Those who have followed by blog posts over the years will have seen numerous posts from me in regards to home structured cabling solutions. I have installed cabling in a number of new homes over the past few years as well as having retrofitted a number of older homes. I've also written some DIY installation guides that I hope to find time to update in the near future as there have been some changes recently in the recommendations for home cabling.
In early 2009 the Telecommunications Carriers Forum (TCF) established a working party to prepare a Code of Practice for Residential and Small Office Premise Wiring. The project goal was to develop a code that could be used as a benchmark for all installers who are installing or retrofitting cabling solutions in a residential or small business situation. Telecom had created PTC106 in the late 90's to deal with the planned growth of home networks, and this standard has been largely developed on that, with updates to reflect changes that have occurred in the past decade, particularly with recent and planned fibre to the home (FTTH) deployments.
By law in New Zealand there is no requirement for new homes to have any form of structured cabling solution. In my opinion this should be a legal requirement, in the same way that insulation and double glazing are now mandatory. We are in the early stages of a Government funded FTTH rollout to the majority of homes in New Zealand - what most people don't realise is that it's no good having a fibre connection to your house without suitable wiring inside your house. One could compare this to running electricity to a home 75 years ago that had no existing power cabling, switches or lights!
While the Government has talked about the costs of deploying fibre to your doorstep, nobody has yet talked about the cost of actually connecting your house to this fibre. The costs of retrofitting an existing home to take full advantage of the fibre connection to your door, as well as installation of the hardware required for fibre could easily run from a minimum of $1000 upwards, with costs probably approaching $2000 - $3000 if new cabling is run to every room back to a new patch panel. The costs of installing cable in a brand new home that is under construction is minimal compared to the costs of attempting to retrofit a house afterwards. In my opinion Minister's should be taken to task and to explain why there are no minimum requirements, because right now there are new houses being built with phone cabling being installed in ways that are incapable of even delivering optimal ADSL speeds, let along being able to easily support advanced services in the future.
The new TCF guidelines future proof your house for the introduction of fibre, and also for the introduction of Telecom's Next Generation Voice services that are being launched this year. Most people are probably unaware that by the end of 2010 Telecom are required by it's deed of undertaking with the Government to have 17,000 lines switched to a Next Generation VoIP platform for all voice calls. This will mean the installation of a residential gateway (RGW) on the premises that will deliver VoIP and internet to your house over an EUBA ADSL2+ internet connection, with a built in ATA allowing existing phones to connect to a VoIP service for your voice services.
These new guidelines recommend a minimum of 2 x RJ45 jack points and 2 x F type coax connections in every room in the house, and 4 x F type coax connections in the lounge or location where the primary TV will be located. A minimum of tri-shield RG6 coax cable is to be used so it meets the requirements of the Freeview|HD UHF service, TelstraClear's HFC network in Wellington, Kapiti and Christchurch, and that of Sky TV.
The home distributor serves as a central point where an ADSL modem, router and patch panel is located. It also serves as the home for a Optical Network Terminal (ONT) when fibre eventually makes it to your home. The ONT converts the optical signals an an electrical form and will connect via an Ethernet cable to a router that will provide internet to your home. Photos showing a typical home distributor (as being deployed by WxC in existing FTTH installations) can be viewed here.
If you are building a new home or involved in alterations to an existing home then this new guide should be essential reading. If you are in the process of building or planning to build a new home the installation of suitable cabling to future proof yourself is essential.
All the information you need to know is available on the TCF website
Other related posts:
Spark Paging network shutdown – the event nobody cares about? Not quite.
UFB voice, power cuts, copper invincibility and mainstream media FUD.
New Zealand’s growing BUBA problem (AKA I feel sorry for you if you’re on a Conklin)
Comment by maverick, on 19-May-2010 17:25
Very relevant topic Steve, this is a very big consideration on the uptake value for normal kiwi households .....And a topic close to my heart
Comment by toxaq, on 21-May-2010 10:23
Great post. I found your structured cabling series invaluable in retrofitting my house.
I have to disagree with you on your idea making structured cabling a legal requirement. I'd rather that any home builder had to have a sign off saying that the owner didn't want it installed. That way the owner gets to make a choice about the matter. Structured cabling will begin to appear in real estate ads (probably under some clever marketing name) and will begin to add value so new home builders would be foolish not to do it and should have to be given the choice.
Comment by Phil, on 25-May-2010 08:49
Great post and useful addition to the series. Still doesn't provide any guidance on the termination of the multiple RG-6 drops at the home distributor. Whether these should be terminated at a coax patch panel (with extra insertion losses) or simply connected to splitters/amplifiers. Any recommendations?
Comment by kyhwana2, on 6-Jun-2010 15:07
Whats the point in providing so many coax points? Shouldn't you only need one at most, with maybe a few extra cat6/HDMI runs?
Comment by Tony Collins, on 10-Jan-2011 23:46
Hi Steve The Aucklander are keen on doing an article on my blog entry (link above). Someone left a comment, with a link to your 'TCF Home Wiring Guidelines' blog entry. Would you be OK if The Aucklander reporter contacted you to get some expert commentary on this issue? Cheers, Tony