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I am about to wire my house with CAT-6 (8 runs total). Not much of a price premium over CAT-5e so I might as well do it the best I can. Just looking for some general tips before I go online shopping. I will be buying some single and 2-gang wall plates and a spool of CAT6 solid riser-rated cable. Now do you prefer punch-down keystone jacks over tool-less? Did you get a punch-down tool? It looks like a flat blade to me. Did you combine your coax into the same plate with F-type keystone jacks? Other than the wire, plates and jacks and maybe a tool what extra goodies could I need? I have lots of CAT5e patch cables already. Are they compatible with CAT6 jacks?

Oh one last question. There is already some CAT5e run but not terminated. I think I will be pulling it out and pulling the CAT6 in its place. But should I encounter a staple or two, can I still terminate and operate with the same keystone jacks. For now and the foreseeable future I will be running at 100 mb/s.
 

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CAT6 gives you no benefit over CAT5 at 100 Mb/s and even only over longer distances at 1 Gb/s. You can mix 'n match CAT5 patch cables with CAT6. The keystone jacks I've installed came with a small tool.
 

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Did you combine your coax into the same plate with F-type keystone jacks?
Yes, add a phone line as well if you like.

You can use tyraps or staples to support the cable but be careful not to over tighten or damage the cable.
A good idea would be to start with a list of room's and label the cables as you pull, then label the plates and patch panel (saves a lot of leg work later on). When stripping the cable always strip it back with the string thats in the cable.
When you punch the wire down on the jack make sure the jacket is as close to the jack as possible. Do all of this and you should get network as close to the gig mark as possible but you'll really never know with out having it tested.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
make sure the jacket is as close to the jack as possible
Thanks for the tip. I always wondered if that would make a difference. Good to know.
 

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Looking ahead I may need more bandwidth.
Still, CAT6 only provides benefit on longer runs and it is a lot tougher to work with.
 

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But with the price difference, why would you tell him not to?
No one wants to rip up their walls in the future.
Eventually, home networks will have 10gig and cat6 will be able to do that, cat5e won't.
With the small price premium, you'd be silly to NOT put in cat6 today.

It's like buying a computer with an motherboard with a socket that's being replaced next year.
Sure, it does more than you want now, but what about in two years? You'd have to replace everything to upgrade.

Rather do it once (do it right) and have it futureproof than have to go back and redo it later if you do need it down the road.

Cat6 can do 10gigE for up to 55m (more than enough for residential use)
and gigE for up to 100m (like cat5e)

If you were cabling today and didn't want to use cat6, at minimum I'd put in some pipe as conduit so you can easily fish new cables in the future.

Just my two cents.
 

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If you were cabling today and didn't want to use cat6, at minimum I'd put in some pipe as conduit so you can easily fish new cables in the future.
I agree with conduit in new housing for CAT-5e/CAT-6 and even RG6 wiring. My house was built in 2005, and the builder ran CAT-5e & RG6 to every room in the house, even the garage. The only exception was the bathrooms, which well, if you need that kind of wiring in the bathroom, you're spending waaaay too much time in there.

Even with all that wiring, there are some rooms that I still do not have enough wiring. Good thing I was able to add some from the attic to the appropriate rooms (secondary bedrooms converted to offices and the living room), in one room I have 5 CAT-5e cables running to it, as I have two "servers" in the closet, an IP phone, a network printer and the PC. Could I have used a switch? Sure, but having secondary switches also adds more hops, and it was just easier to buy just one big gigabit switch for my main wire closet.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
in one room I have 5 CAT-5e cables running to it
My office will have 4 network devices. I do have a spare switch which l planned to install there but now that I think about it I will have lots of extra cable (1000' spool) ... so what the heck. Four runs it will be.

The price premium to go CAT6 over CAT5e is less than $50 for my install.
 

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The price premium to go CAT6 over CAT5e is less than $50 for my install.
Yeah, when buying 1000 foot spools, the price increase is barely worth the argument. I'd go for the CAT-6 as well.

It is indeed harder to work with CAT-6, but I find that if you use the punchdown connectors, it makes it a little easier. Connecting a CAT-6 to an RJ45 plug is challenging, but not impossible.
 

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Here is my tip: when running your CAT6 cable run a minimum of two network drops to each location. The additional cost (in cable) is negligible compared to the cost of the whole project if you count your time. Before I moved into my current place I ran a whole lot of network cable, and one of the best decisions was doubling up so every room had at least two network jacks (using keystone plates with multiple jacks).

There are a number of uses you may end up having for the additional cables, for example the HDBaseT standard may go somewhere, and it would need it's own dedicated ethernet cable.
 

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It is indeed harder to work with CAT-6, but I find that if you use the punchdown connectors
I had to punch down CAT6 onto a BIX strip, at a customer site a while ago. It was a real pain to get enough of the twist out of the wire, to get it into the slot. The insulation is tougher too. In this case, CAT6 was overkill, as it was only connecting digital phones. CAT3 would have sufficed.
 

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Another reason why CAT-6 is a little harder to work with compared to CAT-5e, is that the wire is 23 gauge, rather than 24 gauge. So punching into a block or squeezing it into an RJ45 connector is a bit tighter. That's also why there are CAT-6 RJ45 jacks and plugs.
 

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I had to punch down CAT6 onto a BIX strip, at a customer site a while ago. It was a real pain to get enough of the twist out of the wire, to get it into the slot. The insulation is tougher too. In this case, CAT6 was overkill, as it was only connecting digital phones. CAT3 would have sufficed.
Actually, I think that was pretty forward thinking. Your client was probably thinking he'd go voip sometime in the future.
 

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there is a version of cat6 without the plastic spacer inside, you may want to consider this, as its a little more flexible.
 

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CAT6 gives you no benefit over CAT5 at 100 Mb/s and even only over longer distances at 1 Gb/s. You can mix 'n match CAT5 patch cables with CAT6. The keystone jacks I've installed came with a small tool.
What distance makes it advantageous?

I am retrofitting my new-to-me house in CAT6 this week, and my longest run is about 250' via an underground conduit to a future woodshop and nearby AirPlay audio drop to a firepit with outdoor speakers.
 

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Here is my tip: when running your CAT6 cable run a minimum of two network drops to each location. The additional cost (in cable) is negligible compared to the cost of the whole project if you count your time. Before I moved into my current place I ran a whole lot of network cable, and one of the best decisions was doubling up so every room had at least two network jacks (using keystone plates with multiple jacks).

There are a number of uses you may end up having for the additional cables, for example the HDBaseT standard may go somewhere, and it would need it's own dedicated ethernet cable.
How are you making use of the 2 jacks per room?

I did 2 drops per as well, but find that for the rooms that need more than 1, they also need more than 2, so a switch is needed regardless. I had ideas about sending the signal to one room with a master switch or something, then back down and out. But in the end I preferred just having everything in the utility closet.
 

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How are you making use of the 2 jacks per room?

I did 2 drops per as well, but find that for the rooms that need more than 1, they also need more than 2, so a switch is needed regardless. I had ideas about sending the signal to one room with a master switch or something, then back down and out. But in the end I preferred just having everything in the utility closet.
It depends on the room.

At my main workstation I have two computers and I'm using a Ethernet jack for each computer. At my girlfriend's computer, one drop is for her PC, the other drop is used for a Linksys VoIP ATA. In the master bedroom one drop is for a XBOX 360 (as a Media Center Extender / Netflix box) and the other is for a Sonos Zoneplayer. In my home theater setup in the basement I went with 4 Ethernet jacks since I knew that would be a special case where I would need a lot of network drops, and I'm using all 4 of them (TV, XBOX 360, Sonos ZP, HTPC).

In the rest of the rooms I'm only using one of the two network jacks, and in the guest bedroom neither network jack is being used. The cost difference in cable for the extra drops was nothing because I was buying a 1000ft roll of cat6 anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I have found two rolls of CAT6. One is 23 ga and the other 24ga. They are practically the same price. Any reason to take the larger 23 ga over the 24 ga? I need to see if the keystones have a recommended wire gauge. Or can all CAT6 keystones accommodate both gauges?
 
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