Goal: Set up a rack that can house servers, a patch panel, network switches, and any other desired equipment. Cat6 Ethernet wiring and RG6 coaxial wiring will be run to each room. If you think about it, installing Ethernet wiring is a relatively simple task. If you take all of the walls and drywall dust out of the equation it really just amounts to terminating the wire ends with the appropriate jack. The biggest challenge you will face is figuring out how and where to run your wiring from point to point. In my case I have a single floor home and decided to install my rack in the basement, feeding the wires up through the floor and into the walls above. As always, measure twice and cut once. You don’t want to miss your mark and end up with extra holes in your walls.
Tip: Transferring measurements from one floor to the next can be challenging. Look for reference points that traverse multiple floors to base your measurements off
Parts List: Here’s the list of what I used minus the networking equipment and tools. If you don’t have tools for working with data wiring you will need a punch-down tool, wire cutters, and crimpers that work with RG6 and Cat6 wiring. You’ll be making holes in walls/floors so a drill with a right angle attachment (or just a right angle drill) and drywall saw will come in handy. Prices are from January, 2013.
|1040||Cat6 RJ-45 Toolless Keystone – Blue||$1.16|
|7266||Cat6 Plug Solid W/Insert 50U 100pcs/Bag||$7.74|
|7253||Cat6 Patch Panel 110 Type 24 Port (568A/B Compatible)||$19.82|
|6731||Wall Plate for Keystone, 4 Hole – White||$0.38|
|2114||3FT 24AWG Cat6 550MHz UTP Ethernet Bare Copper Network Cable – Blue||$0.93|
|6539||Blank Insert For Wall Plate – 10pcs/Pack (White)||$0.65|
|6542||Keystone Jack – Modular F Type (White)||$0.40|
|Home Depot UPC||Description||PPU|
|48243994199||500 ft. 23/4-Gauge Category 6 Riser Blue Internet Wire||$79.00|
|783250890194||OmniConn RG-6 Compression F-Connectors (10-Pack)||$4.99|
|48243373581||500 ft. RG6 Quad Shield Coaxial Cable||$50.00|
|100160916||Carlon 1-Gang Low-Voltage Old-Work Bracket||$1.30|
|208930748||Tripp Lite – 2-Post Open Frame Rack Cabinet – 25U – 19″||$137.99|
Steps: This is really just wash, rinse, and repeat. I won’t bother getting into how to run the wire since every house will be different. Setting up each room’s wall plate is basically the same once you get the wires where you need them. I used my punch-down tool to terminate the Cat6 wires into the patch panel and on the other end the tool-less keystone jacks. Use a low-voltage (orange) bracket for the wall face plate. The RG6 gets terminated the same on each end with a compression fitting and will either connect into equipment on your rack or into the wall plate’s F-connector. I only have a four-way DirecTV splitter so I omitted using a distribution amp or patch panel, although you could certainly do that if you had a lot of connections.