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Components required for a Wired Network

There are a number of components that are required to build a Wired Network and these are listed below.

  Example image Description Average Cost Link to vendor
Cat5e/6 Patch Panel 24 port Patch Panel
A Patch Panel is a panel of network ports contained together that connects incoming and outgoing lines of a Local Area Network (LAN). In a LAN, the patch panel connects the network's computers to each other and to the outside lines, enabling the LAN to connect to the Internet. Connections are made with patch leads. The patch panel allows circuits to be easily arranged and rearranged by plugging and unplugging the patch leads.
£20+  
305m of Cat5e/Cat6 cable Cat5e Cable Box In order to connect each room of your home to a patch panel, you will need a large amount of network cable. The cable connects between the patch panel and end points in the rooms. The endpoints are made up of a Back Box, Face Plate and a number of Modules. For an average size house, 305m of cable should be ample. Remember though that if you wish to connect multiple devices through a wired connection in a room, you may need to to run the cable from the patch panel to the room a number of times (one for each device). £35+  
Patch Leads Patch Leads

Patch leads are used to connect between

  • Computers/devices and the end points in rooms
  • Patch Panel and Hub/Switch,ADSL Router, Cable Router etc
  • Patch Panel and Centralised Servers etc.

For however many devices you have to connect in your house, you will need to double the number of patch leads and add another 2 at least.

1m = £1 but prices vary greatly  
Back Boxes Back Boxes Back Boxes are generally plastic boxes which are sunk into the wall although they can be wall mounted. The cable from the patch lead will connect in through the back of these boxes and connect up to the Cate5e/6 module. The Back Boxes will then be covered with a face plate and is similar in concept to that of an electricity socket or telephone socket. £0.80-£1  
FacePlates Network Face Plates Face Plates cover the Back Boxes in order to make a suitable room presentation.The Cat5e/6 modules will generally snap into these face plates to finish it off. £0.50 to £0.80  
Cat5e/6 Modules Cat 5e Modules These modules snap into the Face plates in the rooms you wish to connect up. Computers or other devices will use patch leads to connect to the front of these modules. The back of these modules will then connect to the patch panel via the cat5e/6 cable. I would recommend at least 2 modules in each room and at least 4 if you have a home office.

Cat 5e Module £1.15

Cat 6 Module £2.30

 
Hub/Switch 8 port hub

The hub/switch is generally situated next to the patch panel and is used to connect you computers/devices together using patch leads from the patch panel. Whether you are using Cat5e or Cat6 network infrastructure, the hub/switch will generally determine the speed of your network.

If you have a small number of devices, a hub or switch is optional as on the back of an ADSL router, you will generally find that it usually has 4 network ports.

100Mb/s £20

Gigabit £50

 
Punchdown Tool Punch down tool Wiring up a network is easy as everything is colour coded but you will need the appropriate tools in order to do this. The cat5e/6 cables contain 8 thin copper wires, surrounded by it's colour coded plastic sheath. You will need to connect each of these individual wires to the patch panel and the models in the rooms.
£7
 
Cable Tester Cable Tester Cable testers are used to check that each of the 8 copper wires you connected up using your punch tool are working properly and in the correct order. These are invaluable if you are attempting this yourself and show you if you've messed up..
£10
 

 

Some vendors also do economy bundles. I bought all cat5e for my house and have had transfer speed of up to 92Mb/s....the maximum allowed by my hub is 100Mb/s. This means a 700MB movie will transfer between PC's in around 1 minute. Since the bottleneck is the hub and not the cat 5e cabling (which is rated at 100Mb/s but will go a lot higher) switching to a Gigabit hub/switch would drastically cut down this transfer time with the bottleneck now being either the processing power of the PC's or the hard disk performance as it probably won't be able to cope with that rate of data.

 

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