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ctggzg
Premium
join:2005-02-11
USA
kudos:2

Running Cat 5 from attic to downstairs outlet

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See my crude drawing of our two-story house. We have coax running from the attic down to Room A downstairs. From there, another piece of coax runs back up to the first floor ceiling, over a doorway, and down to an outlet in Room B, where the exterior wall seems to be inaccessible from the attic.

I'd like to follow the coax with Cat 5. The drop from the attic to Room A is relatively simple. The problem is turning two corners to get from A to B. I thought about using the existing coax to pull a string back, but the coax seems to be stapled to something up high where I can't reach it.

Any thoughts on how to do this without tearing up the wall? I spent two summers wiring commercial properties with Cat 5, so I have some experience with fish tape, pull string, and such. However, those were mostly straight shots with access to crawl spaces. I'm also aware of other solutions such as Ethernet over electrical or coax, but I already have a 100-foot Cat 5 cable sitting in the attic and two dual coax/Ethernet wall plates and don't want to spend more money.


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1

So you don't know what's the path taken by the coax between Room A and Room B? For all you know, it could make quite a few detours, and not just be a straight line.

Since you managed to run the CAT5 to Room A, it means you know the path it takes from the attic.

Why not try to run another Cat5 from the attic directly to room b?

The only way to bring Cat5 to Room A and B would be to run TWO cat5 cables anyway.

Or, what I did is run my network cables from the basement ceiling up into the rooms above.


ctggzg
Premium
join:2005-02-11
USA
kudos:2

I don't think I can access the exterior wall in Room B from the attic. The roof tapers down, there are nails sticking out of the rafters, and I just don't have enough room to squeeze in there and even see what I'm doing. And if it was doable, I figure they would have run the coax straight from the attic to B in the first place.

I don't understand why I would need two cables. If I pull a bunch of slack down from the attic to A, I should have enough to feed directly to B.

There's no basement or crawl space here. I've never seen a house with a basement my entire life in California and Florida. From what I've read, in Florida it's because of the high water table and flooding.



More Fiber
Premium,MVM
join:2005-09-26
West Chester, PA
kudos:29

said by ctggzg:

I don't understand why I would need two cables.

Depends on what you're trying to do.

If you want ethernet outlets in both room A and room B, you will need to install a switch in room A or run two cables from the attic (I'm assuming your cable modem/router is in the attic). You can't simply daisy-chain cat5 the way you can coax.
--
There are 10 kinds of people in the world; those who understand binary and those who don't.


djrobx
Premium
join:2000-05-31
Valencia, CA
kudos:2
Reviews:
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reply to ctggzg

If you have a clear shot from the attic to room A you should consider yourself fortunate to have that blessing.

In my two story house it's impossible to run anything from the attic to the first floor without tearing things up. "Horizontal" runs are even more challenging because you either have to find a soffit/bulkhead somewhere or go through studs.

I resorted to using DECA (DirecTV's dirt-cheap-on-ebay version of MoCA) for areas I couldn't reach with CAT5 cost effectively .
--
AT&T U-Hearse
Your funeral. Delivered.


ctggzg
Premium
join:2005-02-11
USA
kudos:2
reply to More Fiber

said by More Fiber:

You can't simply daisy-chain cat5 the way you can coax.

I know. I'm only running it through A because it's the only apparent route to B. I'm not terminating the Cat 5 in A.

And no, the modem and main router are both in B. Comcast's wiring goes from their box outside to the attic and then fans out from there. I'm just trying to hard-wire a bedroom upstairs because the wireless is spotty.

ctggzg
Premium
join:2005-02-11
USA
kudos:2
reply to djrobx

said by djrobx:

In my two story house it's impossible to run anything from the attic to the first floor without tearing things up. "Horizontal" runs are even more challenging because you either have to find a soffit/bulkhead somewhere or go through studs.

Actually I haven't made the run from the attic to A yet either. That's why I want to follow the existing coax run so most of the work is already done for me. I'm just hoping that any openings are large enough to fit another cable through. But it's sounding more and more like I'll have to abandon the Cat 5 goal.


billaustin
they call me Mr. Bill
Premium,MVM
join:2001-10-13
North Las Vegas, NV
kudos:3

What's above Room B? Run a cable through the floor to the room above and install another wireless access point.



leibold
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join:2002-07-09
Sunnyvale, CA
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Reviews:
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reply to ctggzg

I perfectly understand the varies reasons to avoid wireless and I have hardwired ethernet in most rooms. For those places where I don't have an ethernet outlet I'm using powerline ethernet adapters (I have had good success with the older 85Mbps Netgear products).

As for trying to follow the existing route of the coax it is probably futile. You are much better off looking from where to where you need the cable run and try to find the easiest route to traverse walls and ceilings. Exterior walls can be problematic not only because of the difficulty to access them from the attic but also because they are often filled with insulation. In general, interior walls are easier for vertical drops.
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alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
reply to ctggzg

said by ctggzg:

And no, the modem and main router are both in B. Comcast's wiring goes from their box outside to the attic and then fans out from there. I'm just trying to hard-wire a bedroom upstairs because the wireless is spotty.

Ok so the network starting point is Room B. Then from Room B, you want to run Cat5 to the attic. I'm guessing you were planning to then drop the Cat5 from the attic into an upstairs bedroom.

If that's the case, why not, just drill a hole in the ceiling from inside a closet to go upstairs?

ctggzg
Premium
join:2005-02-11
USA
kudos:2
reply to ctggzg

Above Room B (the office) is the master bedroom. Putting an access point directly above won't make much of a difference. The signal is only a problem at the opposite corner of the house. I recently replaced both 802.11g routers (the main gateway and a wireless bridge) with 802.11n, and it made no difference. Right now DD-WRT shows an SNR of 5 (which DD-WRT calls a "signal quality" of 29%) to the bridge and 1 (25%) to an Android phone in the same bedroom.



nunya
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
Reviews:
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reply to ctggzg

MOCA.
If the coax was installed when the walls were open, it's going to be stapled. Things are a lot different when the walls are open.
Save yourself some headache. Get on Amazon, order some MOCA adapters, and don't sweat it.
I have 20,000 ft of Cat5. I still use MOCA adapters before chopping holes in peoples houses for a simple ethernet connection.
--
Because I care...


ctggzg
Premium
join:2005-02-11
USA
kudos:2
reply to ctggzg

Yeah, I've been doing some research on coax piggybacking. It sounds like there can be problems with splitters and amplifiers though. If I went with that solution, the signal would go through an amp and a couple of splitters. One end is also the coax leg that feeds DC power to the amp.



The E
Please allow me to retort
Premium
join:2002-05-26
Burnaby, BC
reply to ctggzg

As others mentioned, trying to follow the coax route isn't likely. (bummer). Is running an exterior line a possibility? What type of siding is your house clad with? Any way to hide/ protect the CAT5 behind siding, etc?
--
"All opinions stated by me are solely my views and do not reflect the views of my employer, this site, or even myself depending on my level of sanity at the moment"



nunya
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
reply to ctggzg

I've found splitters not to be that big of an issue. There's always a way around the AMP. Insert and remove the MOCA before.
--
Because I care...


ctggzg
Premium
join:2005-02-11
USA
kudos:2
reply to The E

said by The E:

Is running an exterior line a possibility? What type of siding is your house clad with? Any way to hide/ protect the CAT5 behind siding, etc?

There's a thought. There's already a (different) coax line running down the wall outside B, thanks to a Comcast installer who didn't want to sort out the existing wiring. I could run the Cat 5 alongside it from the attic and then I'd only have to get it from the attic to the upstairs bedroom, which I can do.

Aesthetics aren't an issue (the coax is black against a light-colored wall anyway), but is Cat 5 reasonably weatherproof? We get afternoon thunderstorms all summer around here.

eakes

join:2000-10-20
Richardson, TX
reply to ctggzg

Garden variety Cat5 will not last long outside. If you take that route, use electrical conduit (gray plastic type) with boxes at top and bottom where the cable enters the house.

Were it my home I would run the cable inside through the walls. Since the room above the office is a MBr, there must be a closet. I would open (1x2 foot) an area of sheetrock on an inside wall of the closet. Using a long, flexible drill bit, drill into the attic and the room below. I now have a cavity to feed a cable from attic to first floor. Open the ceiling in the office where the cable comes down and feed it to an inside wall and down toward the floor.

Patch the sheetrock and everything is good to go! Alternately, if I didn't want to patch the sheetrock, I would just install 'inspection plates' over the holes (painted wall and ceiling color).



Snakeoil
Ignore Button. The coward's feature.
Premium
join:2000-08-05
Mentor, OH
kudos:1
reply to ctggzg

I'm curious as to why the need for networking cable.

I moved into a new home and needed to extend my network upstairs. So I want fast and dirty and used a power line network adapter. The newer models have some decent bandwidth. I've used a switch on them as well, and it works fine.

My more modern devices use wifi. But I still like the power line adapter. As you aren't required to snake lines through walls and cut holes.
The first power line adapter I had was rated for 10mb, and lasted for 6 years. The new one is rated for about 50mb [If I remember correctly] and seems to work as well as the old model. Granted I only have 1 PC currently using that wired branch of the network. Before I had a switch with 3 PCs using the adapter, and it worked fine. Granted they were only running to crunch seti units/fold at home [I gave up on that years ago], and those 2 extra PCs have since been retired to the trash heap.
--
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cowspotter

join:2000-09-11
Ashburn, VA
kudos:2

Sometimes it's nice to have a wired network to support the wireless (extenders) and to have a more flexible network than to use powerline adapters.

I recently completed a network project where I ran a cat6 drop to each bedroom, one in a rec room, 4 to my living room, all terminating in my closet to a patch panel and gigabit switch. My motivation was that my desktop which hosts an ftp server was unable to fully utilize my FiOS because it's faster than the G-wireless can provide. I also want to put a media server in my network stack.

Wireless is nice but there are situations where wired is preferred.



nunya
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
Reviews:
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reply to Snakeoil

I've had a lot of problems with powerline and HPNA over the years. I'd say they are both about dead.
MOCA has worked flawlessly for me on every installation. You can jam a lot onto the bandwidth in a piece of coax.
Even RG59 and old 600 MHz splitters don't seem to bother it.
--
Because I care...



Snakeoil
Ignore Button. The coward's feature.
Premium
join:2000-08-05
Mentor, OH
kudos:1

Ok, then it makes sense as to why you wish to dodge the two.



The E
Please allow me to retort
Premium
join:2002-05-26
Burnaby, BC
reply to ctggzg

Installing CAT5 in an exterior environment will be just fine in terms of moisture. It's the UV rays that will destroy the jacket over a period of years. Exterior CAT5 has a jacket that's UV stabilized, that's pretty much the only difference.

That was why I asked about a way to "hide" the cable, it's more about shielding it from the sun than aesthetics. However, even outside, basic CAT5 should last 5-10 years before it starts breaking down.

Seems like a cheap, low-fuss option considering you have a line there already, and don't have to open up a bunch of walls/ceilings.

Just remember to seal any penetrations with silicone, and leave a drip loop at the bottom of the run to keep water out.

(I'm a cable / phone / data installer if that lends any credence at all….. hmm… maybe it gives me less…LOL!)
--
"All opinions stated by me are solely my views and do not reflect the views of my employer, this site, or even myself depending on my level of sanity at the moment"



Fronkman
An Apple a day keeps the doctor away
Premium
join:2003-06-23
Saint Louis, MO
reply to ctggzg

why is your house hollow in the middle?
--
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djrobx
Premium
join:2000-05-31
Valencia, CA
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·VOIPO
reply to ctggzg

Actually I haven't made the run from the attic to A yet either. That's why I want to follow the existing coax run so most of the work is already done for me. I'm just hoping that any openings are large enough to fit another cable through. But it's sounding more and more like I'll have to abandon the Cat 5 goal.

Ah, that's unlikely to work unless someone was really forward-thinking and put in some conduit. The holes generally will barely fit the cable, and the builder will also typically spray some expanding foam where the cable penetrates to seal up any air gaps. Cables are also usually stapled to the studs so you couldn't try and pull new cables by using the old ones to fish them through.

MoCA is probably going to be your best bet, as others have said.

If you have runs of coax that aren't attached to anything else, you can use DirecTV DECA adapters, which are the same as MoCA adapters but with tweaked frequencies for DirecTV, very, very cheap (sub $20) on eBay.
--
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Rethink Billable.

ctggzg
Premium
join:2005-02-11
USA
kudos:2
reply to Fronkman

said by Fronkman:

why is your house hollow in the middle?

The same reason the attic is floating a few inches above the rest of the house.

ctggzg
Premium
join:2005-02-11
USA
kudos:2

1 edit
reply to nunya

said by nunya:

I've found splitters not to be that big of an issue. There's always a way around the AMP. Insert and remove the MOCA before.

Could you elaborate? Do I need the MOCA signal to completely circumvent the amplifier, or can I place the adapters at each end as if the amp wasn't even there? I have a couple of DirecTV diplexers if those would help.

I bought a pair of 200 Mbps powerline adapters with great reviews, but I only get about 45 Mbps with both on the same outlet and 20 Mbps at opposite corners of the house where I need them.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

You are complaining about 20 Mbps? What are you trying to do?


ctggzg
Premium
join:2005-02-11
USA
kudos:2
reply to ctggzg

1. Up to 6 devices run over that connection.
2. We get 30 - 36 Mbps from Comcast.
3. We do some stuff on the LAN.
4. 20 Mbps is slower than the wireless bridge that the wired connection is replacing.


robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

If you really want to wire your house, post a decent floor plan upstairs and down so those of us who do this can give you ideas. I have never seen a house where it wasn't possible to get a wire at least close to where it needed to be.


ctggzg
Premium
join:2005-02-11
USA
kudos:2
reply to djrobx

said by djrobx:

If you have runs of coax that aren't attached to anything else, you can use DirecTV DECA adapters, which are the same as MoCA adapters but with tweaked frequencies for DirecTV, very, very cheap (sub $20) on eBay.

I got a couple of DECA adapters, but they don't seem to play well with Comcast. If I hook up one DECA to each leg of a splitter, they connect. As soon as I hook up the Comcast line to the input of the splitter, the DECAs desynch and never reestablish the connection. I power-cycled the adapters and waited for a while, and nothing. Does the coax wiring need to be dead except for the adapters?