domestic non-power wiring services

I want to install up-to-date non-power wiring as I work through this (old) house with 'heavy redecorating'. I think I want a computer network and whatever other services might be deemed necessary today, eg: tv, fm/digital radio, phone.
What would be appropriate reasonably up-market future-proof services to provide and standards to adopt?
For example, for the network, would 'structured cabling' (by which I think I mean Cat 5 STP & RJ45's) still be appropriate?
Most rooms will probably have the plaster skimmed, so there is no problem with chasing in. I intend to install oval conduit for the 'extra' wiring, so that it can be replaced if it becomes obsolete.
I am not too happy about a wireless network on the basis of some fairly feeble notions: more kit to buy, more to go wrong, probably not secure, waste of electricity, stray rf is pollution.
--
Charles Lamont

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This should help :
http://www.diyha.co.uk /
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On Fri, 5 Sep 2003 23:33:24 +0100, Charles Lamont

The popular standard is CAT5e UTP (i.e. unshielded) cable. 300m will cost you about 35. Shielded cable (STP) costs about three times that.
You could also look at CAT6 infrastructure. Cable is approx. twice the price of CAT5e. You do need to be careful to buy components that are specified as being suitable, however.
For home or home office use, 100Mbit networking is likely to be enough for a while. For internet access, the suppliers are struggling to deliver 512k - 2Mbit access, so this is the main limitation. However, if you envisage running file servers or home automation servers perhaps including digital video, then 100Mbit is certainly not too much.
These kind of cables can also be used for other services such as telephone, audio and home automation. The cable is relatively cheap in comparison to the disruption to go back and install more, so it's worth thinking of what you want and then going back and doubling or tripling it.
It is also worth putting in CT100 coaxial cable. You can either home run it to your main distribution point or use splitters as part of a tree structured distribution system if you want to save cable. Home running allows for a central distribution device such as a satellite multiswitch to be used. Thus you could have flexibility of satellite or cable TV receiver placement.
I used a technique of having transition distribution points. Basically I put in a large number of cables as bundles to 4 points in strategic places around the house - typically in fitted cupboards.
http://www.krone.co.uk/products/pncop_p3.asp
Cables to individual outlets can be added in as rooms are decorated without having to pull cable all the way back to the distribution point.
A good solution is to use Euro standard modular face plates and modules. A single plate switch sized plate will take two modules, whereas a double (socket) sized one will take four. Modules can be RJ45 outlets, BT phone sockets or even coax outlets resulting in a very neat solution that can also be changed easily. For example, for phone wiring you can use RJ45 outlets, but then these need adaptors to BT connectors. I put in BT modules directly, but could change them later if desired.

I am not sure that there is that much of a price difference. If you do CAT5/6 wiring properly, you will have the wall outlets, patch panels etc. to cost in. This can be as much as a basic wired network.
However, the wireless medium is shared so the 802.11b stuff only gives a maximum of 3-4Mbit actual, shared across all the users, 802.11g rather more. However, you may well need more than one access point. I am not sure that there is inherently more to go wrong in a wireless network. With cables you are dependent on all the connections being perfect. The punch down stuff is good, as long as you buy a good quality product, but can still have problems with faulty connections.
Security is a problem, depending on what level you are looking for. The inherent WEP encryption is poor and easily broken by a determined hacker, given enough data. Depending on what you are doing, and how you are configured, it can be broken in a few minutes. Even techniques like limiting MAC addresses to your own devices can be overcome by somebody determined to break in. The real question is how likely are you to be a target? If it's just home stuff, probably not, and you can live on just changing passwords regularly. However, if it's a business or SOHO environment then the prize may be interesting. Even then, though, the interceptor would need to be sitting outside your house or pretty close by to be within radio range. You can fairly easily implement higher level security using VPN technology which for practical purposes is raising the bar higher than most hackers would bother to try to jump.
The electrical consumption is negligible - a few watts from the mains and similar to fixed network equipment like switches.
The power levels are very low and bandwidths used very limited, so pollution is not really an issue. You might be able to receive next door's signal, but that's about it.
.andy
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On Sat, 06 Sep 2003 08:55:08 +0100, Andy Hall wrote:

UTP should be fine in a domestic enviroment, I doubt that the extra expense of STP cable is worth it.

And be a bit more careful about handling the cable, kinks etc if you want full performance from it.

Very important. If you think you want/need one cable at a given point put in two. If you think you need/want two put in four.

CT100 is cheap. Go for the home run as it by far the most flexable method and avoids the losses and connection problems of splitters.

Good idea on a per floor basis, don't forget the roof space.

But generally easyily and quickly traced and fixed. If a couple of PCs just happen to sit in black spots for the RF you can have real fun moving the access point/PCs about until they all work at the same time.

If they are using a poor aerial. Says him with two 802.11b based links attached to his house one 4.5km long the other about 3km. OK the 4.5km one uses 24" dishes at each end but has a good 20dB+ margin. The shorter link uses "long" yagis and has a similar margin. Other links in the area are longer, some over 10km.
With a decent aerial I reckon that you could be several hundred metres, line of sight, from an normal access point and still be able to communicate with it.
--
Cheers snipped-for-privacy@howhill.com
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On Sat, 06 Sep 2003 09:56:20 +0100 (BST), "Dave Liquorice"

I was thinking of the Pringles tube type of thing that hackers tend to use.

So this is a house to house type of scheme? How many do you typically have in a chain back to the central point with the land line access?
Have you done any traffic shaping, or do you just rely on everybody being reasonably well behaved?

The thing is though that a car with darkened windows and a 24" dish would have everybody scurrying to check that they had renewed their TV licenses. :-)
.andy
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On Sat, 06 Sep 2003 10:45:47 +0100, Andy Hall wrote:

Not really. It is a wide area scheme built with several backbones from a central point feeding remote access points. If you can "see" an access point you can get service. At a guesstimate I should think there is about 60sq miles of coverage available.
I just happen to live at a handy point that can see both ends of one of the backbone links that otherwise have a great lump of rock between them. One end has a couple of access points for the village and environs the other end has another link down to the main connection point.

Most users are 2 or 3 hops from the connection into the net. However that is also provided over 4 or 5 more hops before it hits a decent sized copper/fibre pipe.

Most people are well behaved. I believe there is some teaking done, like incoming HTTP has a slightly raised priority and the serious bandwidth hogs like Kazaa are disabled. Biggest problem of late has been the pesky windows welchia worm.

But a tatty small van with Bloggs - Plummber with blacked out rear windows and the aerial firing through a window thus not visible wouldn't be noticed.
--
Cheers snipped-for-privacy@howhill.com
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On Sat, 06 Sep 2003 21:41:45 +0100 (BST), "Dave Liquorice"

I just found your FAQ. Nice project. Do you host infrastructure like access points at people's houses or does the ISP have their own premises and POPs?
.andy
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Andy Hall wrote:

Just going off at a slight tangent, I called in to the large B&Q on the outskirts of Newbury yesterday and noticed that they were selling made-up CAT5e cables and associated kit (RJ45 wall plates etc.). Guess this must mean that home networking has finally reached the "man in the street". ;-)
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"parish" wrote | Just going off at a slight tangent, I called in to the large B&Q | on the outskirts of Newbury yesterday and noticed that they were | selling made-up CAT5e cables and associated kit (RJ45 wall plates | etc.). Guess this must mean that home networking has finally | reached the "man in the street". ;-)
They probably teach it in the schools these days.
Of course, you can forget installing a spur to power the network hub in the kitchen cupboard in the future unless you're signed up with knicker-ache.
New technology = fashionable Good old-fashioned trade skills = not fashionable
Says something about our education/government.
Owain
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As some of you will know, my company sells satellite TV cable and accessories so I know a bit about it.
Modern TV aerials for digital TV need to use double-shielded coaxial cable because the system is affected by impulse interference (from vehicles, thermostat switches, light switches etc.) Raydex CT100 is double-shielded copper-on-copper and electrically identical to Pope H109. If the entire run is indoors, you could use what we call "RG6" which is copper-on-aluminium. It's slightly more flexible than the other and slightly cheaper. The more weatherproof stuff is WF100, which uses a foam dielectric instead of air-spaced polythene.
Satellite TV dishes use exactly the same cable. The trend is towards FOUR cables to a dish as a satellite receiver with built-in Hard Drive (PVR) requires two cables from the dish. It doesn't take a mathematical genius to figure out that two of these digital satellite receivers will use four cables. Many people already have one PVR satellite receiver and one ordinary, using three dish cables in total.
So, for good future-profing, run THREE double-shielded coax cables to each TV point. That's one for the aerial signal and two for the satellite. In addition, the main TV location will probably need another coaxial cable going up to the roof space to feed a distribution amplifier supplying other rooms with whatever signal is required.
Whatever cables you run, be sure to AVOID running them close to, and parallel with, any 230v mains power cables. Also, if the house is on a main road, keep the aerial and cables as far from the road as possible in order to minimise interference pickup from vehicles.
Other sources of interference are:
DECT portable phones. Mobile phones. Certain "Snooper" type radar detectors used in cars. Microwave ovens.
Martin Pickering http://www.satcure.co.uk
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Thanks, chaps, for all that guidance.
--
Charles Lamont

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My personal plan for a small office network is to centralised the computers and to use Cat5e cable to connect Keyboard/Video/Mouse switches to the places I want to work from. I don't anticipate a great deal of need for peripherals, other than at the central point, but a couple of workstations will have USB2 connections and one printer may need to be remote. My main concern is to remove sources of heat and noise from the workplace, but having all the computers in one rack-mount case should mean that the actual computer network is independent of the cabling I choose to run to the workstations. I'm not sure how effective this setup would be at running the latest generation games though.
Colin Bignell
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