Do I really need to install Cat6 cables in my new house?

Q: Do I really need to install Cat6 cables in my new house? Isn’t wireless a less expensive and more convenient way to ‘wire’ the house?

A: From a technical point of view, it is hard to beat a physical connection although wireless is a good option for retrofits where cabling is too difficult. To communicate with smartphones and tablets it’s always necessary to have wi-fi. The difficulty is with large houses where wireless signals do not reach all areas. In this case cables running to multiple wireless access points is the best solution for reliability. If this is not an option wireless repeaters may be used instead. In new builds I would recommend a good wired infrastructure of Cat6. Wired installations can guarantee 8,000 MB transfer speed whereas wi-fi outputs will depend on the kit and are subject to interference (not just walls but other electrical devices). As outlined above, distance is also an issue. For smart home technologies wired structured cabling to light switches, thermostats and security systems is also more effective than the wireless kits available for the same reasons. Consider too that when troubleshooting, there are a lot more variables to consider if the wireless system isn’t working. Even if you choose a wi-fi setup I would recommend hard cabling to the office, for a reliable internet connection, and to all TV points. Most TV sets are now smart so a physical hard-wired connection to these eradicates potential problems when streaming content over the internet (content skipping or not loading). For the TV an HDMI matrix can also be used over Cat6 so high definition signals can be sent from your central hub (with cable television, DVD, streaming device, etc.). This removes clutter around the TV and allows you to have multiple TV points set up all connected to the central hub. Even though Cat7 cabling is now available and allows greater data transfer, the cables are very thick and it’s hard to get adaptors. Also very few inputs (cable TV for instance) require the speeds Cat7 have to offer so there’s no major benefit.

— Gary Wilson of

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Gary Wilson

Written by Gary Wilson

Gary is an Ubiquiti Networks specialist, HDL Automation Certified Reseller Installer and CasaTunes Home Audio Certified professional with 20 years’ experience in the home automation industry. / NI tel. 9261 2002

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