Ethernet/Internet for new house build

Hi all - as I have mentioned before we are in the middle of a new house build. I have been very grateful to the forum members for responding to my questions in the dedicated mains thread. Up to now I have had very little interest in streaming and am content for now with my 202/200 LP 12 and CD player. I began to think what if I suddenly decide streaming is a must and don’t take steps now to prepare for it?
Can I ask members to advise on the minimum I should really do now while I have the chance during the build (just in case!!)
Many thanks in advance - perhaps there is already a thread somewhere.

I would think that installing Cat5 cabling throughout the house would be advisory in all rooms these days . Once you’ve decided where you going to have the router and a suitable switch .

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Cat6a would be best for infrastructure i.e. connected to RJ45 sockets on the wall. Done right you’d never need to do it again.


Very worthwhile in a new build

We self built 14 years ago. It only I had known about the need for a network. Get some in the walls definitely; to every room whether or not you think you need it as so much easier / cheaper to do at the start

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You should definitely consider installing hard wire network cables, whilst self-building.

Think of this as less to do with just audio streaming for a HiFi, more of basic infrastructure for modern home. Hard wire cable beats WiFi every time for many many applications…

If it were me, I would put CAT6A into most rooms. Install two RJ45’s into every room alongside a TV point, which can be later used for :

  • iPlayer and catch up TV
  • Network devices
  • Video streaming
  • Audio streaming
  • Convert to RJ11 for telephone point
    Etc, etc.

How far you go with it, depends on your own thoughts and budget.

Good luck


I put a run of cat5e in the wall behind my system “just in case” when I replastered a few years back. When I came to use it I could have done with two, and the ability to change it.

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Good advice here so far. We started to build our ‘forever home’ (on some land my wife’s family had owned) in the fall of '19 and moved in around this time last year. I had our electrician work with me on 20a dedicated lines for my listening room and Cat6a lines throughout the house where needed. There are RJ45 jacks behind my stereo rack, wife’s office and three other rooms hidden behind TVs we’ve hung. All lead down into an opening in the basement mechanical room where our WiFi components reside—router, modem, switch, linear PSUs on every component, medical isolators between ethernet connections and an online double-conversion pure sine UPS all feeding into a Topaz isolation transformer. I consider these as essential as the cable runs, themselves.
All of this has pretty much future-proofed our networking needs, and yes, it is a good idea to do this now if/while you can to avoid significant cost and interruption later. Your electrician will think nothing of taking on such direction(s); it’s considered part of the process should you want it. I cannot recommend doing this enough for builders.


I’ll offer the opposite advice. Our house has cat 6 into every room. It is never used by anyone in our household. Modern wifi is fast enough for anything you want to do domestically unless your into serious gaming or need to do bandwidth heavy work at home. Wires are a dead end for consumer applications. We’re probably only a couple of generations of device’s away from completely port less designs for some things… almost no one has wired LANs at home and so consumer goods manufactures don’t really focus on Ethernet as a priority, all the dev is going into cord cutting technologies. Think wireless buds v wired headphones, the direction of travel is pretty obvious…

Don’t forget the cast iron law of jackpoints is like power outlets, they’re never where you end up wanting them to be :joy:


@KiwiMarra @jsawyer09
Like I said, depends on an individuals thoughts and budget.
Everyone has different requirements in their home.

Wi-Fi is obviously more convenient than wired Ethernet cables, but Ethernet still offers significant advantages. A few technical points to note…

Network speeds
Most wireless solutions adopt 802.11g standard, which has a theoretical speed of 54Mbps. However, in practice, is usually actually around 20Mbps.
CAT5e runs at upto 1Gbps
CAT6A runs at upto 10Gbps

If you live in a house, with good connectivity to wireless - everywhere - that’s great.
However, it’s almost impossible to engineer for this outcome, when building a new property. So many modern building materials can unwittingly impair signals. For example, a foil insulation backing - on a underfloor heating system - or laid onto top of a steel reinforced concrete first floor - will probably prevent any signal passing through. Acts like a “faraday cage”. Even thick masonry walls can be a challenging impediment to signal strength.

The only way to be sure is to run a “WiFi survey” around the finished property. (Maybe do this before second fixing starts and the walls are still open. That way you still have an opportunity to run one or two networks cables to WiFi repeaters over the other side of the house). There are lots of FREE “WiFi Sniffer” Apps to download and use for this.

I’ll resist making a long list of pro’s and con’s…
It’s all out there, for anyone to read and make their own judgements.

Everyone uses video streaming services now, (for example Netflix or Disney+). So, maybe avoid relying on one wireless router for this, in a house where others are making demands of the same solution simultaneously.

Good luck

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I’m also at the start of a new build. The type of cable is less important then how it’s layed. As standard changes, the ability to swap out CAT for optical or just a different CAT is critical. Ensure you specify trunking so that if need be, you can snake new cables easily without any fuss or real DIY work.

To summarise:

  • Trunking throughout
  • access panels on wall or ceiling to get at trunking junctions between rooms.
  • Trunking layed 10cm away from parallel mains flex.
  • Termination wall ports separate from mains sockets. Don’t use those all in one wall panels with mains, RJ45, and antenna coax.

The reliability of wifi isn’t always a reason to avoid a physical network. You don’t know what will pop up next doir that interferes with wifi today. I recently moved to a flat where most of the channels a flooded by commercial public wifi and domestic can’t get a look in. I got solid wifi working by buying a commercial grade router with a 500m signal radius designed for iffice complexes. Long term, I don’t want my home flooded with strong radiowaves. New home will have shielding to block out external stuff and then back to low energy wifi for tablets and phones. Everything else will be wired.

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We’re now living in our new home which was built over the past 9 months.

We have cat 5 in the walls, terminating in RJ45 plates, in most of the rooms. The ethernet cables all terminate in a little rack in our basement and they’re all labeled. As I need to use them I connect a patch cable from where they terminate to an unmanaged switch I have down there.

But the wired network is really only used for TV (Apple TV boxes), some of the local nodes of my Google Nest wifi system, and the hi fi (Naim players with Roon). Wi fi is used with our laptops.

For wifi I have a Google Nest router in the basement and the entire network flows through that. With 3 more of those scattered around the home we get excellent wifi coverage and speed.

I just put a little APC ups box in the basement and the fibre stuff/modem-router/Google Nest router/switch all connect to that. Our power likes to blink off and this prevents the entire system rebooting.

Happy to answer any other question.


For what it is worth, my advice is to get the cables in the walls during the build - this extends beyond network cables. Power cables, 13A and 5A ring mains, TV points, network points. Plug sockets inside and out. The cost of installation is uterly insignificant compared to the overall build costs so the more planning you can do now the less heart ache later. You might also want to think about truncking inside walls / under floors across any openings you might have.

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NB: we also have coax cable going to where the tv’s are sited. Our preferred fibre provider here can network with coax or ethernet in the home but the coax version is better in some ways.

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I am envious of your position of being able to prepare for your future IT needs.

I am inclined to agree with an earlier poster, that Wireless is where we are heading and equipment may well lose its RJ45 connectors overtime, but if I was able to control the wire-ways in my new home I would be installing decent sized plastic conduits with draw wires, terminating in back boxes in their respective destinations and all routing back to a convenient central location in which I could install the main switch and other core services.

That way I could install cat 6 and replace it with fibre or other such tech if required in the future.

I also agree that wherever you put it on day one you will no doubt need it somewhere else later on!

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Mesh WiFi is pretty robust these days, but even these are more robust if each Mesh device is wired back to the router. I’m sure plenty of people get good results without doing this, but for the sake of running a few cheap network cables around the house it seems sensible to just do it anyway, especially during a build.
Most (music) servers require a wired connection, so worth remembering this at the planning stage too.

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I pay for gigabit service from my fibre provider and reports around 900M speed via wifi throughout my home using Google Nest ‘mesh’ hardware.

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I’d run copper and optical

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