structured wiring in existing wood frame home


I am adding more structured wiring to an existing home. Home is wood frame, stucco, tile roof. I was able to add some cat5 to nearby rooms but it wasn't easy. previous owner had pulled some sat cable already so I was able to use that cable to pull my cat5 down. However, on the other side of the house that seems impossible to reach thru the attic, there are 2 rooms lacking cable. Would it be ok to add cat5 and coax on the outside to those rooms ? I don't see any way to get to it. Thankfully the basement already has some cat5, but Ideally it could use 1 more pull. How I would even get to that is beyond me. The wall in which I want the cat5 to go in the basement has no wall on the ground floor (above it).
How do you pull cat5 in existing walls, if you do have access above it ? Aren't there horizontal beams in the 2by 6 walls? Can someone point me to the right tools ?
Thanks rookie cable puller
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Why pull CAT5? Unless you want/need speeds faster than 100mb/s wireless will cover the whole are better than fixed jacks, provide more flexibility of use, can be secured so the neighbors don't get free internet, and is probably just as cheap as CAT5 is.
As for landlines, a good multi-unit 5.8 cordless works just as well as real wire. If you are worried about power failures just make sure you have at least one real handset somewhere so you will still have use while the power is off. Otherwise, get one of the small UPS units designed for home use and plug the base into that.
Now, I have to admit that coax would still be a problem. No good ideas on alternatives here.
As far as how to do if you decide you do need to actually pull wire, all of the big box hardware stores have whole sections devoted to strutctured wiring, including all the tools and supplies needed, as well as nice brochures and books on How To.
BTW, if I were to run some wire outside on a stucco house, I would run it along the bottom of the sillplate behind the bottom drip edge of the stucco for as long as possible. Remember, with the right paint coax and CAT5 can be painted to match almost any color.
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tim wrote:

Bullshit. Wireless cannot approach the speed or reliability of wired. Wireless is ok, it is certainly not better than wired in any respect except that it is easier to install.
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Art

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at best, an internet connection MIGHT be 10Mb/s. Seems to me that 54 is more than 10. So unless you're actually transferring files within your own network , you'll never need the wire for the speed.
s

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Steve Barker DLT wrote:

Except that wireless connections seldom meet their rated throughput, the throughput being measured under lab conditions that don't exist in the real world. And all wireless connections aren't 54 Mbps. Mine runs about 3.2 Mbps, and I'm ten feet away. My wired connection is about 87 Mbps. If I could pry my wallet loose and buy a gigabit router, my wired connection would speed up by a factor of 10. I transfer files within my own network all the time. My bookkeeping file is about 40 MB. I can't use it wirelessly.
Having structured wiring is a great selling point when you put your house on the market.
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The point I was trying to make was that the OP said there were areas where it would be hard to run wire. Wireless is a quick and easy way for MOST users to avoid running additional wire. How many people do you know that have the need to move large amounts of data around withing their home on a regular basis? Yes, within a few years having your media centers as part of your network and/or having fiber to the house will stress wireless as it exists today. But it is still a quick and easy solution for 90% of current home users.
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I move large groups of 4-5MB pictures around on my wireless all the time. (perhaps sometimes 100 photos) I can't imagine it taking any less time. It's a nothing point really. Wireless is the way to go unless you're building from scratch.
s

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Well, yes, I am well aware of wireless and I use it for the laptops. however, I use media center and transfer large amounts of data of the wire to several computers running media center. I also use a hdhomerun which picks up HD signals from cable and transfers it over cat5. Those HD feeds are not small. Do a couple at the same time and wireless won't cut it unless I invest in wireless N on all computers. Even then, I'd have to throw in repeaters to get great coverage (4200 sqft home, part is basement). I've managed to run 2 cat5's so far. Still, biggest problem seems to be to drop down from the attic to a wall. Horizontal studs block it.
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RT wrote:

Invest in a flex-bit or two. They're cheap and available in amazingly long versions. (I got one six-footer free when I bought a house one time, left by the previous owner. I suspect he got it free from the owner before him, based on the crude repairs he also left.)
Here's a sample link: http://www.altex.com/Flex-bit-Drill-Bits-for-Cable-Installation-12-x-72 - FLX1272-P139808C10902.aspx
You might also need an extension if your wall is really tall.
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Steve Barker DLT wrote:

> is more than 10. So unless you're actually transferring files within > your own network , you'll never need the wire for the speed. > > s > >
(Top posting fixed)
Wireless, if it is secured, has quite a bit of overhead added so even if you could get the theoretical 54Mb speed it still wouldn't be half of 100Mb wired connection. In reality it's closer to 25%.
Networks are good for a whole lot more than just internet sharing. Once setup people find they are ideal for backups, file consolidation and sharing. If you setup a wireless you just limit yourself down the road. Cat5 or Cat6 is fairly cheap. If you put a little effort into pulling wire you can have a 100 or 1000Mb network with room to grow.
FIOS is just around the corner and will be provide considerably faster download speeds than most wireless can handle.
If someone is willing to put in a wired network you really shouldn't try to tell them a wireless is better or just as good cause it's not and never will be. They are just not in the same league.
Wireless is good for renters, hotels, wifi spots, outdoors areas, and other places where wires just cannot be run. (and for the lazy.)
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Wireless is fine for surfing the web, I do it from my laptop all the time.
However, if you need to transfer files between computers, wireless is extremely slow. I have a network media player in my living room and stream HiDef media files over my home network. Wireless wouldn't even begin to keep up with that.
Anthony
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Creativity is a necessity when it comes to fishing wires! :)
When we built our house, I installed conduit running from wall outlets to our crawlspace. This has really simplified upgrading cable, phone, ethernet runs, etc. I just remove the cover plate and feed up the new cable. Simple.
But, I've had to fish a lot of wires in my in-laws 100 year old house as well. If your house is insulated, you'll probably have better luck fishing wires through interior walls (usually no insulation in those).
My basic technique, drill a hole from the top and another from the bottom. Tie a small nut or washer to the end of a string and drop it down through the hole till you feel it hit the bottom. Then reach up through the bottom hole with a bent piece of wire and snag the string. Yeah, easy, eh? :) Then firmly tape the string to the cable you are pulling and pull it through.
Of course, there always seems to be some kind of obstruction. My in-laws have blocking in their walls about midway up, so I've had to buy long drill bits and extensions to drill up or down through the blocking (depending on which direction is most accessable). Most home centers sell long flexible drill bits, but they're fairly expensive if you won't be using them a lot. I find combining extensions works just as well and lets me fine tune the length as needed.
When possible, I've found it helpful to drive a long screw up through the ceiling or down through the floor to help guide where I need to start drilling. The small screw hole is easy to patch afterwards.
Look for other alternatives like running cables in a closet, behind baseboards, etc. In your case, you may be able to remove the baseboard and cut a channel in the drywall to lay your cable in. Then reinstall the baseboard.
Sometimes remodel installations take a LOT more cable than you would otherwise need. For instance, I had to run a power cable across a basement ceiling, up inside living room wall, across the attic, and down into a bathroom. Long trip, but it was the easiest way to get power to the bathroom that was hard to reach from the basement.
Worst case, if you have drywall, don't be afraid to pop a hole or two and run whatever cables you need. Drywall is fairly easy to patch and repaint, though this would still be my last resort. If I did opt for that route, I would probably install conduit to make future runs easier.
Good luck!
Anthony
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