How to Run an Ethernet Cable Through the Ceiling?

What an Ethernet Cable Looks Like

An Ethernet cable resembles a traditional phone cable but is larger and has more wires. Both cables share a similar shape and plug, but an Ethernet cable has eight wires, while phone cables have four. Ethernet cable connectors are also larger.

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Ethernet cables come in many different colors, but phone cables are usually grey.

Ethernet cables plug into Ethernet ports, which are larger than phone cable ports. An Ethernet port on a computer is accessible through the Ethernet card on the motherboard. This port is usually on the back of a desktop computer, or on the side of a laptop.

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Hire Professionals to Install Ethernet Cable

When it comes to installing the network cable, you can hire the certified professional. The expert knows how to run ethernet cable through ceiling. They have the helper to run the wire via the wall faster. It means that it is the challenging project for particular people.

The professional and handypersons dial-up when they should have the wiring installed adequately.

When hiring the electrician, you should ask if they install the Ethernet cable. Many electricians don’t network wire installation. The professionals bring essential tools to install the network cable smoothly and within the short time.

By hiring the experienced expert, you can save time on establishing the line through the ceiling. Also, you can keep away from the risk of accidents. There is a higher risk when installing cable through the roof.

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Which Network Ethernet Cable Should You Choose for the Your Home Ethernet Wiring?

From the passage above we know that the wired home network connection is based on Ethernet cable, next you’ll have to decide what type of cable you want to use.

Cat5e, Cat6 or Cat7 Network Ethernet Cable

There are Cat5e, Cat6, Cat7 Ethernet cables, among which Cat6 cable is highly recommended for its faster speed and cheaper price when compared with Cat5e and Cat7 cables. Wiring your house will take a long time and it’s always better to do it right the first time. It is suggested to calculate the cable length before purchasing in case of material waste and always keep in mind to make the cable extra longer than which you actually need.

UTP or STP Ethernet Cable

If you have made your decision on the cable, then you will have to consider which type of cable you need-UTP or STP? UTP stands for unshielded twisted pair while STP stands for shielded twisted pair. Shielded is much more expensive because it adds a layer of protection on the outside of the cables. For home use, the unshielded is completely fine.

Stranded or Solid Ethernet Cable

Next, there is the option of stranded or solid core wire. This basically means that the inside of your wire is made up either braided strands or one solid piece. What this comes down to is how much manuevering you will need to do with the wire. If you’re going to be fishing it through tight spaces, a solid piece of wire is much easier to move around in a tight space because it is rigid. The drawback to the solid core is that it is harder to connect to the wall outlet or plastic jack. Stranded wire is easier to connect to a wall outlet, but it’s pretty flimsy if you’re trying to push it through crevices.

How Far Can You Run Ethernet Cable from Your Router?

Ethernet cables are designed to sustain a run of no more than 328 feet (100 meters). Cable runs greater than 328 feet will cause the signal to deteriorate, leading to nonfunctional or poor internet access.

  • Maximum functional length of ethernet cable is 328 feet (100 meters).
  • Running cable past maximum length leads to signal deterioration.
  • Plan your install to ensure your cable is less than 328 feet.

When planning to install an ethernet cable through an exterior wall, make sure you are not running more than 328 feet of cable. Attempt to make the shortest useful route from the exterior box to an interior wall jack.

Why Is There a Limit?

Unlike fiber which can carry and maintain a signal over vast distances of around 60 miles, Ethernet cable is much more limited due to the electrical signals degrading over longer distances.

This is especially true when incredibly thin wires are used, as they are in Ethernet cable.

The further the electrical signal is pushed, the more sensitive the data traveling along it becomes, potentially resulting in degradation.

It may be tempting to use fiber within your home network, but for many people, it is unlikely that you will ever approach the 100 meter limit of standard Ethernet. Plus, fiber would be completely overkill and work out to be quite expensive.

Don’t worry though, as there are methods of extending a network connection over 100 meters should you need to.

Can an Ethernet Cable Be Run Outdoors?

The range of a single Ethernet cable is still 100 meters, regardless of whether it is being run indoors or outside.

It is certainly possible to run an Ethernet cable outdoors should you need to connect another building or outhouse to your network.

Although it is possible to use regular Ethernet cable that you would likely use indoors, it is recommended to use weatherproof cabling instead.

Ordinary Ethernet cable is not designed to be used outdoors, with temperature and humidity possibly shortening the lifespan of the cable.

Given the casing on an ordinary Ethernet cable is particularly thin, the wires inside can deteriorate quickly when left exposed outside.

If you absolutely must use the Ethernet cable you have lying around instead of buying a reel that is weatherproof, my recommendation would be to house it inside a conduit such as a PVC pipe that is weatherproof.

This pipe can then be buried underground to protect it further. Just make sure to keep it away from any electrical cabling that may be nearby or anything else that could result in electrical interference.

That being instead, I would still suggest using high-quality Ethernet cable that has been designed to be weatherproof should you wish to run Ethernet outdoors. Even protective conduits can fail in extreme conditions.

Running the cables

With all the tools and parts we can start with running the cables. Most of the time you are running two or more ethernet cables to the same location. You can measure the length of the required cable, but that is kinda hard to get right.

More reliable is to run one cable, cut it to length, pull it out, make a second (or more) cable and re-run them together.

Make sure you keep enough extra length on each end of the cable. You want to route the cables nicely to your patch panel. And some extra length on the wall socket side is also nice to have in case something is wrong with the connection.

Ethernet Cable Color Order

After you pulled all the cables it’s time to connect to RJ45 plugs (if you are using them) and the keystone jacks. On the keystone jacks and patch panel, you will probably find two coloring standards, 568A and 568B (or simply A and B).

568B is the most commonly used standard, both in the USA and Europe. 568A is more used in Pacific countries.

The ethernet cable color order for 568B is:

  1. White/Orange
  2. Orange
  3. White/Green
  4. Blue
  5. White/Blue
  6. Green
  7. White/Brown
  8. Brown

If you have an RJ45 plug in your hand, hold the clip down, then the left side is pin 1.

Connecting RJ45 Plugs

Connecting RJ45 plugs requires a bit more practice, but if you take your time it’s really good to do. Just make sure you strip the cable far enough 5cm / 2 inches. This will make it a lot easier to lay the wires in the correct order.

This video explains really well how to connect RJ45 plugs:

Connecting keystone jacks

Punch-down keystone jacks are pretty simple to connect. They have the coloring code on it, indicating exactly where which wire should go. Just lay the cable over the correct conductor and use the punch-down tool to connect it. The video below explains/shows it really good:

Make sure you follow the coloring code on the keystone jack or patch panel, that corresponds with 568B or 568A if you are using that in your home.

Limitations of Ethernet Cables

A single Ethernet cable has a maximum distance capacity, meaning the cable has an upper limit as to how long it can be before there is a signal loss (called attenuation). This problem results because the electrical resistance of a long cable affects performance.

Both ends of the cable should be close enough to each other to receive signals quickly, and far enough away from outside electrical interference to avoid interruptions. However, this precaution doesn’t limit the size of a network, because hardware like routers or hubs can join multiple Ethernet cables together on the same network. This distance between the two devices is called the network diameter.

The maximum length of a CAT5 cable, before attenuation occurs, is 100m (328ft). CAT6 can go up to 700 feet. Ethernet cables can be longer but may suffer from signal loss, especially if they pass near large electrical appliances.

A short cable may suffer from signal reflection. However, some people have reported no problems with cable lengths as low as 4 inches.

Different types of RJ-45 connectors serve different purposes. One type, designed for use with stranded cables, is incompatible with solid cables. Other types of RJ-45 connectors may work with both stranded and solid cables.

Patch Panel for Home Network

You could connect an RJ45 connector on a solid UTP cable, but it really isn’t recommended. Ethernet cables that are hanging loose don’t look nice, aren’t easy to work with, and finding the correct cable is harder. But even more important, UTP cables with solid wires are brittle and shouldn’t be bend too much.

Patch cables, that you use between your patch panel and switch, have stranded wires which makes them flexible and easier to bend (without breaking the wires).

So a far better option is to use a patch panel. Now, these patch panels don’t always need to be big and mounted in a rack. For a home network, there are also patch panels that can be wall-mounted and are a lot smaller.

12 port patch panel without cover
12 port patch panel without cover

There are a couple of options available on the market. It really depends on how many connections you have what the best option is. For up to 12 ethernet connections I really like to use these wall-mounted patch panels:

184 Reviews TRENDnet 12-Port Cat6A Shielded Patch Panel, 10G Ready, Cat5e,Cat6,Cat6A Compatible, Metal Housing, Color-Coded Labeling For T568A And T568B Wiring, Cable Management, Wall Mountable, Black, TC-P12C6AS 10G-Ready 12-port patch panelCat6A patch panels deliver a steady connection to copper gigabit & 10G switchesShielded design to eliminate EMI and crosstalkCompatible with Cat5e, Cat6 and Cat6A cablingWall mountable metal housing $39.99 Check on Amazon

If you need more than 12 ports you can either use two of these or go for a 24 port patch panel and use a 1U mounting hinge.

Conclusion

Ethernet cable is the backbone of the computer network. You can follow the steps mentioned above on 

how to run ethernet cable through ceiling.

In addition, it allows you to transfer necessary data directly from one device to another without trouble.

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