Real Broadband

, posted: 21-Sep-2006 08:37

FTTH....Hmm.... sort of makes you drool doesn't it
Still what is the point if you don't have the infrastucture in house to support it?
Much has been written and said about "structured cabling systems" and most manufacturers will have their own variation of this which is usually packaged with a cabinet and a host of other expensive bits and pieces.
hence I tend to equate "structured cabling" to "expensive" and perhaps this is the reason why the uptake is so slow.
Incidentally, in the USA I read that 50% of new homes being built are now having integrated cabling because with the housing market the builders have finally realised that the cable infrastructure provides a "point of difference" that may swing the sale. In NZ builders I have spoken to do not seem to grasp this point, and the number of homes being built here with appropriate cable infrastructure is probably no more than 3% which is nothing short of pathetic!

The question remains though, what is best way of "futureproofing" you bigest investment? When I built my home in 1980 I tried to protect myself by installing lots of coax and speaker wire. Unfortanately this hasn't helped me much in our new networked world and I have to concede that whatever you do today may be overtaken by different technology tomorrow. Nevertheless there is a convergence happening that is plain to see and that is that most services needed in a home are now becoming network aware. (or IP addressable).
So it would apper that to make provision for future technologies all you need is a comprehensive CAT5e (or CAT6 if long runs needed) network. Over this you will be able to deliver video, audio, security contol, automation ,etc. At the present time it is still prudent to have a Coax distribution network for TV but in time this will become redundant as the TVs of the future convert to being network devices.

So what to do today? My advice is to install a comprehensive CAT5e cable network though the house. At least wo outlets (strategically placed) in every room and maybe more if you can manage it. The CAT5e cables should terminate at a patch panel hidden in a cupboard or somewhere easy to access. All room terminations should be RJ45 (no telephone jacks!) On the patch panel allocate the first 4 jacks to analog telephone (3 extensions and one ADSL for example) and the remaining 20 are assigned to the room outlets.

In addition to the CAT5e run sufficient coax to serve TVs through the house. Terminate the coax high on the wall to make provision for wall mount flat panel TV. (make sure there is power there too.) If you don't have a flat panel TV, hang a picture over the wall plates to conceal them.

Don't use the custom structured cable solutions (unless you don't mind the cost) a 3U wall frame and 24 way patch panel  will do the job nicely and much cheaper. The  wall frame will also hold the Gigabtit switch you will need to pump the new broadband services round the house.

Into this mix you need to consider the other cable needs, like VGA, DVI, HDMI, Speakers and so on. Bottom line is, unless you really know what you are doing you would be advised to get someone to design a cable plan for you....but be careful about your selection. Most sparkys do not have the knowledge to do this properly.


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Glynn Hooper
New Zealand

Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.