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Structured Wiring Basics: 5 Tips for Home Wiring Solutions

By Karin Mangan
Structured Wiring Basics: 5 Tips for Home Wiring Solutions

Structured wiring is a suite of cables, usually bundled together and covered in plastic coating, that delivers the variety of data signals that modern lifestyles demand--telephone, audio, video, and Ethernet. In a similar way to the distribution of electricity around the home, a bundle of wires is run through the walls of the house and terminates at wall outlets with between two and eight ports. Devices such as a TV, telephone, or computer can then be connected.

Use the following five points to guide you when you're considering structured wiring as a home wiring solution:

  1. The best time to install structured wiring is when a home is being built or remodeled. The cabling runs throughout the whole house, behind the walls, so it is expensive and disruptive to install in a completed house.
  2. Structural wiring packages are available in various levels, beginning with a basic system comprised of telephone and cable TV only. If you choose this option, it is important to install all the wiring you might need in order to upgrade the service later, and to run the cable to each of the rooms where you might want it because it is difficult and expensive to add cable later.
  3. There are two types of installation configurations for structured wiring. Daisy chaining is the cheapest. The cabling runs from one room to the next in a continuous length. The problem with this set-up is that the signal quality at the end of the chain is poorer than at the first stop, and the whole system needs to be checked to locate a connection problem. With a home run or star topology configuration, each set of wires runs to one outlet only, giving a consistently good quality signal throughout the home and making it easier to locate the source of a connection problem.
  4. Different manufacturers use different wires. Look at the quality of the wiring offered in a structured wiring bundle because lower grade wiring can reduce audio and picture quality. A structured bundle should have at least two coaxial cables of RG-6 quality and two twisted pair of Category 5 (CAT-5) or higher cables. For the ultimate bundle for the future, use CAT-6 and add two fiber optic cables.
  5. Structured wiring has many advantages. For example, it allows several computers to use the same Internet connection without interference. It allows you to play the same music or watch the same DVD in every room of the house and enables you to have several phone lines, share devices such as fax machines or printers, and watch pictures on TV sent from security cameras outside your property or from a camera in the baby's bedroom.

Structured wiring is the future of home wiring so upgrade your home with a structured wiring package.

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