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Wiring your dream house for ADSL:

The following is a compilation of replies to the above question posed by forum member mechanicsc.

What follows contains lots of good suggestions for both the new home builder or just a DIYer delving into one of lifes many This Old Home Projects.

Thanks to all the following forum members who contributed. My apologies if I left anyone out and if you were included and didnt want to be:
Swalke2_TSG, fastcat, kbast, hazdageek, pcmcobra, fiber_man, alalub, dandeman, NetTech, CLLI, awdtt, Cyber2lz and Splitpair.

This is a White paper on the essentials of Broadband Technology for Linksys. It's a really good read and goes over a lot of the Cabling etc. for home networking. There are many other brands better and worse for your wants, needs, and desires but I thought this might get you headed in the right direction.


I rewired my house (single story with basement) for data networking audio telephone etc. I ran homerun cat5e cable to a patch panel in the basement. At the patch panel location I have a single RJ45 outlet for the DSL service (in my case PCDATA/IFITL). I built platform under the floor joist for a router/switch (Linksys BEFSR81). I could also put a modem here if the service were coming in via copper (ADSL). I use a short patch cord to connect from each of the room circuits to the 8 port router. The advantage of the patch panel is that I can have more than 8 circuits and only patch those that I currently need.

I also ran cat5e cable to telephone jacks. Audio cable from entertainment center to other rooms etc.

I installed 2 data outlets per room (big mistake in the one we use as an office). I should have installed two quad outlets in the office room to accommodate three computers a print server wireless AP and one or more laptops when in use.
Another drawback is that with the router in the basement I can't see diagnostic lights etc to diagnose problems and such. I could easily put the router in the office with my set up however as I could patch the DSL (PCData) directly into the office circuit. And then plug computers directly into the router. I just have not had any problems that I need to go watch lights, if I did I would take a laptop to the basement (a closet would do) and plug into the router so I could check it.

Biggest drawback so far is not enough data outlets in rooms that are likely to have moderate PC use.

My 2 cents.
Just a note on the physical outlet position. If you have a furniture layout in mind consider hanging the boxes about desk high where appropriate. Can be a real help keep data, video, and audio cables out of range of the AC.

I'd go wireless. Don't have to worry about cable problems down the road - and gives great mobility.

I've been wireless for about 2 months now (D-Link 713P on BSFA) - LOVE IT. Just turn on encryption, MAC authentication and surf on the back deck with a nice tall glass of iced tea.

Just an alternative that you may wish to think about.

Cheers from Atlanta.
My recommendations are

As you have already stated a minimum of two network connections per room. On top of that consider running an additional drop or two for wireless access points depending on the size of your new home you may be able to get by with only one but overlapping coverage is much better than dead spots.

A minimum of four pair should also be run to each room for telephone service and a two home runs from the NID (one for data one for telephone) to where you plan to place your modem/router patch panel 66/110 blocks.

All of this should be run back to a common location to where you can easily install and reconfigure the system using a patch panel for the network devices and either 66 or 110 blocks for the telephone wiring. Don't forget you will also want to have your electrician supply you with plenty of outlets and a good ground (min #6 awg copper wire) at this location. Also installing a 3/4" plywood backboard makes life real easy when you go to start hanging your distribution equipment.

While your at it don't forget to install a minimum of two good quality coax (double shielded RG6 or CAC6) cables to each room you intend to have a TV or home entertainment system set in. These runs should also be run back to the same common location with again a two coax home run to a location adjacent to the power / NID (for cable TV) and or to the location where you will install a satellite dish.

While your at it also consider installing a minimum of two 16 AWG twisted pair cables to any room you may want to send audio to from your home entertainment system.

I just built my new home.
I put cat5/voice/cable in all rooms, with a central distribution panel with everything it. I have an 8 port router for 'net duties.
My only regret was not putting a net drop behind my TV/stereo, so I could get one of those tivo/replaytv thingamajigs. Or a mp3 streamer...
Oh well, I guess I can get 2 wireless bridges for that if I feel like it.
Good luck!
Nice Job!! I would add a conduit to each location, as this would make life easier in the future to replace defective wiring or upgrade the network. If you are going to place the router in the office then run Ethernet cables to all your jack locations also.

I would make sure that there is an ease of access to all interior walls from the basement (for the first floor) and attic (for the second floor). Pre-drilling holes for a 1" PVC pipe through the sub-floor of the first floor and into an interior wall to a 'box' would go a long way in making life simple and easy.

If the home is multi-story, segment the floors via a switch and connect them to a household router (gateway). You mine as well go ahead and drop CAT5e, as its cheap and readily available. Run a couple/three runs of it for future use.

While you are at it, make double-runs for RG6QS for video, speaker wire for audio, and anything else that you can afford to run up-front. Of course, with a prefabbed box and easy access from the get go adding different wiring should not present a major challenge.

You can also focus the wiring using a structured wiring product, and ask everything to work like it should and be free, but life just doesn't work that way for those not making 7 figures as a norm.
Concur with running conduit (PVC or EMT pipe) that you can pull future wiring.. Especially those areas that will very difficult to reach later.. Examine your framing/walls closely while under construction to identify the difficult to reach areas and at least put conduit there... it's those things in the future that you can't anticipate that you want to plan for.. And that's where the conduit comes in..

I also left my basement unfinished for many reasons, but one primary one is so there is access to all wiring. Consider this to be your residential machinery room/wiring closet equivalent to what's in commercial buildings. If you can't have a basement, at least try to make sure you have some height in the crawl space area for easier future access. One of the most elaborately wired houses I've seen used the crawl space area for the network/data panel board.. One end had enough height to stand up in and the entire ground area under the house was covered with plastic to minimize humidity.

It not just data needs you have to consider. If you remodel a kitchen or other area, you may need additional power. Have plenty of capacity for additional power.. Don't use anything less than a 42-breaker distribution panel. (this is not as many as it sounds like as each 240V breaker uses two slots.

Have all power, telephone, cable enter the house at a single point to accommodate single point grounding, and a well laid out interior service utility panel board, and incorporate a whole house surge protection system such as Square-D's Surgebreaker Plus pdf here.

It also would help to keep good records of exactly where things are in the walls.. Take tons of pictures during construction before the walls are closed up for future reference.
Said by dandeman:

Have all power, telephone, cable enter the house at a single point to accommodate single point grounding, and a well laid out interior service utility panel board, and incorporate a whole house surge protection system such as Square-D's Surgebreaker Plus pdf here
Another excellent suggestion. A lack of single point grounding is one of the most common reasons that equipment is damaged during a lightning hit. I have seen it happen all too often where lightning induced a pulse into one service only to find a better ground on another through equipment that was connected to both services.

It also would help to keep good records of exactly where things are in the walls.. Take tons of pictures during construction before the walls are closed up for future reference.

You bet it is amazing how drywallers can make things disappear. They've been known to make roughed in electrical receptacles disappear.. drywall right over them.. And sometimes not discovered until years later (remodeling or worse yet, I remember reading in one case, after a fire..)

One other thing I did not mention as it's getting kind of far away from the subject of DSL wiring, but AFCI (arc fault circuit interrupters)
are now required for all receptacles in bedrooms in the 2002 revision of the NEC... I believe Vermont requires them for all receptacles..

These are an excellent fire prevention mechanism »www.ul.com/regulators/afci/
as they shut off power immediately upon sensing any arcing in the circuit..

I upgraded my panel adding a number of AFCIs and additional GFIs where revised electrical code now mandate their use..
If I may add:

One thing to note (in addition to all the great suggestions posted here):...make SURE that your in-house telcom distribution panel is at LEAST 4' (for 220vAC distribution service panel) or 6' (for 440vAC distribution service panel) away from the power panel. You don't want A/C inductance to cause noise interference on the ADSL signal. I've been on quite a few commercial ADSL service calls, where customers were losing sync intermittingly...after completing all Telco loop test and not finding trouble, we started looking at the installation of the NID/66block/Splitter, as well as the routing of the Cat3 IW. In almost ALL cases, the NID/66 block/Splitter were mounted within 1-3 feet of the power distribution panels. Only after moving the Telco interface further away from the power panel to the recommended distance were we able to fix the intermitting sync loss issue. Also, insure that all CAT 3 homerun wiring cross the A/C power cables at no less the 60 degrees..that is, do NOT allow the CAT 3 cable run parallel with the A/C power cable. This will also help keep A/C inductance to a minimum..and less interference to the ADSL signal.
Hope this helps..
I just did the very thing you are looking to do.
Ran SpeedPull (four CAT5e) to every room in the house; yes even the bathrooms.
Ran 2 speedpulls to my office and 2 speedpulls to wifeypoos office.
Ran RG6 from every room in the house back to the wiring closet and connected it to a ChannelPlus unit. (allows me to inject 4 additional sources to the cable that is delivered to every room.
Ran 2 separate RGs to the Dmarc, (for cable modem and cable TV)
Ran 2 separate CAT5e to the Dmarc, For DSL and T1.
Ran 4 fiber pair to the Dmarc, for God knows what.
Hey, I had the walls open and the cost of the cable was minimal and I did the pulls myself.

OK, house building is set to commence in 3 weeks, here's what I've decided on:

Found several places that sell "structured" wiring, which consists of the following:
2 strands quad-shield RG-6,
2 strands CAT 5e, and
and 2-strand fiber
all in one jacket.
See here for example :

It's $500 for 500', but I think that will be enough to do what I'm looking for. The fiber will be nice to have in the future, and since the walls are open now I'm putting it all in.

My builder "doesn't do that sort of thing" but as long it is up to code he said I could do it. Since I work at a computer company and our sysadmin is a friend of mine, and I buy good beer, so one weekend we'll have a cable party. With the walls open it should be a snap. ?

I plan on using the RG6, one for satellite and one or distributed video. Both Cat5e's will be network, and I will have a separate cat5e run for the phone wires.

Going to put all this in the coat closet (central location within the climate controlled area) and wire it up in a star configuration. Going to run them to single-gang boxes with all six connections available.

Expand got feedback?

by Splitpair See Profile edited by KeysCapt See Profile
last modified: 2004-01-31 09:25:49