Wiring A Home Network-(Practical Beginners Guide)

Although creating a wired Ethernet network isn’t expensive it is time consuming, involves basic DIY abilities, and making a mess.

It is because of this that it is best done when you have a completely new build or a major refurbishment.



There are many ways of extended your current network without drilling holes in walls and running Ethernet cables. See how to extend a home network.

However for those of you who are thinking of having it done ,or doing it yourself then I have put together these research notes that may help.

Getting Started

The first and most important part is creating a plan. You will need to consider:

  • Will you have a Central distribution point? and Where will it be located.
  • How many rooms will you wire?
  • What are the Wiring routes?
  • How many sockets (Ethernet outlets) in each room?
  • Socket locations?
  • Ethernet cable – Cat5, 6 or 7 Cable ? (cat 6 recommended)
  • Will you use a patch panel?
  • best way to run Ethernet cable?

Next you need to make a list of what you will need.

  • Basic Tools e.g. drills etc
  • Networking tools for crimping cables.
  • UTP Ethernet cable (Cat 5,6 or 7)
  • Termination sockets and connectors.
  • Ethernet Switch or switches.

Ref: What are the requirements for a Home Network?

Networking Components Overview

Cable – For home networks cat 6 is probably the best choice today. CAT 7 (latest version)  is shielded which adds complications to the installation.

Solid vs stranded cable – See here. For backbone cabling use solid.

RJ45 Connectors -Terminates the cable and plugs into a computer/switch/socket.

Wall-socket –Terminates the cable in a room and accepts RJ45 Connectors.

Wall face plates– These Cover wall sockets.

Keystone jacks These are female connectors that are  usually mounted into a wall plate or patch panel.They are part of a wall socket,

Keystone plug is the matching male connector, usually attached to the end of a cable or cord.

Mixing Cat5 cables, jacks and Cat 6 cables and Keystone Jacks. – The general consensus it that it should work, but try not to do it. For example: Cat6 cable has a thicker copper wire and insulation and the cat6 jacks are made to take this into consideration.

Patch Panel and Wall Socket Types

Old type wall sockets and patch panels had the wiring connections as part of the socket/panel whereas newer ones tend to have holes that accept keystone jacks. If you watch a couple of the videos you will see these two types.

Home Ethernet Wiring Options

Therehome-wiring-schematic

There are two main options as shown in the schematic above.

You can bring the cables from all wall sockets to a central location. This is the option shown in most home wiring videos on Youtube.

The other option is to use several switches perhaps one per floor and wire those switches back to a central location.

This results in a potentially slower network, but it is the option chosen when cable routing isn’t inside the wall.

What is in the Central Location

This is where all of the cables from each of the room sockets come together, and plug into a switch.

You have two option for the cable ends:

  • Wire into a patch panel ( most professional)
  • Terminate with RJ-45 plug.

Using a patch panel gives you more flexibility, but is probably an overkill in a small network.

Do you Need a Patch Panel?

The central location will most probably contain your ISP Router (Cable modem), but doesn’t have to.

Notes:

Label cables at the end in the central location as you need to know what room and socket they connect to.

Wiring Standards

This is what cable colour is wired to what pin on the connectors.

There are two wiring standards in use  ( 568A or 568B –wiki ). You should choose one and use it consistently everywhere.

568A is more common in Europe and Pacific countries

568B is more common in USA.

Ethernet-wiring-standards

Estimated Costs Example

2 Storey house. 4 rooms 2 sockets per room (8 double sockets total).

  • Cable run length approx 12m to each socket
  • 16 runs = 192m
  • 8 wall plates
  • 16 keystone jacks
  • switch minimum 16port but 24 port preferred.
  • Patch Panel 2*24 port panels allows for expansion -Optional
  • RJ45 Connectors
  • Connector patch cables *16  or *32 (using patch panel)

If the wall plates have two terminations then that means double the cable and keystone jacks?

Cable 2*100m rolls £37 each= approx £74
Wall plates *8 at £4 each =£32
Keystone Jacks *16 at £8 per 8pack =£16
connector cables *16 at £8 per pack of 5 – £32
Sub Total = approx £154
Optional
Patch panel*2 (24port) at £22 each= £44
patch cables (0.3m) *16 at £8 per pack of 5 – £32
Total £230
Other extras that may be required:
Punch down and crimper tools,cable ties, Drill bits etc

Useful video clips

Keystone Jack and Wall Plate

How to Wire a Wall Socket

The video shows a wall socket with the cable terminations on the back

Terminate CAT5 and CAT 6 cable using RJ45 connectors

Should you use cat5,6 or 6A The first few minutes of this video explains the difference.

Running the Cable

In a new build this is easy but in an existing house without major renovations this is no simple task. If you are thinking of doing it than this video shows you how to use cable fishing tools.

 

Keystone Jack Wall Plate and Patch Panel

Solid vs stranded Cable

Wiring a Patch Panel

Wiring a Patch Panel

This patch panel uses keystone Jacks

Home Network Racks

Although not absolutely necessary a home network rack makes a home network Installation look professional.

Racks come as open and closed cabinet. They are 19inches wide and the height is give in Units U where 1U=1.75 inches(44.45mm).

The example below is 6U high. Depth can be important so you need to understand what will go inside.

The TP-Link switch shown later will fit as it is only44cms deep.

rack-cabinet-example

 

In addition the height of the cabinet is important as you may decide to put a UPS inside as shown in this video.

Rack Mounted Switch

The screen shot below shows a rack mounted TP-Link switch.

The TP-Link switch dimensions are 18 x 44 x 4.4cm which means it is 1U high

rack-mounted-switch

Here is a good video cable management and on wiring a rack

Common Questions and Answers

Q- How far can I run Ethernet cable from router or switch?

A- 100 metres

Q-How many Ethernet outlets or sockets per room?

A- Minimum 2

Q- What is the best way to run Ethernet cable through house?

A- Through the attic or crawl space.

Q- Can you run Ethernet cables next to power cables?

A-Ideally you shouldn’t but often you must, but keep the length short and try to separate them by about 8 inches if possible and use shielded cable if possible. see Can You Run Ethernet Cable Next to Electrical Cable?

References

Related Tutorials

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52 comments

  1. Hi Steve,

    I think I might have a bad cat6 cable in the wall, after testing the wire it failed on multiple lines. Would you have any recommendations how to pull a new cable through? For instance, old cable -> tie string -> new cable? Old cable -> new cable (soap head and send?) House was built in 2010, any tips you have would be great.

    Thanks!
    Joe

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