Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Cat 6 cable for the TV

Our wireless router is in the computer room, at one end of the house.  The TV is at the other end of the house.  We've tried to get wireless to extend from the router to the TV, but it's iffy, at best.  So to try Netflix, we ran a 100 foot cat5 cable from the router to the TV (actually to the Blu-ray DVD player which then connects to the TV).

But running a cable along the floor from one end of the house to the other seems to me to be a safety hazard, so given that this may be a long term issue (not just for our free trial month), we wanted a better solution.  We tried a wireless range extender, and considered some other approaches (like using our electrical power wiring), but it seems that the best approach is the cable -- lowest cost, no maintenance, highest reliable bandwidth.

So we decided to just run the cable thru the attic, instead of thru the house.

Starting in the TV room, we have a wall plug that provides the cable and a telephone plug.  Taking that off, we see that the wall is insulated (it's the wall between the TV room and the back deck).  We should be able to use the telephone wire to pull a cat6 cable down the wall, if we can find these in the attic.

 Going in the attic, we can pull back the insulation

and then we can find where the cables go thru the top plate of the wall and down into the wall.

We attach a string to the telephone wire, pull it up, connect the telephone wire and the cat6 cable to it, and pull it back down.

We bought a 100 foot yellow cat6 cable for  this purpose.

Patching the wall, repainting it and getting a new wall plate, we have a connection for the cat6, cable, and telephone.

We bought this wall plate from Fry's.  It's a Shaxon Keystone Wall Plate 3 Port, and then we got a 110-type RJ12 Keystone Jack (Cat 3) for the telephone (we had red, green, black, yellow 4-wire telephone and matched the red/green to the white/blue pair 1, and the yellow/black to the white/orange pair 2 for the RJ12), an F-type coaxial (Catv) Keystone coupler for the cable, and a RJ45 Keystone Coupler (Cat 6) for the ethernet cable.

Once the cable was set on the TV room, we ran the cable down the middle of the attic to the area over the A/C system (look for the yellow cable).

We fished the wire around the skylight housings and into the attic over the back bedroom.

In the attic over the back bedroom, the cable comes along the side of the attic,

under the catwalk, and along to the corner that goes outside the loft and back to the computer room.

The idea is to put a wall plate in the wall next to the A/C vent in the computer room.

Cutting a hole for an electrical box , we can then fish the wire back to the corner in the attic and pull the cable out into the room.

We then installed another of the Shaxon Keystone Wall Plates.  This time we only need one port for the RJ45 (Cat 6) coupler.

Running a simple 14-foot cat 5 patch cable from this outlet down to the router, we have what we need to run the TV or Blu-ray DVD player with internet connectivity.

As a side-effect of all the work in the attic, running the cable, we found areas on all 3 main work areas -- over the TV room, near the A/C system and in the back bedroom around the loft -- that were under-insulated.  So we bought 6 more rolls of R-30 unfaced fiberglass insulation (2 trips: 4 rolls of 23 inch wide $181.77 and 2 rolls of 15 inch wide $42.17; all 25 feet long, 9 inches deep) and installed that to boost the insulation in these areas.

So the wall-plates, inserts, and cable were all fairly in-expensive, the insulation was the most expensive part of this project.  Plus the three days of work in the attic.