Here is what my apartment layout looks like:

Home layout

The router will be where the arrow points, the little jack icons are (shockingly enough) where I want ethernet jacks in each room.

The apartment is currently being renovated, and many of the walls have not yet been constructed, so I am planning to wire the house while I have the chance. I will be hiring someone to do it.

The largest distance between the router and a jack would be approximately 10 meters (including the length required to go up over the ceiling and down on the other side). The max speed I am intending to have for internet is 1 gigabit/s, so the cable should be able to transfer at that speed.

From my really basic research because I know nothing about this sort of thing it looks like Cat6 cable will work both for that length and for the speed I want.

Unfortunately in this country (Japan), the folks I have hired to do the work are not too knowledgeable about wiring for internet, and I want to make sure I can clearly tell them what I want/need so that I don't have to rely on wireless.

From my understanding I will need:

  1. Enough cat6 cable to connect each of the rooms
  2. LAN jacks for each room
  3. I think I will also need 4 LAN jacks right next to the router, one for each room, so that I can connect my router to each jack separately?

For the sake of completeness, the internet provider will give me a router that will hook up to the telephone wire, and I will hook up a wireless router (with wired ports as well) to the router they provide. I think I need to hook up a different port for each room I want to use the internet in, but that's where I'm stuck.

Here is a digram on how I think this process should work:

Wiring diagram

I may be wrong on some/all of this. What I would like to know is what specifically do I need to ask for in order to have working wired internet in everyone room of my apartment from a single router coming out of a phone line connected to a wireless router?

  • 2
    Cat5e is typically fine for Gigabit/s Ethernet. Nothing wrong with Cat6, though. It's just a tiny bit harder to terminate (depending on the plugs and crimper you use). If you're using shielded Cat6, it will be less susceptible to picking up microwave interference from various sources including alarm systems if you're in a dense area. Jul 31, 2015 at 8:14
  • 3
    This is perfect chance to mount USB+LAN+HDMI wall outlets for truly civilized house.
    – PTwr
    Jul 31, 2015 at 11:59
  • 3
    @PTwr otoh the USB power plugs will probably be obsolete in a few years: Replaced with Type-C plugs and potentially unable to supply enough current of voltage. (The newest USB power spec can go as high as 5A at 5, 12, or 20V.) Jul 31, 2015 at 14:02
  • If I were you I would purchase a patch panel to use near the router rather than having a bunch of wall jacks.
    – Logarr
    Jul 31, 2015 at 14:20
  • 3
    A patch panel is overkill for a 4 port network, especially since its likely that he's terminating the jacks on a room wall, not in a closet. I can't think of any good reason to put in a patch panel than a quad outlet jack since he's not likely to tear out the walls to add more ports later, and even if he does, he could reterminate them.
    – Johnny
    Jul 31, 2015 at 17:17

6 Answers 6


This is my recommendation and similar to what I have in my home.

Since you have the walls open, this is the perfect time to do this. Don't limit yourself to what you need now, think about the future. With the push for streaming and internet connected devices, almost every room will probably have at least one internet connected device. I recommend putting drop points anywhere you plan on having a desk, tv or phone. Also put drop points where you think desk or tv's would be nice.

As for cable, Cat6 will do but I recommend using Cat6A (or sometimes called Cat6e). This cable will handle 10gig+ so in the future (5 years) when 1gig is not enought you will not have to pull new cable. Though at 10 meters, even Cat6 will handle 10gig, but my mindset is put the best in the wall since it is so hard to remove.

As for installing the cable, no sharp bends and no stretching of the cable. Similar rules for coax cable. Most installers now how to install that, just tell them to treat the install the same.

As for the drops. Have the installers either put a one gang electrical box or a low voltage box where you want the jacks installed. For the jacks, here you can save a little money and use Cat5e jacks. If you need more bandwidth in the future, these are easy to upgrade to Cat6(a/e). They have either plates with a jack integrated or whats called a keystone plate. With a keystone plate, you add modules for what you want into the plate. Modules can include telephone, coax, audio or ethernet. Personally in my house I use the keystone plates and most rooms I combine all the low voltage requirements in one box (most being coax and ethernet).

For the other end of the run, I personally would have them go to a closet or cupboard that has power. The router does not need to be where the cables all run to and I find this to be a cleaner solution. In the closet, place a network switch to handle connecting all the devices. Also the network switch does not have to be as big as all the drops in your house, only as big as the drops that are currently being used. I'm assuming you want the router next to your TV where your coax is. Just add a drop there and pug your router into it. The switch in the closet will handle splitting it to the rest of your house. And this will also give 3 or so ports for the devices around your TV. This is how it is setup in my house and all 3 of those extra ports are used. One for the TV, BD Player and Media Streamer.

As for the closet where the end of the run is, if you only have 6 or less drops you can use a keystone plate with ethernet modules. If you have more than 6, I would recommend putting in a patch panel. They come in sizes as small as 8 ports up to any size you would need for an apartment. And with short half meter patch cables, connect the panel to the switch (which can be hung on the wall near the panel).

  • 1
    OP forgot to buy wall plates, +1. Another half-plus for at least mentioning coax. I do not foresee the general need for in-wall coaxial cable to dissipate anytime soon.
    – Mazura
    Jul 31, 2015 at 22:06
  • @Mazura - The need for coax has already dissipated in my house - High speed DSL comes in over the phone lines, and all the TV we watch comes in over the internet. If we used coax at all, it would be for a cable modem, but we're lucky to have a high speed DSL provider that can give us 20mbit DSL (not as fast as the 100mbit the cable company promises, but still fast enough for HD streaming to 2 TVs). Though we also have no need for twisted pair - an 802.11ac router is upstairs, we use Wifi on all computers, and have a Wifi bridge on the downstairs TV to provide internet for TV + Bluray player.
    – Johnny
    Aug 1, 2015 at 3:18
  • @Johnny Then why are you wiring up for a wired network?
    – Mazura
    Aug 1, 2015 at 3:25
  • @Mazura - I'm not. I can't afford to tear up my walls to install network cabling. Though I don't think that I would do it even if I could (unless I could do it "for free" if I were doing other remodeling), wifi works good enough - I get around 120mbit from the wifi node downstairs by the TV to the Wifi router upstairs - about 6 times faster than my internet connection.I don't have enough neighbors to crowd the 5Ghz band (yet), so I get pretty consistent performance.
    – Johnny
    Aug 2, 2015 at 6:09
  • This is what I went with in the end more or less. Since there isn't a closet near the hookup to the net, we installed a maintenance hatch in the ceiling for easy access and put the jacks up high so they are out of the way. I'll see how it actually works out tomorrow.
    – jmac
    Aug 28, 2015 at 5:02

I'd use the best shielded CAT6 you can afford - it's worth spending a bit more on good cable now, so you don't have to re-do it in a few years to keep up with the newest technology.

As ChrisF says, separate out the 'first fix' (i.e. running the cables) from the final connecting - you can always get someone else in to do that bit if you can't do it yourself.

Personally, I'd build a small cupboard where the router will be, and contain it, the wiring and any other equipment inside. I'd get a patch panel rather than having four separate sockets on the wall, again for neatness and compactness.

It's certainly worth putting in as many ports as possible, more than you think you'll need, for expansion - e.g. for adding connected TVs, audio equipment, etc as well as other computers. At the very least put a twin socket in each location. You'd probably need an additional switch though, assuming that your router only has 4 ports on the back...

You could also run other cables at the same time to allow distributed music, TV signals, etc, all from equipment in or by the central hub cupboard...

  • 2
    I'll second running networking cables in pairs, even if you only use a 4-port router now. It's much easier to run cable before the walls are closed up, and having twin runs gives you some degree of redundancy against failure even if you never use both ports at once. Jul 31, 2015 at 14:08
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    Good point about putting a pair of ports in each room. Though if push comes to shove you could always run a local switch in a room if you needed more ports.
    – ChrisF
    Jul 31, 2015 at 14:11
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    There's no reason to use shielded twisted pair cable in a home -- I've seen long CAT-5 and CAT-6 runs zip tied to NM-B that works fine. Few residential users will adequately ground their shielded wiring since they lack a good signal ground for it -- A typical residential electrical power system ground that's not designed to be an RF ground can actually be noisier than no ground at all thanks to the skin effect of sending RF through a single conductor. Shielded cable won't help you "future-proof" your network since shielded CAT-6 is not the same as CAT-7.
    – Johnny
    Jul 31, 2015 at 17:32
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    @Johnny The electrical code does prohibit running high voltage and low voltage cable together. Just a factor to keep in mind when talking about seeing Ethernet cable zip-tied to household current conductors. And, playing Devil's advocate, shielded Cat6 is good for 10Gb/s Ethernet. So that's a little bit of future-proofing no matter how you look at it. And if the cable's in the wall, you can always find a way to appropriately ground the shielding, which is not possible if the shielding isn't there at all. ;-) Aug 9, 2015 at 20:56
  • @Craig - I didn't run the wires zip-tied to electrical wires, but I've seen it done (and cleaned up after it). Unshielded CAT-6 is also rated for 10Gig - the shielding doesn't increase the CAT rating. And since STP is so rare, especially in residential settings, it's more likely to be installed improperly by inexperienced installers (improper grounding, violating the more stringent bend radius, too much force while pulling, etc) which can make the STP worse than UTP.
    – Johnny
    Aug 20, 2015 at 19:40

Rather than just running cable around the apartment, consider installing conduits through which you can easily pull different types of cables that may be desirable with future technology.

See for example How do I run ethernet cable through a wall cavity? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrical_conduit#Types_of_conduit

  • Tried to do this, but many of the conduits would have been prohibitively expensive to put in because of load bearing concrete criss-crossing the ceilings. I got conduits where I am most likely to need really really fast net, so that's good enough I suppose. Great suggestion though!
    – jmac
    Aug 28, 2015 at 5:05

Yes you will need four LAN ports next to the router - or at least next to the switch (which may or may not be the same box) - one for each room.

As for connecting the LAN ports in each room to the LAN ports next to the switch you'll need a channel to run the CAT cable separate from the power cables to reduce interference and to keep low and high voltage cables separate. Also you're more likely to want to replace the CAT cable than the power cable and if it's in its own channel that makes it easier.

Given that you're having to go up and over a (presumably load bearing) wall this will be tricky to do post construction. You'll need to run the wires at the same time as the electric cables are run and before the the final finish (plaster, boarding, or whatever) goes up.

One extra consideration is to make sure that there are no tight bends in the cable runs. This will make it much easier to thread new cables at a later date and may even be essential if you replace the CAT cable with fibre optic cable in the future.

At this point the person doing the work doesn't have to any internet knowledge. All they need to do is treat the cable as if it were carrying electric power but run it to the LAN ports and leave enough slack and poking out of the walls for someone who is (you?) to come along and connect up the wires to the ports. Alternatively you could just get them to run strong string/small rope in the channels and then you can pull the CAT cable through afterwards. This might be the better approach if you're unsure what cable you actually need. Personally I'd go for the highest rated cable available so you don't have to replace it any time soon.

As you are remodelling the entire place, I'd be tempted to put a port in every room (bar the bathroom!) and have more (clearly labelled) ports next to the router. That way you don't have to worry about changing uses of room and the inevitable "if only I had a LAN port in the kitchen!" (or where ever).

  • 1
    Modern metal cable is certainly susceptible to interference if you run it in the same raceway with high voltage wires. Not only that, but at least in the U.S. the electrical code forbids running high voltage and low voltage cable together. Aside from possible interference from induction, imagine a fault putting 100V (standard Japanese household current) onto those Ethernet cables. Jul 31, 2015 at 8:21
  • None of the walls are load bearing. It's a steel-reinforced concrete apartment and the top floor, so there is plenty of space above the ceiling to run cables. I would ideally have them connect the cable and all the jacks so I just have to plug in my computer to the wall and it would work, is there a reason that would be difficult/I should do it myself?
    – jmac
    Jul 31, 2015 at 8:21
  • @jmac - I (tentatively) assumed load bearing because you said "up and over" rather than "through". Wiring the cables is not difficult, just that if they're not familiar with network cabling they might get it wrong. You just need to ensure that the right numbered/coloured strand is connected to the right terminal.
    – ChrisF
    Jul 31, 2015 at 8:31
  • I don't know if it'd be worth it for just 4 ports; but if your main contractor doesn't have experience with installing network cabling (and may not have the proper crimping tool) there are specialty companies that do so that the task could be sub-contracted to. The biggest ooops potential from a non-experienced installer would probably be poor crimps on the cable connectors resulting in unreliable connections or falling back on a slower transmit speed that you wouldn't discover until after the work was done. Jul 31, 2015 at 14:06
  • @DanNeely - When install ethernet cables in walls, you never use a crimp for the terminators. The only time you use a crimp is making patch cables to go between an ethernet jack and a device. Ethernet jacks are actually very easy to install and can be done with a cheap punch down tool. The jacks are normally color coded for both A and B wiring (doesn't make a difference which you choose, just choose one and stick with it). The only thing you need to do is keep a half inch or less of untwisted wire at the jack.
    – diceless
    Aug 1, 2015 at 5:00

You should definitely look to the future if you intend to do this, because right now there is very little that can't be done over Wi-Fi. My son just cut the cable and I helped them make some choices on how to go, offering to hard wire their router to their set top boxes if streaming was slow. They have 6 GB DSL, with everything on Wi-Fi, including a PS4, and have had no slowdown; except when there are multiple iPhones (specifically iPhones) attached. I don't do Apple, so they are on their own with that.

  • 1
    It's not about speed. Wi-fi is susceptible to interference (try streaming something while someone uses a hair dryer in between you and the router), adds another step that can cause issues (the wi-fi router can be the problem), and doesn't have as stable of a connection. Since I need the Internet for my job, it is definitely worth the effort to move beyond wifi.
    – jmac
    Aug 6, 2015 at 0:04

Western Digital Livewire is the product name. This product does not require actually running wires from location to location. Livewire uses the buildings' electrical wiring to connect your network. Simply connect one of the boxes, which has 4 Ethernet ports, next your router, using 1 port of the 4 to router. then connect other box(es) in other parts of house and plug each unit DIRECTLY into the wall outlet. There you go, four ethernet ports available and no poking holes in walls or tacking wires up all over place. The speed is a bit slower than direct Ethernet connection, but most actual speed is not even used because most sources cannot reach most equip limits anyhow.

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