Time to move away from homeplugs to dedicated Ethernet cables - advice needed


#1

Hi all,

I use Devolo 1200Mbps home-plugs (Internet across power-lines. Plus they also do my WiFi) to run my home network (4 plugs) which I use for Internet access etc. Its pretty good but obviously not what I would want in the long run and I do get issues from time to time like drop-outs, buffering etc.

I run a Nuci7 as my core which is picked up by my home PC (office) connected to the same switch. I have my lounge set-up picking up from a separate switch via one of the plugs. I have been trying to think of a way to get Ethernet into the house which is difficult as its over 100 years old and fairly recently decorated and my other half is not massively enamoured by me asking to pull up carpets and floor boards. Anyway, I now wonder if I might have thought of a way.

I was thinking of taking an Ethernet cable from my switch (connected directly to my modem/router) back out of the front of the house and taking the cable straight up the external wall and into the loft space. I could then take the cable across the house (via the loft) and down into a small cupboard in an upstairs bedroom. This is not used as its v.small due to an adjacent shower installation. Anyway, I think I would need 40-50 feet of Ethernet cable to get there. I could then install the Nuc+switch into this cupboard and take two further feeds directly down to my home home office and then back into the loft space right to the back of the house and down to the kitchen.

Anyway, is this worth doing? Would it be better than the power-lines? What Ethernet cable should I use? What have I forgotten? Any thoughts? Bit of a novice at networking as you can probably tell…

Thanks for any input.


#2

Ross-I undertook a version of this change about a year ago (in a flat-roofed house in Arizona) and it made a huge difference in the stability of my Roon-based music playback system. Internet comes into the house in my home office but my main hifi system is in another part of the house that lacked a direct ethernet connection. I tried power-line ethernet adapters for awhile but ultimately grew frustrated with dropouts, endpoints disappearing from Roon, etc., which often required rebooting every element in the entire system to remedy, and then only temporarily. So I bit the bullet and hired an electrician with networking experience to do the work: he ran CAT-6 ethernet cabling from my router (Netgear Orbi) back out of the house, over the roof, down an external wall and into the living room, where it feeds a Sonore microRendu --> Mytek Brooklyn DAC. All of the outside cabling is encased in conduit to protect it from heat and sun (a critical issue here). The total run is about 60 feet. I couldn’t be happier with the difference. Bill


#3

Thanks @wkimbel87 your situation does sound similar, except for the weather which is less sunny here in the UK. I think I can do most of the DIY myself, but I might speak to a local electrician to get his view. Thanks for the tip on conduit, I will factor that in now.

I am bit lost on which cable to get now, I am just looking at AudioQuest CAT7 Pearl RJ/E *5 cables of varying lengths. I still need to do a bit of reading on this. How has the Cat -6 been?


(Martin Webster) #4

When I extended my home about a decade ago I used the opportunity to run Cat5e throughout the ground floor and up a riser in the cloakroom to first floor and attic. Fiddly but an easy DIY project so long as you have a helper to feed the cable as you pull.

You’ll need a crimp tool and the outlets etc., but you can get these readily on Amazon or from Screwfix or Tool Station. For the outdoor run you’ll need external grade cable which it a lot stiffer but can be clipped to the wall (very similar to a BT cable.)

Cat5e or Cat6 will be fine given the relatively short runs you have.


#5

I did look into CAT-7 cabling but was never convinced, given the speed and performance of typical home networking installations plus the relatively short run, that it was worth the extra cost. Performance with CAT-6 has been excellent.


(GaryM) #6

+1 on the CAT-6. I had it installed 8+ years ago to every room in the house. Never a single issue. Rock solid network speeds, no dropouts.


(Lloyd Borrett) #7

+1 on the Cat6. I prefer Krone brand cable. You can get it in 300m rolls.

I typically run four network cables to every endpoint. Then less end point switches are needed and each item is on a separate gigabit run to the main switch. At the end points I use 4 outlet wall plates with Cat6 modular jacks.

It’s best to bring all of the cabling to a 16 or 24 port Cat6 patch panel. Then patch leads go from the patch panel to your switch.

The cost of the extra components to achieve this is trivial compared to the cost of the labour, conduit etc. to run cabling. Plus it delivers a professional, reliable and flexible solution.

I’m actually in the middle of running extra Cat6 cabling for 20 more data and phone outlets at my dive shop. (It’s a real mess right now, see pic below.) Some of the new data outlets will be used for my shop music system with at least two HiFiBerry DAC+ Pro based Roon endpoints and an Intel i7 NUC running ROCK. The music system will be on a separate switch and Internet connection from the shop data system.

Currently all of the Cat6 cabling goes to a 24 port patch panel in a wall mounted cabinet. But part of the new setup will be to bring all Cat6 cables to a Krone HighBand 25 cabling system on the wall under the cabinet to inter-connect everything.

I wish I could do this at home, but it’s a rental, so there I’m using Internet over power like you.


(Tony Reimann) #8

Will work fine. I would use cat6 which is readily available and you can buy it specially designed for outdoor use although you may have to buy a drum of it unless you can find someone to do a shorter length. You will also have to terminate the cable yourself. If you aren’t comfortable get a sparky to do it for you.


#9

Wow - great replies, thanks everyone.

I am going to be doing some more reading around on the subject using the advice on here. I am now resigned to the idea I am going to need to terminate the cables myself, I am semi-confident I can do this. The main issue I can see generally relates to the thicker cable needed for the external sections. I will also need something that will pass the wife test, so orange and yellow cable are probably out unless I install some kind of conduit/protective cover but there is limited opportunity for this at the front of my house. A black or grey cable will ultimately blend in although this would be changed if I do choose to run multiple cables.

I see amazon have 50m of Cat7 cable for ÂŁ40 which might be enough for the whole house, I need to check on whether I can use outside. I need to look again at the cat6 possibilities after all the positive comments. I see they also have a RJ45 RJ11 Ethernet Cable crimper tool set for under ÂŁ15 which also includes a tester (cat6), seems quite cheap.


#10

50m may sound a lot but I would at least double what you think you will need.


(58LesPaul) #11

Hello,

Just to confirm: are you planning to terminate the cable as male or female?

It is much easier to do female ends, and it looks better. As @Lloyd_Borrett said, I would use a patch panel in your server room, and modular jacks at each end point. Look for “Keystone jacks” that plug into a wall plate…

So, you want a punch tool, not a crimper. Often, the jacks come with a cheap plastic punch tool, but you can buy pretty good tool for $15-20 (11-15 pounds) .

Keystone jacks (this pack has a very useful punchdown stand… you put the jack into the stand to keep it steady while you punch the cable strands)

Wall plate

Punch tool

Apologies if you were already going to do female… Male cable termination is much trickier…

Good luck!


#12

Thanks @58LesPaul.

I don’t think I had got that far in my thinking in terms of terminating. I will have a good look through your suggestions.

Its all seeming a bit daunting but I am sure I can work my way through it.


(Martin Webster) #13

In my domestic setting I saw no benefit using a patch panel. I simply used wall plates in the rooms and then brought all the cables back to my switch, labelled and added an RJ45.

Buy a good quality 100M real of Cat5e or Cat6 cable*; avoid the cheapest. For the external run you can get terminated leads on Amazon from 10 to 30M. These are essentially a standard cable with a UV resistant sheath.

*If I were doing this now I’d probably go for Cat6a to future proof the installation, but Cat5e should deliver GB Ethernet in your home.


#14

@Ross_Hamilton, you don’t need to take such a circuitous route. Any competent electrician can fish cable thru walls and many stories.

However, a quick search on Amazon finds already terminated outdoor Ethernet cable in lengths of at least 150 feet.

@Martin_Webster, like you, I’ ve never found a need for patch panels. I don’t understand why people use them as they seem like just another connection to go wrong.


#15

So, its in. Well, the first part is. I have used Cat 6a cable, along with upgrading all my Cat 5/6 cables.

I spent all day Saturday installing a new Ethernet connection in my lounge (drilling through walls), taking it up the front of my house, through soffits etc. I then had to work my way across my loft, trying not to crash through into the bedroom below, locating the cable before taking it back across the house aiming for an internal cupboard in the middle of the house. This all went well or at least, I didn’t plummet off the ladder which I am taking as a win. I then set about installing bits of kit into the cupboard, switch, Nuc, Philips Hue hub etc. I am waiting for a new gangplug and already have an eye on a larger switch and then a NAS.

In time, I would like to extend a couple of other Ethernet cables to another bedroom and the kitchen, again, locating the cable on outside of the house. I have a good 10m of Ethernet cable in the loft which i didn’t shorten in the end, so I may do that task as well.

All seems to be working. I don’t have much extra speed actually compared to the powerlines, but I am hoping it will be more stable.


(Ged) #16

An alternative is to use mesh wireless to plug the gap. I replaced my powerlines with a whole house mesh and plugged switches into the end points creating wired zones. Has performed seamlessly since.


#17

Thanks @ged_hickman1. I am actually planning to get a mesh network soon-ish. I just haven’t found one that has really grabbed me yet.


(Ged) #18

I’m in the UK and used one made by my ISP. BT - British Telecom.
Really impressed so far, I haven’t had any of the annoyances of randomly having to reboot the powerline kit. My house is 90 years old and I think the electrics are not far behind!
I bought a three node version, one sits next to the router and is plugged into the switch there - second in the middle of the house and just acts as a repeater and then the third up in my office with a switch into it.
As my office is at the back I now also have a huge wifi zone in the garden which solved my - how do I get roon into the garage for outdoor listening…


#19

I am in the UK too @ged_hickman1, down in the South West, with BT and also have an old house, so quite similar really. I have read a few reviews on mesh systems and was interested in the BT solution since the price drop. I remember reading there were some concerns with the support and their app, but didn’t follow up. I think I will have another look.


(Ged) #20

ÂŁ170 minus 10% = ÂŁ153
:slight_smile: