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Housebuilding and a network

Last response: in Networking
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February 4, 2011 8:12:17 PM

Hi everyone,

my wife and I plan to build a house in the near future. Cellar and two floors above.
I'd like to use this chance to integrate a network infrastructure - basically,
I'd like to have the phone and internet connection in the cellar, set up a simple
server there, place a router there, attach some NAS.
I'd like to have WLAN all over the ground floor and in parts of the second floor,
but also ethernet connections.

Simple plan was to put up ethernet connectors in every room (Cat6 cables from cellar to the other floors)
and have a wlan router on every floor (and an additional wlan repeater, if needed).

Is it that simple? Or are there some more issues to think about?

(and excuse my not-so-well english)

Thanks a lot in advance!

More about : housebuilding network

February 5, 2011 11:34:50 AM

Not a grand hotel, no, just a house with about 170 square meters plus cellar.
There'll be two notebooks, two (stationary) media players, one desktop PC, a netbook, two android cell phones. And that server mentioned above, which shall just be a mass storage, providing access to its data to all connected devices. When my kids grow up, there'll probably be more PCs. It's a private household; but when I have the chance to build up properly for minimal cost (power line wires will be there anyway, why not put another cable inside the walls while you're at it? But I would not be willing to pay serveral thousands of Euros for that ;) 
February 6, 2011 11:01:06 AM

I think this is a matter of installation. Cables in general (at least in my country) are drawn inside walls through PVC pipes that are specifically designed for cables. Since it is difficult to know what your cable needs will be in the future I recommend that you use a thicker pipe, like 1 inch or more. Otherwise you can use several pipes in parallel. There are standard dimensions you can choose from. It will also be easier to get the cable through a thicker pipe as it is not as tight. These pipes can be bent somewhat but you need a metal spring that you put inside to prevent it from collapsing as you bend it (you usually heat the pipe before you bend it with for example boiling water or something that won't make the pipe melt, the best way is probably to use hot steam as a heat source that you use on the pipe as you bend it so that it doesn't cool down and stiffen as it would after taking it out of a heat bath). The best is to let them be straight as much as possible. If you bend it too much it will be difficult to pull the cable through, and make sure that the pipe is firmly attached inside the wall, especially at these bends so that they don't move or break when you try to pull cables through them. There are also special boxes that "plumbs" the PVC pipes together that go between the different rooms. These boxes are recessed in the walls accessible through a lid, sometimes they are hidden behind a power outlet or a light switch. It is through these boxes you pull the cables from one room to another.

The cables are pulled through the pipes using a pulling wire (also known as a wire worm, wire snake or Electrician's fish tape) that usually is made of nylon and is about 0.15-0.20 inches (4-5 mm) thick. It is stiff and strong. It is also useful to use some lubrication for the cable should it be difficult to pull. There is a special vaseline-like cream for cables but you can also use a lubrication spray (such as silicone spray, PTFE spray or Teflon spray).

So what you need to do is to make a plan on what cables you want to fit into each room (in terms of power outlets, telephone jackets, Ethernet, alarm/camera surveillance wire, central vacuum system, air conditioning and so on), think through the routes for all of these cables and lay out the pipes accordingly (together with their boxes). Think it through, you may need several pipes between two boxes. Don't be too stingy here as it is quite frustrating to run out of "pipe-space" and it is too late do do anything about it. The last resort to do anything about it unless you decide to open up the wall is to let the cables be outside the walls and drill through the walls between rooms. If you have concrete walls you could also cut up a ditch into the wall using a gear milling cutter to hide the cables underneath a wooden strip or panel. Cables are a pest so since you are about to build a new house you have a unique opportunity to furnish it in such a way that let you have all cables for your TV set, Hi-Fi equipment et al recessed in the walls. If you mix Ethernet with other cables it is also recommended to use shielded cables. There are also CAT7 cables available if you want to "future-proof" your installation.
!