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Cost of data network installation


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Please can anyone give guidance on the cost of installing a data network?

I had asked to be installed twin data sockets in LR and 3BRs, and my contractor has put in an additional cost for the labour that seems to me to be exorbitant.

The plans were not specific on this matter, and the sparkie had given an overall cost that did not break down items.

The cable is inexpensive and I had provided the hardware.

I had had put in the cables as a contingency, particularly since it had been suggested to me that e-transmissions through insulated walls are poor, so I wanted to be able to wire phones and the like if necessary; tho actually the wifi seems to transmit ok.


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Not knowing what tasks you are being charged for it is a little difficult to comment in detail.


However could you leave the cable wrapped up inside the boxes, or perhaps behind blanking plates, as a way to circumvent this issue?


I do not think the actual connecting is that difficult (speaking from an IT/Telcomms background),and I have done my own when needed.

Alternatively it is something that your local computer shop man (or a student on a break) could perhaps do in a couple of hours now or afterwards.





Edited by Ferdinand
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Why Twin Sockets? I would have thought at most you would need one connection, saves running and terminating the second cable, most people now use wireless connections so perhaps the second is for the wifi repeater, usually at high level in the room. Only the gamers in the family and perhaps your 4K TVs will need a hard wired connection. Costs should be about the same as installing a radial based power point as the wire and socket cost about the same, the run length is similar, termination costs no more. Are they providing a patch panel / router somewhere included in the price or is that down to you?

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I fitted all the Cat 6 cabling in our build myself, having never done network cabling before.  I only used Cat 6 as I happened to be given a few km of new, surplus, cable (a new building at work had been flood wired with tens of km of Cat 6, only to discover that it wasn't the low smoke and flame version specified, so it was all pulled out and left in a large pile..........).  I wired it as 10/100, using just two pairs, and found it pretty easy, but to be honest I could have just used Cat 5e cable.  The only advantage with the Cat 6 is that it's stiffer and tends not to kink when you're pulling it through joists etc.  I needed to buy a punch down tool, to make the terminations at the sockets, but that wasn't expensive and was dead easy to use.  I fitted modular box front plates that matched the sockets and switches (we used MK Logik everywhere) and then just fitted Cat 5e modules to them.


In our case it was a last minute change, following a discussion on Ebuild, and was done after the electrician had completed the first fix.  I think it took me less than half a day to fit around a dozen back boxes around the house and run all the cabling to them.  After the electrician had completed second fix (after the plastering and after we'd finished the painting) I went around and terminated the cables to the connectors.  It wasn't hard to do, just a matter of making sure the right colour goes in the right slot, and they are colour marked, which helps.  It does help to put labels on the free ends to identify which cable goes where where they all come out to terminate to your switch or router.  I forgot to do this, as I did the first fix in a rush, and made up a pair of test boxes to send signals down the wires to identify each cable (could have easily been avoided had I thought of labelling the cables!).


There's no regulatory restrictions on DIY network cabling, and there are plenty of guides on the web to show how to do it.  Our system is pretty simple, I just decided where the router and switch were going to go, fitted a bank of network sockets at that location, then ran cables from there out to practically every room in the house, to more than one location is some rooms.  I chose spots where I thought cabled access would be useful, so at every TV point, at both my desk and my wife's desk and where I planned to locate the network printer.  I added a few spares where I thought we might possibly need a future connection as well.  The one thing I forgot about, and now regret, is that I didn't run a few outdoor network cables for CCTV.  Wireless IP cameras don't work that well, I've found, as the signal struggles to get through the thick walls.

Edited by JSHarris
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My data network totals around 45 points. Difficult to estimate the time for running the cables as it was done at the same time as the rest of the first fix, but I'd be surprised if it took the Spark and his lad more than 2 days (I have some long runs), so around £750. Second fix, terminating them in the rooms, at the patch panels, and into cameras etc, probably ran to about 3 days, so another £1100.


So mine was close to £2K for the labour, and probably £300 - £400 on cable. Can't break out the cost of the face plates in the rooms as they are all integrated in the power sockets.


I'd had separate quotes for the same work which came in between £5K and £6K

Edited by IanR
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We did CAT 6 throughout. Wish I'd done more!


Remember that for low-rate applications, you can always add a small switch to multiply out the number of connections you have.


Also, as mentioned above, go crazy where there's going to be a TV or the like. Pretty-well everything seems to be internet-connected now. You can have a TV, Sky box, set-top box (eg, Now TV and the like), HD recorder, games console or two, music-streaming device, etc. Longer term, HDMI over CAT 5e/6 for 4k requires more than one CAT cable.


Realistically, I'd be putting in at least 4 and ideally 6 runs to your main TV-viewing area now and leaving a duct for future-proofing.


I ran the 20-odd cables in our house myself. Piece of the proverbial, as long as you have some help. Termination is pretty easy as long as you're methodical with colours and keeping the wires tightly twisted in pairs all the way to the punch-down points. Take care not to bend the cable too much, especially for CAT 6. I believe this can affect the screening.

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We were also pretty generous with the Cat 6 cables - we have twin coax and cat patch panels (i.e. two of each) to every bedroom, basement room, more in the living room and loads in the study and media room.


They terminate in the loft to a patch panel and I have a 40 port ethernet switch there - only using about 20% of the connections at present (I don't like TVs in bedrooms, they are there for future sale etc) but it's good to have some redundancy in case of failures rather than rely upon one cable and a mux at each end.


Only place I forgot to cable was the kitchen/dining area - don't want a TV here but did get a nice Revo internet radio so a wired socket would have been useful. WiFi connection seems to work ok though.


Just checked the sparks quote and for 19 dual and 5 quad cat 6 (which makes 58) he charged £2350, so about £40 each which includes all h/w, cable and labour to run and terminate at both ends. Data rack and switch were extra to that. 

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You could just ask the sparks to run the cable and you can do the termination yourself later? Just decide on the number of points, where you need them and where you will aggregate them (Internet router, media center etc).


I installed 6 x CAT6a runs last month, retrofitted using fibre glass cable rod guides from the ground floor to the attic for 4 x cctv points and 2 to my bedroom. Cat6a comes in stranded or solid. I purchased solid but kinked one cable in the attic. My cable tester said it was ok but the POE CCTV camera failed to work. Had to rerun it. I'd go for stranded myself next time as it's more tolerant of kinks during handling. I assumed I could terminate the cable in CAT6a plugs but the solid core was too large, ended up buying double sockets and punching the cable into those using the colour guides they provided.


Cable was around €100 for 100m and each double socket about €26 ea to give you an idea. I prefer wired internet for security and love the CCTV setup around the house. The cables can also be used once in place a number of ways: RJ11 for telephone, RJ45 for voice over ip, hdmi adapters or wire it differently to get 2 connections using 4 wires each only out of each cable (non-duplex) or as already suggested a cheap switch, like a 4 or 8 way power adapter if the traffic won't overload things.


Wireless is still a good solution but generally the ISP's wireless is crap and you're better off replacing/supplementing their wireless with a dedicated device that has lots of aerials!


All in all, it's certainly a job you could take on but better to do it before second fix or it can get messy pushing the wires around! Youtube has lots of videos on this and getting wires around stud walls etc.

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27 minutes ago, SteamyTea said:

Just been brought to my notice over at the other place that there is a Part R of the building regs about communication cabling.



So it's a bit of a moot point here ... the requirement is that you have cabling as below :


  1. .3  The requirement is to provide only the in-building physical infrastructure, from the service provider’s access point to the occupier’s network termination point. Multi-dwelling buildings must be equipped with a common access point capable of serving all the dwellings within the building.

  2. 1.4  It is not a requirement to provide any network cabling or equipment, or any in-building infrastructure that extends internally beyond the network termination point. Nor is it a requirement to provide any external or site-wide infrastructure beyond the access point. The developer and broadband service provider should agree who will install such external infrastructure. 

Basically a 6" length of Cat5 to a socket would suffice .... 

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3 hours ago, mike2016 said:

I'd go for stranded myself next time as it's more tolerant of kinks during handling

The issue with stranded is it is not recommended for PoE applications (other than the final connecting fly leads).  The best advice is to use solid cable between sockets in the fixed instillation, and stranded leads between the fixed socket and equipment/switch.

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I have also found that stranded isn't as easy to terminate with a standard (read cheap!) IDC punch down tool.  I made up a couple of back to back socket leads as a part of a cable testing jig, when I made up some custom length patch leads (using stranded Cat 5e cable) and the tool tended to not always punch the wire down into the IDC properly and I had to revert to my old manual IDC tool, which wasn't really designed to fit the IDC connectors on Ethernet sockets.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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