What Do You Want?

  

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  Chapter 4

  NEW!

  VOIP

  (Voice Over Internet Protocol)

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  Chapter 1

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  Extra’s

  ?2001

  Bob Catanzarite

  What Do You Want?

  What do you want your Structured Wiring

  to include? If you are trying to go the Do It Yourself route here you

  first need to ask yourself what you think your personal capabilities are. I’ll

  do my best to expose you to the details of doing things yourself here and

  include links to other who may be able to do a better job of explaining things.

  Before you invest your time and money in this you should be reasonably sure you

  will be able to do this kind of work. You should be good with tools and have

  some experience with running wiring in a house. Having run power lines

  through walls to add an outlet is good background. Doing the same for telephone

  or cable TV is good. Don’t bite off more than you can chew – but then

  again – don’t underestimate your ability to learn something new.

  Here are some of the wiring types that

  you can choose from:

  Data

  Video

  Telephone

  Audio

  Fiber Optics

  Infrared Control

  Alarm (including surveillance video)

  VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol)

  Let’s touch briefly on each of these choices.

  Data

  For me data networking was one of the major

  reasons for taking on this project. With multiple PC in my home I wanted all of

  these PC to be networked. This would allow a number of things to happen:

  - Internet Connection Sharing – Having multiple

  PC’s sharing a single internet connection.

  - File Sharing – Having the ability to access files on located on any of the

  PC’s hard disk from any other PC.

  - Resource Sharing – The ability to use devices such as scanners and printers

  from any of the PC’s.

  The obvious data networking medium of choice for me was ethernet. With phone

  line networking (PNA), power line networking and several wireless networking

  options available you may ask why run special wiring dedicated to networking?

  Speed for starters. The best you can expect out of the other non-ethernet

  options I listed is 11Mbps. Even this 11Mbps that wireless is advertised as in

  reality only gets you in the 4.5Mbps range in real performance. CAT5 wiring supports Fast Ethernet running at

  100Mbps and possibly even gigabit ethernet if you do everything right. Security is another for choosing ethernet. RF from the wireless and the

  power lines from the power line network extend outside your home opening up

  access to your network and the PC’s connected to it. Cost is another. Ethernet

  is usually cheaper but wireless is getting pretty cheap as well.. My Links page includes

  links to information about the non-ethernet data networking options so you can explore those and

  decide for yourself. This site is all about structured wiring so

  I’ll focus on ethernet.

  Speed, security and cost alone are compelling

  reasons for choosing ethernet. Even if you want a wireless network to free

  your laptop or your PDA from wires you should still seriously consider adding

  ethernet as well. I can see how it will become practical

  to use the speed of ethernet to distribute audio and video through out your

  home. Here again you have look beyond your current wants and needs to anticipate

  the future.

  Fiber Optics has a lot of potential for more

  widespread application. It’s fast! It’s expensive. And it requires a lot of

  skills and training. You may be able to handle this but it’s beyond my

  capabilities for the time being. You’ll have to look elsewhere for do it yourself help. Sorry, but

  I know my limitations. Check the links page

  for more on fiber optics. I may update this site soon to include more

  on fiber optics.

  So, I’ll focus here on ethernet because that is

  what I know best and because I think that most reasonably nimble fingered and

  nimble minded folk can do this.

  The commonly used forms of

  ethernet in the home come in two speeds – 10 Mbps and 100 Mbps and now Gigabit

  ethernet.

  (100Mbps refers to 100 Mega or 100 million bits per second). Almost

  all new ethernet components operate at 100Mbps which is commonly

  called ‘fast ethernet’. The 10Mbps are usually older components but

  there are some new components such as cable modems which operate at

  10Mbps. And most NIC cards, hub, switches, etc. will operate at

  both speeds. Gigabit ethernet operating at 1000Mbps is available an becoming

  cheaper and more prominent but I’m not getting into the specifics of Gigabit

  Ethernet. Everything I have on this website does still apply when your dealing

  with Gigabit Ethernet.

  On the cabling front CAT5

  cabling will support up to 1000Mbps (Gigabit Ethernet). CAT5 will work fine down at 10Mbps

  as well. In addition there are CAT cable ratings of CAT5e and CAT6.

  See the chart below. CAT5e or enhanced CAT5 has higher capabilities in

  a number of parameters. But, CAT5e is still only rated for 100Mbps.

  You might wonder why bother with CAT5e if its bit rate is the same as

  CAT5? Cat5e has more headroom in some of the other cable performance specs, meaning several parameters are rated

  higher than they need to be. I’ll explain an advantage of this extra

  headroom later in the website. CAT6 is capable of 1000Mbps.

  These standards are more than a

  bit confusing and are changing as well. Added to that many cable

  suppliers are stating that their cable will work at higher bit rates. Most of those claims are probably correct. But, here is the commonly

  accepted simplification of all this:

  Cable Rating

  Bit Rate

  CAT5

  up to 1,000 Mbps

  CAT5e

  up to 1,000 Mbps

  CAT6

  up to 1,000 Mbps

  See my Special Note about

  Gigabit Ethernet below for more on how fast these CATx cables will actually

  go.

  And here are some details of the

  different cable ratings:

  EIA/TIA Specs

  Specification

  Category 5

  Category 5E

  Category 6

  Frequency Range

  1-100 MHz

  1-100 MHz

  1-250 MHz

  Attenuation at 100MHz

  22 dB

  22 dB

  19.8 dB

  NEXT at 100MHz

  32.3 dB

  35.3 dB

  44.3 dB

  Power sum NEXT at 100MHz

  Not Spec’d*

  32.3 dB

  42.3 dB

  Power sum ACR

  Not Spec’d*

  3.1 dB

  15.4 dB

  ELFEXT at 100MHz

  Not Spec’d*

  23.8 dB

  27.8 dB

  Power sum ELFEXT

  Not Spec’d*

  20.8 dB

  24.8 dB

  Return Loss

  16 dB

  20.1 dB

  20.1 dB

  Propagation Delay

  548 ns*

  548 ns

  548 ns

  Delay Skew per 100M

  Not Spec’d*

  45 ns

  45 ns

  See this link

  for some details about the differences between CAT5 and CAT5e. I used CAT5 cables, plugs and jacks

  in my data network because ,at that time (early in 2000), they were considerably cheaper than

  CAT5e. Today CAT5e would be my choice based on pricing and availability.

  On this website I’ll use the term

  ’CATx’ which I use to describe ANY cable that is CAT5 or better.

  Special Note about Gigabit Ethernet

  Recently the IEEE standard for Gigabit Ethernet was approved

  and is now called 1000BASE-T. CAT5 will work with gigabit but

  there are conditions to that. Some older CAT5 cables were built to an early

  version of the CAT5 spec and will not work with gigabit. So, only newer CAT5

  cables will work. And, basically, you have to do

  EVERYTHING to spec and strictly ‘by the book’ for this to work. Most actually

  recommend that CAT5e be used – the overhead margin that CAT5e has will allow you

  a better chance of success. In fact most recommend that your older CAT5 wiring installation

  actually be tested to ensure it will meet all the required specs. This testing

  expense is well beyond the capacity of most home users. You CAN go out and buy

  gigabit NIC’s and Switches BUT they may or may not work

  with your CAT5 (and even CAT5e) wiring installation if you have not followed all

  of the good practice wiring rules. For these reasons I

  recommend using CAT5e cable for gigabit applications and do everything by the

  book and don’t compromise anything.

  But aware too that gigabit actually uses ALL 4 pair of the CATx cables where 100Base-T Fast Ethernet and

  10Base-T only used two of the four pairs. See my Links

  page for more on Gigabit Ethernet.

  In general most Gigabit Ethernet components will attempt to operate at 1000Mbps

  and if the cable won’t perform well it will switch down to the lower 100Mbps

  speed.

  Telephone

  Telephone wiring is an obvious choice as a

  wiring type to include. Telephone wiring does not require high performance

  cable to work. The cable commonly used in the past for telephone was the

  familiar 4 conductor variety and is commonly referred to as POTS (Plain Old

  Telephone Standard). But now the minimum recommended wiring for telephone

  is CAT3. The photo below has CAT5 on the left and

  POTS on the right. Notice that CAT5 has the twisted pairs where the POTS does

  not. This gives CAT5 higher immunity from electrical interference.

  

  (Click for a Larger Image)

  Now since your already using CAT5 or better for your

  network cabling it makes a lot of sense to use the same CATx cable for the

  phones as well. CAT5 is not that much more expensive than POTS. And using CAT cable for

  the phone means you’ll be buying a larger quantity of the CATx cable and can take

  advantage of discounts for bulk or higher quantities. CATx has the additional

  advantage of being capable of carrying 4 phone lines over the 2 line capacity of

  the POTS cable.

  One important thing to

  note here. I get a lot of questions from people asking if it is ok the run

  telephone lines through the two unused pair of wires in CATx cable used

  for Ethernet Data. My answer to this is NO!. Others will answer YES but under certain

  conditions. Actually this MAY work for

  you until the the phone rings and you use the phone. Ring signals are high

  voltage (90 volt) AC signals and WILL interfere with 100Mbps high speed ethernet

  communications. And, gigabit and Power Over Ethernet use all 4 pairs so these

  applications don’t have and unused wires. In general this unorthodox use of Ethernet cables is something I DON’T RECOMMEND.

  Do this and your on your own.

  Video

  Video wiring is another obvious choice as a

  wiring type to include. With

  the right choice of cabling you can use you video wiring to carry signals from

  local broadcast reception antennas, CATV (Cable TV), DSS (Digital Satellite Services) and baseband video

  (such as from a video camera). And with the high degree of configurability you

  can get with a structured wiring system you can easily accommodate all of these

  signals. And if do like I did and run two video lines to every outlet plate you can even do things such as allow a digital CATV converter box

  located in your bedroom to also feed a spare TV in another room. Or to

  use a DVD player in the living room to feed a TV in the basement. Very

  cool and this can save you the expense of buying multiple devices.

  The most widely recommended type of

  video cable

  for structured wiring in RG6/U quad shielded coax. Standard RG6/U coax

  has dual shields and to get quad shields you have to use ‘RG6/U

  quad shielded coax’. This cabling is

  relatively inexpensive and widely available. A more common type of cabling you

  are likely to be familiar with is RG59. This RG59 is slightly thinned and

  more flexible and has been commonly used for antenna and CATV applications. But

  with the both higher and lower frequencies you’ll encounter with DSS, digital

  CATV and broadband cable modems, RG59 is not the best choice any more because

  the signal losses are higher than RG6/U and RG6/U qual shield. RG6/U has

  less signal loss at both higher and lower frequencies especially with longer

  runs of cabling. And the quad shielding gives higher immunity from electrical

  interference. See the section on Coax Stripping for

  more on this.

  For cabling that you’ll install

  in the walls and attics and such I would use exclusively RG6/U quad

  shielded coax. For short cable runs outside the walls, say from the

  wall outlet to the TV or the VCR, the use of the thinner more flexible

  RG59 is OK. Common RG59 is a dual shield coax and, as far as I know,

  is not available in quad shielded form. Just limit the use of RG59 to

  short cable runs (say 20′ or so).

  Audio

  My idea of whole house audio is one pair of very sweet sounding Definitive

  Technologies Pro

  Tower 400 speakers with 245 watts per channel to persuade them. Crank

  up the volume on these babies and you’ll have a whole house full of excellent

  sounding audio. I

  obviously chose to leave out audio from my structured wiring plan. I’ll avoid

  this subject for the time being because I haven’t researched it fully.

  Fiber Optics

  Fiber Optics has a lot of potential for more

  widespread application. It’s fast! It’s expensive. And it requires a lot of

  skills and training. You may be able to handle this but it’s beyond my

  capabilities for the time being. You’ll have to look elsewhere for do it yourself help. Sorry, but

  I know my limitations. Check the links page

  for more on fiber optics. I may update this site soon to include more

  on fiber optics if I ever get smarter.

  Infrared Control

  I don’t have any plans to

  support this topic.

  Alarm (including surveillance video)

  I don’t have any plans to

  support this topic.

  Wireless Networking

  This website being titled

  ’Structured Wiring – How To’ is all about wiring. But, wireless can be

  combined with wired components to enhance your Structured Wiring

  System. I have in fact added an 802.11b wireless network to my

  own Structured Wiring System. Additionally I have added some sections to this

  website on Wireless Networking. You can access these sections from links on the

  left side of all my web pages.

  VOIP Voice Over Internet Protocol

  A well done Structured Wiring system will

  accommodate VOIP VERY WELL and with little modification. In fact I have added

  Vontage VOIP to my system and have a page

  that describes how you can do that too.

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