New home wiring

If you were wiring a brand new house build how would you be adding cables behind stud walls
I’m thinking specifically FTTP → Router → Switch and then ethernet cables via trunking to wall boxes. Looks like Cat 6a seems to be best option giving extra shielding. Given phones are on the way out and will be off a router does that need to be considered and also what about security system/camera. Also is POE and idea?

Assumption is ethernet would only be used for TV (better than Wi-fi) and NDX-2 !

Anything else to consider?

I know of one guy who has had sfp optical cables fitted as well as ethernet to future proof. They are already offered by ADOT as a network kit as a low noise delivery with Melco switches. Will probably be seen on streamers in the future?

I would probably look at Cat 7 cable, as its a new installation. Probably not much cost difference.

I would think you would put the cables into the studded wall - last thing you want is trunking on a new build. Obviously keep them away from Main wires.

Not sure how Phones come into this, as the move is away from Landlines, and reliance on your Mobile. Of course if you have bad Mobile reception, then you may want to use your WiFi to help here, but then WiFi signal strength around the house is a different question.

Probably better to allow for empty conduits to each likely location. Then pull what ever service you need when it becomes de rigueur.

I know of companies who installed the next great thing throughout only to find that they never used it or that the next big thing bypassed their installed cable tech all together.

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Cat6a is the way to go. Cat7 and 8 don’t really offer anything at the short distances within the home. 6a is still suitable for 10Gbps ethernet and almost no one is using that yet domestically.

The most important thing is the trunking. As long as you have good trunking you will always be able to refit in the future whether that’s optical or something else. I had an additional optical cable put through the trunking here next to the Cat6a and it was a 5 minute job with a 50m cable snake.


Yes, conduit/trunking buried in the wall is best to allow future upgradability. But whatever you do, don’t leave the conduit empty because unless its path is only short and direct it may prove very difficult or impossible to get a cable through later, especially if any sharp angles: you use one cable to pull another through. If in doubt you could use cheap and cheerful Cat 5A for now.

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What about separation from electrical cables. Presumably also coax arial cable?

Probably refers to the shift by BT to IP phones.

However, separating IP telephony from the remainder of the network traffic will mean more complex network designs, more sophisticated (managed) switches, no hubs and generally more complex trouble shooting……

So either the hifi enthusiast significantly ups their networking skills or this is going to be a serious bundle of laughs…….not!

Also, as an added bonus, IP telephones won’t work if there’s a power cut, flood, fire etc., etc.


Yes, always install a draw wire in each section of conduit.
I expect its all going 5G soon anyway.

I’d be investing in Enterprise grade managed switches that support both PoE and optical SFP uplinks.
These can support ceiling mount WiFi Access Points and security cameras over PoE as well as allowing for inter-room concealed optical cables to provide switch to switch fibre links then short run in room copper based wiring to client devices as required.
I have a similar setup at home leveraging multiple Ruckus ICX switches (ICX 7150-C12P) covering both indoor and outdoor client needs.
These are interconnected using optical SFP modules (1000 BASE-SX,MMF/LC) and provide both copper Ethernet and PoE/Ethernet client connectivity. The switches I use support SFP optics with stacking up to 2x 10GbE should I require that at any stage, giving switch to switch throughput of up to 20 Gb/s.
Routing is handled in a separate Ubiquiti Edgerouter (ER-4) allowing for both traffic segregation as well as WAN redundancy as required (Fixed/GSM).
One of the benefits of using optical links being they can be run without worry of any RF/EMI constraints and provide sufficient throughput futureproofing to not worry about if the cables are going to be redundant at any point.
Isolating the modem (in my case, a DrayTek Vigor 166 with BT service profile) from the router also provides Internet redundancy and reduced outage concerns if your WAN link/s drop out for any reason, a good example being any home automation or security devices.

Really? I doubt it for home networks, while even for the internet connection I think only a proportion of the population, and maybe not a large proportion, though I guess it may depend on relative cost, while there are inherent limitations as not everywhere has good coverage, even for 4G.

This could be referring to Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) based on 5G which is a real thing.
In terms of in home connectivity to client devices, WiFi capabilities continue to improve and address a number of historical constraints regards consumer wireless connectivity in home, certainly WiFi 6, 6e and around the corner WiFi 7 bringing a number of evolutionary features and improvements to robustness and air interface efficiencies.

Fibre really is for super long runs, within the walls of a house it makes very little sense, and with modules is expensive. I think “worries” about rfi would have to extend to fridges and freezers, presumably you won’t both with these?

If I were able to start from scratch, I would get good quality cable, 6 is fine and I would think long and hard about where in the house all those wires head to for the main routing, how you can future proof with the amount of wires you may not realise you need and if the termination is in the house some where the consequences of heat and noise in that environment.

I would be ensuring that ethernet is run to suitable locations for WIFI access points.

You can use fiber cabling over short distances, patches between switches in the same rack for example. I’m providing an implementation reference based on my own setup, how that suits others will depend on their needs and budget. I have it setup in my house this way and it all works fine.
Using only copper Ethernet of course is totally acceptable and likely to be sufficient in the majority of scenarios.
It’s also not expensive to add an optical SFP or cabling, you can get a basic 1 GbE SFP on Amazon for less than £20 and a decent length of cable, say 30-50m for around £60, certainly a lot less than some folks spend on cables for their Naim kit!
I’m perhaps something of an exception in that I get all this equipment from work which makes it more accessible.

Well I guess if you can get it for nowt lol. But fibre connections then means switches at each end, which if half way reasonable ones gets expensive. I think if you can manage it a central switch with multiple cables to each room is a good move.

I do have fibre in use, but in both cases was due to install restrictions, so in this case I have a 16 port unifi switch in the central location the router and server is then two runs of fibre with further 16 port hubs on that. I installed one run to the living room with the hifi, I can confidently state it made zero difference to sound quality.

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I’m sure if it wasn’t free I’d think twice!

You can do fibre networking very cheaply, no more than the cost of regular copper Ethernet. The cables are about the same price as regular Cat5e, or even a bit less, and you can get a couple of switches and SFPs off ebay very cheaply.
My take on it is that there is no advantage in using fibre for audio compared to copper in my experience, although I accept that there are many variables so others may get different results. I use fibre for the ‘backbone’ of my LAN for reasons that have nothing to do with audio, using 3 Cisco Catalyst switches linked via their SFP ports. It has been perfectly reliable for a few years now and I like the fact that fibre is quite thin and easy to manage with difficult routes through thick stone walls, under floorboards etc.

Equipment related, not to the spec of your wiring.

At domestic distances (up to 55m), so is cat 6. That’s what I’d advise for a new install. No benefit going with higher spec, but can’t hurt either I guess.

Much the same reasons as for myself, I used what was most appropriate for my needs and environment.
Yes, of course, copper Ethernet is absolutely fine, works at multiple Gb speeds using specific types and works over sensible distances as commented by numerous posters, referring to the OP and to my own experience, If I was dealing with a new house or able to specify internal/external connectivity requirements, I’d almost certainly pull a few fibres around between specific points even if they weren’t lit up right away.
If you go down the copper cable route, just be sure and do the homework and make sure the cable type is suitable for in wall use, ideally has fire retardant exterior sheathing and is terminated with the correct jacks or face plates. If it’s going to be concealed and run over more than a few meters consider using a solid core cable as opposed to a stranded type, solid core structure cable is better suited to PoE and outdoor applications as well.
Running a fibre or 2 has far fewer variables and can be happily installed in parallel to AC mains cabling or in proximity to other infrastructure like water or gas pipes quite happily, the main limitation is that you would ordinarily buy optical cables pre-terminated at fixed lengths in meter multiples whereas with a copper cable you can trim to a specific length.
I certainly didn’t do anything special with regards to audio steaming or any sort of specific setup attributes related to audio equipment.

But then you have to have switches at the end of those fibres. And switches that are half way decent with fibre connections cost money and then will have to be powered as well. You have none of this if you just run ethernet.

Things to consider, but what absolutely should be left off the table is any purported sound difference. In my experience the large consideration is where is the server if you have one, where is the main switch and router, will it have sufficient air etc. I did all this, had it in the loft before I knew better , not good int he summer months!