I plan on adding a Cat 6 network in my single-story detached home. It would consist of home runs from each of the 3 bedrooms + TV room to a central patch panel in the garage, which is close to the center of the home. The cat 6 cable runs will follow the existing runs for cable tv (coax) in each room. i plan on replacing the existing coax faceplates with keystone faceplates with coax & cat6 keystone jacks.

Since the network cable will be run in the walls and the attic, would code dictate that I use riser (CMR) or plenum (CMP) rated cables or will general purpose (CM) Category 6 cable suffice?

If it matters in regards to the electrical code, home is located in Calfornia (SF Bay Area) & was built in 2003.

  • 3
    CAT6 cable runs such low voltage (2.5 volts peak). If it were me I wouldn't worry too much about code for my own residence. If you are worried, I'd follow guidelines for copper telephone knowing that POTS lines have a lot more voltage than CAT6 you should be safe.
    – used2could
    May 16, 2012 at 14:10
  • 2
    I'm sure you have already done this, but I like to remind people that are about to run their own network cable to first check to see if a newer wireless network is good enough. It often is.
    – DA01
    May 16, 2012 at 16:54
  • @DA01 thanks, yep i have tried both wifi bridges/extenders and powerline. just can't get enough bandwidth with either. Eg. with powerline (HomePlug AV) I benchmarked at only 5Mbps sustained throughput & WiFi was too bursty. I am using MoCA adapters now, and am getting 90Mbps sustained throughput which is much nicer, but now need to integrate PoE devices into the network, so figured it's time to hardwire.
    – funkadelic
    May 16, 2012 at 23:54
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    @used2could The code requirements for cable ratings isn't only about voltage. Flammability and their ability to spread flame and produce noxious gases is also a key factor. That is why there are different classes for plenums, risers, etc.
    – alx9r
    Aug 4, 2012 at 18:06

1 Answer 1


Since you are in a one-family dwelling, there is really only one important article to be aware of.

800.26 Spread of Fire or Products of Combustion. Installations of communications cables and communications raceways in hollow spaces, vertical shafts, and ventilation or air-handling ducts shall be made so that the possible spread of fire or products of combustion will not be substantially increased. Openings around penetrations of communications cables and communications raceways through fire-resistant-rated walls, partitions, floors, or ceilings shall be firestopped using approved methods to maintain the fire resistance rating.

FPN: Directories of electrical construction materials published by qualified testing laboratories contain many listing installation restrictions necessary to maintain the fireresistive rating of assemblies where penetrations or openings are made. Building codes also contain restrictions on membrane penetrations on opposite sides of a fire resistance–rated wall assembly. An example is the 600 mm (24 in.) minimum horizontal separation that usually applies between boxes installed on opposite sides of the wall. Assistance in complying with 800.26 can be found in building codes, fire resistance directories, and product listings.

In a one- or two-family dwelling, you can use general type cable (CM, CMG, CMX) anywhere other than where plenum cable is required.

800.154(B)(3) One- and Two-Family Dwellings. Type CM and CMX cable shall be permitted in one- and two-family dwellings.

Or, under carpets.

800.154(C)(6) Under Carpets. Type CMUC undercarpet communications wires and cables shall be permitted to be installed under carpet.

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