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 in each room?
  • Socket locations?
  • Ethernet cable – Cat5, 6 or 7 Cable ? (cat 6 recommended)
  • Will you use a patch panel?

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

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

References

Related Tutorials

Please Let me Know if you found it Useful
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23 comments

  1. I am in the process of remodeling my house and am moving my router to a wiring cabinet. I currently have on ethernet jack installed for the TV and entertainment center with a switch for the numerous consoles. I am moving the jack for the TV and I’m curious as to if there is a benefit to me running additional cables for each device to the new location or if my current setup of having a single jack with a switch would be the same.
    Thanks.

  2. Steve, having the issue of rewiring my home, or at least partially, I would suggest a slight change to your recommendations for wiring. Since there is very little difference in price between Cat 6 and Cat 7/8 I believe Cat 7/8 is the best option. Given that the work to run or in my case rerun cables this is a task best done only once. While it might seem absurd now to plan for a 40 Gbit network remember it was not long ago that a Gbit network would have sounded absurd for a home network.

    I might also suggest that the majority of homes are going to be well served with just a switch to handle wiring vs a patch panel. How many homeowners really need wired ethernet in each room? Given that most devices for the foreseeable future will utilize some form or wireless connection then the wired network can be used for the WiFi backhaul network and for any devices such as servers that require higher speed connections. I will most likely only have one wired connection between floors then branch from switches to the other wired connection points from the attic and basement or crawlspace.

    Add in a modern Mesh Network which will cover all the mobile clients, TVs, and smart devices and that should minimize the necessary cable fishing for existing home owners (hoping to get 1 Gbit over a advertised 2 Gbit Mesh network) . Sure if it is new construction go ahead and put outlets in many locations but the vast majority of us are retrofitting existing structures. And with a 40 Gbit cable run between floors we can gradually upgrade switches and clients as well as Internet service to increase network speeds. But only pull cables one time if at all possible. I am even considering pulling one strand of Twinax and or fiber on that one link between floors. I am just hoping I can pull one set of cables between floors using existing Cat 5 (and no not Cat 5e) to pull the new cable between floors.

    These are just my opinions based on facing some challenges in my own home.

    1. Tks very much for the the useful comment. I agree that you might as well run the best available as it is a lot of work running cable and not something you really want to repeat.
      I also agree with the patch panel comment as being an overkill for most homes.
      Because it is almost impossible to know where to put sockets in a room in a domestic environment I would limit it to probably one per floor to provide a fast backhaul and I think that would accommodate most installations.
      Rgds
      Steve

  3. HI Steve,
    Our new place has no pre-installed data sockets on the walls, but we hopefully drive cables under the floorboards during refurbishment. We will have a virgin fiber optic installation soon – which would then bring the internet to the living room. There are three bedrooms and we would like to put double outlet data sockets in each bedroom. Firstly I m unsure do i need a socket on the living room wall as well, or i should just lead the cable directly from the virgin hardware to the TV, apple tv etc… ? Secondly, what do i need to ‘feed’ each of the wall-sockets ? It feels there need to be some ‘input’ from the virgin modem to somewhere where the lose ends of the cables for the bedroom sockets will be. But i m not sure how this needs to be done neatly.
    Many thanks for your advice
    Erika

    1. Generally you wire all sockets back to a central location that contains you networking equipment including router.
      For flexibility they terminate on a patch panel, but they can terminate on a RJ45 connector (standard connector you find on Ethernet cables) which you plug into a switch.
      The switch is the device that connects all your sockets together and to the internet. Does that make sense
      Rgds
      Steve

  4. Hi Steve,
    I have CAT5e configured in B standard and in the end RJ45 connector B as well.
    I connect another cable to my router to the keystone and from the keystone to a computer.
    It takes very long time for network to start working, it mostly works when I do manual configuration but no internet access, any idea?

  5. I have a question. I have a studio room I want to run cat 5e to. (Already have the cable, jacks and plates.

    Essentially it will plug into the back of my router downstairs to the room upstairs. With a terminated wall plate in one room to a terminated wall plate in another room.

    Then using cable from the router in the living room to the wall plate. The same for The upstairs room. Essentially it would be like running one long cable from the computer to the router with the exception that there will be wall plates with terminated jacks.

    When wiring .. should I keep the standard across the jacks or do I need to flip connections somewhere?

  6. Hi Steve,

    This – along with your other posts – is really helpful.

    I have just moved into a house which fortunately already has ethernet sockets in a number of the rooms. These are wired to a faceplate in the living room, and then I would connect my router to each of those 4 ports (one for each room) via 4 short ethernet cables.

    I would like to have strong wifi in each of these rooms and so what is the easiest way of doing that? I assume I’d need to plug in another router to the ethernet ports in each of the rooms? My understanding is that I don’t need a wifi extender/booster because it would not be wirelessly receiving signal (but rather via the ethernet network) – it would just need to transmit signal – so what’s the best way of doing that? Does that make sense? I just want to make the most of these ports.

    Thanks!
    Rob

    1. You need a simple wireless access point they cost around $25. The POE means that if the router on the other end supports it you don’t need a separate power supply but in your case you probably will.
      https://amzn.to/39unWp2

      rgds
      steve

    2. Rob, if Steve does not mind I will offer an opinion for you as well. In many cases in a home network you want everything on one network. Otherwise if you have a printer on one network (independent router) you will have difficulty getting to it from a device on another router. This is where Access Points, or WiFi Extenders are useful and for the best WiFi ultimately a Mesh network if you can justify the cost. Theoretically, just putting up routers running in Access Point mode will give great access but I have run into IP conflicts in this situation. So unless you are comfortable assigning fixed IP addresses to specific MAC addresses then I would go with either extenders or a Mesh network. A fairly inexpensive Mesh network is available from TP-Link (not a plug for a vendor) via its recent routers and extenders. I have this running but ultimately am replacing it with a true Mesh network to get the higher speeds I am looking for. Also, from experience if you are doing any Smart Home stuff with WiFi switches, security cameras and Smart TVs then you will really want a single WiFi network so your voice systems can control everything on one network. Also, any smart devices typically have WiFi systems with limited range so you will want a very strong WiFi signal on a single network throughout your house. Unfortunately, I have learned all of this the hard way and hope I can save you a few headaches.

  7. Hi
    I have to wire home network patch panel to carry internet signal to each room with cat6 cable there are 6 rooms to serve can you help with a single line drawing to wire it correctly pls
    Thanks

  8. Very informative videos! I have a lot of questions regarding the patch panels and switches.

    First: The infrastructure:
    We’re installing 6 internet cables throughout the appartment that terminate in the bedrooms in double wall sockets. On the other end these 6 cables come together near the livingroom window, which is where the outside internet cable enters the house, unfortunately. Our ISP provides a type of modem/router through which the TV and telephone connection passes as well. This modem has only 4 internet slots available, however. For this reason, I was thinking of using a patch panel to neatly gather all 6 cables and connect them to the modem.

    My question is: if I am not interested in creating some home network beyond 4 computers that I would have otherwise simply directly plugged into the modem, how would I best hook up the 6 cables to said modem? The 2 surplus cables would be there for occasional use by switching out connections, perhaps.

    I keep seeing diagrams of patch panels where 10+ devices are plugged in, and only 1 cable feeding to a modem. Alternatively, these same diagrams include a switch (which seem to either require knowledge on how to allocate or prioritize data, or, if they don’t have such features, appear to result in throttling roommates when downloading or streaming too much).
    Would it even make sense to use all 4 ports on the modem and connect them to the patch panel? Would this create less of a bottleneck for the data processing by the modem? -I am thinking of an analogy to water, having 4 tubes of similar diameter would increase total capacity 4x, does the same thing hold for using 4 cables between the modem and the patch panel?-
    Would I be much better off adding a switch between the patch panel and the modem? If so, would the switch benefit from 4x the number of cables connecting it to the modem and would adding a switch add another layer of security risk when it comes to computers getting infected with viruses, or would it be equally low risk to having 4 computers connected to the same modem?

    Thank you in advance for replying to any of these questions, I realize it’s a lot to unpack, but your videos have been the clearest to me.

    Yours,

    Yannick

  9. I used to install the cabling and make custom patch cables but that was nearly 20 years ago. it looks like technology hasn’t changed that much and I still have some ofg the necessary tools to string together my home network in the US. A recent tech quoted me about $600 USD to install the the Cat8 and it didn’t include materials!

    1. Hi

      In the patch panel, how many times can I krone into a single strip?
      Eg for a standard telephone master socket you can krone twice running the telco cable in parallel.

  10. Very interesting. How much would it cost for an expert to lay ethernet cables to two rooms and then each room ethernet can connect to a laptop with a loose ethernet cable?
    Many thanks for any help

    1. les I would budget on approx £60 per hour. Difficult to say exactly as it depends on how difficult it is the get the cable to the rooms and if you want it hidden or not.
      Rgds
      Steve

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