I've just moved into a new house, and am considering installing network cable into the walls. My main reasons for doing this are:
- To get as much off the wireless as possible
- It'll make streaming HD video to my TV faster and more reliable, and
- I'm a geek and I want to put network cable into my walls.
I won't be able to get rid of a wireless connection, nor would I want to, but I would like to be doing my main, heavy duty computing on a wired network.
My current approach is going to be to buy the (Cat6) cable myself, and have it professionally installed. I don't think that will be a big or expensive job - there are plenty of electricians with experience or laying cables, and that will just make the whole job quicker and less painful.
I'm going to route all the cables to my garage (which is directly connected to the house), onto a patch panel, and connect that to an unmanaged ethernet switch. This will also have the ability to route my telephone to any RJ45 port in the house.
I'm going to install at least two RJ45 sockets in most rooms, but probably four in the living room as I have more appliances there. Also, if I am doing to stream HDMI over ethernet, then that needs two cables, and cannot be run through a switch, so having the extra ports makes sense. I'd have four in my bedroom for the other end of the HDMI over ethernet stream.
I've read that Cat6 can be quite hard to install, especially bending it around wall corners, because the cable has a hard spline, but I believe that the short term pain of installing it will be outweighed by having a fast cable which should be a safe bet for the medium to long term future.
I've not found too many articles on the internet about people installing their own networks at home. I'm trying not to make this question open-ended, discussion based or opinionated so it doesn't get closed, but I'd be interested to know what other Superusers thought, if I've missed anything out, or if theres any advice from their own experiences.
I live in the UK, if that matters.
Some questions I'd be interested to hear peoples experiences on:
- Is Cat6 with its spline worth the effort over Cat5e?
- Are there any issues with running HDMI over ethernet?
- Do the streaming devices respect HDCP?
- Would there be any issue with mixing Cat6 and Cat5e on the same network/switch?
- Would it be ok to add extra switches in the rooms onto the installed cable at a later date?
- What unexpected issues have people come across when installing their own network at home?
- Is it actually worth the effort over an encrypted 802.11n network?