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Structured Wiring Update

Intro - Updated March 2023

The XSVTOYS "Retro Structured Wiring" web pages were originally written in 2006 when that project was completed. Since that time the entire system has been in daily use and for 17+ years has operated perfectly as expected with no problems or errors. The project was a success in this regard, and over the years these web pages were returned as the #1 search result on Google for the search terms "retro structured wiring" and "retrofit structured wirings". I heard from a number of people from the internet who used the information for this project for their own setup, and upon also gave permission for the content to be used in a college class.

However I have tagged those pages with a link here because some of the information has become outdated due to advancements in technology. The physical technical details such as how things are wired and such are still pretty much the same. However there have been significant changes over those intervening years that have changed many of the ways technology is used in the home. These include:

Rethinking and revising the wiring plan

Compare a model wiring plan for 2023 on (first image below) to the original 2006 wiring diagram (second image below). The new plan offers more flexibility and coverage than the old one while requiring much less wiring which will help to reduce the expense and work of the project. The "old-school" thinking was that every room needed 2 Cat5e network ports and 2 RG-6 cable TV connections. This is overkill for today's technology. Realistically only one RG-6 cable is needed to each location where there is expected to be a TV, and each room shouldn't require more than one Cat5e network connection. (In 2023, it might not be necessary to run any coax at all). With the expanded use of wireless there probably isn't a need for any network connection in most of the rooms, although I would still put one if it is expected to contain a computer or modern gaming system to take that load off the wireless network. I would also run one network cableto the main AV system such as the TV setup in the living room, and install a small network switch there for hard-wiring in a smart TV, gaming system(s), Blu-ray players, media center, etc. In theory these could all be run from a modern wireless setup, but if the streaming of high-resolution video is sent over wires the whole setup will operate more efficiently.

The new system includes a network connection for a WAP (Wireless Access Point), these can be placed at various locations to ensure high-quality blanket wireless coverage for all of the mobile devices. While wireless security cameras can be used, for network security a wired version is better, and a single Cat5e cable can be used to both power the camera and take the signal (this requires a switch with POE (Power Over Ethernet) to be installed with the networking equipment).

Even with the addition of security cameras and a WAP compared to the original 2006 version the new 2023 version uses 8 RG-6 cables instead of 16 and 14 Cat5e network cables instead of 20. Considering that each cable drop with wall plates can cost $100-200 this means a potential savings of thousands of dollars.

Once the wiring plan is set up, most of the other details in the original XSVTOYS structured wiring pages will still apply, although there is newer hardware available.

structured wiring floorplan 2019
structured wiring floorplan 2006