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More Home Network Stuff...
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ghporter
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Oct 4, 2020, 07:33 PM
 
My earlier posts about patch panels, cable standards, etc. were about my plans for running Ethernet to stream stuff to my TV - and to simplify a bunch of other stuff that's currently sort of pasted onto my network one part at a time.

Well I've made a bit of progress with this project. After a lot of time in the attic, I've managed to find a way to pull cable to the box in the living room that currently has 4 unused coax ports and an unused POTS port.

Long story short: there are way too many blocks, braces and other obstacles in the way to just drop a fish tape and pull up a cable. But there's a ton of excess (and unused) coax in the attic. So I can pull one of those cables out through the box in the living room, tape pulling twine to it, and pull it back up along with the twine.

Unfortunately I couldn't find the engineer's twine I have used in the past for pulling cable with. So I left the one cable separated from the jack, stuffed everything back into the wall, and ordered stuff to pull cable with.

Then, I did some research for the other end of the pull. It would do no good to be able to hook up just one end, right?

While the house was being built, I took copious photos pretty much every day of the build, and those were crucial in identifying the obstacles in the living room wall. They also clued me in on the substantial obstacles in the other room - both plumbing and electrical power drops in various spots. Fortunately, those obstacles are limited. So now I have a space identified to pull to, which should be reachable (if not easily) through the attic. I will, of course, verify all of this with a stud finder. Mine is fancy enough to identify pipes, electrical wiring, and so on too, so I should be good to go.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
reader50
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Oct 4, 2020, 07:46 PM
 
Electrician cheat cord, for wall fishing: get a long length of that metal pull chain used to turn on overhead lights.

Your hardware store should have rolls of it, sold by the foot. This chain is heavy enough to find a way to fall through the wall. And it's slinky, it will usually find the way down. Use it to pull back a real pull cord - a pull chain isn't good for a lot of force.
     
ghporter  (op)
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Oct 7, 2020, 06:39 PM
 
I got the professional-grade polyethylene pull string. I have a fish tape - the metal, almost rigid tool used for “fishing” through walls and stuff; it’s been blocked by however the “clever” comm contractor routed the wires.

So as soon as I can get back up into the attic, I’ll run that cable pulling string.

I have to completely verify both the selected spot in the room with my network equipment, and that I can get to the right spot in the attic to be able to pull cable from there. It “should” be workable, but I don’t trust that there aren’t more tricks in store for me.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
ghporter  (op)
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Oct 11, 2020, 06:45 PM
 
It turns out that the "selected spot" for my cool little wall plate/patch panel was more challenging to get to than I'd hoped. But instead of spending a lot more time just figuring stuff out, I decided to go with a different route.

A couple years ago, I ran a cable to my wife's home office so she could have a wired connection for work - a requirement from the employer. That drop location is only mildly challenging to get to, so instead of the wall behind my big metal shelf thingie, I ran the cable from about 10 feet away, in the same spot as my wife's dedicated line. (If I can find the floor plan, I'll post a picture of all the "wheres" in this puzzle.

Pulling up from that location wasn't really a challenge. I used my fish tape (the stiff metal thingie professionals use to "fish" stuff through walls) to pull the poly pull string up, then pulled the cable up with that.

The pull down into the living room was a bit more of a challenge. I hoped to follow the coax with the fish tape, but that didn't pan out - it jammed, probably on a diagonal support in the wall. So I taped the pull string to the coax and pulled it down with that. I thought I was home free, but I was wrong.

The Cat6 just wouldn't pull with the string. So after some cussing, I taped the Cat6 to the coax and pulled it down with that. After only a few choice words along the way, I got the cable sticking out the wall. The coax is undamaged, and will be what I use to connect an HDTV antenna in the attic. Later; I'm done with the attic for now.

The punch down keystone jacks gave me some issues. They are supposed to be sized for the slightly larger diameter Cat6 cable, but it was a tight fit. And that tight fit meant I had to re-punch BOTH ends. I'm really glad I bought an Ethernet tester a while back...

I tested the run end-to-end once I got them punched and it looked good. But when I got everything locked into the wall plates and the wall plates back into the walls, it didn't work. It turns out that the jacket snagged a wire as it got jostled in the "into the wall" process. At both ends. So after I inspected both jacks and found the wire caught on one and broken on the other, I cut the jacks off, and started over. This time, because I was tired of going back and forth, I tested continuously. Once I got it all back together, it again tested out perfectly.

So now we're streaming SiriusXM without drop outs or buffering.

I need a gigabit switch to let the other devices get full benefit of the wired connection. BluRay player, Fire Stick, etc., will be nice and peppy with all that LAN bandwidth.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Chongo
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Oct 12, 2020, 11:32 AM
 
My brother was the IT tech for a non profit. He ran an Cat5e from my computer room to my TV room. I have a Netgear gigabit switch at the media stand feeding my ATV 4K, DirecTV DVR, PS3, and 4K Blu-ray player. We are blessed to have gigabit GPON in our area. Needless to say, buffering is nonexistent.
     
ghporter  (op)
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Oct 17, 2020, 07:37 PM
 
I ordered the gigabit switch after I’d posted here, and it’s arrived. I just haven’t had time to do anything about it. That whole “work” thing gets in the way of so many projects...

Anyway, it’s great to have the wiring hidden, for a number of reasons. One is that one of our cats likes to chew on things, including cables. I’ve replaced several HDMI cables, a couple of Cat5 patch cables, not to mention several lightning cables from our phone and tablet charging setup (which is now enclosed in a plastic box when there’s any cables out).

I’m now looking at cable raceways for the room where the network stuff is located. There are “quarter round” raceways; these could simply replace the quarter round molding at the bottom of the baseboards. I’d been spending a lot of time figuring how to run cable behind the baseboards, but this will be SO much easier, and definitely look better as well.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
   
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