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reply to tschmidt
Re: Future Proofing home networks Plenum vs. PVC jacketed cables. The primary difference is that the plenum jacket is designed to be very-low smoke generating in the event of a fire. It lowers the 'load' of flammable materials, and the amount of smoke produced. Its used primarily where smoke can be re-circulated throughout the building; i.e. in ceiling plenums.
Its not needed in homes. In almost all homes, the amount of materials that produce poisonous smoke in a fire - and large amounts - is overwhelming. If there is a fire in your house and you breath in the smoke - good chance you are dead. Sorry, to say, but there are almost no requirements for low-smoke producing materials in households, because in a fire its only a few dead people; compared to an office building, for example, where hundreds could die. In those buildings, very often all of the furnishings - walls, ceilings, flooring, paint, furniture, etc - are often 'Class A' in terms of low-flammability and low-smoke producing.
So, if you want to spend an extra $20 or so on a roll of plenum cable for your house - great. Its not going to do a damn thing to save you in a fire, however.
said by whizkid3:Doesn't surprise me one bit, especially with the over-abundance of cheap synthetic materials and plastics found in the majority of consumer products. It's scary how flammable some of these materials are.
In almost all homes, the amount of materials that produce poisonous smoke in a fire - and large amounts - is overwhelming.
said by JoelC707:Even fiber isn't completely "future proof". Not all fiber is created equal. Who knows what type of fiber will be the standard in the future.
The other option, in addition to or in place of the conduit is to just run fiber. You can get fiber NICs sure, but I would instead go with a media converter. Yes, it's one more component on each end and one more component that can fail. It also may take time for the media converters to come out but considering these advancements usually come to servers and backbone equipment first, which are usually fiber connected, you'll be ahead of the curve compared to copper users. Besides, who knows, in the future fiber may be the preferred cabling instead of copper.
If you want to see just how quick a fire spreads through a room, the Christmas Tree Fire videos from the NIST are both informative and seasonal
With regards to the original topic, when using flexible plastic conduit (a.k.a. Smurf Tube, ENT) to future proof a home network there is no point in using plenum cable since the conduit itself is not fire rated at all.
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reply to TheMG
True, no one really knows what the future holds so the whole concept of "future proofing" is kind of a futile effort. On the fiber front, you really only have multimode and singlemode fiber and I suspect mode converters/NICS use multimode. The connector is somewhat volatile with a lot more options now than just the ST/SC options when I first got exposed to fiber patch cables LOL. And the average user isn't going to have the skill or equipment to replace connectors either.