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Best cable for connecting Openreach fibre to LAN switch


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Hi Guys,

I'm trying to work out what is the best cable to use to connect the Openreach Fibre supply point  that will come directly into the house, with the LAN switch in my media hub.  The cable that joins these two together will be about 15 m and I was planning to use just CAT6 throughout the house for all LAN connections.  Current plan looking is looking like 40+ LAN points.  These wont all be in use at the same time but it seems like I should be running a bigger cable into the media cabinet  but not sure what?    A second and related question is can a take one of the outputs from the main switch in the media cabinet to be the input to a secondary switch ( e.g in my office) if I need additional ports at some point in the future?  Would Cat6 cable be sufficient to connect these two switches together?

Sorry i these are dumb questions but this is my first time trying to put in a structured cable network and just want to make sure the right sort of cables go in from he start.

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Cat 6a provides 10Gbps over a max distance of 100m so should be relatively future proof for the coming years. For peace of mind, I'd run that everywhere.

 

The expense will come from trying to find a switch that can support 40x 10Gbps ports - that's data centre spec stuff! Right now, most consumables support up to 1Gbps so I'd stick with a 1Gbps switch.

Edited by jayc89
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You’ll never reach the boundary of the FTTP capacity on CAT6 as your limiting factor will always be switch performance plus the actual data stream source - you’re talking carrier grade switching at 10Gbps on multiple ports which you will never use in a domestic situation so a good quality full copper CAT6 cable will be fine everywhere. 

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3 hours ago, cbk said:

Hi Guys,

I'm trying to work out what is the best cable to use to connect the Openreach Fibre supply point  that will come directly into the house, with the LAN switch in my media hub.  The cable that joins these two together will be about 15 m and I was planning to use just CAT6 throughout the house for all LAN connections.  Current plan looking is looking like 40+ LAN points.  These wont all be in use at the same time but it seems like I should be running a bigger cable into the media cabinet  but not sure what?    A second and related question is can a take one of the outputs from the main switch in the media cabinet to be the input to a secondary switch ( e.g in my office) if I need additional ports at some point in the future?  Would Cat6 cable be sufficient to connect these two switches together?

Sorry i these are dumb questions but this is my first time trying to put in a structured cable network and just want to make sure the right sort of cables go in from he start.

First I think you need to do a network traffic analysis. Then, design it.

 

I have a wired network, it was done pre CAT6 so it is 5e and supports gigabit no problem. I only upgraded some key data points to a gigabit switch such as my workstation, server etc. the rest are still on 100Mbit and work fine, things like lighting controls, printer, smart TV type stuff (which works no bother). 

 

After I did some live traffic analysis I concluded that the network was doing just fine. I will be able to move to gigabit fully in the future if I need it but for the foreseeable the network is fine.

 

You have 40+ LAN points, will they all be patched? If they are all patched then what are they all doing? 

 

Extra points in your office, what are you thinking, how many computers? Printers? Realistically unless your are running ATC from your home office I cannot see more than 2-4 being needed. Just run the required no. of cables, use a grid plate and just buy a single RJ45 module for now, add the rest if you need them. I have CAT5e cables buried all over my house, I cannot see them ever being used now to be honest but they are there.

 

I also detect a hint of overthinking here. 

 

I would just get decent cable in and in decent qty's and don't worry too much about the hardware for now, even if you go down 100Mbit for now then the Gig can follow. BT home hub is Gig, so high traffic can go directly onto those ports from your patch panel if you need Gig.

 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Carrerahill said:

First I think you need to do a network traffic analysis. Then, design it.

 

I have a wired network, it was done pre CAT6 so it is 5e and supports gigabit no problem. I only upgraded some key data points to a gigabit switch such as my workstation, server etc. the rest are still on 100Mbit and work fine, things like lighting controls, printer, smart TV type stuff (which works no bother). 

 

After I did some live traffic analysis I concluded that the network was doing just fine. I will be able to move to gigabit fully in the future if I need it but for the foreseeable the network is fine.

 

You have 40+ LAN points, will they all be patched? If they are all patched then what are they all doing? 

 

Extra points in your office, what are you thinking, how many computers? Printers? Realistically unless your are running ATC from your home office I cannot see more than 2-4 being needed. Just run the required no. of cables, use a grid plate and just buy a single RJ45 module for now, add the rest if you need them. I have CAT5e cables buried all over my house, I cannot see them ever being used now to be honest but they are there.

 

I also detect a hint of overthinking here. 

 

I would just get decent cable in and in decent qty's and don't worry too much about the hardware for now, even if you go down 100Mbit for now then the Gig can follow. BT home hub is Gig, so high traffic can go directly onto those ports from your patch panel if you need Gig.

 

Agree - we have 2 or 4 terminated cat 6 in each room, more in study - so about 40 in total. 

 

However we only have a 32 port switch and only about half of those are in use.

 

The wall panels are handy though as our BT router is in GF study and has a few things plugged directly into the back. There is a patch cable from the router into the wall and that is is patched into the switch in the loft where all the cat6 is terminated.

 

We also have the 'Unbreakable Wi-Fi' EE router up there (better signal) and it's patched directly into the BT router bypassing the switch. The BT WiFi discs are also patched into the switch as they are too remote from the router for the WIFi pairing to work. Just relocated NAS drive there also as it was too noisy in study.

 

The only things that really use the home wired connections are static items like TVs, consoles and work machines, plus the Enphase box for the PV. Also use the Ikea smart home hub to control some blinds and that needs a wired IP connection.

 

My only regret was not dispersing the wall plates more intelligently in the study - we have one wall where there are none, bounded by doors (so no fly cable option) and inevitable that's where the printer has gone so it needs to use WiF!

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Thanks for guidance.  I've got to the 40+ on the basis of putting 2 x RJ45 ports at least in almost every room, these will all feed to central cabinet and only the ones needed will be patched to a switch.  But based on advice for port location I may add more ports in places like the study so have the flexibility to put printers etc. wherever makes sense.

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Other tip - co-locate power next to your RJ45 in case you want to add a wifi access point later. We have a few orphaned RJ45 that have no power next to them so can't be used for that purpose. 

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Just now, PeterW said:

 PoE injector ..?

 

Maybe but the standard BT WiFi discs expect a 13a socket next to them. It's only a few but an oversight on my side.

 

Another oversight was any allowance for security cameras (power and connectivity) - I know there are lots of wireless ones on the market but still kicking myself on that one.

 

Plan to add these to the garage now as there have been a few burglaries locally - not so concerned about drilling holes into that structure.

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31 minutes ago, Bitpipe said:

Other tip - co-locate power next to your RJ45 in case you want to add a wifi access point later. We have a few orphaned RJ45 that have no power next to them so can't be used for that purpose. 

Just fit a PoE injector at the source? No need to have any power points / ugly PSU’s / redundant power points then. 

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Thanks for the feedback so I'll try to answer the various questions:

  1. For CCTV I've allowed for PoE cameras to various external locations.  I was just planning to get a package solution with cameras and recorder to be located in central cabinet from Reolink (or similar) so was assuming this is all self contained for the POE bit. 
  2. Router (BT or Sky) will also we located inside the cupboard with the  cabinet etc.  so I've allowed for the option to add WAP to hallway and landing areas to boost the signal.  Currently this is just a spare port which ill put near to a socket but I like the idea of using a PoE WAP instead.  Do these need to be celling  mounted or are there basic units that can go on walls etc.?  If I go with PoE WAP idea I assume I need to chose a Switch that supports PoE on some ports.  Spec for these units seems very complex to me.  So If i need to allow for say 4 PoE WAP devices (and maybe 6 PoE CCTV cameras if my suggestion to use a package is a bad idea) then what size/capacity switch would I need?

Some other questions from me:

  1. Any recommendations on best places to source patch panels and switches?   
  2. Any suggestions to help with sizing of cabinet etc.  Should this be freestanding or fixed to wall?
  3. Is it best to go for more smaller patch panels or a few larger ones?  i.e 2 x 24 port or 4 x 12 port panels?   Which is easier to connect up?
  4. Any recommendations on best type of panels for a newbie to use for DIY set-up?  If I've got 40+ Cat6 cables to terminate into a patch panel there is a lot of scope for things to go wrong!  Was interested in the Connectix express system as DIY friendly.   Seems easier to be able to terminate the cable to a connector when its a loose cable and then mount into panel frame rather than fix cable into the panel when its fixed into the cabinet with maybe limited access to the rear if its mounted to the wall.
  5. Any tips on how to label all the cables so it's easy to figure out what came from where?  
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My spark took care of all the data cable wiring - just need to be meticulous with the labelling as you go. I picked up a 32 port switch from eBuyer, they have decent kit.

 

Remember that for BT and majority of other DSL providers the router / home hub is the main wifi source. It does not need to be adjacent to the master socket providing the cabling between both is of good quality (mine is probably 15-20m away cable wise).

 

If you stick with the BT system, their WiFi repeaters need 13a power and will either connect to the hub with WiFi or ethernet. You can of course get generic PoE wifi repeaters.

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57 minutes ago, cbk said:

Any recommendations on best places to source patch panels and switches?   

 

Go for somewhere central. For me that was the cupboard under the stairs.

 

57 minutes ago, cbk said:

Any suggestions to help with sizing of cabinet etc.  Should this be freestanding or fixed to wall?

 

It really depends on the space you have and whether that's better suited to one over the other. I generally prefer wall mounted, assuming cables are dropping from above.

 

57 minutes ago, cbk said:

Is it best to go for more smaller patch panels or a few larger ones?  i.e 2 x 24 port or 4 x 12 port panels?   Which is easier to connect up?

 

For a home set up it really doesn't matter. Go with whatever combination you can get the cheapest. Just make sure they're unmanaged switches, unless you fancy getting intimate with individual port configuration.

 

57 minutes ago, cbk said:

Any recommendations on best type of panels for a newbie to use for DIY set-up?  If I've got 40+ Cat6 cables to terminate into a patch panel there is a lot of scope for things to go wrong!  Was interested in the Connectix express system as DIY friendly.   Seems easier to be able to terminate the cable to a connector when its a loose cable and then mount into panel frame rather than fix cable into the panel when its fixed into the cabinet with maybe limited access to the rear if its mounted to the wall.

 

Any tips on how to label all the cables so it's easy to figure out what came from where?  

 

Given the number of cables you're running, I'd get a couple of Cat 6 reels to pull multiple runs through at the same time. I assume you'll be getting a set of cable testers to confirm they've been terminated correctly, you can use them to match up the ends and then label them. You could also use different coloured boots for different rooms/spec cable/whatever makes the most sense to your set up.

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