 23rd, 2009 12:39 am (UTC)

In my case, I did plan to build that 3rd floor some day. And while it would have meant a great deal of renovation and change, I'd have had to go from the basement, through the tenant unit and into the second floor (where, one hopes, I would have lived through the renovation.)

The idea of damaging the new kitchen, or discommoding the tenant, was not a good one.

In you case, you'd probably have to modify the slab anyway. Maybe not worth it, if the attic is as you say.

Posted by: C. Virtue (cvirtue)
Posted at: April 23rd, 2009 01:22 am (UTC)
Digressing about plumbing
Summer House

The best guess I can come up with for what we'd do if we did put on a second story, is a bump-out from the wall in the back of the house. Water could run up and a waste pipe run down, essentially new construction with a 1' square footprint (which would probably have cold weather problems.)

Not that I've thought about it much; if we were really doing it, I'd probably ask around the neighborhood. There are a few houses which have put on upward (or sideward) extensions. Both toilets go through the slab to the sewer line; there's no stack to link into. 1957 build 'em quick.

The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of a sideward extension if we were ever to want to do it. *suppresses long description of what I'd do*

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