Should I install fiber while building or renovating my home?

If you’re building a new home or going through a major renovation down to the studs, this is probably a question you’re wondering about.

For over 20 years I have been running cable starting with my first employer. Richard pulled me aside and informed me that if I was going to have a career in IT, I had to learn the physical infrastructure of a network. I ran this thick, flat, hard to work with CAT6 cable that was the latest in network wiring. The CAT6 we run these days is much easier to work with, and can carry better speeds along with PoE.

Why do we not run fiber in new home builds?

We rarely ever see the need to run fiber in homes simply based on how the equipment will be connected, and how the homeowners will be connecting to the Internet. More and more devices are connecting via WiFi, and with WiFi technology improving in speed and latency, our focus has shifted more on the side of building an efficient and strong WiFi network rather than running fiber and relying on fiber-to-copper media converters. If you look on the back of your AV receiver, your IP phone, or even 8K television, you will find a standard ethernet port that supports either 1GBps or 2.5GBps.

In larger homes, since our focus is on a strong WiFi network, we focus on the quality and standard of CAT6 that is used. First, never run wire labeled CCA (Copper Clad Aluminum). This is an alloy mixing aluminum with copper to make the individual conductors, and aluminum is not a naturally efficient conductor.

Our Best Choice – CAT6A

Cat6 Augmented is the top grade of CAT6 cabling we use in our client’s homes. This is based on the wire capacity of 10GBps on lengths up to the standard 100 meters (328ft). Not only can it handle 10GBps within the average run length for a home, but is also capable of carrying all of the Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) standards, including AF, AT, and BT. It is important that not only can the wire support high network speeds, but also high power consumption for the latest devices that will be powered over that ethernet wire.

Simplified Table of PoE Standards

Max Power Consumption:
Max Power Consumption:
Max Power Consumption:
60W / 100W

Most WiFi access points (WAPs) and IP cameras operate within the PoE AF standard, but newer WiFi access points that have 2.5GBps or 10GBps capabilities will use AT or BT.

Our design of new home infrastructure is similar to offices where we run CAT6A and CAT6 lines to each room, each television, each location where someone will be present. We install a WAP in every room, and that WAP is powered using PoE on our CAT6A wire. This is something that has not come to the world of fiber, nor do we see it coming in the future. Running the wire, connecting a WAP, and then connecting a WiFi device to that WAP even at a wire distance of over 150ft will still yield latency under 1ms.

Proper Planning Form Fiber Internet

Please do not confuse running fiber in your home with getting FIBER INTERNET SERVICE for your home. Fiber Internet service from companies like AT&T and Frontier offer a huge benefit with symmetrical speeds, lower latency, all around improved performance while using the Internet. We don’t want your internal network to become the bottleneck when you have great Internet service.

If you have a closet or network rack in your home, make sure to have either a 3/4″ conduit or a 1″ conduit run from your service entry to that closet. This will allow your Internet provider an easy path to run a fiber cable from their distribution point on your street directly to your network without any breaks in the connection.

Exceptions To Our Recommendations

Of course there are exceptions to what I recommend above. If you are operating multiple outbuildings and can connect them to the main house using buried conduit, it is best to run fiber from building to building. That situation is when you are installing multiple switches at each building, and need a clear open path from one switch to another.

Another exception is when you are looking to create a hardwire connection that is to exceed the recommended 100 meter length of network wires. Most fiber lines and GPON units can send and receive ultra fast speeds on wires over 10 miles long. SO, if you have a large piece of property and buildings more than 300ft apart, consult with an infrastructure specialist to see if you need to run fiber.

If you have any questions you can contact us 24/7 at 469-708-0017 for a free consultation.

If you don’t have a local vendor that offers high quality CAT6A or CAT6 cabling, check out the reels below. We’ve tested the cable and found it to be good installation quality.

CAT6A Shielded 1000ft Reel