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206 posts

Master Geek


#167380 11-Mar-2015 23:03
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Doing a deep retrofit of an old house, so all the gib is currently off...

Planning on installing a mix of Cat6 and Cat5e cables into all rooms in the next day or so. (have the cable already). However, I only have a few days before I'll be holding the builder up as the first gib is put back... so need to move fast.

Trying to work out the best home network enclosure to use to terminate them all. I have the ideal cupboard off the room which will be the home office, which is at the very centre of the house. I am planning on buying a 28" or 30" size enclosure to go in that cupboard recessed between the studs.

I've looked at the products from Dynamix, Signet, Maser, HPM & Leviton units. Any other brands I should be considering?

The most appealing is potentially the RF Transparent 30" Enclosure from Leviton. Being made of Plastic would allow me to mount WiFi/DECT/etc units in there if desired, compared to the rest which are metal enclosures which would reduce RF signal strength. As a bonus I can get it at an exceptional price too (about 20% cheaper than the metal ones).

So my main concern with the Leviton is that the really smart looking Leviton patch panels are ridiculously expensive (at least 5 times the price of other brand's panels), so the won't using them inside the enclosure. That means I'll want to use possibly Dynamix or Signet Panels inside the Leviton... or even just regular 19" rack panels but mounted vertically. However since all the measurements on the Leviton specs are listed in inches, my concern is that the mountings may be laid out in an imperial spacing which might make it harder to use with potentially metric mounting on panels from other brands. Equally, 19" racks are clearly measured in inches too, so maybe it isn't a problem. Looking at the photos the grid looks pretty varied so hopefully there will be some that are useful for different branded panels, but unfortunately I can't see the grid spacings listed anywhere. Equally I could definitely bodge them to fit if needed, but better and neater to just work as designed out of the box!

If I decide the Leviton is too risky, another option would be to buy a different brand: So does anyone know of other brands (other than Leviton) that make a similar plastic home network enclosure? Exact size doesn't matter, in fact I probably have 550 wide space, so it could be wider and less high instead.

...Or just get a metal enclosure like everyone else and just find other places to mount my wireless devices!

Of course which enclosure I get will determine what size conduit could be fitted and the locations of the entry points hence wanting it before I run the first cables on Friday so I can drill the appropriate holes for the configuration required.

At a push, if I can't decide in time, I could leave the bare wires with spare tails coiled near the cupboard and work that out later. However ideally, I'd get a enclosure in the next day or two, and mount it ready, so that I can run my cables straight in, and mount any conduit I might decide to use before running the cables.

Other background info shaping my decisions:


  • Current plans are for up to 30 Cat6 sockets (2, 4 or 6 per location) round the house.
  • Naked VDSL Broadband terminated in enclosure.
  • 2 Voip lines being routed from an old Billion router in the enclosure out to various sockets round the house via some sort of telephone distribution panel.
  • No direct plans for Coax install since we don't currently ever watch TV and therefore don't even ehave an aerial. However since the gib is off, I guess I should either put in at least a few runs back to the enclosure, or possibly use conduit and drawcords so I can install them later if I change my mind.
  • Hope to get Fibre in my neighbourhood in 2017, so want to future proof and leave an enclosure big enough for all the fibre gear.
  • Thinking of leaving a dedicated empty conduit just for the Chorus connections (even if I don't run conduit elsewhere).
  • Wanting to install an alarm too, but will probably mount it in its own metal box alongside (although mounting in the network enclosure is an option depending what I buy)
  • Considering 12v UPS solution for in the box. Either make my own, or possibly a Powerbrick unit.

Anything else I should be thinking of?

Any thoughts on the Leviton enclosure mounting grid spacings and whether it should be OK?

Any alternative plastic units to consider?

Any good arguments why metal would be better?

I'm leaning towards taking the risk, and just ordering the Leviton, but thought I'd ask the collective wisdom of the GeekZone experts.

So what would you do?

Thanks for reading....


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821 posts

Ultimate Geek

  #1256711 11-Mar-2015 23:40

Not a lot I can add.

I got a Signet cabinet and I see you know about them and Dynamix.

If you go to Fibre, you will also need to find a place for the ONT. At the moment, most providers don't provision the phone off the ONT. So, you need to find additional space.

All the standard texts recommend running coax to every room as well. But, if you aren't really into TV, then you can use something like this ...  to put the TV signal over your Ethernet network.

I would say - get as big a cabinet as you an afford/fit in. It is very easy to fill them up!

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206 posts

Master Geek


  #1256719 12-Mar-2015 00:18
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Thanks for the reply.

The existing Voip setup should continue working when moved to the new house. (I have an older Voip router working in bridge mode basically as a 2 port ATA. It will hang off any network port and give me my two phone lines. SO I transferred it onto my Slingshot VDSL Router, and it should in future move over to my Fibre setup with no problems.)

I'm coming round to installing 2 runs of COAX to behind the TV (along with 6x CAT6 sockets). It is whether to bother with any more runs on the off chance we ever decide to get an aerial (or for future saleability of the house - although we plan to stay there a long time!). The other option is to put conduit into each location, so that I can install any other type of cable to those locations in the future (whether that be coax, fibre to each room, or CAT9!).

I'm thinking of running most of the wires to the enclosure without conduit (a mix of loft and underfloor runs). For the wall drops up and down to the enclosure itself, again I probably won't use conduit for the bundles of wire I install now, but will definitely install at least a couple of pieces of conduit both up and down as spares (one dedicated for the chorus connection to use, and the other for my own future cabling) and maybe more than this even (can never have too much future proof capacity!)

The question is whether to run conduit for the wall drops in each room location, so that I can leave off coax for now, and always add it at a later date to any room.

Equally, those locations that are accessible easily from under the floor and with no insulation (ie internal walls) could be re-drilled and fetched through a hole in the gib, since I'm trying to mostly avoid terminals on outside insulated walls where possible. A bit of conduit will probably be used on the few outside wall locations for future proofing anyway, so they will be covered. Also those being dropped down from the loft space will probably be done in conduit too.

What size conduit do people use?

In most locations, I'm looking at the wall drops being 2x Cat5e and 2x Cat6 as double sided (which will give me 1x Cat6 and 1x Cat5e double per room - one either side of the wall). If I am allowing space for future coax etc, will 20mm conduit suffice (or do I need bigger? or could I get away with smaller?)

Note I'm CAT6 sockets and Panels through out. Just using up cat5e as I have a heap of it anyway, and for most purposes 5e would suffice anyway as none of my runs will be over 20m, so should have no problems for gigabit even on the Cat5e cables.

2487 posts

Uber Geek
Inactive user

  #1256759 12-Mar-2015 07:15
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I wouldn't bother with conduit, in most situations its a waste of time and money. If you do, use 25mm minimum.

I'd just drill 25mm or 32mm holes in fairly straight lines and add a draw wire. You can also put holes and draw wires in places you might want something in the future.
The only place id use conduit is where the roof is too low to access the top plate, like in a corner . In this case, I'd add conduit with a bend at the top and have the draw wire extend to an accessible place.

The truth is you can usually do without a draw wire too. In places with existing cables you tie a draw wire to a cable, pull it up, tie on the new cable, and pull them down again.
In places without existing cables, just drop a weight on a string down the nice straight holes you drilled.


206 posts

Master Geek


  #1256819 12-Mar-2015 09:07
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Good tips. Thanks.

I guess I might use conduit where the insulation would get in the way too, but that will only be in two locations.


77 posts

Master Geek

ID Verified

  #1256827 12-Mar-2015 09:15
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Hey Miked,

Sounds like you've got a fun project on your hands. Havn't really got much to add but was just thinking about your Coax thing.

Just thought if you ever sell the house, someone for whatever reason might want TV so was thinking as well as futureproofing for other things like you've already mentioned don't compromise the potential resale value by not running a few bucks of coax just incase.

Best of luck, Some pics of the install would be cool if you have the time or could be arsed. Or just the finished product.


152 posts

Master Geek

  #1256838 12-Mar-2015 09:27
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I did this in my last house and have just done something similar in the house we are in now, albeit a bit harder this time as we were not removing any GIB.

i Highly recommend just using the cat6 cable even if you have to buy more. This will give you better future proofing and also allow you to run higher bandwidth across it if you go down the route of video baluns across your network.

I have used Dynamix patch panels and cable through both instances and have found them to be the best value for performance.

The first place I used a mini 19" rack ($100 off Trademe) in the basement to take everything back to and for this place we are in now I went back to a cupboard under the stairs where I just used plywood. I attached the patch panel and velcroed all the gear - modem, switch etc. The cupboard housed all my AV gear as well so a bit of a different situation. 


206 posts

Master Geek


  #1257250 12-Mar-2015 15:06
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I've just ordered the Plastic Leviton Panel. I decided it was worth a punt. In the worst case scenario, if I find that it wasn't the right thing when it arrives, I'll just sling it on TradeMe and buy a different one.

Should all be good though. Gives me flexibility to run any wireless items inside the box for neatness.

Depending on how low I mount it, I might also get the locks for it, which would stop the kids fiddling with it! I will probably mount it pretty central on the wall height wise to avoid moving dwangs, which might be slightly lower than ideal, but is probably better than right up at ceiling height. It'll also give room for alarm above on the same wall.

I've also bought an Alarm system which comes with its own box, so I'll mount in a similar location for ease of phone integration etc.

I'll post an update as I go. The next decision will be which faceplates and sockets to use, and which patch panels to put in the Leviton, but I'll wait until it arrives and I've started pulling cables before I make those decisions.

Thanks for the thoughts and tips everyone. Sometimes just typing it all out helps the mind to focus on what is important anyway... but good quality replies from other experts is even better!!!



206 posts

Master Geek


  #1261652 18-Mar-2015 13:25
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So I got myself a good deal on 70m of RG6 cable (end of roll from the distributor), so I might run more Coax that originally planned. All of it is for future proofing as we haven't been watching TV in the past. Makes sense to run it now though whilst the gib is off.

However, that raises a few questions about routing, since Coax isn't something I'm experienced in.

Can I route the coax in the same bundle as the Cat5e/Cat6 cables? Is there any separation rules for distances between parallel runs?

Ideally I'd be running the coax to the the same locations as the network sockets, so ideally using the same holes for cable routing, but clearly I wouldn't do this if it might have a detrimental effect on my network throughput....

Has anyone got any recommendations, or some guide docs you can point me to?

What about alarms too (again alarms aren't my forte)? I'm presuming they are fine to route along the same route as the network cables, since they are just transmitting low voltage and "on or off" type signals.

I'm using the double-sided velcro strips (bought as a 20m roll) to group the cables together, and to attach to beams etc. Do you recommend nailing or stapling these to the beams where I need attachment?

Thanks everyone.


25277 posts

Uber Geek


  #1261703 18-Mar-2015 14:05
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I have stabled the double sided velcro in the past when I was adding and removing cables all the time. Just a cheap hand powered staple gun with really wide staples (not office type ones) and it was mint into all the wood.

No issues with coax around cat6, but its a prick in a multi port faceplate because of its rigidity. I would put serparate plates in rather than trying to stuff it all onto a single one. Use seperate holes and then when coax is obsolete you can use it as a draw wire for whatever else comes along.


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