we have a copper, wifi and ethernet over power network here. and all i can say is thank god for the wired gigabit. semi-detached house, when me bro's room was done up i ran cables up from the study in the wall into the loft then accross and down in other rooms. in the study is the server and printers and mum nd dads workstation, i have the modem in my room untill we redo the study phone line (is a pre ADSL line, and rough), will be moving the garage from eth over power to cat6 as well as the outhose 100ft down the garden. basically eth over power has issues with latency alot of the time and mine dont like surge protectors or 4 gangs with neons in. and even then it's unreliable in my experiance. wifi is wifi and usefull but slow when 5 laptops or more use it (very regular here) gigabit is nice when moving files to and from the storage on the server. if you can run network in the walls do it. if you never use it no worries but it's hard to retofit. and you can always use all of them like we do.
in terms of what to do... treat it like a school, find a central place to run all cables to (here it would have been under the stairs with the main phone line and the 'fuse board') run all your cable to there and use that as your 'hub'/router if u have a space like that. use in wall mounted boxes with nice faceplates at both ends. if you can rout cable the same way as TV/radio, phone and preferably not in the same ducts/way as mains cables (tho for a house this shouldn't matter.) if upstairs go up to the loft, if downstairs go into the floor. typically the ceiling of downstairs is difficult to access should a fault occour.
hope this helps.
One way i thought of, but would only work if you were redecorating at teh same time, is to remove the skirtingboard and router out a channel for the cable. Abit extreme, but some people cant have any cables showing. Personally i dont care and just bung them under the carpet, but its an option for laminate floors.
If its a new home just get up in teh loft and drop wires between teh plasterboard. A heavy chain attached to the cable will help.
The problem with running cables in walls is having to know beforehand what the room layout will be, but assuming this is not an issue I would recommend the following:
- In ceiling spaces you can easily run tension cables to tie your network cables to, it keeps them from being stepped on when moving around up there and easier to manage. Also tension cables are extremely cheap.
- Get a conduit wall cutter (either from a sparky or hired) and run your cables in conduit. This allows for very easy adding or changing cables in future. This also depends on your wall type.
- Make sure all data cables are run a minimum of 10cm away from power cables that run in parallel.
- Some skirting have a gap on the backside, if you're replacing skirting this could be an easier way to run cables around a room.
You can run Cat5e outside (we've had/have it hanging between the house and shed for ages).
All of ours is done inside the walls (we only have powerpoints on one wall each room, its on the same one) and they all come out to our hallway cupboard to our switch.
I'd second the suggestion above to look for a central route up and down. Think about where pipes run, and the relationship of the rooms up and down stairs. Is there a cupboard under the airing cupboard with a boiler in it, for example?
Cutting chases in plaster/blockwork is hugely messy, even with the right tools. Unless SWMBO is a real stickler avoid this if you can. Dropping down studwork walls is likely to come unstuck if you meet a noggin (you will, someone's law).
This is NOT the way to do it!
Also a hint, Put double of whatever your putting in (even if its just the cabling and only hook up one half) so you have future expandability.
Thanks for all the replies!
A mention of pipes got me thinking. I am having gas heating put in and I guess the fitters will need to add some sort of boxing to get the pipes upstairs (or downstairs as the boiler is going in the roofspace). I reckon there would be plenty of space alongside the pipes to work some cabling in.
Thanks again for shaping a better solution.