Install Ethernet cabling as part of electrical upgrade.

As part of an electrical upgrade, we are considering installing ethernet connections in several rooms.
Couple of questions on best practices: 1. What type of cable should we be using? Is Cat 6 the best choice for now given that Cat 7 uses different connectors and has only just been ratified? How much more does Cat 6 cost than Cat 5/5e and is it worth the cost differential?
2. I know that best practice recommends keeping Ethernet cabling 6-12 inches away from electrical conduit, but is this really necessary? Specifically, one of the reasons we are considering installing Ethernet as part of our electrical upgrade is the hope that we could use the same fishing and cable pulling holes that are being used to bring up new electrical power.
3. How much cable slack should we ask the electrician to leave at the jack and patch panel ends?
4. How different is the quality between two different cables of the same "CAT" rating? Are there any brands of cable and connectors that we should go for or stay away from?
5. Since this is a multi-story *old* house, there is no easy way to install conduit that we can use to change wires as needed over time. Given that, is there any other way to allow for future changes in wire type? Can one for example leave a pull-wire?
5. Any other words of wisdom?
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The first rule of data cabling is use the state of the art wire. There is actually something to be said for running smurf tube stub ups into the attic so you can replace the wire. Media is the cheapest part of the project.
You should still terminate with cat 5 connectors so you are compatible with the world.
I am not all that concerned with power cables in a home. There aren't the big switching transients you see in an office building and lan cards reject 60hz noise. I wouldn't tywrap them together but if they happen to share a hole now and then I wouldn't lose my mind. Usually you can just pick another hole for a cat 5.
The real trick of data wiring is making up the keystones, not running the wire.
Don't strip any more than you have to, don't untwist the wire more than you have to and do make the leads short in the connector. Usually there is a picture. Do it. This is a transmission line, not a door bell.
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Greg wrote:


OK, I'm impressed. You apparently know something about this, please tell us when to applaud.
Once again, in English?
--
The real Tom Pendergast [ So if you meet me, have some courtesy,
aka I-zheet M'drurz [ have some sympathy, and some taste.
  Click to see the full signature.
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He's trying to impress you. Don't break his heart!

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Even if lan cards *attempt* to reject 60 Hz noise, I would continue the well established practice of not running cat5/6 through the same holes with high voltage. You better get a third opinion on that. By the way, my house is loaded up with plastic tubes and hardly any actual wiring. The installation cost was about $50 for a fairly big house (at construction time, obviously). On the rare occasion that I want data or TV in a different place, I slide a new wire in and I *still* have saved time and money and complexity in the long run. When I see new houses being built with fat bundles of multimedia cabling and a giant wiring hub, I think about the $10K that I still have in my pocket. -B

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Jeffrey J. Kosowsky wrote:

Hi, How about going wireless? Tony
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Jeffrey J. Kosowsky wrote:

At the jack, 18"-24" gives you enough room to work with it. Any less is frugal and inconvenient, any more is a waste.
At the patch panel end, try to plan ahead, have the backboard and punchdown blocks mounted, try to have a couple of big "loop" rings ("p-hooks?") at the point where all cabling will arrive at the board, use them for both neatness and some basic strain relief. From that point, figure the distance at worst case that it would take the cable to make it arund the board and get to the furthest termination spot on the punch block(s). The fundamental rule always applies: You can always loop and tie some excess cable, but you can't stretch what you don't have.

***ALWAYS*** leave a pull wire. The first time you pull, when you add a cable 3 months from now, pull a piece back through with the new cable, repeat as necessary FOREVER.

Try to find a few installations where you can take a few minutes and look at the patch panels to see how they do things. Find a neat one and one that looks like an exploded rat's nest, and soak up the differences. Consistency counts. Have a plan.
--
The real Tom Pendergast [ So if you meet me, have some courtesy,
aka I-zheet M'drurz [ have some sympathy, and some taste.
  Click to see the full signature.
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I-zheet M'drurz wrote:

Some samples can be found at http://www.dslreports.com/forum/homephotos and bigger installations at http://www.dslreports.com/forum/bbphotos
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Hey, why avoid all the hassle.....go wireless. Talk with your local computer guru. I bought my wireless unit from Circuit City....I am very satisfied with the performance.

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I currently have wireless and I find that it is: - Less reliable (connection sometimes dropped) - Limited in distance (particularly in old homes with thick walls -- my signal strength drops significantly even in the next room) - SLOWER - 802.11g gives you 54mbps nominally and you can get a little higher perhaps with some of the proprietary speed-boosted formats. However actually speed is much slower particularly when several computers share the link. At the same time, 100MHz Ethernet is ubiquitous and most new computers now come with 1Gig Ethernet cards - Subject to interference from microwave ovens, cordless phones, and your neighbor's networks - Less secure if you are not careful about setting up passwords and encryption.
At the same time, I plan to have a wireless overlay for using my laptop. However, for my fixed network and for heavy file transfer and multimedia, I plan to stick with faster and more reliable wired Ethernet.
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Jeffrey J. Kosowsky wrote:

I wired my house with cat 6 last year. $128/1000 ft. Cat 5e was from around $50 to > $100. Go online and search for the current price.
Monster cable seems to have good reputation though I never use it.
The price difference on jacks is less than $1 each.
The books I read said to be at least 12" apart from power cables if run parallel. If they cross, make sure they cross at right angle.
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