How I installed CAT6 Ethernet in my home

When I moved into my new house, I knew that I wanted hard-wired Ethernet networking in every home. Ethernet cables provide much faster speeds than Wi-Fi and are much more secure.

I wanted the cables to future-proof my house, so I decided to go with Cat6 cables throughout. All of the cabling, wall outlets and keystone jacks were purchased from Blackbox – I decided if I was to do this work, then I should buy quality components, I found Blackbox to have some of the best quality components I could find.

Here are some images of the cable:

 

In total there are 21 runs of cable with 6 POE ports:

  • Living room: 8 ports (2 ports is POE, for IP phone and exterior IP camera)
  • Under stairs cupboard: 2 ports
  • Kitchen: 2 ports (1 port is POE)
  • Office/Study: 4 ports (1 port is POE, used for IP phone)
  • Master bedroom: 2 ports
  • Attic: 2 ports (Both are POE. Connections for WiFi access point and cable to run to the garage)
  • Garage: 1 port (This port is POE and is connected to one of the ports in the attic. Within the garage, this is fed into a small patch panel and is connected to a switch and IP camera)

The installation

It was relatively easy to install the cabling, although I had to make sure everything was planned, which meant;

  • Knowing the placements of each wall outlet
  • Where to run each cable
  • If the walls were hollow to enable the cables to be routed behind

I had to lift some floorboards on the first floor and in the attic as this was the route I planned to run the cable. Because the house is fairly new (10 years old), the floorboards used long pieces of chipboard rather than the standard panel boards we usually use in the UK.

After running the cables in place, I routed them into the understairs cupboard. I found using a ‘Cable Rod’ was the easiest way to pull wires through the walls.

One important thing to do is to always number each cable run at both ends, this will make testing much easier.

Some images of the installed wall outlets (Garage: black external CAT6 Ethernet cable into small patch panel, attic: POE Ethernet outlets, Living room: 6 Ethernet outlets, Satellite and Coaxial outlets. The Virgin Media outlet connects to a Satellite cable which goes into the understairs cupboard):

  

Testing the installation

Each of the wall outlets had to be tested. Luckily everything worked fine and only a couple wires on the patch panel had to be re-done. I decided to use the T-568B wiring scheme as this is the industry standard.

I recommend using a testing tool and good quality KRONE punch-down tool to ensure you don’t have any issues.

What is in the rack?

I purchased a new short depth 6U rack cabinet. It wasn’t already pre-built so I spent some time building it and marked out where I wanted my equipment.

From top to bottom there is:

  • Surge protected PDU
  • Bristle plate, this is where the cables come in from the understairs patch panel
  • HP ProCurve 24 Port Gigabit Switch (1800-24G J9028B)
  • TP-Link 8 port Gigabit POE switch (TL-SG1008PE)
  • Other non-rack devices:
    • TP-Link wired Gigabit VPN router (TL-R600VPN)
    • Virgin Media Super Hub 3.0

As you can see from the photos below, the patch panel which terminates all of the wall outlet cables is not included in the rack – Instead I mounted the patch panel using a Startech 1U wall mount bracket installed into the access panel I fitted. All of the wires terminate here and then fed into the rack using additional CAT6 patch cables.

Installing the cabling, patch panel and additional patch cables:

  

Building the server and finishing the installation:

  

Some more detailed images of the server rack, and POE powered switch in garage (NETGEAR GS105PE-10000S):

 

Final notes

The results of this work has been shown in an increase of transfer speeds. I can now also take and receive calls in two rooms and the garage and transfer data quickly between streaming boxes, computers and the server.

The work has been tough to integrate the cables into a newly built home like mine, but if you have the opportunity to run cables in new build home then you should do so!

Comments

Thomas David
  • October 6th, 2017

How did you deal with ventilation of the server etc under the stairs (I assume its under the stairs) or in that small space? Thanks

Ryan
  • October 6th, 2017

Hi Thomas, it’s not too bad. The cupboard can get a little hot, but not too uncomfortable – it never reaches more than 25 degrees, even in the British summers. Sometimes I leave the door open overnight to let the heat escape. I have thought of adding a vent on the wall to help the air circulate, but it’s not needed.

Owen
  • October 11th, 2017

Nice write-up Ryan, really appreciate the links. My house was recently stripped back to first-fix, so I took the opportunity to run dual-coax and a CAT6 to every room. I just ordered the coax multiswitch (EMP-Centauri MS5/24PIU-6) for the attic, and have still to get the PoE and non-powered ethernet switches. Can you share some details on the PoE IP phones you went with? Thanks.

Ryan
  • October 11th, 2017

Hi Owen, thanks. I decided to go with a couple of Linksys SPA942. These Linksys branded models allow me to use Asterisk over SIP.

There are some identical Cisco models but these would require the firmware re-flashed to work with SIP.

The Linksys models pop-up now and again used on eBay, I’ve heard people have had good experience with Grandstream and Yealink models too.

Luke
  • December 29th, 2017

I’ve been thinking of doing the same in my house, also about 10 years old. How did you run the cables in the walls? I was going to use the old TV Aerial sockets but I think that cable was fixed in the walls so can’t pull it through.

did you have to chase out any walls or just pull it all through to the loft?

Ryan
  • December 30th, 2017

Hi Luke, I had to chase the cables into one wall ok the first floor, then plastered over. The rest of the cables were placed under the floorboards, then run down the ground floor walls with a cable rod. Thanks

Louise
  • January 5th, 2018

Hi Ryan
Thanks for the detailed post very helpful.
Is this something a total DIY ameture can do ( as I’m getting the house refurbished I might try this) or does it need an electrician? If an electrician do they need to be specialised in this or is this something they do regularly?
Also how much did all the cabling and equipment cost (a breakdown would be appreciated but a overall total will do).

Ryan
  • January 6th, 2018

Hi,

If you’re confident at this type of thing, then yes an amateur can do it. Or, if you want an electrician, try and find one which has done this type before as the ends of the cables will need terminating to wall jacks and RJ45 plugs. A box of cat6 cable cost me around £100 and wall jacks around £3 a piece.

Mike
  • February 12th, 2018

Hi Ryan, great post and really helpful 🙂

I’m at the early stage of a new house build and plan on installing my own home network. I’m reasonably IT literate but wondered what your shopping list might look like if you were in my position? The incoming BT line will terminate in a room near to my boiler so I have space for a small rack and I’d like to run a mixed wired (POE preferred) and wireless network across the house. Already looked at a ground floor and first floor TP gigabit switch and a TP link cable router but wondered what else you had considered when you chose your parts?

Ryan
  • February 13th, 2018

Hi Mike,

If you’re only running one PoE device, you might be better buying a PoE injector rather than a PoE switch, although a PoE switch will give you better flexibility in the future.

For wireless access points, I’m running this TP-Link model: https://www.amazon.co.uk/TP-Link-Wireless-Controller-Software-EAP225/dp/B01LRQW0GM/ and have been quite happy with it, Ubiquiti access points are also very good but slightly more expensive – my router is a separate box.

Just make sure you have some good quality solid cable for your cable runs, along with some cable punch down tools – you should be good to go.

Thanks

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