Forum Thread

Where is the best place to put a router and Cat5e issues in a 4 story townhome?

Joe Davola 8,209 11,127 August 11, 2016 at 12:07 PM
I'm moving into a 4 story townhome. I was initially told all the Cat5e and other lines will home run into a closet on the 2nd floor. The builder however now told me:

Quote :
All of the electricians low voltage is run to the garage and then outside
and

Quote :
There is a home run box on the stoop side of the garage. The fios connection should be in the garage.
I'm going to have FiOS or Xfinity come out to provide internet, but I'm not sure where I should have them put the router or if they would even put it where I want them to.

1st floor - Rec room with TV and 2 car garage
2nd floor - great room with TV, kitchen with Sonos, dining room
3rd floor - bedrooms
4th floor - loft/office space with TV

I was also hoping to have someone convert around 5 Cat5e telephone lines the builder installed to ethernet lines, but if all the Cat5e lines are run outside and I totally screwed?

Thank you!

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#2
So are the coax and existing ethernet lines are in the garage with home runs? If so that is fine. The router can probably go there I would think. Not an ideal place to be sure but if it is all wired up I would go with it.

If not or if you prefer the router elsewhere, you can put a switch in the garage and the router in your office to connect everything and have them run the internet wire into your office. That is more secure since it puts the wire up high and makes it difficult to be cut for alarm systems and the like but it still leaves the main network switch in a garage which is not a good place for it from a security point of view as it is easy to break into a garage.

Cat 5e is ethernet and I would leave it alone as long as they work.
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Last edited by YanksIn2009 August 11, 2016 at 12:49 PM
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Thank you! Repped. See below.
Quote from YanksIn2009 View Post :
So are the coax and existing ethernet lines are in the garage with home runs? I'm not really sure. The walkthrough is tomorrow, but it would appear that all the lines might be outside (which doesn't make sense). If so that is fine. The router can probably go there I would think. Not an ideal place to be sure but if it is all wired up I would go with it.

If not or if you prefer the router elsewhere, you can put a switch What kind of switch? Do you mean just a regular unmanaged ethernet switch? in the garage and the router in your office to connect everything and have them run the internet wire into your office. That is more secure since it puts the wire up high and makes it difficult to be cut for alarm systems and the like but it still leaves the main network switch in a garage which is not a good place for it from a security point of view as it is easy to break into a garage.

Cat 5e is ethernet and I would leave it alone as long as they work. They are Cat5e ports and cables, but I believe they are all phone lines. I was told the builder doesn't install any ethernet lines. How can I easily tell whether I have ethernet lines already?
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Quote from Joe Davola View Post :
Thank you! Repped. See below.

Cat 5e is ethernet which of course you could use for your phone line if you wanted to. Old phone lines are rj-11 and have 4 wires. An ethernet connection has 8 wires and would fit into the port on your router, laptop, etc. If you have rj-11, then you have to have the ethernet wires run. If they are cat 5e they should be fine for ethernet use and running VOIP.

It makes no sense for all the home runs to be external unless of course the contractor got cheap and did not want to pay the cost of snaking wires through the walls up 4 stories and having to deal with fire stops which often requires cutting into walls\sheet rock, pulling the cable and then re-plastering and painting. If he did go external, make sure he used ethernet cables that are rated for external use and he did it to code.

As to the the switch, you would want a managed switch if possible in that location, though an unmanaged one will work just fine. A managed switch should be able to help minimize the traffic hops. Make sure EVERYTHING is gigabit including the ports on the router itself. Of course you need to make sure that you have a home run from where ever you put the router to that garage central location.

That said, putting the router in the garage is not a big deal as long as you can isolate it in a closet or something like that and put a lock on it. The only time that becomes a pita is if you need to reset it, in which case you now need to go down to the garage to manually reboot it. The other potential problem with putting it in the garage of course is that it will likely dampen the wireless strength and range. So if you have 4 floors and plan on using wireless a lot, care should be taken on placement as if it is below ground in a garage, then the signal may not reach everywhere and you will need to get repeaters or try to have it moved to a more central location.
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Last edited by YanksIn2009 August 11, 2016 at 03:51 PM
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Quote from YanksIn2009 View Post :
Cat 5e is ethernet which of course you could use for your phone line if you wanted to. Old phone lines are rj-11 and have 4 wires. An ethernet connection has 8 wires and would fit into the port on your router, laptop, etc. If you have rj-11, then you have to have the ethernet wires run. If they are cat 5e they should be fine for ethernet use and running VOIP.

It makes no sense for all the home runs to be external unless of course the contractor got cheap and did not want to pay the cost of snaking wires through the walls up 4 stories and having to deal with fire stops which often requires cutting into walls\sheet rock, pulling the cable and then re-plastering and painting. If he did go external, make sure he used ethernet cables that are rated for external use and he did it to code.

As to the the switch, you would want a managed switch if possible in that location, though an unmanaged one will work just fine. A managed switch should be able to help minimize the traffic hops. Make sure EVERYTHING is gigabit including the ports on the router itself. Of course you need to make sure that you have a home run from where ever you put the router to that garage central location.

That said, putting the router in the garage is not a big deal as long as you can isolate it in a closet or something like that and put a lock on it. The only time that becomes a pita is if you need to reset it, in which case you now need to go down to the garage to manually reboot it. The other potential problem with putting it in the garage of course is that it will likely dampen the wireless strength and range. So if you have 4 floors and plan on using wireless a lot, care should be taken on placement as if it is below ground in a garage, then the signal may not reach everywhere and you will need to get repeaters or try to have it moved to a more central location.
Thank you so much! As it turns out the FiOS connection (or at least where the builder said FiOS would have to start their installation is in a little covered I'll say box on the wall in the garage. I unfortunately didn't check the box (mostly because I wouldn't know what I was looking at), but I'm guessing that may be where everything is home run. Is a garage a good place for the home runs?
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See attached pictures. It also shows where TVs will be. Where should I have FiOS put the router for best wi-fi?
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I'd guess high up on a shelf on the 2nd floor, or on the floor of a 3rd floor room. To be completely honest, if it were me, I'd run several Cat-6 drops down the center of the place from top to bottom, and put a wireless access point on each floor.
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Quote from VorlonFrog View Post :
I'd guess high up on a shelf on the 2nd floor, or on the floor of a 3rd floor room. To be completely honest, if it were me, I'd run several Cat-6 drops down the center of the place from top to bottom, and put a wireless access point on each floor.
I would agree with this.Middle floor and or use wired access points.
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and just to show how "unpredictable" wifi coverage is, take a look a this guy's simulation of his apartment

https://jasmcole.com/2014/08/25/helmhurts/
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Quote from Joe Davola View Post :
Thank you so much! As it turns out the FiOS connection (or at least where the builder said FiOS would have to start their installation is in a little covered I'll say box on the wall in the garage. I unfortunately didn't check the box (mostly because I wouldn't know what I was looking at), but I'm guessing that may be where everything is home run. Is a garage a good place for the home runs?
Typically all your utilities terminate from the provider at the garage, then it home-runs to locations inside your house.

Electronics don't mind cold at all, it's heat that kills them...so that deters you from putting it in the garage.
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Quote from VorlonFrog View Post :
I'd guess high up on a shelf on the 2nd floor, or on the floor of a 3rd floor room. To be completely honest, if it were me, I'd run several Cat-6 drops down the center of the place from top to bottom, and put a wireless access point on each floor.
Thank you! I know it will be around 6 feet from a microwave (that won't be used much) and I did read that kitchens might not be the best place for routers, but what do you think about on the very top of the kitchen cabinets? See the attached updated pictures showing where I was thinking of putting the router on the second and third floor. FYI if placing it on the third floor I was thinking under the bed in the master bedroom.

Do you mean wired access point? Where would you suggest based on those floorplans?


Quote from LiquidRetro View Post :
I would agree with this.Middle floor and or use wired access points.
Thanks! What do you think of my proposed placements? Do you mean wireless access points? What do you think about powerlines attached to wired access points if the line dropping will be too messy or expensive?
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Quote from Joe Davola View Post :
Thanks! What do you think of my proposed placements? Do you mean wireless access points? What do you think about powerlines attached to wired access points if the line dropping will be too messy or expensive?
Some folks swear by the powerline adapters...and some swear at them.
It depends on how your house was wired and anything causing feedback/interference.

As for the router under a bed, do not put it directly on the carpet (if you have carpet) it needs to breathe so it needs to be on a hard surface for air flow.

Same as using a cloth placemat on a table, you cover the bottom vents and it will overheat.
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Quote from DC View Post :
Typically all your utilities terminate from the provider at the garage, then it home-runs to locations inside your house.

Electronics don't mind cold at all, it's heat that kills them...so that deters you from putting it in the garage.
Quote from DC View Post :
Some folks swear by the powerline adapters...and some swear at them.
It depends on how your house was wired and anything causing feedback/interference.

As for the router under a bed, do not put it directly on the carpet (if you have carpet) it needs to breathe so it needs to be on a hard surface for air flow.

Same as using a cloth placemat on a table, you cover the bottom vents and it will overheat.
Thank you! Great advice about the carpet. What if I put it on a book or a small board? Fire hazard or should I just have FiOS install it in the kitchen where indicated? Doh pics attached now.
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Quote from Joe Davola View Post :
Thank you! I know it will be around 6 feet from a microwave (that won't be used much) and I did read that kitchens might not be the best place for routers, but what do you think about on the very top of the kitchen cabinets? See the attached updated pictures showing where I was thinking of putting the router on the second and third floor. FYI if placing it on the third floor I was thinking under the bed in the master bedroom.

Do you mean wired access point? Where would you suggest based on those floorplans?
WAP = wireless access point -- for all intents and purposes, it's a wireless router that's not routing, only providing wireless access. And yes, it should be wired into your Cat-6 home ethernet network.

WAF = wife acceptance factor -- generally low for exposed wires and equipment. Closet locations are good for WAF, but poor for WAP, because the extra door/wall diminishes the wireless signal.
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Quote from VorlonFrog View Post :
WAP = wireless access point -- for all intents and purposes, it's a wireless router that's not routing, only providing wireless access. And yes, it should be wired into your Cat-6 home ethernet network.

WAF = wife acceptance factor -- generally low for exposed wires and equipment. Closet locations are good for WAF, but poor for WAP, because the extra door/wall diminishes the wireless signal.

Thanks! So put one of these [amazon.com] in the ceiling or wall of the third floor near the laundry area?
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