Inwall ethernet cable

One of my homes is getting rebuilt and I have made arrangements for a dedicated power supply for hifi.

Then it struck me that I should probably have ethernet cables passing through the walls as well to facilitate access points/wired connections.

So any idea which would a quality inwall ethernet cable to use for this purpose?

Belden 6a cable?

And how about passing fiber optic instead - connected through cisco switches? :slight_smile:

Appreciate the insights.

I used this

Terminated into cat5e wall sockets.

If you have an electrician running electrical cables, it’s probably as well to run network cables at the same time as it can be quite disruptive. However, you should ideally keep Ethernet cables away from power cables as far as possible. Not a huge problem in most domestic situations, but still best to keep them separate just in case. Ideally you would run network cables in trunking so that they can be easily replaced if they are damaged.
The fibre alternative is quite cheap and easy to do. The cables are cheap, and nice and thin to work with (although the plugs are a little larger than a typical RJ45 plug, so that doesn’t always help.) I use fibre for the ‘backbone’ of my network between three Catalyst switches, and it has been rock solid for a couple of years now. My main reason for doing this is that our house is particularly prone to lightning strikes through the phone line, which have caused damage to networked equipment in the past, so the optical connection gives isolation from this.

My only advice would be install twice the amount of ethernet cables you think you will need. I personally have never had an issue with them running close to electric, I think that was more of an issue for early ethernet.

My other advice is from personal experience look for the more chunky excel ethernet RJ45s, very good quality, and I have also found excel cable to be extremely good quality.

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I am just finishing off such a project:-

From my PlusNet Hub One in the hallway to Cisco 2960 8TC (no.1) in the loft - Belden Catsnake 6a - routed via stud work and a wastepipe ‘box’ between floors. I needed to make 5 cutouts in the plasterboard to achieve this.

From that switch no.1 to local audio devices (Muso Qb2, roon Core, NAS, and other planned audio outlets) Belden Catsnake 6a.

From that switch (No.1) to other bedroom & office outlets:- Amazon Cat 6 cable re-terminated at sockets with ‘keystone jacks’. All upstairs rooms have at least one of these for computers, gaming (I am online all day on Microsoft Office 365 including Teams, with VPN - very stable with two Win 10 computers)

All cables dropping through the stud work from the loft into each room (used a power multi tool to cut accesses and socket box recesses).

I will have to add another 2960 8TC (No.3) in the loft, linked to the first one by fibre optic (my choice) to complete all the upstairs rooms.

From the 2960 in the loft to a 2960 (No.2) at the AV/main hifi in the lounge - fibre optic OM1 - routed via back down the wastepipe box, via lounge ceiling, stud work, and coving (20 metre run).

Also a similar run of fibre optic OM1 to the alternative TV/hifi point (spare) in the lounge.

At no.2 Cisco 2960:-
Entreq RJ45/ Ethernet to streamer
cat 6a to TV
Belden Catsnake 6a through stud work to next room (Naim Atom)

I am doing this as a DIY project with eBay and Amazon sourced switches, fibre optic cables, socket boxes and adaptors.

The Belden Catsnake 6a cables (terminated RJ45, and ‘floating’) are all from Adam at Designacable. I am using ‘brush’ socket covers for the entry/exit socket points for these.

For the fibre optic and the cables used for computing I am using keystone jacks / sockets / brush covers from Cable Monkey (Connectix).

There are YouTube videos on the techniques for doing this project, including the plasterboard reparations - not all of them accurate.

Important tools are the aforementioned power multi tool, a ‘stud finder’, fishing tape, magnets, string, tape, hole saws, electric drill, Stanley knife, measuring tape, and patience !

An alternative design would have been to link one or more Unifi or equivalent wifi modules over PoE from the Cisco 2960’s. However not all of my audio devices support WiFi and I experience interference/dropouts from neighbours’ WiFi.

With the increased emphasis on WFH (work from home) I also saw this project as adding value to my house, hence adding extra outlets in the bedrooms.

Any solid copper certified Cat5e will function perfectly well for networking, though Cat6a has advantages in some areas. It supports multi speed Ethernet used on emerging WiFi access points allowing a faster cable link to switches. The technology is not in use much yet but coming. Cat6a also supports HDTV over Ethernet, worth wiring in whilst you can. Always fit more cables than you think, my house has around 40. A word of caution with electricians though, most cant wire networking for toffee - sorry guys if you’re on this forum, I speak from experience picking up the pieces.

…if the electrician is certified, they might require that any in-wall cabling that they insert has a fire certificate. This might be a load of rubbish though, said to me by the builders of my house prior to completion.

Not rubbish at all, any cable buried in a wall has to conform to fire safety specs. It needs to be ‘low smoke’ LSOH or LSZH spec, and any professional installer should know this.

Infrastructure wiring is best done with 6A, that is what it is designed for.
BUT do remember to have your builders and cable installer put in trunking so you can replace or draw new cables through. Big schoolboy error not using trunking… best get done professionally.
Also get parallel runs inserted… another error having single runs for general infrastructure… at least to the access switches.
In 10 years or less you might want to replace with fibre.
Also remember not to exceed 100 m for each segment if using twisted pair … sounds a lot but can rack up quickly when installed in a building.

The key thing is to agree a plan with your cable installer… so you might have your internet router as the ‘core’ and a distribution switch for upstairs and downstairs or just one in a store room, then wire to access switches in small cupboards in each part of your house, where there is trunking to ports in each room as appropriate . Also don’t forget the wlan… and trunking to your wifi access points from your distribution switch (s) … best use PoE to simplify.
It really does pay to do properly or it will cause frustration as you rip out in a few years time.
Below is a simple setup for a house that should last for several years.


A friend of mine did something similar recently in his rather elderly (300 year old ) house when he had it renovated … and it serves his family well now. He has a single distribution switch going to access switches that is accessed through a door in a void space of one of his stairs… but they key thing it was all designed… and yes he used trunking.
BTW on some of his sockets in rooms with tables and shelves he uses Ethernet ports with powered USB connectors for charging… that works well too and can cut clutter down… especially with families always charging devices…

Not sure which country you are in but not true in the UK at least. Most electrical and network cable is standard PVC sheathed.

Our home was wired (which insults the word “wired”) with cat 5 when it was built in 2006. The “electricians” (also insulting to the trade) must have never seen them before; they decide to pull off 2 of the strands and connect them to telephone jacks!

Fortunately, we don’t need ethernet in every room (wifi is just fine). Had the local hi fi store’s installers replace one long run to where my Fraim is, so I do have a wired connection for it all the way from my switch.

THIS! Things change and you may need different cables and terminations in the future.

I had Cat6a installed to two ports in every room on different walls for maximum convenience on the last 3 places I’ve lived. Going sans LAN cable is somethibg I couldn’t contemplate again.

How about installing a decent conduit…then you can put in whatever you want…when you want…

Indeed conduit equals trunking…

I think that whatever the sheathing, it’s the certification that is required.

In the UK, you don’t need any certification from your council on Ethernet wiring… in fact there is no mandatory installation regulation at all… but there is from another perspective of electrical wiring and it’s proximity to wiring such as Ethernet wiring,
However I would employ somebody familiar with the task if not yourself,.
Deployment of Ethernet infrastructure is typically should conform to Ethernet wiring infrastructure standards. These are similar in some aspects to telephone cabling installation standards.

The key thing with structured wiring is to consider the appropriate network appliances and network topology and ease of access and replacement… otherwise it could end up being an unstructured mess.
I would absolutely recommend any such structured cable planning consider PoE for appropriately placed wifi access points scattered around the property… over the next few years higher grade low power wifi will become more the norm. Wifi performance is significantly related to physical placement… ie in the clear, high up, well away from mains wiring and metal surfaces

All infrastructure ethernet cable is now marked CE which means it conforms to the CPR regulations for installation in buildings. ISTR this came out at the end of 2016. No certificate should be needed as long as you can show the cable and it’s marking.

So let us suppose I have the router in the living room and two access points in two bedrooms.

So should i run the cable from living room to bedroom 1. And another cable from bedroom 1 to bedroom 2?

So the cable from the living room terminates in bedroom 1 and a new cable begins in bedroom 1 and terminates in bedroom 2?

In the sense : router (living room) -> switch 1 (bedroom 1) and switch 1 -> switch 2 (bedroom 2).

Also these will be ethernet cables without termination right? and I would have to terminate it?

And by conduit/trunking, do u mean the plastic enclosure - pipe kind of thing - within which the run the cables?

And I see cat8 inwall cable selling on Amazon.

Appreciate the feedback.

That seems crazy to me. Run all the cables from where you contemplate siting your switch (your living room), to each individual room. No need for switches in all those different rooms unless you plan to run multiple wired devices in each room. In which case you’d still wire it with all cables terminating at one end in your livingroom.

If you buy bulk cable, someone will need to put plugs on the ends or connect them (better) to a wall plate. If you terminate them at a wall plate in each bedroom, you can just use simple ethernet patch cables to connect them to your device(s).

Think of it like a spider. The spider body is where your telephone socket is, your router next to it, and then a switch. The switch has each spider leg coming off it; each spider leg is your cat6a cable routing down to a room. You can have multiple legs going to the same room if you like. Or a single leg and then another switch at the other end which itself can feed multiple devices. Eg your lounge might have a tv, PlayStation, and raspberry pi all connected to a switch which itself is connected to a single socket (the end of one of the spider legs). Or there are 3 sockets in your lounge and each device connects separately.
The layout in my house has telephone socket plus router plus 16 way switch in the loft. Then a few lengths of cat cable snaking off to multiple rooms. The lounge has another switch for the devices such as tv etc. The hifi room is just for the ndx2. The office room has 2 sockets but I ended up with a switch for 2 computers plus a networked printer which was a later addition.

My “spider body”; BT socket on the right, connects to the fritzbox router, which connects to the 16 way switch. The “spider legs” each have terminated sockets on each end. The switch connects to each of these via short cables.

End of one of the legs, this is the corner of the lounge behind the tv. (Number 2)

which has its own switch for multiple devices in the lounge.