New home network - best option for future proofing?

dev09
dev09 used Ask the Experts™
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Hi all,  my wife and I are in the process of building a new home, and am after any advise, design considerations or technical input into the best future-proof network to put in place (say 40 years+). 2 story home,  thinking 9 to 10 points through out the house, also may run home security / cameras over it. I've never been let down by a good hardwired network - but wifi sure is amazing now.  Considering more and more homes are being connected with Fibre Optic - would this also be a good internal option?

Options considering:
- Cat 5e
- Cat 6e
- Fibre Optic
- Wifi

Would love to hear any advice out there.  Obvious Fibre Optic would be great, would require optic to ethernet adapters (for now) and may well cost a lot for routing/patch panelling. Cat cabling would be most efficient I would think. Maybe Wifi is all i need (perhaps with a booster/repeater - just to give some range)

Thanks in advance!
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018
Commented:
I do not know of any base networking gear that is good for 40 years. I have had 3 different Cisco VPN routers in less than 10 years to keep up with speed increases from my ISP.

Second, I would use W-Fi at strategic points in the house to permit coverage. I use a Cisco Wireless Router and have an N card in my ThinkPad. Reliability and speed are excellent and I never bother using Ethernet. My Desktop computer connects via Ethernet.

Third, devices like tablets, iPhones and iPads are all wireless and you need to accommodate them.

Put CAT6 Ethernet cable up to the second floor so that you can put in fast Wi-Fi on the second floor to permit coverage.  Put the same (similar) Wi-Fi router on the main floor.

You do not need fiber optic cable inside a 2 story home. CAT6 will do nicely. CAT5e has done nicely for me for 25 years.

I have a Cisco RV220W wireless router in my basement and get very good service on the second floor of my home.
Here is what I would suggest.

I would run cat5e thru out the house. The price for cat6 is not worth it. No need for fiber, fiber is used to uplink switches/routers.

Set a central location in your house, most likely in your basement. Have all of the cat5 run to that location. I would get a patch panel to organize the cat5. And then add a quarter size switch rack. Unless you are adding servers adjust accordingly.

Hardware:
For firewall: if you are not a network admin I recommend a SonicWall tz series. Easy to configure with a web gui.

Wireless: get you a Cisco WLC 2504 and get AC style Cisco Access Points.

Switch: I would recommend a small business Cisco switch with PoE for the Access Points.

The hardware will not last 40 years but the cables is the best option as of now with technology and price.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
I think for a house (small from an overall point of view), the cost of CAT6 would not be noticeable and will go 30 to 40 years with no big issue.  dev09 - your choice on that one.
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Top Expert 2014
Commented:
The price of Cat6 compared to Cat5E is negligible.  I would always recommend using at least Cat6 if you want to future-proof (or go a long way towards) your home.

In the next 5-10 years, multi and 10-gigabit devices will be hitting the shelves for home users so Cat5E is already out of the question in this respect (in the case of 10-gigabit).

If you want to go all-out, consider at least Cat6A.  I'll tell you for nothing that Cat6E (not cat6A) is merely sales-talk.  Cat6E doesn't exist as a technical standard and is just the same as standard Cat6.

In terms of Wifi; you'll still need to hard-wire your APs back to one (or more) switch(es), depending on how/where you wire.  If you're using APs which require 2Gbps or more (but less than 10Gbps) you may need to use 2 cables per AP.  Saying that, I'd always run 2 cables to each location at least, even if you don't terminate one cable, to use as a spare.
From a security standpoint, I'd go for the fiber-optic and cat-5... avoid WiFi.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018
Commented:
Tablets, phones and pads cannot use Ethernet, so it is better to truly secure Wi-Fi, not avoid it.

Fiber Optic in a 2 story home?  Overkill from my point of view.  CAT6 will suffice for a LONG time just as CAT5e sufficed for a quarter century and still works.
Top Expert 2014

Commented:
John, I agree with you.  It's crazy to not have WiFi these days and copper cabling makes sense with all the devices which require a wired connection.
nociSoftware Engineer
Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
When sustained 1Gbps can be expected cat 5E is not an option. For Future proof Cat 6 should be minimum.
I have good experience with the managed versions of the HP's Procurve switches. Lifetime Warrenty (an one was replaced after 5 years of use because it wouldn't accept new firmware) price wise they wheigh in a little lighter than cisco's

I use DD-WRT AP's  (loosly based on Linksys Hardware) as all routers/AP that are available on the market either are only remotely managable (like Linksys HW from Cisco era), provide antiquated Firmware only, or are backdoored.
As Firewall use a capable device, with multiple interface esp if you are going to run subnets in the house.
Zywall UTM series which can bundle interfaces if needed.
Other options can be a PC with f.e. ZeroShell, pfSense, Untangle, ClearOS etc. which also would give the option of adding interfaces as needed.
ClearOS can also provide a central HUB besides a fireall function.
Natty GregIn Theory (IT)

Commented:
Like John said I would RUN cat 6, I would Have drop points on each floor for things like streaming tv as for wifi I like powerline, however a gracious ac in the $200+ range will suffice for the entire house
Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
Since you're building a new place, I'd go with CAT6 cabling through out, and making sure to have places on the ceiling on each floor of the house where you can mount/connect access points. CAT6 could also be utilized for your cameras. Fiber, as attractive as the prospect sounds, isn't worth the cost at this point. Coax could go all around the house as well to the same places as your CAT6 outlets that won't be on the ceilings or for camerass (while this is generally more a TV thing, but if you're utilizing MoCA devices, you'll be covered in that scenario as well). You could take into account having paths that fiber could be run into the future, which would at least simplify things if it becomes a worthwhile proposition later.

Author

Commented:
Many thanks everyone for your most valuable input! Super appreciated!

I've decided on a combination of Wifi and Cat6. (May even look at Cat7) This way i'll have super fast wired and wireless solution.
You're right, i can't avoid Wifi with all the modern wireless devices around we all have.

Pricing for a nice wireless AP, Cat6 cables and required equipment is all very affordable.
In time the wireless world will only expand and AP's will get better for all home use, making it a very easy upgradable item.

Regards
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
CAT 7 requires special equipment to make the terminations. You can to this, but CAT 6 will work fine. If you wish to use CAT 7 as a backbone, get a good installer to make the cable ends.

Thanks and good luck with your home.

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