Finalizing plans for new home for Daughter and S-I-L. Interesting suggestions from a friend in the communications industry (research ). He offers two choices; 1. A multi cable containing 2-Cat 5E, 2-RG-6, & 2-fiber optic throughout. 2. A complete RF setup for tel, audio, video, broadband, security. He tells me that #2 will be the norm in about 5 years. He may be correct as I have RF security, broadband, tel, and partial video and it does offer flexability. Anyone with experience in this type of system? Kind of expensive, in the $12,000-$15,000 for 2,800 sq.ft.
It can be pretty hard looking into the future....so much can change!
I would only actually pull the wires to those places where I was pretty sure there would be an immediate use for it. Other places- perhaps as often as twice per wall- would only get a length of smurf tube that would end at some accessible place in the attic or crawl space. Smurf is pretty cheap- yet will make future changes a lot easier to make!
I have reviewed my own home and I realize that I have had to add/relocate numerous outlets for power, sound, tv, and tel over the past 10 years. That is why I went RF for items as I replaced failing appliances. Some of the items that I think will be incorporated in the new home will be; outlets supplying power to electronic equipment will be RF controlled (sometimes freeze-ups require power disconnect for 15 seconds or so), no hard-wired phone system (cellular only w/RF remotes), RF security, RF video surveillance, RF video distribution, RF broadband, RF sound distribution system. Will be avoiding the 2.4mHz band as too much junk on it already. The $12-$15 thou includes transmitters and receivers in various freq ranges, some, for security, will be rolling. It seems that Phillips has a remote control that can be programmed for 18 different devices. May need 2 of them. I have reached the conclusion that RF is the new way to go. Hard wiring is too restrictive when it comes to rearranging furniture, etc. Going to finish off my systems to all RF. I guess I’ll be trading the NEC for the FCC.
I second the suggestion of smurf tube (or better yet, real pvc or emt). make sure to use 1" minimum, and double up runs to A/V centric locations. Don't forget short hops for rack-->plasma/projector runs, etc, in addition to home runs to the wiring closet..
RF is great for some things, but I would not use it for everything. It's not the cure-all that some people make it out to be. It does have it's uses, both cabled, and free-space.
Phone: RF is great, but don't forget jacks for satellite receivers, fax machine, modem, etc
Data: RF is great for roaming laptops, but I prefer to keep desktop machines wired for speed and security reasons. If you are using a media server, streaming over a network, go ethernet, not wireless.
A/V: RF works if you're just sending a signal to a crappy TV, but you are never going to have the resolution and clarity with current technology that you will get with a direct audio/video connection, especially if you are used to using component, or Y/C (S-video). You can get baluns to let you run A/V signals over cat-5, with better quality than RF.
The one advantage that RF has for A/V is the ability to put multiple signals on one cable, such as multiple cameras, multiple A/V sources, etc, so it is certainly valuable, but it's not a cure-all. I would run it everywhere, in addition to baseband, but not as a replacement for baseband. RF over cable is good for distributing stuff to places where you wouldn't otherwise have a dedicated connection.. It would be worthwhile putting every A/V source, camera, etc in the house on a channel on a in-house cable system, so you can watch anything from anywhere.
Alarm: RF is ok, but I prefer a hardwired supervised system.
Cameras: RF works, but remember that with many of the systems, anyone can tune in, and watch your cameras. If you are using IP cameras, I don't think they offer that much more in the way of security. I prefer hardwired back to a central location, with power supplied from the closet, and distributed from there, possibly via RF on cable.
Remember that all these devices require power of some sort, and I find that it is much easier to hardwire, and provide power from a central location for those devices that need it (cameras, etc) or eliminate the need to provide power to the remote location at all (alarm).
Personally, I'd drop a pair of tubes to each desk/rack/cabinet location, and drop in 6 cat-5e cables (2 voice, 2 data, 2 A/V) and a RG-6 or two to start with, leaving a empty tube and a pullstring for later. 2 gang telecom rings or deep 4-11/16 boxes.
Don't forget ceiling boxes for projectors, etc, and some boxes high on the wall for wireless access points, cameras, alarm, etc. Don't forget floor boxes either..
For the A/V centric locations, beef up the tube size, and add some more spare tubes. Run a couple of dedicated power circuits. If doing an A/V room, consider putting in a subpanel + power conditioner just for that room.
Planning something like this takes foresight, and while it is tempting to spend $$$$ to wire for all the new whiz-bang technologies that you might buy someday, it makes more sense to put in lots of tube, and wire for what you need today + a couple years, and have capacity to pull new wire as needed.
For now, I think that a good base of cat-5e and RG-6 with patch panels makes the most sense, along with specials as needed for specific rooms.
[This message has been edited by techie (edited 01-01-2006).]
Just finished building a new house 280sqm (3012sqft)pulled in 2 cat5e to each room, 2 sets of 2 for main living areas. can use any connection for phone or data dependant on wht i plug it into in the panel. Also pulled in rg6 to each room with 4 to main entertainment area. 2 sat feeds one return from modulator to main panel and tv feed back from distribution hub in main panel. Terestial signal goes straight to distribution hub. Infared engine is built into the modulator. Modulator takes all signals from sat boxes, dvd etc and sends to the distribution hub as a uhf channel, user programable. total cost for equipment alone was $1500 AUS. (about $1100 US). Well worth the effort. Also took cat5e and rg6 out to garage.
Looking at the future I think that you will need Double Duplex outlets about every 3-4 feet! Run conduit for data lines, that way it the wiring inside can be updated as nessasary. I counted up everything in my living room that required an outlet one afternoon. 21 is what i came up with.
It's Not The Fall That Kills You... It's That Sudden Stop At The End
I'll second the opinion that wireless is not for everything. Some of the phones OK, but not all of them.
For data it is much slower for consistant use, and absolutely useless for large file transfer where speed is required. Things like streaming video and mp3 audio is barely able to keep up in the higher quality bit rates.
On top of that, as more and more wireless devices are put on the market, they fill up whole frequencies eventually creating distortion. Then they start selling stuff for the next frequency, making the stuff for the other frequencies harder to find. So down the line you may find it a real treat to find stuff for the freq you are using if not completely obsolete.
On another note about security with wireless networks. Your signal and access to your network are able to be tapped from outside the home. You would be suprised at how easily they can be accessed with password generating programs. Do a search for "Wardriving". I have overheard kids sitting at a busstop once a few blocks away trading passwords and locations of networks they knew how to get into... What they do in them, I have no idea...
That said, only a sizable conduit will be future-proof. But spare that, 2-Cat 5E, 2-RG-6, & 2-fiber will get you through the next few decades IMO. You could even drop the fiber, and still be ok for some time to come.
Mark Heller "Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason
I think Smurf is the best answer. Buy a spool or 2 and use it anywhere you are not absolutely sure you are done. My wife has changed her mind on the master swite lighting plan a couple times but it was trivial to change. My audio/video/data is in a bit of flux now too. Just be sure to strap it tight. If it "bellies" in a curve you have a harder time pushing wire through.