7 Vital Wire/Cable Requirements for Your Home
Wiring for thermostats, security and wireless access points are often overlooked.
June 17, 2009 by Richard Frank

Wiring isn’t sexy. But it’s necessary.

Here are seven vital wire/cable runs you should ask your custom electronics pro to install to ensure that your plans for technology are up-to-date and your modern lifestyle at home is well in hand.

Category 5 structured cabling. This is a must. Also, make sure the phone locations are wired with the same cable that is used for data. This makes future conversion of phone locations to data locations a simple task.

Terminate Phone Locations as Data using RJ45. When the data cabling specifications were developed, the designers did something really clever: they made the 8-pin connectors for data “backwards compatible” so that they could also accept the 6-pin phone connectors for telephone. So a traditional phone connector can plug into a properly configured data outlet with no problem, making future changes easier.

Pre-wire Cat5e Cable to Each Thermostat. Energy efficiency and the green movement are on everyone’s minds these days. Networked thermostats will be some of the first devices to be integrated. If this cable is already in place, it will make it easier to integrate HVAC control.

Install Larger Structured Cabling Panel if Possible. These panels are now the de facto home for active equipment, including: modems, routers, switches, and eventually even mini computers.  Working with these devices in tight quarters is difficult and sometimes even requires the homeowner to rethink the network design of their home.

Pre-wire for a Wireless Access Point location. A single Cat5e cable is all it takes to power and communicate with a WAP giving a home excellent wireless coverage.  The WAP itself can be added as an upgrade anytime. (Related: How Dangerous is Wi-Fi to Your Health?)

Pre-wire for a Security System that can Integrated via Internet.  Many security manufacturers offer add-on modules that enable these systems to be integrated via the Internet. This integration doesn’t have to happen right away, as long as you make sure the product you are getting is ready.

Request Cat 5 pre-wiring for Multizone Systems. These types of systems were once cost-prohibitive but are now accessibly priced.  Requesting a multisource system allows integration of many audio sources, including set top boxes, media players, and iPods.  Requesting a multizone system allows different locations of the home to listen to a different source at the same time.  Cabling these systems with Cat 5e allows for an easy upgrade when these audio keypads eventually sit on the network themselves.

Richard Frank is president of Frank Marketing Associates in Dana Point, Calif. He can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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