Forum Thread

Ethernet Wired Home

DrDavid 319 216 March 21, 2016 at 02:07 PM
I am moving into a home and the previous owner wired the house with multiple ethernet outlets in every single room - even closets. Next to electrical outlets, but also many rooms have it near the ceiling.
I am not the most tech savvy, but would love to take advantage of this.

Anyone have any advice on what products I can buy/install to use this wired home at full potential?

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#2
Do all the lines lead to a central utility closet\room? Assuming yes, then it is a simple matter of having your ethernet connection from your router connect to a gigabit switch (or switches) in the central location to which the leads from the various rooms connect. Then you can plug in at each location and use another switch if needed to go between multiple devices in the same room if needed.
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#3
I am in the finishing stages of putting in 2800ft of Cat6 in my house for this. I made a post earlier about this and plan on making a post after I am done as well to show off the work.

It's common to put them near outlets after construction has been completed for a couple of reasons. It's more eye pleasing to put some outlets together. It's also practical because most devices will need power as well if they have networking (Excluding power over Ethernet), and it's easier to find wall cavities as power is on a stud so you can measure 10 inches to either side and hit empty wall most of the time. I would assume the jacks on the ceiling are for power over Ethernet cameras. I am thinking maybe a baby monitor type scenario. or a parent watching a baby sitter etc.

As Yanks asked, do they all terminate in one location? Hopefully everything is labeled either with color or numbers etc. As he suggested you will need a switch to join them together and the connect to your router. It probably makes the most sense to connect your router in the same location as all the terminations if the previous owner thought things through. f you want to take some photos and post them we can help. As far as what to do with it the cheaper route is to only make the jacks active you need. No need to make the jacks you will never use active. Most likely if your asking here set a deal alert for an 8 port gigabit switch as a place to start. It will cost around $20 and power your wired computers, maybe an additional access point, gaming systems, roku, etc. Wired will be faster and more reliable than wireless nearly every day under every scenario.
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Last edited by LiquidRetro March 21, 2016 at 03:00 PM
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#4
Thanks for the responses!! They all terminate in one location (in a closet underneath a staircase). The cable/ethernet company for the community is going to provide a switch.
It's a new construction built by a previous owner who backed out.

My main question is - what cool/neat things can I do since I have ethernet outlets everywhere in the house. Smart Home, Audio, Security, etc etc.

I am not sure if the previous owner intended for there to be security cameras in every room - I think thats probably a little much unless its for a baby's room.
I do have hook ups outside for PoE cameras which I will likely utilize.
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Last edited by DrDavid March 21, 2016 at 04:22 PM
#5
Quote from DrDavid View Post :
Thanks for the responses!! They all terminate in one location (in a closet underneath a staircase). The cable/ethernet company for the community is going to provide a switch.
It's a new construction built by a previous owner who backed out.

My main question is - what cool/neat things can I do since I have ethernet outlets everywhere in the house. Smart Home, Audio, Security, etc etc.
Careful, if the cable company 'provides' it you'll probably be paying a monthly fee and it might just be the 4 ports built into their gateway. I'd recommend you don't connect the jacks to the switch until you're actually going to use them.

As to cool and neat, an ethernet cable is only so interesting... Primary uses will be anything with wired networking or as telephone jacks. You can do things like install multiple access points with the same name and key on different channels so you have no wifi dead zones. They're expensive, but you can get a set of HDBaseT adapters to convert a single cable into an HDMI cable.

As to "Smart Home, Audio, Security, etc" the jacks aren't going to be placed optimally for those uses. There are some wall controls for home automation, intercom, and "whole house audio" systems that use cat-5/6 wiring but they're pretty expensive and it could be hard to use the existing cables with them. Some of them require multiple cables. You may still be able to use them, but you'd end up with a blank wall plate in place of the existing jack. Converting one of those ceiling jacks to a motion sensor or glass brake sensor is easier, but some alarms don't really like twisted pair wiring. In the audio dept, some speaker wire would be more versatile.
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#6
Quote from DrDavid View Post :
Thanks for the responses!! They all terminate in one location (in a closet underneath a staircase). The cable/ethernet company for the community is going to provide a switch.
It's a new construction built by a previous owner who backed out.

My main question is - what cool/neat things can I do since I have ethernet outlets everywhere in the house. Smart Home, Audio, Security, etc etc.

I am not sure if the previous owner intended for there to be security cameras in every room - I think thats probably a little much unless its for a baby's room.
I do have hook ups outside for PoE cameras which I will likely utilize.

Quote from jkee View Post :
Careful, if the cable company 'provides' it you'll probably be paying a monthly fee and it might just be the 4 ports built into their gateway. I'd recommend you don't connect the jacks to the switch until you're actually going to use them.

As to cool and neat, an ethernet cable is only so interesting... Primary uses will be anything with wired networking or as telephone jacks. You can do things like install multiple access points with the same name and key on different channels so you have no wifi dead zones. They're expensive, but you can get a set of HDBaseT adapters to convert a single cable into an HDMI cable.

As to "Smart Home, Audio, Security, etc" the jacks aren't going to be placed optimally for those uses. There are some wall controls for home automation, intercom, and "whole house audio" systems that use cat-5/6 wiring but they're pretty expensive and it could be hard to use the existing cables with them. Some of them require multiple cables. You may still be able to use them, but you'd end up with a blank wall plate in place of the existing jack. Converting one of those ceiling jacks to a motion sensor or glass brake sensor is easier, but some alarms don't really like twisted pair wiring. In the audio dept, some speaker wire would be more versatile.

I agree with JKEE to be careful of the switch brought in. It will likely be a basic 4 port or something like that and might not even be gigabit. I would supply your own personally it will allow you to hook up more, not pay for it monthly, make sure it's gigabit etc.

I think the approach should be to find a need for something and then figure out the product that will work. So "I want a security system" ok so then you find a security system that runs over Ethernet.

Since it's new construction it was easily added during construction for minimal cost and something in my opinion every house should have. Faster and faster internet speeds are coming out nation wide and many cable boxes are using IP for video rather than coax. as nice as wireless is a wire is still faster and much more reliable. I would agree it's not ideal for home audio but IP speakers do exist, but then again the positions probably are not right either for speakers.

For me at home the driving factor of going wired was a couple of things.

1) Speed. I have been using powerline adapters and they are ok, I have to reset them from time to time and they are not super fast.

2) Reliable for streaming media in the house I don't have to have any buffers etc. I also plan on getting a NAS and this allows me to allow fast access to that.

3) Fiber Ready - My city is going through a city wide fiber rollout for 1gb/s internet. Want to get the maximum speed available to my main systems rather than deal with wireless of powerline that wont get as close as wired would.
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#7
The best use for all those hardlines is static devices like desktop computers or TVs/smart devices. Anything else will be using WiFi. Perhaps some PoE cameras if the drops are in the right place. I used to be all about hardwiring everywhere but with WiFi being so good it really isn't needed anymore.
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#8
Quote from dealgate View Post :
The best use for all those hardlines is static devices like desktop computers or TVs/smart devices. Anything else will be using WiFi. Perhaps some PoE cameras if the drops are in the right place. I used to be all about hardwiring everywhere but with WiFi being so good it really isn't needed anymore.
Thanks for the advice.
I will definitely utilize the ports for my desktops/tvs/apple tv

Thankfully the previous owner has ethernet hook up on the rear and front of the house for a security video - so I will definitely utilize that as well.

Thanks for your help!
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#9
If your going for POE cameras you will need a poe switch. You will also need a server to store the recordings. Make sure you get some good cameras too.

If the house is large and wifi gets flaky, I would suggest getting some POE access points. Maybe Ubiquiti pro aps? The regular ones require specific POE adapters which kind've sucks.

Equipment provided by isps usually isn't the best, but works. They definitely wont be giving you a POE switch though, unless maybe you specifically ask...
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#10
Quote from LiquidRetro View Post :
I agree with JKEE to be careful of the switch brought in. It will likely be a basic 4 port or something like that and might not even be gigabit. I would supply your own personally it will allow you to hook up more, not pay for it monthly, make sure it's gigabit etc.

I think the approach should be to find a need for something and then figure out the product that will work. So "I want a security system" ok so then you find a security system that runs over Ethernet.

Since it's new construction it was easily added during construction for minimal cost and something in my opinion every house should have. Faster and faster internet speeds are coming out nation wide and many cable boxes are using IP for video rather than coax. as nice as wireless is a wire is still faster and much more reliable. I would agree it's not ideal for home audio but IP speakers do exist, but then again the positions probably are not right either for speakers.

For me at home the driving factor of going wired was a couple of things.

1) Speed. I have been using powerline adapters and they are ok, I have to reset them from time to time and they are not super fast.

2) Reliable for streaming media in the house I don't have to have any buffers etc. I also plan on getting a NAS and this allows me to allow fast access to that.

3) Fiber Ready - My city is going through a city wide fiber rollout for 1gb/s internet. Want to get the maximum speed available to my main systems rather than deal with wireless of powerline that wont get as close as wired would.

Wrt home audio, I really do not see the change from speaker wire happening anytime soon. The speakers need to be powered and POE does not supply a lot of power from what I have seen.
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#11
Quote from YanksIn2009 View Post :
Wrt home audio, I really do not see the change from speaker wire happening anytime soon. The speakers need to be powered and POE does not supply a lot of power from what I have seen.
You don't see speakers powered directly by Ethernet. There are whole house audio systems that send the audio and power over ethernet to an in wall controller, but they run speaker wire from the in wall control to speakers.

I also don't see ethernet taking off in the security market. Generally most alarm wiring diagrams will list a shorter distance that's acceptable when using twisted pair wiring.
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#12
Quote from YanksIn2009 View Post :
Wrt home audio, I really do not see the change from speaker wire happening anytime soon. The speakers need to be powered and POE does not supply a lot of power from what I have seen.
I don't disagree with you, my point was IP speakers do exist if OP wants them. Not super practical in most situations.
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#13
Note to OP that CAT6 is very useful for stuff other than network traffic - just about any low voltage signal can be "sent" over ethernet wiring, although there will be losses. e.g. speakers, intercom, POTS, etc
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#14
Quote from Dr. J View Post :
Note to OP that CAT6 is very useful for stuff other than network traffic - just about any low voltage signal can be "sent" over ethernet wiring, although there will be losses. e.g. speakers, intercom, POTS, etc
It's not recommended for thermostat wire though. Not a large enough gauge even though almost all thermostats are low voltage now.
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