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rewiring my home network - which CAT6 do I want?


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I'm adding about a dozen ethernet cable runs from my network closet to various places around my house. I'm going to buy 3 boxes of 500' CAT6. I'd like to run cable that interferes least with my home audio equipment. Do I want stranded or solid? If you have a good source for CAT6, a link to Amazon or similar would be most appreciated.

 

One of my new cable runs will end in the switch which feeds my microRendu. I'm probably going to do TP-Link fiber media converters to AQ audiophile cable to the microRendu.

ARC Ref 5SE, ARC Ref Phono 2, Ayre MX-R Twenty monoblocks, VPI Scoutmaster, Clearaudio Concerto, BAT VK- D5SE, Vandersteen 5a, Ayre Codex, Senore microRendu with HD-Plex Linear power supply

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I do not profess to be expert but I am undertaking a similar project. What I have found the that solid is preferred for in-wall use and termination at Keystone terminals.

 

+1 consider future proof with Cat 6a. Consider getting Belden mediatwist . Consider wiring you house with fiber.

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I do not profess to be expert but I am undertaking a similar project. What I have found the that solid is preferred for in-wall use and termination at Keystone terminals.

That is my understanding as well, solid for the runs. If using a patch panel, stranded is used at times (for flexibility).

 

Off topic, and FWIW, Blue Jeans recommends CAT6 not CAT6a for audio.

Silver Circle Audio | Roon | Devialet | Synology | Vivid Audio | Stillpoint Aperture | Auralic | DH Labs

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A couple of years ago I redid the LAN wiring throughout my home switching from cat 5 to cat 6 cable. I used solid core cable that while thicker and less prone to bending, it does have a better outer coating and a foil inner protection layer. My system is wired from keystone jack to keystone jack this way with some more flexible cat 6 stranded used where flexibility is valued at endpoints.

 

It's a difficult call to say it is better (for audio) than the cat 5 stranded that had been in place but the basic throughput went up quite significantly after the change. I have a 16 port Cisco switch connected to a router that is connected to a Cable modem. There is a wireless router also connected that is only on when WiFi use is required.

 

I did find a good source for network product here in Canada but they may not be the best solution for others. Amazon is also good but you do need to know what you are buying. I think the differences amount to cat 5 being less stringent (capable) but can be used over longer cable runs. However, cat 6 can carry much higher density of data while suffering less cross-talk (interference) and similarly, cat 6a has an even higher density being rated at double that of cat 6, with special considerations.

 

Perhaps cat 6 might be a bit of over-kill for purely Audio-centric use but if pressed to wire my home again I would use cat 6 solid crore cable.

 

Some more info here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category_6_cable

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Off topic, and FWIW, Blue Jeans recommends CAT6 not CAT6a for audio.

 

Just out of curiousity, where did you se that Blue Jeans Cable recommends Cat6 over Cat 6a for audio? I was told the exact opposite because on their Cat6a cable they do not terminate the shields meaning that distortion/interference should not be able to travel along the shield. This was also the reason they recommended 6a over 7. I have looked over their website and other online media to confirm what either of us heard, but I haven't found anything to confirm either view.

Synology NAS>i7-6700/32GB/NVIDIA QUADRO P4000 Win10>Qobuz+Tidal>Roon>HQPlayer>DSD512> Fiber Switch>Ultrarendu (NAA)>SMSL M500 DAC> Bryston SP3 pre>Levinson No. 432 amps>Magnepan (MG20.1x2, CCR and MMC2x6)

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if you follow the recommended standards for installation (keep parallel runs of ethernet at least 16" from power lines; only cross power lines at 90 degree angles), cat5e should be just fine. however, i do understand why you may want to future-proof with cat6. definitely use solid core -- i can't imagine trying to terminate a connector with such small stranded wire!

 

i agree with the comments from the bjc guy regarding terminations -- it's really important that the wire at the cable/wall connector termination stay tightly wound all the way to the connector. i do advise being careful if you're going to use an electrician to do this -- their training is not deep in this area and i've seen a lot of very loose/unwound wiring.

sources:  intel nuc8i7 (audiolinux, roon core) (server) | simaudio moon mind 2 (renderer)
headphone rig:  chord qutest > bryston bha-1 > audeze lcd-3
main rig:  chord dave > parasound jc5 > kef reference 1
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if you follow the recommended standards for installation (keep parallel runs of ethernet at least 16" from power lines; only cross power lines at 90 degree angles), cat5e should be just fine.
Understood. However, my only option for the cable runs are in the same wall channel and in close parallel to a new 208vac line. I am hoping that the additional shielding of CAT7 might help. Any thoughts about that?

Kal Rubinson

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

 

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Understood. However, my only option for the cable runs are in the same wall channel and in close parallel to a new 208vac line. I am hoping that the additional shielding of CAT7 might help. Any thoughts about that?

 

There are two types of shielding intra and inter pair noise. So basically protect signal from outside cables bundled with each other and stray industrial noise and then the foil wrapped pairs that protect the pairs in a cable from cross talk with adjacent pairs in the same cladding.

 

Is your 208V A/C ran in metal conduit? If so you will be fine.

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Solid core cable for the run and stranded for the patch. Solid core punches down more effectively and stranded stands up to abuse better.

 

There should be a youtube video on terminating into keystone jacks. If anyone wants I can shoot an quick instructional video.

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Understood. However, my only option for the cable runs are in the same wall channel and in close parallel to a new 208vac line. I am hoping that the additional shielding of CAT7 might help. Any thoughts about that?

 

There are two types of shielding intra and inter pair noise. So basically protect signal from outside cables bundled with each other and stray industrial noise and then the foil wrapped pairs that protect the pairs in a cable from cross talk with adjacent pairs in the same cladding.

 

Is your 208V A/C ran in metal conduit? If so you will be fine.

 

i agree -- if you can keep the wires on opposite sides of the stud bay and run the a/c line in conduit, you'll be fine and can use cat5e/cat6 without concern.

sources:  intel nuc8i7 (audiolinux, roon core) (server) | simaudio moon mind 2 (renderer)
headphone rig:  chord qutest > bryston bha-1 > audeze lcd-3
main rig:  chord dave > parasound jc5 > kef reference 1
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Understood. However, my only option for the cable runs are in the same wall channel and in close parallel to a new 208vac line. I am hoping that the additional shielding of CAT7 might help. Any thoughts about that?

 

how about using conduit on both?

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There are two types of shielding intra and inter pair noise. So basically protect signal from outside cables bundled with each other and stray industrial noise and then the foil wrapped pairs that protect the pairs in a cable from cross talk with adjacent pairs in the same cladding.

 

Is your 208V A/C ran in metal conduit? If so you will be fine.

Fortunately, yes because NYC codes require it.

Kal Rubinson

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

 

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i agree -- if you can keep the wires on opposite sides of the stud bay and run the a/c line in conduit, you'll be fine and can use cat5e/cat6 without concern.
:-) Stud bay? They will all be in a channel chiseled into the concrete.

Kal Rubinson

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

 

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:-) Stud bay? They will all be in a channel chiseled into the concrete.

 

ah -- nyc! such a uniquely horrible problem for the installers (as i experienced when i had a home theater company) and uniquely expensive proposition for home owners!

sources:  intel nuc8i7 (audiolinux, roon core) (server) | simaudio moon mind 2 (renderer)
headphone rig:  chord qutest > bryston bha-1 > audeze lcd-3
main rig:  chord dave > parasound jc5 > kef reference 1
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ah -- nyc! such a uniquely horrible problem for the installers (as i experienced when i had a home theater company) and uniquely expensive proposition for home owners!
Amen. I have been putting this off for years because of the cost. Recently, my wife and I decided to renovate a bathroom and add a laundry washer and dryer to the apartment. The network cabling will be rolled into that expensive project. Until then, I have to rely on MoCA-2 links that piggy-back on the cable-TV coax. That, too, will go in-wall now.

 

In our house, I did all the new CAT6a network wiring. It is wood-frame house and gave me access to all rooms via the crawl space. A piece of cake.

Kal Rubinson

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

 

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Thanks to all for the great responses and information! I'm going to run CAT6 throughout my house with a couple of fiber optic runs to my key locations. What I need now is a good source for CAT6 cable. I need three 500' boxes. Do I need to stay away from cheap Chinese cable and good with a quality manufacturer like Belden? If so, a link to a good online supplier would be most appreciated!

ARC Ref 5SE, ARC Ref Phono 2, Ayre MX-R Twenty monoblocks, VPI Scoutmaster, Clearaudio Concerto, BAT VK- D5SE, Vandersteen 5a, Ayre Codex, Senore microRendu with HD-Plex Linear power supply

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What I need now is a good source for CAT6 cable. I need three 500' boxes. Do I need to stay away from cheap Chinese cable and good with a quality manufacturer like Belden?

 

https://www.bluejeanscable.com/store/data-cables/

 

Really good company. I am sure they will sell you a spool of their Belden Cat 6 cable.

Eric


Ubuntu Studio Linux box (i7-9700, 8 cores, 16GB RAM, Intel X520-DA1 NIC, HQP Desktop) > fiber optic > MikroTik CRS305-1G-4S+ > fiber optic > fitlet2 (Linux Mint - HQP NAA) > T+A DAC8 DSD > Rogue Audio DragoN > Klipsch La Scala — digital volume control with HQP via Roon client, DSP with HQP convolution engine, Intel NUC (Roon server)

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Thanks to all for the great responses and information! I'm going to run CAT6 throughout my house with a couple of fiber optic runs to my key locations. What I need now is a good source for CAT6 cable. I need three 500' boxes. Do I need to stay away from cheap Chinese cable and good with a quality manufacturer like Belden? If so, a link to a good online supplier would be most appreciated!

 

There are probably a number of good suppliers but Belden describes its bonded twist that ensures proper impedance. Amazon, markertek, Newegg etc.

Custom room treatments for headphone users.

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stumil: I have very simple setup-i7 mac mini(18gb RAM) usb out to a Schiit gungnir mini-toslink out to the gungnir Schiit FULLA into the mac mini Apple tv gen3 toslink out to my avr

I bought an Apple Time Capsule(2TB)-my ethernet cat6 is flat type purchased at Walmart-ran it from my TW/Spectrum Arris router thru my cellar about 25-30 feet across only copper water pipes and no where near any electrical lines to the Time Capsule. I am no longer connected to the ethernet from the mac-sound quality is excellent from A+/ROON/TIDAL alone/Qobuz alone and no dropoffs/buffering/static from any of players plus I now have 5/5 signal strength out to another 3rd gen ATV in my family room easily >100 feet away. This is with the TC in the living room of the 1906 part of my house ie timbers,corners, horsehair plaster etc to new construction 1994 add on family room- never was able to do this before(took 1/2hr to download a TRAILER!! let alone listen to music) now ATV is continuous no buffering dropouts etc.

I don't know if this helps you but I don't think the type of cat 6 ethernet matters just like gazillion $ cables/interconnects etc matter. What I would do if possible is just buy a few Apple Time Capsules/Expresses before the 'lightbulbs' at APPL stop making them-may be better than hard wiring and sound just as good.

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