Home Network Setup: How I installed CAT6 Ethernet

Update: A related post regarding my network rack is available here: https://ryanfitton.co.uk/blog/home-network-setup-whats-in-my-rack-2019/

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!

Links to purchase the products and tools I have used

If you’re interested in purchasing the same products and tools I have used, help me out by purchasing one from Amazon UK with my affiliate codes:

 

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

Kelly
  • June 7th, 2018

Hi Ryan
I found your I blog very informative.
We having anew build house and wanted to run cat6, our house is large 6 bedroom and 4 lounges and 2 kitchen. How much is approximate cost to have this cable installed by Electrucian in all our rooms?
How much should someone charge for this amount of work?

Ryan
  • June 7th, 2018

Hi Kelly, I’m not sure about the costs, as I did the work myself. It cost me around £150 for the cable and wall plates. You might be better off getting multiple quotes from electricians, I have successfully used https://www.mybuilder.com/ in the past. Thanks.

Russ
  • July 18th, 2018

Hi Ryan

Thank you for an excellent write up…very informative.

Have you got a topology diagram showing how each item is connected to each other?…

All the best
Russ

Ryan
  • July 18th, 2018

Hi Russ,

I don’t have a topology on hand. But everything goes through the main HP ProCurve switch.

E.g.

Virgin Media Modem (bridge mode) > TP Link Router > HP ProCurve switch.

All wall jacks go to a patch panel which are then fed into the HP ProCurve switch.

As for POE devices, these connect from the patch panel into the TP-Link POE switch, which then connects to the HP ProCurve switch.

I’ll try and get a topology posted, it’s a good idea!

Thanks

Kent
  • August 25th, 2018

Really good job you’ve done there. How much cable slack did you leave at each wall point and at the patch panel end?

Thanks

Ryan
  • August 26th, 2018

Thanks, there is about 12 inch of slack at the wall outlets, and a a couple of metres at the patch panel.

Richard Mullen
  • January 27th, 2019

Hi Ryan,
Good article. I’m currently renovating a 3 bedroom house, and have run Cat5e from all rooms, with around 5 running from living room TV location. (smart TV, Sky, Xbox, etc!).
All cables are running to my ‘Comms cupboard’. Did you use a patch panel purely for neatness into your Switch? I had planned to terminate directly into a switch in the cupboard. I’ll have an Openreach FttP ONT (fibre modem, as I’m sure you know!) presented in the cupboard, going into the switch and distributing to all the ethernet outlets.
Thanks!

Ryan
  • January 27th, 2019

Hi Richard,

Thanks. Yes, I only used a patch panel as I found it easier and neater to terminate the cables into the panel, then run patch cables from the panel to the switch. Quite jealous of you being able get the fibre to the premises – the best I can get is Virgin Media’s 350Mb package :/

Robert Rosenberg
  • February 5th, 2019

Hi Ryan
Excuse my ignorance but why would you not do everything as POE?
thanks
Robert

Ryan
  • February 9th, 2019

Hi Robert,

No real reason mainly because I already had bought a standard non powered switch, and felt it was easier and cheaper to just add a PoE switch to the setup. I would love to have a 48 port POE switch that I could use to peer everything, but they’re quite expensive.

Neale
  • March 21st, 2019

Hi, Just wondering how you identified the correct walls, in terms of hollowness? my understanding of interior walls is limited but I believe stud walls have solid wood running horizontally at the top and in the middle of the wall?

you also mention lifting the floorboards… was this how you routed the cable between floors?

Ryan
  • March 21st, 2019

Hi Neale,

It was tricky, mainly the issue with internal stud walls is that there is a horizontal block going across. The easiest way I found was to lift the floorboards above where the stud wall is and check for to see if the path in the wall is clear by using a cable rod, using a stud detector tool helped too.

I found the cable routing was best when ran across the ceiling, then dropped downwards. For the upper floors, the cables were routed to to the ‘loft’ and then dropped down from there.

Our house is fairly new, being built in 2000. These methods really do depend on how old your house is.

This video by Lawrence Systems might be helpful too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5XePwAO4m0 – They use a couple of different methods.

Neale
  • March 21st, 2019

Thanks Ryan, its under construction as we speak – regrettably “health and safety” prevented me from getting on site while the walls were open… though the house wont have any carpets so I should have easy access to the floorboards! I’ll take a look at the video.

Ryan
  • March 21st, 2019

Yes, I always think it’s silly health and safety prevents you from going on site, I can understand why they do it though. I hope it goes well for you!

Shane
  • March 29th, 2019

Hi

Looks really good, apologies in advance however have you got a tools required to do this such as a drill, what drill bits you used, crimping tool for terminating the patch panel etc ??

Also any links for the items you purchased from black box regards to the wall mountable data points / patch panel or any thing else

Thanks

Ryan
  • March 29th, 2019

Hi Shane, thanks.

I used a punch-down and crimping too, this set includes them both along with some cable testers which are handy: https://amzn.to/2FLef80

For drill bits it really depended on what I was drilling into, mainly wood bits and plasterboard saw.

The cable from Blackbox I used is here, https://www.blackbox.co.uk/gb-gb/fi/1235/11408/GigaTrue-CAT6-bulk-cable-UTP-550MHz-solid-PVC/, wallplates here: https://www.blackbox.co.uk/gb-gb/fi/1250/13210/LJ6C-Adapters,Face-Plates-and-Back-Boxes/ and keystones: https://www.blackbox.co.uk/gb-gb/fi/1250/12024/GigaTrue2-UTP-Cat6-Keystone-Jack-110-Punchdown-Type/. The Blackbox products are quite expensive, but really good quality.

The patch panel was just a simple 1U version rated for Cat 6 from eBay/Amazon – there are loads out there.

Ibrar
  • May 1st, 2019

I just tweeted you – i have some questions about the best way to wire up my new build home – For me the best place to terminate all of my cables is in the garage but the telephone point is going to be sited in the living room. So what are my options? I have asked for a 6 jack port to be added behind the tv in the living room – one of the ports i have been told can be used as uplink cable. However networks are not my forte but happy to learn. Any advice you can offer?

Ryan
  • May 2nd, 2019

Hello,

You could run a telephone extension nto the garage and have your modem/router with the rest of your equipment. Or keep the modem/router where it is at the moment and connect an ethernet cable from the back of the drive into one of your 6 ethernet points. Then inside the garage, connect all the ethernet cables into a network switch.

Lord Junior
  • May 7th, 2019

Hi Ryan

Thanks for the post. Really really helpful.

I’ve just bought a new home (70s built) and we are redesigning / renovating the house with some structural changes.

As the house has been gutted and down to structural form I want to take advantage of the stage it’s in now and install Ethernet ports and POEs all over the home to each room so I can install POE security camera in each room as well as take advantage of cabled connections rather WiFi across the home.

Was wondering if you had ever considered doing this for other consumers if you would be paid? Willing to discuss further if you are interested and explain the plan.

Ryan
  • May 7th, 2019

Hi, thanks for the comment, I’m glad this post has helped. Unfortunately this was more of a DIY job, rather than something I specialise in, it’s not something I would be keen on doing as a paid service.

Ashley
  • July 24th, 2019

Hi Ryan

Gonna be moving house soon and want to do something like you have but i have a few questions if you don’t mind. I’m planning on using an unmanaged switch not a POE, is the only reason you used a POE becuase you had an IP phone? also what happens if lets say you plug in a device that doesnt need POE like and xbox for example? Also if my CCTV cameras need POE can i not just purchase an injector to use with my switch? only plan on connecting Tv’s, consoles and computers to it but there are a lot. Any advice would be helpful thanks.

Ryan
  • July 24th, 2019

Hi Ashley.

Yes pretty much the only reason I went with POE – I have PoE enabled phones, WiFi access points and IP cameras, so it made sense me to use this.

PoE switches are able to auto negotiate, so if you plug in a device which is not PoE enabled it will still work and only send data instead of power.

And yes, if you only have a few PoE devices it would be cheaper to use PoE injectors to power your specific devices.

ashley
  • July 26th, 2019

Hi Ryan

Thanks for the reply.

Quick few questions if you dont mind.
Did you put the superhub into modem mode or leave it in router mode?
Is it possible to leave it in router mode and connect multiple unmanaged switches to the superhub?
Is it possible to put it in modem mode and connect a switch to the superhub and then another switch to the first?

Thanks

Ashley

Ryan
  • July 28th, 2019

Hi Ashley,

This depends on your setup. I did put my Superhun in modem mode, but only because I was using a separate router, if you’re not then leave it in the default mode. You can connect a switch directly to one of the four ports on the back of the superhub using Ethernet patch cables, then any additional switches to either the superhub’s rear ports again or to the first switch you connected The switches can be daisy chained. Hope that helps! 🙂

Ibrar
  • August 5th, 2019

Is there a way to combine POE Switch and the HP ProCurve into one unit? Like a 12 port option?

Ryan
  • August 5th, 2019

Hi Ibrar, you could buy a switch which does only PoE which will also allow you to connect standard non-PoE devices too, or do what I have done and connect the switches together via a standard patch ethernet cable.

Shane
  • August 13th, 2019

Hi Ryan

Any suggestions on a wall mounted switch cabinet ?

Also I am still doing research as won’t be ready to do this for a couple or so years

However are you aware of any good PC case’s that will fit into a switch cabinet along with

Two 12 port Patch Panels
One 24 port Switch
PDU power surge protected mains power supply
hopefully have a little bit more space for another switch and a couple more patch panels

I am looking at building my own custom PC with a four port i350-T4 or similar NIC and installing PFSense on this – using this as my router

I was looking at one of those mini PC / small PC’s but it would annoy me having that randomly somewhere in the switch cabinet and not being able to fix it inside of the switch cabinet in the same way you would a switch or patch panels etc

Ryan
  • August 13th, 2019

Hi Shane,

I have made an update post which might help you: https://ryanfitton.co.uk/blog/home-network-setup-whats-in-my-rack-2019/

Essentially, I upgraded to a larger rack. It’s slightly taller and deeper to accommodate a rack case I bought. Specifically this one here: https://www.logic-case.com/products/rackmount-chassis/3u/3u-short-depth-chassis-w-3-x-525-drive-bays-sc-34390/ – it was the shortest depth case I could find.

The only reason why I picked the Mini PC is that it offered a good performance to price ratio and was fanless. If I had the extra space and wasn’t bothered about power usage then I’d use a standard 1U device.

Living in the UK means electric prices aren’t super cheap. I’m currently drawing about 120 watts which equates to around d £10 a month based on the devices in the rack running 24/7.

Gerald Clark
  • August 13th, 2019

Hi.

Great job. I wanted to just wire a lead into my new extension. Is the switch essential, or do you think I could just run cable, with a socket on each end and plug one end directly into my BT router, computer in extension into the other end?

Ryan
  • August 13th, 2019

Hi Gerald, thanks. Yes just using a RJ45 connector on either end would work just fine.

If you’re running the cable externally, make sure you buy outdoor rated cable as the coating on the cable will protect the sheath from UV light and should prevent the cable from degrading through years of sunlight.

And if you’re not crimping your own connectors, place some masking tape around the connector to prevent damage when feeding the cable through the wall.

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