Make sure to wire Cat-5 in your house

After doing quite a bit of reading, wiring up a new office building for EDG (okay, doing the punchdowns and crimping), I am convinced: all new construction and/or rewiring jobs should have Cat-5 and probably coaxial cable run throughout.

Think about it. Many years ago, people realized that phone lines needed to be run during construction to avoid having to retrofit buildings or have unsightly wires showing along baseboards and such. From my generation forward, there is not much need for landline phones to be run as most everyone is using mobile phones. Even if someone eschews mobiles, VoIP and Skype are eliminating the need for traditional phone lines.

VoIP, Skype, computers, home automation, cutting-edge televisions, and more use Cat-5 cabling for their connections. Doesn’t it make sense to have your new home wired to be ready for the future? Why spend so much money on new home construction or rewiring and then skimp on something that can add so much value and perhaps ‘future-proof’ your home?

I have to admit that even being a self-proclaimed geek I was a bit slow to jump on this train. To me it sounded at first like just another expense and/or way for the contractor or electrician to rip you for some more money. Having spent some time thinking though, it makes sense now.

Homes have (or should) a utility room. It sounds logical to have a little space dedicated to a punchdown panel for your networking/phone/cable in that room beside your electrical panel. This way you can conveniently set a home server (pretty cheap today), your cable modem, and incoming cable lines in one place.

No longer would there be a need to have ugly coaxial cable bursting through the walls, Cat-5 cable runs, or the hassle of finding the perfect spot for your wireless access point. Convenience would be anywhere you and your contractor/electrician believe there is a need for an outlet.

I’m trying to find a downside to this idea, and other than the small cost/convenience issue I can’t find one. Heck, companies even sell prebundled versions of these cables specifically for this purpose. You may not need both, and they can be had individually fairly cheap.

Let me know your thoughts.