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#46783 01/02/05 10:15 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 804
BigB Offline OP
posted 01-02-2005 09:38 PM
Bill said: "If you've got some questions on VDV please ask away!"
OK Bill, here goes.

I am doing work for a restoration company that does flood and fire restoration. They want ne to do the CATV and phone. Nothing fancy, just voice and cable TV.

Should I get some sort of termination panel and run home runs to each location? Most of these homes had Cat 5 just daisy chained. With the budget I have to work with I wouldn't want to use a real costly termination center. If there is TV in 4 or 5 locations, I don't see how to do it without multiple home runs. You wouldn't want to use a bunch of splitters would you? How about one big splitter?

Also, should I keep the cat 5 and coax away from the romex, drilling separate holes?

Oh and for the phone, do you hook up for two lines right away or just connect the primary line in each room?

And with the cat 5, are the extra pairs just for noise supression or are they sometimes used to carry voice/data? In other words, is cat 5 capable of more than 2 lines?

Well as you can see I am as green as they come, hope it's not too many questions at once.

By the way, is it common to use a 66 block in residential or is it overkill?

Thanks, Brian

#46784 01/03/05 12:04 AM
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 42
it is a regional thing around here if a 66 or 110 is considered overvill or not. more common than not now the cat 5 should be kept 2 inches away by nec i believe im more familiar with bicsi and they require 6 inches or more. as for cable/coax we use a "siamese cable" has a cat 5 and a rg 6/59 which ever you want. we run those to a central location also if there is more than 2 units pulling from the feed you should have an amplifier/ booster put in again this is a quality issue not a code issue, what will happen as the Db drops about 3 loss per set you start to get ghosts and distorted colors and at the very worst snow or the white/ pink noise of no reception, most new tvs have a sensor that turns the screen blue.. usually 2 homeruns of coax siamese up to the dish or cable demarcation point. the cat 5 is capable of 4 or 5 lines depending on the number of pairs. color code is white,red,black,yellow,violet,blue,orange,green,brown, slate. white through,violet are the tip colors and blue through slate are the ring colors

#46785 01/03/05 12:30 AM
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 886
Ok BigB, I can answer your questions. Pretty much all we do is voice, data and some sound. We are an Avaya shop installing and servicing their Partner business telephone systems. Back in the 80's we were a pretty good master antenna TV system company until cable came to town. We then did a lot of CATV work, everything from house and multi dwelling unit installs to service tech to line work and underground.

Anyway, as to your questions:

Should I get some sort of termination panel and run home runs to each location? With the budget I have to work with I wouldn't want to use a real costly termination center.

I have never seen the need for those termination center thingies. I'm sure your budget can handle a piece of plywood because that's all we ever use. Yes, you will need to run home runs to each location back to this central location. Make your plywood backboard large enough and group all your voice lines on one side, maybe data in the middle and CATV on the other side.

For the CATV home runs you mount your splitters to the backboard and connect your home runs. Splitters that you probably normally see are 2 and 4 way but there are 3, 6, 8, 12 and even larger available. There is no reason you can't cascade 2's and 4's to get where you are going though.

Keep in mind that you can't get something for nothing. Each time you split the signal you lose something, 3.5db per two way, 7db per four way. The way you figure all this is that your end result needs to be at least 0db on all channels (yes, zero is actually something) at each set or jack. You would measure this with a signal level meter that tunes each channel and displays the level. Unfortunately this is not something that you would likely have.

What I recommend you do is leave the splitters and home run terminations to the cable company and let them worry about the signal levels. They will install a "home run" amplifier if necessary that is compatable with their system. Sometimes I changed the tap out on the street to provide a higher signal level, but this is something only the cable company can do.

Is a 66 block overkill? Where else are you going to terminate those 4 pair voice jack home runs? Make sure you mount the block with an 89 A or B bracket to the backboard. Run all your cables through the bracket behind the block and out the bottom opening. Use 50 pair split blocks for this. You can identify a split block by wiggling a row of clips. You will see that the the 3 clips on the left are not connected to the 3 on the right. It's split down the middle. (A 25 pair block is not split and the whole row will wiggle together).

Punch ALL the pairs from each cable down starting at the top left, outside clip. (I shouldn't have to mention that there IS a color code). Continue down the block then go to the top right and go down the same way. With 4 pair from each cable you can have 6 cables per side, 12 home runs per block. Jacks are 6 pin wired as RJ14 (2 pair)

This method provides the most flexibility in allowing the jacks to be connected for just about anything- up to 4 individual lines or a key system.

Each jack should be labeled with a number, (write it on the plate with a sharpie) and the cables should be punched down in sequential order starting at the top left. Mark the number next to the first clip of every cable on the block too.

Two schools of thought here as to how to identify your home runs as you punch them down. I subscribe to the tone crowd. I won't bother to tag the cables as I pull then. I'll install the jacks and label them in some logical order. Then I'll plug my toner into each jack starting with the first and (if I don't have a helper) go back to the block, find it and punch it down, repeat.

You may decide to tag your cables first. I find that it's easier not having to worry about what cable goes where when you are pulling them and looking for tags.

Data cat5- basically the same thing only instead of a 66 block you use a patch panel. I like to use orange jacks for data so that they won't be confused with voice. The data jacks are always 8 pin RJ45. Always punch the jacks and the patch panel down in the 568B configuration.

You need to be very careful when running data cable. No deforming, (so staples really shouldn't be used) and no sharp bends. It's almost impossible not to kink the stuff but a kink= disaster. Straighten it out as best you can and hope for the best.

The "extra" two pairs are not for noise suppression. 10 and 100baseT ethernet only use two pairs. 1000baseT uses all pairs but you won't see that yet.


#46786 01/03/05 01:08 AM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 9
Junior Member
That's a good set of questions, alright. I might be able to help on the phone side.

For DATA, the most common spec is CAT5e, which is mostly just a tightly controlled version of CAT5. The spec includes the cable, the connectors, and the method. CAT5 is 4 twisted pairs, and an RJ-45 type connector. You can run telephone over this stuff, but the phone connectors often don't fit quite right, either electrically or mechanically. 10 or 100BaseT Ethernet is the most common thing used on CAT5, and it only uses 2 of the 4 pairs. You have to have all 4 pairs to meet the spec, though.

For PHONE, the closest data spec is CAT3, the ends are RJ-11, and the cable is usually 4 wire. The wiring can be much less specific and still work. That's not true at all with data.

(I put the above part in because if you start calling telco stuff CAT5, data and probably phone people will look at you funny.)

Data and phone should never been run within the same cable. The signals would likely interfere, and I believe it's a code violation as they're different classes of wiring.

I don't think its good practice to run data/phone and power through the same holes if it's easily avoidable.

Ok, what am I missing...

Home runs: For data, normally you want everything to come back to a common point, where the datacom stuff is. The runs for CAT5 have to be less than 100 meters, including any patch cords used at the ends. The cable should be one continuous run, no splices at all. Cables that violate these rules usually don't work.

For phone, daisy chain is fine, home runs are fine, it doesn't matter unless someone wants to use their phone wiring for something else, or have some rooms on different phones or something. For even a small business, with only 1 phone line, it's good practice to run all phone lines as home runs back to one point. This allows much more flexibility for future devices.

66 Blocks - Great for phone, no-go for data. Telephone guys use them because they're inexpensive, reliable, neat, and very fast. Now it's usually 110 blocks, but the principle is the same. (110 blocks aren't good for data either, no matter what any marketing stuff might say.) It wouldn't be overkill in a nice big home, not sure about an average one.

I would wire all four wires at the phone jack end, and carry all four wires though any splices you do in the building. Then at the board, just terminate the center pair.

I don't know what the current practices are for video. If it were my house, I'd want home runs back to a board. That way I could setup the splitters any way I want.

For a normal sized house, if you brought all the phone and TV back to one spot, had an 18"x18" or so piece of plywood mounted on the wall, terminated the phone stuff to a small 66 or 110 block, put ends on the TV lines and connected them to a four or five way passive splitter mounted to the board, I think you'd be a hero. If you daisy chained some of the phone lines, I doubt if anyone would complain.

One last thing - when you do video, please put terminators on any unused splitter outputs. If you don't, they leak RF all over the place, annoying ham radio operators. [Linked Image]

#46787 01/03/05 09:23 AM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
Most of the main points have already been covered, I think, but I'll add a couple of personal comments.

Regarding TV distribution, as far as a new home is concerned I would wire everything as homerun to a central point. I've spent countless hours trying to sort out horrendous signal problems on systems which have a real hash of wiring, amplifiers, and splitters all over the place as things have been added and extended. The losses in coax and splitters soon add up, and trying to get anything resembling consistent signal levels can be a nightmare in these systems.

On basic telephone wiring, there's no real technical need for homeruns if you anticipate only a basic single or two-line system. However, if there's any chance that the owner (or a future owner) might want something more complex at some point, such as a home PBX system, extra lines added for data or fax to which an existing outlet will be swapped, etc. then homerun wiring will make these future changes much easier to do.

#46788 01/03/05 10:35 AM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 46
Is it the standard today to drop a cat5 ,cat3 and rg6/59 at each location?? If so can anyone recommend a bundled type of cable.Also is rg6 the standard as well. I was under the impression that satellite will not not work on rg59.. Thanks ToHo

#46789 01/03/05 06:55 PM
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 886
On basic telephone wiring, there's no real technical need for homeruns...

I COMPLETELY disagree. At a minimum home runs eliminate the same problems you mention with daisy chained TV distribution. Owner wants a second line added to a jack, nothing like moving a wall unit and other furniture to open up all the other jacks to cut the pair through. That's assuming you even know how it's run. I've been known to walk away from jobs like that.

Nowadays with home offices and kids multiple lines are a given in many homes. Home run wiring provides the flexibility to easily configure any jack for up to 4 lines or allows the use of a key system if an owner chooses.

4 pair cat3 homeruns for voice actually is a standard for residential and you are going to be running home runs for everything else anyway.

ToHo, there is no standard for what to provide at each location. Obviously a telephone for instance may not always be located with a TV or computer and installing wiring for everything at each location is a waste of time and money. I've seen that stupid "everything under one jacket" cable (2-RG6, 4-cat5's, 2-fiber) home run to a telephone table in a hall. Can you say DUMB!

I have always been a believer in a well thought out installation. Plan where the jacks are going to go then add more because nobody ever knows how the rooms will be arranged beforehand. Consider that future owners will have different ideas too. Run only the services required to each jack with individual home runs.

RG-59 really has no use in this application anymore. Higher bandwidth requirements have made RG-6 the norm. Always nice to use a cable swept to 2Ghz to allow for satellite distribution. Quad shield is normally not necessary, by the way so save your money. 60% braid over foil is just fine.


[This message has been edited by hbiss (edited 01-03-2005).]

#46790 01/03/05 10:55 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 9
Junior Member
For home, 2 pair CAT3 for telephone is more standard, at least here anyway. 4 pair with RJ-45's is standard for offices. If you're going to run 4 pair for phones, you'll probably want to terminate 2 pairs at the jack, RJ-11, and leave the other 2 pairs unterminated. (2 pair phone gives you either 2 plain phone lines to each location, or the ability to run some PBX systems. 4 pair would add the ability to run almost any PBX.)

Something that's worth mentioning is that CAT5 cable isn't a better replacement for CAT3 for phones. Many or most phone terminations don't work reliably with CAT3 cable, because the insulation is tougher and the IDC connections don't always cut through right.

Home runs for phones ARE the better way to do it, no doubt, but with phones it's less of an issue, at least to me, than video or data. With data, daisy chains simply won't work at all. With TV, as hbis mentioned, you've got serious losses to worry about. (3db is half, by the way.) With regular phone, daisy chains using quality equipment is electrically fine. It is, of course, harder to troubleshoot, less flexible for future phone work, and not compatible with a PBX. Do run all the wires through all the splices if you daisy chain or splice.

So for a $500,000 home, you'd be crazy not to do home runs for phone. For a tiny house, I think a couple of daisy chains are fine if it saves a lot of time. I'm not saying this because one person deserves better wiring than the other, but because one house is much more likely to have 3+ phone lines or a pbx.

In this area, for an office, people are generally doing 2 CAT5e's and 1 CAT3 to each cube or office. Reception areas will get an extra phone line or two for fax. If they need more data than that, they put a switch in for that office/cube. For a home, I'd think just one CAT5 would be fine almost anywhere.

I never used any of the "all in one" cable just because the last time I looked it was at least 2x the price of the individual cables added together.

Oh, and if you do run home runs for the phone, don't splice it from the jack to the panel, and leave room to re-terminate. Then if someone wants to later, they can re-end the cable to CAT3 RJ-45, and run 10BaseT Ethernet on it. If, as you said, you're not running any data cables for these jobs, that could again make you the hero to somebody later on. (10BaseT might be "old" and "slow", but it's reliable, and way faster than any home Internet connection I've ever heard of.)

Brian - have we confused you yet? [Linked Image]

#46791 01/04/05 09:48 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 804
BigB Offline OP
Thanks for all the info.....I'll re read this thread a few times. So if I'm just wiring for basic phone and CATV maybe I should just use cat3 and rg6 coax? The thing that confuses me most is all this rj45 rg6 rthis and r that. Sometimes I run across some old rg-11 I think, the smaller coax that uses F connectors. Is it ok to splice onto this, some of the renovations do not encompass the whole house, just a room or two.

#46792 01/05/05 08:44 PM
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 886
BigB, don't let the "R's" confuse you. It's just coincidence that these things begin with them. There was no such thing as an RJ-45 jack back in the 40's when the military came up with the RG naming convention for coaxial cables.

The smaller cable you are thinking of is probably RG59. I assume you are saying that it is smaller than RG6. RG11 is really big, nearly 7/16 in diameter. Is it OK to splice into it? No, read what I said about RG59 above.

As for jacks, get yourself a copy of the Leviton telecom products catalog. Loads of information on the subject in the back.

CAT3 and RG6 is just what the doctor ordered for all voice and CATV wiring. A lot of people will just use CAT5 for everything because they can't be bothered. Keep in mind that CAT5 costs more. Not by a huge amount for non-plenum PVC but the difference is staggering between CAT3 and CAT5 plenum, up to three or four times! So it pays to know your cables.

While I'm ranting about CAT5, I've often said that it seems to be the universal LV cable used by electricians. When I see voice wiring done in CAT5 I know right away who did it. Personally I wouldn't use the stuff for anything that didn't require it, not just because of cost but the tight twists can make it time consuming and a PITA to terminate.

Now, I don't know what is going to happen whe the next flavors of cables are introduced and CAT5e becomes obsolete. Some of the new stuff has a plastic spline down the middle, bonded pairs and other stuff that is going to make you REALLY not want to use it unless you have to. Guess I'm just ahead of the curve. [Linked Image]


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