How do I install Cat 5 cable in my house? Google tells me that this is a frequently-asked question. There are also others. In this blog, I try and answer some of them.

Who am I? An independent engineer,based in North East England, with experience of cabling houses, large and small.  However, here is what Google tells me people are asking:-

“How much does it cost to wire a house with Ethernet?”

That depends where the router and sockets are. Also, how big the house is. My projects have run from a few hours to several days. (“Ethernet” is used as a general term for cabling that links devices)

“What is the difference between CAT 5 and CAT 6?”

I’ve blogged about this here. Basically, it’s a question of speed. In my humble opinion, considering average speeds of broadband, Cat 5 is fine, and Cat 6 gives an element of additional speed. Cat 6 and it’s components is more expensive. However, Cat 6a is more expensive still. Cat 6 is less flexible than Cat 5, so occasionally more challenging to install.  I will be blogging more about this soon.

“How do I route an Ethernet cable in my house?”

My preferred route is via the external walls, using external-grade cable. The cable can be run discreetly, so it does not have to look like drooping washing line installed by a satellite TV engineer in a hurry. Many houses have side-facing walls where cable can be run without looking too ugly. Furthermore, this method avoids major disruption to internal decoration. Another possible route is via a loft, but this involves clearing of loft space, plus lifting of any boarding out. (Do you know anyone with a nicely-cleared loft? No, neither do I.) It can take twice as long as running via outside walls.

“How to run ethernet cable through walls”

A very strange but popular question, it seems. Test the walls for hidden services (power, water),then drill. “Measure twice, drill once”. Drill and pray. A surface-mounted socket box can be used to conceal a hole, and allow for a suitable gentle bend for the cable to enter.  You will need a long (400mm – plus) masonry drill bit, no smaller than 12mm diameter.

“My house has Cat 5 wiring. How can I use it?”

Find out where the cable runs start and end. The previous occupant may have had their router in an upstairs study, with individual cable runs to a TV, desktop PC, and/or wireless access point. There are cheap devices available which will plug into one end of a cable, send a tone down it, and allow it to be detected and the far end by another part of the device. Search for “cable tracker cat 5” or “cable tone tracer”.

“Ethernet wall socket installation.”

Another odd phrase, much-searched, according to Google. Everything you need to install Cat 5/Cat 6 cable yourself is available on-line. Even cable can be bought “per length”.

“Running ethernet in old house”

Otherwise known as “cable installation”. We love cabling old houses as they present a challenge to us, and are satisfying to do well.

“Home network wiring diagram.”

I’ve only ever seen one, and I neither understood nor trusted it.  Good engineers will trace everything anyway to avoid being misled by poorly-updated records.

“How to run an ethernet cable across the house.”

As per above. The exterior route is always best.

“Home ethernet wiring service”

This is a common Google search phrase, probably a short version of  “How do I install Cat 5 cable in my house?”. We are that “wiring service” (!), as are other independent engineers. Get in touch with us here regarding work in The North East or North Yorkshire. We also network with other similar engineers across the UK, so may be able to find one local to you.