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PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 3:35 pm 
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Alright, I thought I would open this up to the community to see what approach may be the "best" approach.

A Little Background

Currently in my house my Cable/Internet comes directly into my basement. I then have a sole cat6 line running from my gigE router in my basement to the first floor (which is the other end of the house and is now the playroom). When my house was built this was the only cat line run. Since then my basement has been finished so for any cat line I want run on the first or second floor of my house they must come off the cat6 connection run in the playroom. So in my playroom I have a gigE switch connection to the cat6 line. From this switch I then have cat5e lines run to two rooms on the first floor and my bedroom on t he second floor. The playroom is right next to the garage so that gives me the flexibility to run wires through the garage with minimal damage to other rooms. In my bedroom the cat6 connection goes from the playroom, through the garage and up into the bedroom closet, where it then comes out on the other side of the closet wall (which is a bedroom wall) to be connected to my gear.

What I am looking to do

My bedroom is a rectangular shape. Our furniture was originally set so our bed was against one of the long walls and the TV was directly across the other wall (reason being this is where the coax/cat lines are). So if my bedroom was 16 x 10 my viewing area from the bed to the TV would be 10 ft. My wife and I decided to rearrange our bedroom furniture to better maximize our space, so with the new layout our bed and tv are on the opposite short walls (so now TV viewing distance just went from 10 ft to 16 ft). What I need to do now is move the coax/cat lines from the old wall to the new wall where the TV will be located. My plan is to do this via the attic (based on the layout of my house the attic is the best approach). The Coax line should be easier but the Cat line is where I have the questions for the good folks at MSS.net.

Original Plan
My original plan was to simply run another cat6 line from the playroom (connected to the switch in the playroom) through the garage through the closet bedroom into the attic and then around to the wall where the TV will now be.

Possible Alternative Plan
I was just doing some mental prep work for this (won't be running the actual lines until next week when my monoprice order comes in) and came up with a possible alternative. Instead of running a line from the playroom would it make more sense if I simply piggy back off the existing cat5e line in the bedroom already. So I was thinking I could instead set up a gigE switch in the bedroom closet (HP ProCurve) connected to the existing cat5e line. From this switch I could then run my cat line from the switch in the bedroom through the attic to the other wall. Doing this would require me to have to run less cable. Also, another potential benefit, no other bedrooms in my house have cat cabling, so if down the road I want to add to those rooms I could simply go from the switch in the bedroom closet through the attic to the other bedrooms.

So those are my two plans. The more I think about it the more the alternative plan seems to make the most sense as it requires less manual work to run the line plus will add more flexibility once I decide to add cat wiring to the rest of the bedrooms. My only concern about the Alternative Plan is:

- I am adding another switch to the network. Hopefully as long as everything stays gigE there should be no performance issues, but if I do have network problems down the road this is just another switch that I need to take into account when troubleshooting. This is probably a minor concern when I consider the benefits of the Alternative plan.

So what do you guys think, does the alternative plan make more sense over the original plan?

FYI - as mentioned right now I have a mix of cat5e and cat6 lines in my house. All new lines I run will be cat6 and eventually I will replace out the cat5e lines with cat6 as well.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 4:03 pm 
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Kind of hard to evaluate all the options without actually being able to see the structure to see what would be involved in more direct (i.e., fewer switches) alternatives. When I bought my current house almost 7 years ago (time really flies) I had quite a bit of remodelling going on, so I took advantage of the opportunity and ran a 2" conduit from my mechanical room (where the cable/power/telephone/gas/etc. all enters the building) straight up to my attic. I then installed a large low voltage cabinet to house all of the Cat5 and RG6 Coax cable connections, and ran home runs from that panel, up to the attic, and down to each bedroom with 2xCat5 and 2xRG6 Coax to each room. I also had some of the sofits in the finished portion of the basement opened up to run a new gas line to the kitchen (clear on the other end of the house from the mechanical room) so I put in a conduit there as well and ran home runs from the mechanical room up into the family room, the kitchen, and out to the garage as well. It was a ton of work at the time, but has paid off since.

Do you have any kind of clear shot straight up from where your service enters up to your attic to accomodate a conduit? Other than crawling around in insulation, once you're up in the attic, dropping wires down into the walls below is a fairly simple task (at least with uninsulated interior walls). Even with insulated walls, it can be done, just with different tools. Back when I did the project described above I picked up a bunch of different wire fishing tools, including a very high quality fish tape plus a thin fiberglass push/pull stick that breaks down into 4 2.5' sections, but can be screwed together for 10' of total length. Invaluable in running cables/wiring through existing construction. Mine is a different brand, but essentially the same idea as this: http://www.amazon.com/Electric-Fibergla ... B001RV4T3U.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 5:11 pm 
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mgannon wrote:
Kind of hard to evaluate all the options without actually being able to see the structure to see what would be involved in more direct (i.e., fewer switches) alternatives. When I bought my current house almost 7 years ago (time really flies) I had quite a bit of remodelling going on, so I took advantage of the opportunity and ran a 2" conduit from my mechanical room (where the cable/power/telephone/gas/etc. all enters the building) straight up to my attic. I then installed a large low voltage cabinet to house all of the Cat5 and RG6 Coax cable connections, and ran home runs from that panel, up to the attic, and down to each bedroom with 2xCat5 and 2xRG6 Coax to each room. I also had some of the sofits in the finished portion of the basement opened up to run a new gas line to the kitchen (clear on the other end of the house from the mechanical room) so I put in a conduit there as well and ran home runs from the mechanical room up into the family room, the kitchen, and out to the garage as well. It was a ton of work at the time, but has paid off since.

Do you have any kind of clear shot straight up from where your service enters up to your attic to accomodate a conduit? Other than crawling around in insulation, once you're up in the attic, dropping wires down into the walls below is a fairly simple task (at least with uninsulated interior walls). Even with insulated walls, it can be done, just with different tools. Back when I did the project described above I picked up a bunch of different wire fishing tools, including a very high quality fish tape plus a thin fiberglass push/pull stick that breaks down into 4 2.5' sections, but can be screwed together for 10' of total length. Invaluable in running cables/wiring through existing construction. Mine is a different brand, but essentially the same idea as this: http://www.amazon.com/Electric-Fibergla ... B001RV4T3U.


It is one of those "if I knew then what I know now" situations. My house is only 5 years old and we are the only owners (it was a new construction build). Back then I wasn't into any of this geeky stuff and we were saving every dime, so when the builder gave us the option to run a conduit from the basement to the attic for $300 we passed. Also, for each networking line the builder wanted to charge us $250 per line so we only went with one line (the line in the playroom). Actually, it was a good thing we only went with this one line as the builder ran cat5 which I ended up replacing with cat6 anyhow (the cat5 I could not stream HD content). Ideally if I had to do it all over again all cat lines would be connected directly to a master patch panel in the basement so there would be no need for switches. The other big mistake was not to do as much wiring as possible before we finished the basement (or at a minimum put a drop ceiling in the basement which we did not do). So at this point there is little else I could do without tearing through ceilings/walls which I can't justify yet.

I already did a quick walk through of the attic and have pointed out the point where I can enter from the bedroom closet. I also think I have an idea of where the other wall in that I want to drop the line down, but i need to have a second person here at the wall to confirm.

I haven't gotten fish tape yet, I was debating whether to get fish tape or those rods that you linked to. I still have a few days to think this all over before I start on, I think I saw that my Monoprice order is now set to arrive on Wednesday

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 5:54 pm 
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Even with a patch panel, you still need switches.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 7:11 pm 
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cavediver wrote:
Even with a patch panel, you still need switches.

Yeah, it didn't come out as I meant. I meant it would be nice to have everything run directly from my basement (where I could keep the switch there) instead of having various switches throughout my house ( I have probably 4-5 switches)

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 9:24 pm 
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I have an unfinished basement so was able wire up the first floor pretty easily, and upstairs is only bedrooms where we only have a single wired connection and I ran that outside the house. The fish tape worked good for me. I do still have a couple switches outside the basement, one at my wife's desk where we have 3 or 4 devices hooked up.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 1:11 pm 
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For the actual fishing... check out the glow-in-the-dark fish-sticks... I used to do all my fishing with fish tape but now I use these wherever possible.

Other tips: If you get one of those chinese-finger-lock style steel nets, you can fish 4 cat5/6 + 1 RG6 line at a time.

There's a flexible-fish-drill kit available at HomeDepot that comes with the drill, a guiding handle and the one of these steel finger lock things.

More tips: Pay attention to the ft markings on the wires... they may be up in the thousands of feet but it you subtract the number at the end of the line from the number at the start (or vice versa) you'll know the length of your run.

If you plan on running more than one cable you can run your (first) longest run individually (eg: I did this with an RG6) get the length from the markings and then pre-cut your following runs and pull them all at once (eg: 4x Cat5/Cat6 to the same location).

Of course when doing this commercially we would just feed from 4-5 boxes or later buy the pre-bundled wire but for the home-owner it doesn't make sense to buy more than a single 500/1000ft box anyway


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 5:31 pm 
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ymboc wrote:
For the actual fishing... check out the glow-in-the-dark fish-sticks... I used to do all my fishing with fish tape but now I use these wherever possible.

Other tips: If you get one of those chinese-finger-lock style steel nets, you can fish 4 cat5/6 + 1 RG6 line at a time.

There's a flexible-fish-drill kit available at HomeDepot that comes with the drill, a guiding handle and the one of these steel finger lock things.

More tips: Pay attention to the ft markings on the wires... they may be up in the thousands of feet but it you subtract the number at the end of the line from the number at the start (or vice versa) you'll know the length of your run.

If you plan on running more than one cable you can run your (first) longest run individually (eg: I did this with an RG6) get the length from the markings and then pre-cut your following runs and pull them all at once (eg: 4x Cat5/Cat6 to the same location).

Of course when doing this commercially we would just feed from 4-5 boxes or later buy the pre-bundled wire but for the home-owner it doesn't make sense to buy more than a single 500/1000ft box anyway


Thanks for the tips. I am concerned that I don't have enough cat6 wiring (I have a roll left over from a 350ft pack I bought a few years back when I did my first run of cat6, but cannot tell exactly how much). I have more then enough RG6 though so I will run that first to get a sense of exactly how much wiring I need. I think the biggest challenge will be getting around my attic. My bedroom has a vaulted ceiling of which I have to go across the vaulted ceiling to get the wire from one end to the other. That along with the HVAC ducts, I may have to put my spiderman outfit on for this one!!!

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 8:57 pm 
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350ft... how many drops are you planning on running? My feeling is you will need more.

For a 2 Story + basement townhome... from basement opposite corner 'server alcove' through the basement to attic conduit and finally to 'the office' was about 85 ft.

FYI: The so called conduit is nothing more than Central-Vac Plumbing.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 7:30 am 
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ymboc wrote:
350ft... how many drops are you planning on running? My feeling is you will need more.

For a 2 Story + basement townhome... from basement opposite corner 'server alcove' through the basement to attic conduit and finally to 'the office' was about 85 ft.

FYI: The so called conduit is nothing more than Central-Vac Plumbing.


Right now it is just one drop, going from one side of my bedroom to other via the attic. Any other drops I would do (i.e. wiring the other bedrooms) I would probably consider down the road and base it on the ease of doing this one drop

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 4:16 pm 
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OK, I was able to run the cables today.I ran one cat6 and one coax cable from one side of the bedroom to the other side via the attic. Of course there were a few minor bumps but nothing critical:

- First hole went through my son's bedroom and not my bedroom wall, oops
- I had to drill though one of the beams in the attic to run the wire down the wall. Turn out my drill bits were too short to make it through, so had to head over to home depot to get a longer drill bit
- Somehow while spiderman-ing through the attic I set off our alarm (which is quite odd since it wasn't even on). Even better, I guess we didn't answer the phone in time from the alaram company so the cops were knocking on the door #-o

I still have to crimp/terminate the cat6 and test out, as well as test out the coax but hopefully that will go smooth. I still have a few days before the new TV I got for my bedroom is ready (I am running it through the 100 hr slide to break in), so no rush to get everything cleaned up, just before Saturday.

Assuming everything goes well, the last step will be to wall mount the TV (a 58in Panny). The TV mount just arrived from Monoprice today, so once the slides are done running (I think I have run about 50 of the 100 hours) I can start tackling that project (Best Buy wanted $350 to mount, so for t hat I would rather teach myself how to do)

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 4:30 pm 
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Nicely done! If you're interested, I've got 4 pages of discussion about how I wall-mounted mine. :) viewtopic.php?f=7&t=2409

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 5:00 pm 
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yakuza wrote:
Nicely done! If you're interested, I've got 4 pages of discussion about how I wall-mounted mine. :) viewtopic.php?f=7&t=2409


Well, still have to test out the cables. The last question, I am not sure exactly how much extra cable I have on the cat6, possibly an extra 20 ft or more (in the attic). I was just going to leave as is, there shouldn't be any substantial issues with leaving so much extra slack I would assume.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 5:14 pm 
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Should be fine as long as you didn't leave it coiled up so the bits get dizzy on their way between systems.


:crazy: :lol:

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 9:32 am 
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Just posted a few pics here as part of my writeup:

http://www.mediasmartserver.net/2010/12 ... -projects/

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