Being internet, phone and cable/satellite TV "READY"

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  #1  
Old 11-04-14, 09:48 AM
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Being internet, phone and cable/satellite TV "READY"

I purchased a four unit apartment building for rental purposes.

The building right now has a bunch of coaxial cables, old phone wires, ethernet cables, running all over the places, some of those wires are not even in use and have been abandoned and terminates inside the wall somewhere. Many of the wires run under the soffit on the outside, along walls, some through closets and some in the attic. I was trying to figure out what goes where.

Ultimately, I would like to get rid of ALL OF THESE WIRES. I would like to use the electric equipment room as a starting point for everything. From there to run a larger diameter conduit to each unit, where future cables for phone, TV, internet etc...can be routed through. That way we don't have different service providers connect to the building from all directions in all manners. The equipment room will then serve as the edge of their service.

Now, what type of cable should I run from here to each of the units? Which cable is most versatile that most of these providers can just connect to and use? I know Cable TV and Satellite typically come in through coax. Phone companies use those smaller phone lines, and internet comes in either via phone lines if DSL or coax, then switches to CAT5 or CAT6.

Is there some sort of "universal cable" I can run through these conduits that will be versatile enough to connect to whatever incoming wiring might be? Or do I have to run a coax cable (for TV or data), a ethernet (for data) and a standard 4-wire (for voice and fax)?

I want to make each unit cable TV, satellite TV, internet, phone "READY" no matter what provider and what service bundles the individual tenants may subscribe to and get rid of all the spider web mess of current wiring.
 
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  #2  
Old 11-04-14, 10:20 AM
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I wouldn't run any cable, just the conduit. the problem is that different people are going to want different services in different places. Are these apartments currently occupied or is this a total gut and remodel job? If the latter can you designate a place in each apartment for the distribution of services in that apartment? Are these going to be high-rent apartments, medium rent or flophouses? Obviously the higher the rent the more the tenants are going to want in regard to high-tech cabling.

Start with a floor plan of the apartment, if all are the same then one plan is enough but if there are two, three or more different floor plans then you have to plan accordingly. Start with the bedroom(s) where almost everyone is going to want telephone and television service. I would add at least one Ethernet connection for a wired computer network. Determine where the most likely location for the bed, a TV and a desk for a computer would be and set the appropriate jacks, coax (RG-6) for TV and add an Ethernet for streaming of movies, maybe a telephone for something like TIVO to communicate for programming. Add a telephone jack near the bed. Do this with all rooms and determine how to run all the various cables back to the location for distribution for that apartment, maybe a small closet or just a part of a closet.

The distribution within each apartment would be handled by splitters (coax), Ethernet switches/routers for data and patch panels for telephone.
All this wiring in the apartment can be run without conduit from the individual jacks to the equipment center. Coax splitters are cheap so supplying them makes sense and the telephone patch panel as well. for the Ethernet just a patch panel and have the tenant supply their own router and (if necessary) switch.

From each such apartment data center run a conduit back to the central equipment room. I would use no less than 1-1/2 inch conduit, PVC if the local building code allows. This would allow for multiple services, different Internet accounts or separate cable and satellite TV feeds and such but if you want to limit to only one of each type of cable then you could go smaller. For future proofing you would also allow for fiber optic cabling as well as the copper. Duplicate this (as you see fit) for each apartment.

The service providers will want wall space to mount their distribution amplifiers, patch panels (mostly telephone) and fiber optic terminal panels. They also need several dedicated electrical sources and you may want to have them come off of a separate electrical panel for metering purposes. Have the service providers bring in their main cables and also run the branches to the equipment centers in each apartment UNLESS they make a good deal for you to run these cables.

This will give the most flexibility to your tenants and will be able to meet their needs with little disruption for upgrading. I think that all telephone wiring should be four-pair category 3 cable, all coaxial cable should be RG-6 and maybe even quad shield. The Ethernet wiring should be category 6 or better.

This WILL NOT be cheap but it will be extremely flexible. Others will have different ideas and they may fit your needs and budget better.
 
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Old 11-05-14, 09:20 AM
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Different people like different providers. I would leave everything where it is. The providers who ran the cables probably know what's what. Let the tenants choose what they want & take care of it one at a time.
 
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Old 11-05-14, 04:41 PM
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Pulpo, the providers know what's what, but they don't care, that's why my last count just coax I have 17 runs under the soffit and only 4 apartment, and most of those are dead ended in the wall. When a new service is ordered, the next company comes out and run new wires over the old ones because no one wants to take time to find out what's existing.

So I am going to rip them all out eventually and have no wires outside the building.
 
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Old 11-05-14, 04:49 PM
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Furd, this is kind of what I have in mind.

The mechanical room already has all the electrical disconnects for the electrical service drops to each unit. I can add four more large 12x12 boxes for the TV/internet/phone connections to each apartment. From each box a large PVC conduit to each unit's closet. I was thinking a box inside each closet.

For internet it is not such a big deal location wise, since most just connects to a WIFI router and I don't see much hard wiring anymore.

For phone, honestly I have seen any tenant use land line phones, the only two I have in other properties had land line phones for DSL services.

Cable TV is the most confusing, since the wiring can come in as fiber optics or coax.

But once they pull their services to the mechanical room, they have a raceway to each unit. I thought if I run some wires through that conduit it will be even easier.

But from the closet box to the individual room/wall for TV is a challenge. I am not sure there is always a "logical" location for these.
 
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Old 11-05-14, 06:33 PM
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I had FIOS reuse existing lines once. If you want to spend the time & money ahead of time, be my guest. It's certainly good for the economy.
 
  #7  
Old 11-05-14, 11:27 PM
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Pulpo, in my area it is rare for a new service provider to re-use a different provider's wiring. The reason being is IF there is a defect in the existing wiring the new provider is then "on the hook" to repair or replace that existing wiring. It is far easier and also a time saver for them to simply abandon the existing wire/cable and run new. Most WILL re-use an existing IF the owner consents to all liabilities for that cable. Further, most service installers could not care less about how the installation actually looks as long as it works. I have seen far too many butt ugly communications installations to EVER let someone else do a total installation in the way that THEY want.

Miami, I am a wired network kind of guy so I often forget/dismiss the realities of using wireless. I also like wired telephones in my house, regardless of whether or not they are traditional or VoIP telephones. I actually DO know that wireless data and telephone systems are far more common, especially with people that live in apartments, these days.

Fiber optic services, telephone, Internet and television all require interface equipment at the building. Installers generally want to have this equipment centrally located in multi-family buildings to make their lives easier as well as to eliminate the equipment from being another box in the apartment subject to abuse by the renter. Fiber is also a bigger problem to snake around in a large building if provisions were not made for it in the original construction. Plus, fiber is rarely able to directly connect to consumer products so a conversion to coax or Ethernet is needed anyway.

I see no reason for the 12x12 boxes in the common equipment room. That size would be insufficient for any fiber-to-coax or Ethernet equipment I have seen and it is not conducive to plain old telephone service either. Just hang a sheet of 3/4 inch plywood (some providers want it to be fire retardant) on an open wall and let the providers hang their equipment on that. You may need to supply the 120 volt AC power and for that I prefer just running an EMT conduit of appropriate size along he bottom of the plywood and installing a doubled duplex receptacle for each provider to use. Ideally, each provider would have a circuit dedicated to their usage. Bring the conduits for each apartment in at the top of the plywood and label them as to which one serves which apartment. No box is necessary but a pull string is nice. Each service provider will then run their own coax, telephone or Ethernet cable through the conduit to the individual apartments.

In the apartments be sure to provide at least a duplex (two are better) 120 volt AC receptacle in near proximity to where the data conduit will be terminated to supply the wallwarts for the modems and routers. Structured media panels (do a Google) are very nice but also quite expensive in my opinion. Make a place for coaxial (TV) splitters to be mounted as well as a shelf or two for the other equipment.

You will have to make a decision where to place the TV coax outlets in the various rooms and then run the coax back to the equipment closet where it will connect to the splitters and eventually the service provider. Some landlords put in many coaxial outlets and others put in only a couple per apartment and tell the tenants, "That's what you get" if they ask for more. This is a decision only you can make. You will never be able to satisfy everyone and most people understand that living in a rented/leased apartment is far different than living in a home that you own.

I wanted to show you what a typical system might look like but after several minutes of searching Google images these tow relatively poor examples were the best I could find.

http://www.ccontrols.com/images/success/wwu_1.jpg

http://www.demarcextension.com/image...s/DSC00202.jpg
 
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