Ask a Pro
Q. Can I Piggyback Audio w/Internet over Ethernet Wire?
Our CE Pro recommends a single Cat5 for each network, video and audio connection.
May 01, 2009 by Dan Fulmer

Q. A few years ago, I ran Ethernet wires to every room in my split level home from a central hallway. Can I piggyback audio with Internet over the same Ethernet wire without any problems? How about video? - John, CA

A. Typically, this is not possible. There are some systems I have heard of (but not tested) that allow multiple protocols on a same wire. However, anything we use now, that is reliable and robust, involve using a single Cat5 for each discipline - one for network, one for video out, one for video back (if needed) and another for bi-directional audio.

Video and Audio baluns allow Cat5 to distribute audio or video, but not when combined with a network. It is simply using the wires. There could be some devices on the market that commingle these, but I am not familiar with anything doing audio AND Ethernet over a Cat5 and with my experience, you will bog down a typical home network by doing so.

When we install a system like this in a home, where much of it is going on the network, we often set-up dual networks; one for audio/video/control and the other for typical Ethernet. That way, when someone plugs in the new Xbox or PlayStation to the network, it doesn’t slow it down.

In addition, you really can’t do video on the network, other than a streaming type, which is typically a little more than the average homeowner wants to throw at this. If you have more than one Cat5/Ethernet wire to each room, that would work. Another would allow video, too.

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FulTech Solutions is a high-end, custom, systems integration, design & installation firm, offering unique systems for more than a decade. FulTech is an award winning and nationally recognized company offering it's services across the East Coast and Carribean.

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