Telephone Switching > Telephone & Data Building Wiring Systems

Which Cable Type for New Home Wiring?

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Hello experts!
I am ready to begin trying to use existing phone lines to fish new lines into place as home runs to my PBX.  I have identified where the lines are going and I can get access in the attic.  I want to know which cable to use.
I'll be mounting the PBX in the basement and most of the lines will go two stories straight up (hopefully) into the attic.  From there I will need four lines.  If I try to replace all of the phone lines, I'll need two extensions in the basement, four on the main level, and then the four on our top floor.  I think one jack is hidden behind some substantial shelving units in the front room where I have my phones on display.  Wouldn't you know.
We have wireless internet access but I still want to use a cable that will have expandability into the future.  Granted, "it" would probably require something different so, maybe expandability isn't an issue.
I'm venturing into the attic now to see if I can find the cables that I am guessing are where I think they are.
Let me know what you think!

The most readily available and probably cheapest wire these days is Category 5 plenum cabling that has been the mainstay for Ethernet computer networking for some years, but now being replaced with CAT 6 in many places for multiple gigabit speeds.  For telephones you don't need that of course, in fact CAT 3 would be fine, but CAT3 is only good for 10 Mbit/s Ethernet, long obsolete by 15 years at least, so stay away from it if you are also thinking to string some networking cables.

Cat 3, 5, 6 come with four pairs of wires, each pair twisted to specs.  So that provides you with four telephone lines, or one Ethernet connection.  Theoretically one could squeeze two telephones lines into an Ethernet cable, as that only requires 4 wires, but the ends need to be properly terminated.

Cat 5 is most economically bought in boxes of a 1000 ft, I think last time, I paid ca. $50 or $60 for the box, but it's been a while, and I still have plenty left.  I think I have also seen 500ft boxes somewhere.  Buying shorter lengths the price goes up quickly, but perhaps there are reasonable sources too.

When having such large supply, it makes sense to pull two runs to each location at the same time in one action by simply hooking your pulling wire at the bend of two sections of equal length.

So the thought is to run 4 cables to the attic to hit the 4 locations in tge top floor? Then the 4 jacks on the main floor will be run through the basement and then up a foot or so to each location?

Each station needs 1 pair if wires so anything more than that is thinking ahead to try to allow for future needs. I would also look at a project like this as being lots of work and relatively small material cost. Therefore while at it I would be installing a data run and a phone run at each location. Data run would be 4 pair Cat 5 minimum and tge phone run could be the same ideally. This would allow you to use both for phone use (up to 8 stations at any location in case you want to make phones on display work) if you arent using the data run for data. A future owner of the house may have no use for phone runs but might appreciate double data runs in some of the locations.

If you are creating a route basement to attic be sure to pull in an extra run or two and/or put in a pull string for the future (which is replaced when used in the future). Make the hole(s) in the framing large enough to handle more wires in the future, not jammed tight after the initial installation.

There are lots of ways to accomplish what you need while allowing for the future. Others will have other ideas. I think much of this was discussed in a previous topic not too long ago.


<edit> Here is what I wrote on the topic in your "does a Panasonic PBX require a Propreitery Phone" topic.

Most older homes will have all phone wire feeding directly from the telephone protector which is very often olcated on the outside of the house, very often near the electric meter. Of course there are many exceptions. Around here much older homes, say older than 1960 usually had the prot inside by the electric panel. Some new homes now, maybe built in the last 10'years maximum will have prot on the outside but it feeds to a distribution panel inside where all the phone, network and CATV wire distributes from.

If installing a pbx of some sort in a house to be used on a daily basis as both access to your phone line and for its built in intercom and/or paging features, I would do the following. Install the system inside in a utility area where it isn't too difficult to run wire from. I would suggest terminating the phone system properly on punch down blocks such as 66, 110 or BIX. Take a good feed from there back to the prot or where ever your phone wires in the house ditribute from. Don't under do it, run ample pairs of wire to handle the main line or lines coming in and a pair for each station back out to the prot. This could easily mean 2 - 4 pair cables or more.

Ideally if your home is wired with station wire of two or more pairs and is all home runs you can change the jacks to double jacks everywhere with a pair of wire to each. Then you can set it up so the phone line goes direct (not through the pbx) to one of the jacks at each location allowing you to directly connect phones, answering machines, call displays etc. The other jack can be for a pbx station which needs to be connected at the prot to one of the pairs of wire you ran from the pbx  to the Prot.

If installing a distribution point within the house and you have the ability to run wire from there to the prot another possibilty to further enhance the flexibility would be to splice all set runs at the prot so that they all show up directly on blocks at the distribution area. Thus your phone line can be cross connected to whichever jack(s) you want and the same for the pbx. This would move all cross connecting from happening at the prot to happening at your new distribution point.

Remember, your direct phone line can be looped or home runs but the pbx pretty much needs a pair from each station to each individual jack. If you have a pbx port looped to some jacks they will all be the same station which will work for analog but not for digital (proprietary) phones.

There are infinite number of ways that a system can be installed and connected. I am a big proponent of doing things right the first time which then makes it much easier to change, rearrange or expand in the future without the need to basically start over and run more wire each time.



--- Quote from: cloyd on February 21, 2016, 01:53:15 PM ---I am ready to begin trying to use existing phone lines to fish new lines into place as home runs to my PBX.
--- End quote ---

Why not leave the existing wiring in place then just do 1 run from the PBX location to wherever all of the existing wires originate and use a suitable junction block?

You definitely don't need anything like the picture.

And you should avoid the solutions shown in this web page:


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