"antennae" distribution

I've run a fair bit of RG6U throughout the house. It's intended for use handling "antenna" and CATV feeds.

I have a number of "sources" (FM, OTATV, cordless phone, Cable, wifi) that I can route to ~20 drops.

Of course, this requires "patching" specific feeds through splitters to specific drops.

Because of the way the house was constructed, the only place that I could locate this kit is not easily accessible; you'd not want to be *changing* the routing (or use!) of a particular drop "casually"!

Yet, I'd like to put all of the kit I *might* need in place and just leave the interconnect issue as the only variable. While this would still be tedious to update, it would be immensely easier (physically, logistically) than having to add kit!

Obviously, putting a ~20 port splitter on each feed would give the most flexibility (cap off unused output ports). But, overcoming insertion losses would mean boosting signal by ~20dB just to compensate for the splitter.

[BTW, what bw required for OTA DTV? CATV?]

And, finding 20+ port splitters would be a challenge; perhaps requiring cascading smaller splitters for the job?

Is it best to add lots of gain before the splitter (without knowing what the signal is likely to be)? Or, moving that to the distribution outputs (esp if cascading splitters)?

Is there an easier way that doesn't require re-engineering when needs change? (of course, the biggest effort is already addressed -- having the wire in place!)

Reply to
Don Y
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It's all below 1Ghz, probably well below.

yeah 16 port distribution amplifier was the biggest I could find easily.

a distribution amplifier has both in the same box.

Does your CATV not cover the local boradcast channels? run more coax so you can have both in each location?

Reply to
Jasen Betts

*Here* (i.e., while I am the occupant), I plan on delivering everything (inbound) to "tuners" that will make it available for processing and dispatch as digital packets. E.g., I have 4 OTA DTV tuners that capture broadcast TV signals and either route the digital streams to "video clients" in real time... or, store them for later viewing. Ditto with the FM tuner, CATV tuner and (presumably) satellite -- though I've not investigated the kit necessary to do that, yet.

In this way, I can deliver audio or video to any network drop in the building -- regardless of source ("live", from CCTV surveillance, media tank, etc.)

The trick is getting "any" RF source *to* those tuners. And, getting RF *from* certain devices (cordless phone, WiFi) out to "radiators"! All without having to cut open walls and ceilings (again!).

Again, consider how most of this wiring is intended for a subsequent owner applying "conventional" technology. E.g., taking a CATV (or antenna) feed and distributing it to each room -- in case little Bobby wants a TV in his bedroom, etc.

[I don't imagine "____-over-IP" will be standardized sufficiently in the near future to "bless" one implementation over another. But, the CAT5e cabling should be sufficient (and considerably easier to route) for delivering media to individual drops.]

In *my* case, I just need to get "RF" to the equipment closet in a way that lets me adapt the "in place" wiring to the kit that I employ at future dates. E.g., I now have OTA DTV tuners; if I opted to subscribe to CATV, I'd replace them with CATV tuners.

Other audio/video sources (e.g., media tank) don't need to deal with these coax.

Reply to
Don Y

How can wifi and phones use the coax?

Reply to

If you can directly connect the phone/wifi to the coax and the other end to an outdoor antenna high in a tower, this might be useful, especially if you are living in a cellar.

If you can't make a direct connection, you need a passive "repeater" system i.e. also an antenna at the lower end of the coax, however you need to use your device very close to the indoor antenna (1 meter or less) to avoid severe losses.

With full-duplex systems in which the handset Tx and Rx operate at different frequency bands (e.g. GSM phone) you could use an active repeater, i.e. bidirectional amplifier with. duplex filters on both side of the amplifier. The whole received frequency band is split and amplified by one amplifier and radiate from the indoor antenna. Signals from the indoor antenna is routed to the other amplifier and radiated through the outdoor antenna. This has been used in underground car parks and the distance between the handset and indoor antenna can be much larger than in the passive repeater case.

Depending of country, there nay be legal issues using such active repeaters.

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Have you looked at what "structured wiring" has to offer?

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What you're trying to contrive as already been worked over by others, with one exception. You seem to want to put everything RF in one coax cable. This is a truly bad idea. The slightest non-linearity in any device on this one coax cable and you'll experience the horrors of intermodulation mixing, where two signals mix together to create other frequencies that inconveniently appear where they're not wanted. I suggest you keep the various RF service separate.

In my unplanned home wiring maze, I separate the various services on separate cables. Each antenna on the roof has its own coax cable. Most of these are satellite grade RG-6A/u. Wi-Fi is distributed via CAT5e ethernet and delivered via multiple wi-fi access points in key locations (without using mesh or WDS repeaters). My gigabit network backbone is a mix of fiber optic, CAT5e, and CAT6. POTS phones use a separate CAT5e cable. Loudspeakers use #14 AWG stranded. There are also some other wires (doorbell, lighting control, bungler alarm, security cameras, 12VDC battery backup power for "devices", emergency lighting, and spare cables) in the bundle. What makes all this work is that the wiring in the walls and under the floor are all in PVC electrical conduit. As new toys and cables need to be run, it's fairly painless to pull the cables through with a pull cord. (Don't forget to also pull a replacement pull cord at the same time). I'll be running an HDMI 1.4 cable shortly which was certainly not in the plans when I originally created the wiring plan.

Much as I like the idea of centralized switching and patch panels, they won't work in my house. I make too many changes and have far too many different cable types to accommodate a switch or patch panel. Worse, the diameter of the bundle needed to route everything to a central location would be huge. I currently have this problem in the PVC conduit going to the roof, which will require either removing some functions or adding an additional PVC pipe.

Note my comments above on NOT using a patch panel.

Yeah, that's what I thought. You assessment is probably true if you run everything to a central wiring closet. It's probably not so true if you use conduit with pull and patch boxes between conduit runs.

Yep, that saves quite a bit of planning. I suggest you take a BIG sheet of paper, draw your house showing the devices that need to be interconnected, connect the dots, and see what you get. If you're willing to run conduit, 20 cables should be easy. If you want to snake these cables through the walls, less easy. If you want surface wiring (wiremold), it can't be done. Sometimes, I could get away with running vertical conduit between floors and roof, and horizontal conduit under an elevated floor.

The conduit, it does require some planning, such as installing pull ropes. Inside the walls, very tedious and painful to make changes.

What are you trying to distribute? If it's RF, you're limited to whatever your local DTV stations can deliver, which I find rather marginal due to an overdose of advertising, announcements, and notifications. This is the 21st century, where broadcast is dying and streaming has take its place. Think about running data cables (CAT6 or gigabit fiber from various streaming media devices or sources. Never mind trying to distribute the entire TV or cable RF band all over your house. At best, that will require a DTV decoder/set or a CATV decoder in every room with a TV. With streaming, it requires a computah or streaming media player (Roku etc), but that can do more. Bottom line: You're trying to solve yesterdays problems. Try to think about where entertainment, infotainment, work at home, education, conferencing, etc technology will be in as little as 5 years and you'll probably wonder whey you're bothering with distributing RF.

Reply to
Jeff Liebermann

No. I have several "source cables" that can be mated with several "destination cables" (through splitters, couplers, amplifiers, etc.) The plan has been to separate "services" onto different cables routed to different devices.

E.g., FM antenna run to FM tuner on its own cable; CATV feeds to CATV tuners on their own feeds; WiFi antenna to WiFi AP on its own "feed"; etc.

I've not (easily) allowed two different types of signals to be routed to any *one* destination. E.g., if you want a CATV drop in the NW corner of your bedroom, you can't also have an FM radio drop at the same location (but could at the "other" coax drop in that same room).

Similarly, I can locate CATV tuners, FM tuner, WiFi AP, etc.

*all* in the equipment closet -- yet run their feeds off to different antennae in different parts of the house/rooftop.

The *WAN* side of the APs is handled easily; all three of my APs tie directly to the main switch. But, one of these services the back yard via rooftop antenna. (the other two are for internal use)

I use no CAT6 as it is too difficult to run in a house with no attic or basement (too many tight bends navigating through ceiling and walls). I only use fibre to connect my SAN to the rest of the infrastructure.

EVERYTHING terminates at the switch so a cable need only handle the traffic for one drop. Even video is easily handled with a Gbe cable!

In hindsight, I should have run CAT5e for phone. But, instead, opted for CAT3. And, the phone cables are terminated in a location where there is no real access to power so a switch would be problematic (even a PoE-powered switch). Worst case, the RJ11 on each wall plate never sees any use...

I used 18AWG "listed" cable as it's all run in the ceiling/walls. But, only two (of the 14) speakers here are driven via such cables. The rest are "active" speakers powered and driven over the network.

The two exceptions are also network powered/driven -- but, have a fall-back connection hardwired to the HVAC system (which handles all of the doorbell wiring).

In normal use, I can route a sound to the nearest speaker via the network. If the "system" fails, then the HVAC computer (battery backed, etc.) can directly drive those two speakers (with the same sounds that the network would have used).

Speakers also have microphones as a convenient place to pick up spoken commands.

Alarm wiring and wiring for HVAC dampers are routed directly to their respective "controllers".

Security cameras are all wired and powered from the network. There's a processor inside each so they can do motion detection and other processing (even unrelated to video!).

All of the devices are powered from the 48V network switch (PoE) so no need for a gazillion wall warts powering each device. The switch is battery-backed -- so I can keep everything running without having a bunch of UPSs around the house. As an outage extends, I can tell the switch to drop less necessary loads to conserve battery.

There are no "straight runs", here. You have to dodge ductwork, exhaust stacks, building supports, openings in walls, etc. So, the wires went in when everything was "exposed". Adding is not a practical option.

[OTOH, there are 120 drops, already...]

I don't switch between different signal types. Once I get a CATV feed to a CATV tuner, the video is distributed via IP. Ditto with phone, controls, etc.

Aside from getting the few "RF" signals from their sources (antennae, CATV feeds) to their "tuners", the coax connections throughout the house are not expected to see use -- until some other homeowner comes along and wonders where he can put his TVs, etc.

Yes, 120 CAT5e cables terminating at the patch panel is an impressive mass of wire! But, that lets EVERYTHING talk to everything ELSE! E.g., I can route live video from the doorbell to a TV in the kitchen. Or, have music follow me around the house (by monitoring my current location). Or, close the blinds to shut out the afternoon sun. Or, defer irrigation while I'm washing clothes or taking a shower. Or, ...

If *building* a house, I'd do things very differently. It's a lot harder to figure out how to install all of this stuff without a basement or attic -- and, with a keen desire to *hide* everything.

E.g., there's no thermostat on the wall, no doorbell unit, speakers are *in* ceilings or walls, as are the actuators for the HVAC dampers, etc.

I did that with a copy of the builder's prints. I built a 3D CAD model from them ("extrude to a height of...") so that I could also position those devices that have significance beyond the plan view.

But, new options continually appear!

E.g., I had planned a coax run into the garage to locate a TV out there (when I'm working on the cars). But, then decided to site the base for the cordless phone there as it's an eyesore to have it mounted to a wall (or countertop) *inside* the house. There's no need for it to be physically accessible as the audio from the base can be routed to any handset in the house, network speaker or even out to the PSTN.

So, the option of an *antenna* connection to a TV is out -- for that location!

I'd need access boxes (in the ceilings!) to navigate the many twists and turns required to get "from here to there". That would be even more of an eyesore!

We watch scant little broadcast TV. But, living in a place where folks go to die, it's likely that a future homeowner would likely have cable in multiple locations throughout the house. Most of our neighbors have three or more TVs fed from coax run across their roofs and down their exterior walls (because indoor wiring is far too costly, "old work")

Already have that. *We* won't need CATV, satellite, POTS, etc. as I can deliver all of those services digitally. But, that's not to say the next owner (I'm a lot closer to death than birth!) won't want them. A big part of doing all this has been to ensure that I can rip out all of *my* kit and leave an infrastructure in place that can be adapted to the next owner's needs.

That;s the next owner's problem. But, they *won't* have to call someone to drill a hole through the roof -- hopefully into the wall space below (and not into the middle of the room!) to drop a cable into an interior wall.

[That's how it is done, presently. Or, down the outside of the house (regardless of whether it's the front, back or side!) and straight in through the exterior wall. "Sorry, your TV connection *must* be on that exterior wall". Can you spell tacky?]

Instead, I think about how someone who would be purchasing *this* home would deal with those issues -- with the commercial services that will be available to them, at that time.

E.g., I know no one with (multiple!) network drops in every room in their home; they all are forced to rely on wireless technologies. No one has individual room dampers to regulate the flow of heat/cool into each room. No one can pipe music (or "announcements") to individual locations -- or appliances. No one lowers the volume of the stereo ONLY in the room where you're picking up a phone call. Or, automatically pauses the DVR when you get up to go to the bathroom. Or routes the movie you are watching to the "display" in the room you've now entered. Or, closes the garage door if you forgot to do so before going to bed. Or, knows who to allow into your home in your absence.

The folks who buy this place won't be *ready* for those kinds of capabilities. And, they likely won't be available commercially, either.

So, I can't plan on leaving things in place for them (who would "support" all that kit?). OTOH, I'd sure not want to have to run around patching holes in ceilings/walls to extract all of that kit!

OTOH, I can rewire the RG6U distribution to claim that they now have an "antenna connection" in each room -- and let the cable guy figure out how they could use each of these! Ditto with the phone.

And, replace my custom 120 port switch with something that *just* handles the "accessible" network drops throughout the house (having removed all of the kit hidden in the ceilings and walls that *was* connected to the switch)

Reply to
Don Y

It sounds like what you need is to install standard plastic conduit for non-power circuits between access points and use points. Then, as technology and/or needs change, just use the old cable to pull modern new cable into place.

Joe Gwinn

Reply to
Joe Gwinn

This is a good solution especially for bidirectional services.

Strangely, CATV companies have put multiple channels into a single coaxial for more than a half of century, without severe problems. The problem is mainly in the case of multiple amplifiers cascaded along a long coaxial cable. Each amplifiers adds some noise and also each amplifier adds distortion. With long string of amplifiers, ultimately this limits the range of signal levels that can be used. If even more amplifiers are needed, you may have to reduce the number of TV channels transferred to keep intermodulation distortion in control.

However, you need to accurately control individual signal levels and limit the gain of the amplifier to avoid too much intermodulation distortion.

You could even have separate amplifiers for FM, OTA TV, satellite TV and for instance door CCTV cameras and using a passive frequency combiner to put all signal into a single cable and then use passive splitters to distribute it to numerous ports. Having individual amplifiers for limited frequency ranges help reduce intermodulation even further and adjust power levels more accurately.

Even for OTA DTV you could use CAT5/6 cabling by having a PC with multiple USB DTV dongles close to the external antenna, each handling a full RF channel (1-2 HDTV or multiple SD programs) and transmit them over the Ethernet.

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