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Old 04-14-2008, 06:14 PM
 
16 posts, read 78,914 times
Reputation: 23

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Okay, so we're moving along nicely with the house (new construction, framing stage), and now I'm beginning the conversation about pre-wiring. Should it be Cat-5, Cat-5e, Cat-6? Should I have dedicated outlets for electronics? Should I do speakers in each room with individual wall controls? This is VERY CONFUSING for someone who bought her last TV for $88.00 in 1999. (I know, it's very embarrasing ) I don't even know what to ask for. I don't even know what Cat-5 means. Obviously, I'll have to bring in a friend to assist in my conversation with the builder.

So why am I now on the city-data forum?

I need your help figuring out either (1) what I need or (2) what I should ask for. I want to move into the 21st century, but am concerned that I'll either spend too little or spend too much on my house. Here's a short description: 3 br/2ba, family room, sunroom, dining room, kitchen/breakfast, children's retreat, and study. For sure I will have a TV in the family room, master, and children's retreat. I'm a young (late-20's, 30 is knocking though) professional and plan to do a lot of entertaining - from parties to movie night.

Any help would be much appreciated.
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Old 04-14-2008, 06:34 PM
 
Location: Lake Highlands (Dallas)
2,395 posts, read 8,012,358 times
Reputation: 1036
For a 3/2 - I really wouldn't worry about all that prewiring. I'm assuming it's a one story home. If you find you need something in the future, just add it. Cat5 is pretty much useless anymore with the quality and security of wireless networks. The one thing I think is pretty smart to do is to run a phone jack, a cable jack and an electrical outlet into the study closet. That way, when you get a cable modem or DSL or whatever, you can put a wireless router and your cable/DSL modem in the closet, plug them in, attach them to the wall, shut the door and never worry about them again and they're not cluttering up your office or living room or whatever. Nice and clean.

Builders charge an arm and a leg to run speaker wires and Cat5. It's really a rip (IMO), but the simple office wiring I mentioned above should be sufficient and keep your costs to about $300.
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Old 04-14-2008, 06:54 PM
 
70 posts, read 292,246 times
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I agree with everything Brian has suggested. No one uses wired networks anymore or for that matter plugged in phones. ou can get cordless phones in evey room, so in theory need just one phone outlet somewhere.
The only suggestion i have for you is - if the plan you picked has a model thats already built, get up to the attic and see how the accessibility is around the house from inside the attic. That will give you a sense of how hrd it might be for you to wire something later on and whether you want to have the builder do it for you.
I did exactly this on our home before we built it. We have 2 stories so ofcourse wiring the first floor over its ceiling is tricky. But one room on the 2nd floor (the mdeia room) has two sloping walls - both external. so I knew i wouldnt be able to get across that slope later on from within the attic. I had the option to cut holes in the dry wall from inside the house later, but didnt want to do this. so i had them pre-wire that room for surround sound.
Typically, as Brian says, one story homes are easier to wire later on, than 2 story homes.
Good luck!
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Old 04-14-2008, 11:38 PM
 
Location: DFW, TX
2,935 posts, read 6,304,085 times
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I would prewire... I wired my own homes in the first two homes I built, and wasn't able to wire this one myself since I was halfway across the country while it was being built. I am frustrated at how the builder's wiring guy laid out the wiring... it is horrible.

I would wire a coax jack on opposing walls in each bedroom, with at least 1 Cat5e jack in the same wallplate. This allows you to move your TV in the room wherever you want, and not have to drag coax across a doorway.

I'd also have them terminate the cabling all in the garage. They put mine in the attic, which does no good for running equipment like a small router when the temp gets to be 170 degrees in the summer. I had to run 12 Cat5e from the attic to a closet and use the attic as a patch between the two.

While wireless networks do work, I personally perfer to keep them the exception rather than the norm. As you want to add a new box to the network, you have to worry about if it's wired or wireless and if it supports your encryption mechanism (WEP vs WPA vs WPA2, etc). With wired, you just patch it in... much faster, more secure, and more reliable.

For sound, I would prewire in your living room for the rear speakers. Left, right, and center should be right by the TV and don't need cabling unless you're looking to do in-wall speakers, and even then it's easy to fish cables right there.

For whole house audio, I personally am a fan. I like them in the kitchen and bathrooms. I use Russound A-Bus...it's relatively inexpensive. For smaller bathrooms, I would wire both the Left and Right sound to the same spot and use a single speaker designed for stereo (it has two tweeters) rather than spreading out two speakers in a small room.

http://www.russound.com/pdf/brochure...S_brochure.pdf

For A-Bus prewire you only need Cat5 from the hub location to the keypad, and speakerwire from the keypad to the speaker locations. Most people recommend doing not only Cat5 from the hub to the keypad, but doing an additional 4 conductor speaker cable run in case you want higher power than A-Bus affords in the future.
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:57 AM
 
252 posts, read 318,101 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lh_newbie View Post
For a 3/2 - I really wouldn't worry about all that prewiring. I'm assuming it's a one story home. If you find you need something in the future, just add it. Cat5 is pretty much useless anymore with the quality and security of wireless networks. The one thing I think is pretty smart to do is to run a phone jack, a cable jack and an electrical outlet into the study closet. That way, when you get a cable modem or DSL or whatever, you can put a wireless router and your cable/DSL modem in the closet, plug them in, attach them to the wall, shut the door and never worry about them again and they're not cluttering up your office or living room or whatever. Nice and clean.

Builders charge an arm and a leg to run speaker wires and Cat5. It's really a rip (IMO), but the simple office wiring I mentioned above should be sufficient and keep your costs to about $300.
I believe most builders run cat5 for phone lines since it is about the same price as the lesser stuff...Good idea about the panel in the closet...
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Old 04-15-2008, 07:51 AM
 
Location: Lake Highlands (Dallas)
2,395 posts, read 8,012,358 times
Reputation: 1036
Quote:
Originally Posted by htmlfamily View Post
I believe most builders run cat5 for phone lines since it is about the same price as the lesser stuff...Good idea about the panel in the closet...
You are correct about cat5. In fact, I had all my phone lines tied together in a 2-gang box in this same closet. Since telephones take 2 wires and ethernet takes 4 wires, I just installed a new cover and terminated some of the phone lines as a split phone + ethernet without having to "pay" for a dedicated run. Of course, I'm a network guy so that isn't a big deal. I used one ethernet drop and that was it - just the one for my main computer. Now, I don't even use that since I only own a laptop...
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Old 04-15-2008, 09:42 AM
 
625 posts, read 1,753,378 times
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if you want to go ahead and wire, I'd wire with Cat 6. The difference between Cat 5, Cat 5e, and Cat 6 is speed. Cat 5 is the slowest, and Cat 6 is the fastest.

It'll make for some sick setups - you can pump HD video from one side of your house to another.

Whatever you do, make sure your builder runs the wire with lots of conduit, and just not put the wire directly into the drywall, this will make it possible to change it out later fairly cheaply.

I dislike the wireless idea because wireless networks are still insecure and trivial to break into. Also, if your house is fairly large, it's going to be hard for a single router to hit every point in your house with good coverage (this happened with my parents' house. When FiOS was installed, the crew did crazy gymnastics so that we could have internet everywhere).
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Old 04-15-2008, 09:51 AM
 
Location: San Antonio
152 posts, read 632,808 times
Reputation: 47
Personally I still like wired over wireless for most things. Internet surfing doesn't matter, but if you or anyone in your house is a gamer they are going to want wired. But like others have mentioned your phone lines should be cat5 anyway but just remember they will more than likely be terminated outside somewhere.

And if you think you are going to want speakers in each room, or surround sound I would go ahead and have it pre-wired. Much easier than trying to do it later, even on a one story house. Yeah the builder is going to charge more than he should to have it wired, but having somebody come in and have to crawl around in a 7000 degree attic to do it later is going to charge a lot as well.

Also don't forget services like AT&T's U-Verse and Verizon's FIOS internet and TV use(or at least are better with) Cat5.
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Old 04-15-2008, 09:59 AM
 
Location: Dallas, TX
917 posts, read 2,654,861 times
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Anyone know when U-verse will have more than one HD feed/house? That is the only thing stopping me from trying them.
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Old 04-15-2008, 11:31 AM
 
Location: McKinney, TX
87 posts, read 335,307 times
Reputation: 45
If its a 1 story house, I would do the wiring myself since it will be easier to wire up any room within the house. For a 2 story house, you can have the rooms you want pre-wired. Cat5e should be good for all around network and phone. Either way, make sure to take as many pictures of the house during the framing stages to see what is inside those walls prior to sheetrock.
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