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Thread: Ideas/comments on my plans please

  1. #1
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    Question Ideas/comments on my plans please

    Hi all,

    Just decided to start using this forum as I have plans for some home automation. I'm still at the planning stage and am going through the "what else could I do?" phase.

    My situation is that I am having a small extension built. Because the ceilings are rubbish I had them pulled down on the ground floor, so I have plenty of access for fixed wiring. This good because I am anti-wireless (for reasons of unreliability). Part of the building work also allows the creation of a new downstairs toilet, which frees up the current understairs toilet to use as a cupboard/equipment room. I also have an open loft so plenty of access there. I can get cabling from the equipment room to the loft via either the airing cupboard or the back of a bedroom cupboard.

    My plans are as follows:

    1) New lighting system. I have selected the JCL FlexiDim system. It has an ethernet port and I intend to put it on an internal network just to make programming easier using a PC in the study instead of a laptop. I think it can be linked into other systems but I haven't thought much about that. The system will also control bathroom ventilation fans and curtain/blind controllers.

    2) Cat5e cabling. Other than the stuff I need for the lighting, I intend to put in enough runs to hopefully future-proof me. I imagine a home network, plus AV.

    3) New security system. I don't need to go overboard here so I intend to put in a fairly regular system. However I'd like to have one that I can put on the home network so that I can program/interrogate it from a PC. I haven't researched this yet. I'm not bothered about CCTV.

    4) Door entry system. The way my house is, the study is a bit of a way from the front door. I'd like to have some sort of video-phone system, mainly so I can tell a caller that I'm on my way. Can I get a system that will use the home network?

    5) TV coax. I'd really prefer not to have to do this (see below) but I guess I'll need to run some extra. I don't have SKY but maybe I need to add extra runs just in case.

    I'm not bothered about automation of the central heating and don't plan on any air conditioning. Also I have dismissed multi-room audio. We already have automated garage doors.

    Any comments on my plans? Any other good ideas for me to consider?

    My main concern at the moment is AV. I don't want anything sophisticated, but what I want does not appear to exist. At the moment we just have coax down to a freeview box in each room.

    What I would like to do is have all my AV distributed by Cat5e. This should include TV. I'm not in a cabled area so the TV has to be Freeview or SKY. I'm aware that there are various systems about that allow distribution of AV streams, and a familiar with Windows Media Center (and that XBOX supports it). But I don't believe that SKY can be integrated with such a system.

    I'd really love to just put Cat5e cable to every TV location and then run coax from the loft to the equipment room for aerial and dish connection. Is this sensible or am I dreaming?

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    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Have a look at www.abitana.com It does use its own modified Cat5 cable rather than a normal Cat5. But this may fit your needs for now and in the future. Plus you don't need to run any TV coax if you use the Abitana stuff. You will need to run some for SAT TV from the dish to the digi box.
    There are systems such as the Barix Annuncicom Intercom 100, this works via an ethernet connection. www.barix.com.
    Many video door phone systems use 4 to 6 wires so run a CAT5 or similar to the front door or gate and then back to node 0. Many systems allow for the connection of a slave monitor.
    Good luck
    Last edited by toscal; 30th November 2007 at 09:29 PM.

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    You can also look at www.BritishHomeNet.com

    Similar to abitana but with a higher grade cable (MultiMedia type better than Cat6 and than the so called "Cat.8) so that you can run SKY/satellite without electronic converters and a lot of other stuff.

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    Default Interested in modified cat5 cable

    Quote Originally Posted by pocky View Post
    You can also look at www.BritishHomeNet.com

    Similar to abitana but with a higher grade cable (MultiMedia type better than Cat6 and than the so called "Cat.8) so that you can run SKY/satellite without electronic converters and a lot of other stuff.

    Pocky,

    I want to get the right cabling into my new build and I am prepared to pay for the right stuff. I gather that the cat 5e modified cable you are talking about (along with abitana) does everything cat 5 & coax do and more.

    Another poster (bigfoot Tim) recommended that I run cat 5 & coax to 3 or 4 locations in each room to allow for additional uses down the line. I understand that this is because inevitable furniture will be moved and additional equipment will be needed.. e.g. a bedroom becomes a study.. Would you recommend this approach too if I used your modified cable?

    And can you please tell me how your recommended British Home Network cable differs from just running cat5E & coax (apart from advantages of one less wire)?

    I am not very technically proficient so I want to run all the cable i'll ever need, wire to a patch panel (or a similarly neat cable box) and then hopefully just plug everything in when I have saved enough for an off-the-shelf AV system. So, would the modified cat5e cable be compatible with all MCU AV type systems such as OPUS / NUVO?

    Thanks very much in advance.

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    It is always recommended to have more location in a room so that you can move furniture and change usage in the future.

    However, with the HomeNet System you use only one cable and one socket. If you install Cat5 and coax you are limiting usage. A coax will only be good for TV/video and you can't connect speakers, a phone or a PC to it - not even in the future (well, maybe one day with buying active adapters for $$$$) Similar applies to Cat5e, why putting a cable in that can't carry native SAT/video/CATV signals if you can put one cable in that can do???

    Advantage of the cable is versatility and capability to do more than Cat5 (even Cat7) and coax can do.

    Just check the site and send an email with your questions

  6. #6
    Automated Home Legend TimH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pocky View Post
    It is always recommended to have more location in a room so that you can move furniture and change usage in the future.
    I've had my TV in all of the 5 locations I wired to in the lounge.. I'm not sure if that was actually an advantage though...

    Quote Originally Posted by pocky View Post
    However, with the HomeNet System you use only one cable and one socket. If you install Cat5 and coax you are limiting usage. A coax will only be good for TV/video and you can't connect speakers, a phone or a PC to it - not even in the future (well, maybe one day with buying active adapters for $$$$) Similar applies to Cat5e, why putting a cable in that can't carry native SAT/video/CATV signals if you can put one cable in that can do???
    Just a clarification - Cat5e can carry native video signals right up to full HD resolutions with the appropriate adaptors. Many of the "media extender" boxes are Ethernet anyway, and Cat5e is still fine for Gigabit ethernet

    I agree that coax is not quite as versatile, although there is still life in it yet.

    I think it depends on what type of systems architecture you want.
    If you like the sleek modern looks and have all of your source equipment hidden away, there's little/no need to be able to send raw satellite feeds around the house, just to the equipment cupboard. What's more important (IMHO) is to be able to connect those sources to the TVs & speakers etc. in the various rooms.

    Maybe it just comes down to personal preference; some people do like or don't mind looking at the source boxes, I prefer them out of the way.

    The great advantages of Cat5 are that it is a true, universal standard, and that it already has a huge installed base in offices etc. Yes there are newer technologies coming along, but I wouldn't even begin to suggest that cat5 is a dying technology...

    Cheers,

    Tim.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TimH View Post
    Just a clarification - Cat5e can carry native video signals right up to full HD resolutions with the appropriate adaptors.
    Exactly what I said, with adapters that cost money, not native sat signal, not native video or even up to full HD. Cat5 does only 250MHz and Cat6 550MHz and even UHF (RTE or BBC) has up to 862MHz
    Quote Originally Posted by TimH View Post
    Many of the "media extender" boxes are Ethernet anyway, and Cat5e is still fine for Gigabit ethernet
    Never denied that, are you sure that TV is going ethernet? Sound is going that way? When and for what costs? flexibility?

    Quote Originally Posted by TimH View Post
    I agree that coax is not quite as versatile, although there is still life in it yet.
    Yes, and there is still live in a 30 year old fridge and a 50 year old black and white TV, just like in a 70th car

    Quote Originally Posted by TimH View Post
    I think it depends on what type of systems architecture you want.
    If you like the sleek modern looks and have all of your source equipment hidden away, there's little/no need to be able to send raw satellite feeds around the house, just to the equipment cupboard. What's more important (IMHO) is to be able to connect those sources to the TVs & speakers etc. in the various rooms.

    Maybe it just comes down to personal preference; some people do like or don't mind looking at the source boxes, I prefer them out of the way.
    And you know that for the next 60 years? That is the lifespan of your house. Or are you chasing the walls again in 15 or 25 years? If you have a flexible high capacity cable you can put it anytime anywhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by TimH View Post
    The great advantages of Cat5 are that it is a true, universal standard, and that it already has a huge installed base in offices etc.
    But we are not talking about offices where you have a limited use (phone & IT), we are talking about residential buildings where you have a large variety of equipment - old and new. And remember, I am not denying the installed based, but the question here is on new installations
    Quote Originally Posted by TimH View Post
    Yes there are newer technologies coming along, but I wouldn't even begin to suggest that cat5 is a dying technology...
    Not dying, but developing. Otherwise commercial installations wouldn't go for Cat6+

    It is like any other technology, you don't buy kitchen appliances that are still build the same way as 25 years ago. You insist your car having seat belts, CD-radio, and anti blocking device. No one will accept today an electrician putting in 1940 cabling standards. But yet you are talking about "media extenders" and similar new devices but want to hook it up to 70th industrial standard cable that was never designed for flexible domestic use.

    And all I am talking about is spending an average 300 to 500 more for flexibility. You save this money on the extenders you where talking. That is not even the price of a decent LCD TV!!!

  8. #8
    Automated Home Legend TimH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pocky View Post
    And you know that for the next 60 years? That is the lifespan of your house. Or are you chasing the walls again in 15 or 25 years? If you have a flexible high capacity cable you can put it anytime anywhere.
    When I chased-out the walls in my house I buried trunking and put the cable in that, so no, I won't be chasing them out again, but my structured wiring does have the opportunity to evolve

    But whether its Cat5e, or A.N.Other cable, there's still things ahead of us that we can't predict. I'm not saying Cat5e is totally future proof but equally you should be wary of anyone else professing the same about their solution.

    Quote Originally Posted by pocky View Post
    But we are not talking about offices where you have a limited use (phone & IT), we are talking about residential buildings where you have a large variety of equipment - old and new. And remember, I am not denying the installed based, but the question here is on new installations
    My point about the installed base was not so much we *should* adopt office technology in our homes per se, but because the boundaries between "office" and "home" equipment are much more blurred now. Just think, it wasn't that many years ago that having networked storage was purely the reserve of the corporate world. Now everybody is churning out hard disks with Ethernet ports.

    The benefit of the current huge installed base of Cat5 & Ethernet, the hurdles for manufacturers to develop products are much lower - there's a greater market place for them to be sold into. And part of the incentive for this is an open standard which connects all the devices together.

    And its not just Ethernet over Cat5 - there have been audio & video products around for ages which use the structure of the Cat5 cable but do not transmit the signals as an IP stream - e.g. the KAT5 modules (www.kat5.tv) or these HDMI via Cat5 baluns: http://www.automatedhome.co.uk/New-P...over-CAT5.html.

    Quote Originally Posted by pocky View Post
    It is like any other technology, you don't buy kitchen appliances that are still build the same way as 25 years ago.
    Sadly no, you can't get the quality of older products

    Quote Originally Posted by pocky View Post
    You insist your car having seat belts, CD-radio, and anti blocking device.
    Agreed, but it's still the same internal combustion engine that's moving it along.
    Yes there are new technologies emerging, and they are commerically available, but they are still developing and because there is no clear way forward, there's no real standardisation going on. We've got LPG fill points, hydrogen fill points, electric car charging points etc. The market hasn't shaken down enough to drive forward "the" solution, so we have a collection of solutions more thinly spread out.

    Quote Originally Posted by pocky View Post
    No one will accept today an electrician putting in 1940 cabling standards.
    Absolutely not, but that's largely a safety thing, no? Or were you meaning something else?

    Quote Originally Posted by pocky View Post
    And all I am talking about is spending an average 300 to 500 more for flexibility. You save this money on the extenders you where talking. That is not even the price of a decent LCD TV!!!
    I'm not familiar with the pricing of this cable, can you quote its per metre price, or price per box, for a comparison with Cat5e?

    The quantities people put into their homes varies dramatically, some with modest installs maybe only use one box, whereas others have put in over 7km (yup, 7000m!!) of Cat5. What quantity of cable are we taking for a 300 to 500 delta? (which I agree is small )

    The biggest drawback that I see of the proprietary cabling systems is that you're locked into that manufacturer. No matter how great the system is, if they go belly-up you've had it.

    I'm not trying to knock it technically, I haven't seen enough installs to comment on how good or not it is, but its precisely the closed nature of those systems that make me nervous.

    Cheers,

    Tim.

  9. #9
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    Another offputting thing is the BritishHomeNet website looks like it was knocked up in FrontPage with liberal use of paint.exe about 5 years ago. Might be capable, looks rubbish. That's not just internet snobbery, the site looks like its creators haven't got a clue what is happening in the wider technical world

    There are so many ways of doing this stuff very well over industry standard Cat5e or Cat6 cabling I don't see why you'd want to go off-piste.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TimH View Post
    My point about the installed base was not so much we *should* adopt office technology in our homes per se, but because the boundaries between "office" and "home" equipment are much more blurred now. Just think, it wasn't that many years ago that having networked storage was purely the reserve of the corporate world. Now everybody is churning out hard disks with Ethernet ports.

    The benefit of the current huge installed base of Cat5 & Ethernet, the hurdles for manufacturers to develop products are much lower - there's a greater market place for them to be sold into. And part of the incentive for this is an open standard which connects all the devices together.
    But again, this is IT and not a conventional homes. Agree that the boundaries between home and office are blurred, but we are still talking more about home equipment such as CD players, iPods, VCR, TV, SAT or cable set-to-boxes, HiFi systems and so on. Don't get me wrong, I am an IT guy with about 20 years IT background and can see where technology is going but it will be a long road to a fully integration. And until then we will keep our "old" entertainment equipment,

    Quote Originally Posted by TimH View Post
    And its not just Ethernet over Cat5 - there have been audio & video products around for ages which use the structure of the Cat5 cable but do not transmit the signals as an IP stream - e.g. the KAT5 modules (www.kat5.tv) or these HDMI via Cat5 baluns: http://www.automatedhome.co.uk/New-P...over-CAT5.html.
    But this is exactly what I am talking about, you have to buy additional equipment - which is another source for faults - to carry certain signals over Cat5.
    Quote Originally Posted by TimH View Post
    Agreed, but it's still the same internal combustion engine that's moving it along.
    yes and no. Lets compare this to a structured home cabling.
    The manufacturing and technology of the engine was refined but the basic of the combusting engine is the same, that also applies to the cabling. It is still twisted pair copper cable. One is "low engineered" industrial standard and the other is a "high engineered" multimedia product. So you can do whatever you can do on Cat5 but you can also pass more native signal.

    Quote Originally Posted by TimH View Post
    Yes there are new technologies emerging, and they are commerically available, but they are still developing and because there is no clear way forward, there's no real standardisation going on. We've got LPG fill points, hydrogen fill points, electric car charging points etc. The market hasn't shaken down enough to drive forward "the" solution, so we have a collection of solutions more thinly spread out.
    Yes, because we will have diversity in the future because we finally got "our a.. up" Same applies to the cable, a lot of options.
    Quote Originally Posted by TimH View Post
    Absolutely not, but that's largely a safety thing, no? Or were you meaning something else?
    Yes, two sockets and one light switch per room
    Quote Originally Posted by TimH View Post
    I'm not familiar with the pricing of this cable, can you quote its per metre price, or price per box, for a comparison with Cat5e?
    The hardware for a three bedroom house including central unit and connection cable will be around 1300 net.

    Quote Originally Posted by TimH View Post
    The quantities people put into their homes varies dramatically, some with modest installs maybe only use one box, whereas others have put in over 7km (yup, 7000m!!) of Cat5. What quantity of cable are we taking for a 300 to 500 delta? (which I agree is small )
    this is the difference to a Cat5 cabling of a average three bedroom house

    Quote Originally Posted by TimH View Post
    The biggest drawback that I see of the proprietary cabling systems is that you're locked into that manufacturer. No matter how great the system is, if they go belly-up you've had it.
    correct, one of the manufacture is in business since 1919 and part of one of the world largest cable manufacturer and the second company involved is in business for more than 20 years now with an installed base of more than 10000 houses so there is no big danger for a belly-up

    Quote Originally Posted by TimH View Post
    I'm not trying to knock it technically, I haven't seen enough installs to comment on how good or not it is, but its precisely the closed nature of those systems that make me nervous.
    understand, one of the biggest problem is, that they where not able to get Bill Gates for marketing - but working on it

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