Pulling CAT-5 with phone wire

My home is about 20 years old. I want to pull out all the old phone wiring and replace it with CAT-5 cabling. I have several questions.

1) Is it likely the phone cable is loose in the walls, or is it typically tied down inside the walls? Therefore, can I use the phone cable to pull the CAT-5 (unterminated)?

2) I heard that fire code construction demands that holes in the wall joists be filled - is that true?

3) Any thoughts as to the least invasive way to get CAT-5 around my home? I can pull to only a select few spots if it's very difficult.
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  1. Usually the phone lines pass through small holes in the studs in bundles often at angles around obstacles and can be hard to pull out, much less pull a larger cable through. You can try one in an area that won't matter if it doesn't work. Other than from adjoining rooms it usually is a chore.

    Don't know about the fire code question, depends on the locality, but holes in the studs would be of more concern than the joists I would expect.

    I've pulled a lot of cable through existing residential construction and the only time that it is reasonably easy is if it is a single story and does not have a flat roof, the larger the attic space the better. Commercial jobs are usually easier as many of the buildings have conduits where you can use a fish tape.

    And for the cable runs that you can do, use CAT5e cable so you can achieve gigabit speeds.
  2. Also, if you plan on using the cat5e/cat6 for both phone and networking, you will only be able to achieve 10/100 network speeds as gigabit requires all 4 pair of wires.
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