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How smart wiring / structured wiring your home has evolved in the last decade or so

1320 Views 18 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  RowanCantu
A good 20 years ago I decided to smart wire my parents home. I had not only the knowledge but also the work experience which helped.
Back then it was very common for most family homes to have One TV set with one cable outlet, and maybe a few phone jacks, and that was it.
I decided to run Telephone, Coax cable, and Ethernet jacks to almost all of the rooms in the house. Also created a central panel for all the networking gear which housed the switch, coax terminals and phone punch down connections. At the time it seemed overkill but in the last 20 years we made the most of it. At the peak off it, we had 6 TV sets each with their own digital cable box, we had phones in every room and bedroom, and we had 4 computers and a printer hardwired to the Local Network. I had even installed those fancy keystone wall plates in each rooms which had a coax tv jack, voice jack and a data jack, it looked very clean.

Fast forward to the next decade I noticed that the smart/structured wiring has caught on a lot more and newer houses are incorporating it, however coax and phone connections are certainly disappearing. We never knew it at the time but Ethernet is replacing the need to have a coax or phone jack so yes I can see why they are getting rid of it.

My new home has some smart / structured wiring, it even has conduit to future proof and run new wires to the location. I am planning to expand it but It is very unlikely I will be installing any new coax in my house or phone jacks. I think I will just stick to Ethernet.

I also noticed some people are running 2 ethernet jacks now in some rooms like a computer office/den or family room, That makes sense because we can plug in our smart tv, streaming box or even video game console. Same with our office, we usually have more than one computer or have additional devices like a Network attached storage drive, that needs a plug. also lets not forget wireless, but thats another topic

What sort of network connections would you like to run in your home to make it smart? does anyone still have a need for Coax or telephone jacks these days?
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Coax connected TV is being replaced by IPTV and ethernet is being replaced by wifi so most smart wiring is becoming obsolete.

Home telephone went wireless years ago. One base station with up to six wireless handsets is quite common for home phones and has been for some time. That's now obsolete in many homes where the home phone has been completely replaced with individual cellular phones and voice mostly replaced by messaging or other apps. Many home phone services now use VoIP. VoIP home phones, for those that want them, with wifi or cellular connectivity for the base station are becoming more common.

For some applications, wired power is being replaced with long life or rechargeable batteries and small solar panels. Researchers are working on delivering power wirelessly for small devices. Forget smart wiring, wireless homes are almost here.
A good 20 years ago I decided to smart wire my parents home. I had not only the knowledge but also the work experience which helped.
When I bought my condo 30 years ago, it had 4 phone jacks on one line and 2 TV outlets, 1 each in living room and master bedroom. When I first got a cable modem, in the late 90s, Rogers ran a new coax from my living room to my "office" at the other end of my condo. While they were doing that, I had them pull in a couple of runs of CAT5, which I provided. They did a really nice job, fishing up the wall, along side air ducts, over my bedroom closest & bathroom ceilings, along side an air duct at my laundry room and down the wall behind my water heater and through the wall into my office closet. A very neat job and they even patched the drywall where they cut it. Those 2 Ethernet runs now connect my IPTV in my living room and bedroom.
Coax connected TV is being replaced by IPTV and ethernet is being replaced by wifi so most smart wiring is becoming obsolete.
I prefer to use Ethernet when practical. My IPTVs are connected with it.
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33 years ago when we gutted an older home, we ran RF-coax to every room, telephone jacks to every room, speaker wire to where in-wall and various free standing speakers would go. Ethernet was not on our radar at the time, but I've been able to utilize a PowerLine adaptor for the one location that doesn't work well on WiFi. I agree that most things will be wireless in the future.
Let me tell you, when the rogers guy came to install high speed internet in my parents home, he was so thrilled that I had pre-run the cables. He installed the internet modem in a room upstairs which had an existing cable jack, he went downstairs to the basement and I showed him which cable run went to that room, I labeled everything so neat and organized. He adjusted the incoming splitters and connected everything so the first split was going to the internet and telephone modems, and everything else goes to the TV outlets. At the time he said he never seen a house wired up so neat and organized and all the coax runs properly labeled.
I would run RG59 coax and ethernet troughtout the building. I do not want to totally depend on WI-FI. May seem retro but then vinyl records are making a big comeback.
I'd agree that running ethernet to some locations is a good idea. Rooms with dedicated PCs, NAT devices or servers, home theatre systems and other devices that need very fast, reliable connections will benefit. With larger homes, it would also be a good idea to identify locations that may require a wifi access point. That includes outside areas or outbuildings. Run a dedicated CAT7 or CAT6 cable from the demarcation point (if known) or a point near the hydro panel to each location. Unless satellite TV is being used, coax is probably not needed.
I would run RG59 coax and ethernet troughtout the building.
I would suggest RG6. Can you even get RG59 any more?
Agreed. RG6 has been the standard for satellite and cable for over 20 years. That alone speaks to its likely obsolescence in this time of rapid technological change. It's 20th century technology. For future proofing, fibre optic cable might be a better bet. Most companies that used coax are migrating to wireless IP services for households. That will accelerate, especially when Wi-Fi 7 becomes mainstream.
Agreed on the RG6. Typo on my part. Nobody uses it anymore. Probably OK for short runs like a jumper.
When we had our house built 20 years ago, I ran dual cat5e and dual rg6 to every room and I haven’t had to do anything else since. But I know the day will come. I attempted to future proof it a bit by running pvc conduit from the basement through two floors to the attic above the 2nd floor to run new wire.
Yep, I don't want to totally depend on Wi-Fi. Having backup cabling is also an excellent security measure.
Agreed on the RG6. Typo on my part. Nobody uses it anymore. Probably OK for short runs like a jumper.
While it might not be used much for TV these days, there are other uses. I'm currently doing some work at Rogers and there's plenty there. Also, sometimes smaller size is important. Several years ago, when I was in planning at Unitel, there was one job where I ordered 100 Km of Commscope 0222 cable, which was 50 ohm, but smaller diameter than the RG-58 that would have normally been used. The reason this was necessary was to fit 1024 cables through the bottom of a cabinet and RG-58 simply wouldn't fit.
I still have a 25 foot piece of RG59 coax. Its great for testing purposes and temp hookups ..OTA annd FTA still use 75ohm coax. RG6 is what they all use. Years ago, before Wi-Fi, I ran RG6 throughout my home. Its still in use for OTA, FTA and Rogers digital cable service. Also have 2 long runs of CAT 6.

Almost forgot I have runs of 50 ohm RG8X and Belden 9913 for the 3 amateur radio antennas on the roof.
There is no doubt that various forms of coax have uses. However, it's not necessary in most homes. The main exception is for satellite TV where other options are not available. OTA TV has more versatile options that use IP. I'm surprised FTA doesn't have something similar but FTA is not something most people use. Most hams probably have the technical expertise to do the wiring themselves and RG6 probably isn't suitable in many cases anyway.
At some point the OTA antenna will be connected via RG6 to the IP terminal for distro via the router to whatever device the enduser choses. Coax cable still has its uses.
That can be done anywhere, most likely at the demarcation point where other services enter the house. No internal wiring is required.
I saw your post about smart wiring, and I thought it was really nice. It's crazy how much technology has advanced and how it's changing the way we wire our homes. Totally agree that Ethernet is the way to go now, and it's awesome to see that newer homes are incorporating smart/structured wiring. Have you thought about using aluminum profiles to hide and protect your wiring? They can add a sleek and modern look to your home. I found this website (Rigid LED Bars & LED Projectors) that has a bunch of options to choose from. Also, having multiple Ethernet jacks in certain rooms is a great idea. You can never have too many. And while I don't really use coax or telephone jacks anymore, it's always good to have them just in case.
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