The Right Wiring Makes It All Possible

Expectations placed on technology in our homes increase every day as new products and features rapidly transform our lives.  The properly wired home, once considered a luxury, is now a necessity in this age of The Internet of Things.

K&W uses the advanced structured wiring protocol called ResiNet™ to facilitate the automation of homes and buildings.  Even more important than knowing what it is though, is knowing where and why to run it.

ResiNet™ is a network of many types of low voltage cables and wires within a home or building.  Termination points are located throughout the various rooms, examples of which may include:  Multi-room Audio & Home Theater equipment; motorized devices for a pool or spa, drapery or window coverings; HVAC equipment, controls or monitoring devices; Cameras, Intercom, Lighting Control, and other equipment.

Plan For Now & The Future

Assuming you will only use wireless technology in your new home is a huge mistake.  But to be fair, it is a common mistake most builders and many people continue to make, so if you did that, you wouldn’t be alone.  If possible we recommend you DON’T DO IT.  Sure, wireless networks (Wi-Fi) provide a convenient solution for connecting to the Internet or sending and receiving emails and files, and you will have Wi-Fi in your new home regardless, no question.  However, don’t limit yourself by making it your only option. When it comes to streaming high-resolution media throughout the home today, the convenience of Wi-Fi comes with significant performance compromises, and that need for bandwidth is only going to get bigger and bigger in the years to come.  A well placed CAT6/7 wire solves that issue now, and in future right now.

At a distance of only 20 feet, wireless routers can lose as much as 85% of their data throughput.  That will bring your 1080i Netflix to a grinding halt, or make you toss your iPad down the hallway when Youtube freezes for the 10th time.  These losses in throughput cause dropouts in all of your media, and cause an overall loss in all kinds of data including audio and video fidelity.  In addition, all you need to do is increase the number of devices on a wireless network to decrease the potential bandwidth available to each device.  You probably accept you will buy more electronics in the years to come – right?  So…

Bottom line here is simple.  Don’t plan for nothing – because that is what you will end up with.

Speed is King

A ResiNet Wired Ethernet offers uncompromised data rates at distances up to 328 feet for our Cat7 based option and 180 feet for the Cat6 option, avoiding Wi-Fi’s precipitous drop off in data rates over distance and constant slower transfer speeds.  This ensures that all of your high-quality media streams reach their intended end devices (TVs, Control Processors, Video Streamers, Surround Receivers, Audio Streamers, Lights, Blinds, Computers, Cameras…) with no compromise to the data.  The end result is greater reliability and better sound and no drop out in picture.

Central to this structured wiring network is an interconnection center or Hub. The ResiNet™ wiring network carries all incoming information from any number of sources throughout the building to the Hub.

The Hub usually contains a control processor,  which translates data sent from one device via one type of cable, into a signal that can be sent to another device on another type of cable.     In this way the information is distributed to any designated room within the building, or outside the building. It’s basically  a language translating traffic cop.

Wide Assortment of Choices and Benefits

Some clients feel the need for sophisticated security systems, while others need only a few basic features.  Some want a few stereo speakers for background music, while others have a desire for high fidelity sound in each room of their home.  Lighting control to some people means lights that come on when any car enters the driveway or when someone walks into a room.  To others it may mean infinite dimming levels and romantic mood lights.  To cover the wide assortment of choices available, we offer several levels of products within every category.

Home Automation is not just for entertainment, turning on lights, drawing the drapes and switching on the radio.  For some people simple activities can be very difficult, if not impossible.  Those with limited hand movement from arthritis for example, may find it difficult to reach up to draw drapes.  Young children may be unable to reach the light switch to go to the bathroom at night, and no one likes getting out of bed to turn off a light left on downstairs, or in another room.  Today, these activities can become effortless and totally automated, thereby enhancing the quality of life for those living there.

Go Green and Save Big Green

Reducing green house gasses and general pollution, along with environmental responsibility are also areas that a Home Automation systems maximize your return. It can’t help you with dealing with the idiots who jacked the costs though – that’s for another blog. Bring a big glass of wine please.

Turning down the heat is an obvious area that any programmable thermostat can manage. But managing the fans & heat pumps coordinated with the lights and power window shades on the side of the house that face the sun to manage the homes environment in concert with the time of day and year, is well beyond simple settings on a thermostat.  And it offers more aesthetic as well as cost benefits too.  These environmentally friendly possibilities are obviously convenient and cool, but they also come with the added bonus of real cost savings as well.

A major benefit to automating your new home is the removal of what we call “wall acne.”  All sorts of stand alone systems have their own controls that tend to clutter the walls of a modern home.  Touch screens can replace the thermostat, humidifier, sound system controls, computer monitors, accessory controls and the bank of ugly light switches, with just one elegant touch screen per room.

One Touchscreen would have ended this. Don’t let this happen to you!

The Differences Between Structured Wiring and Electrical Protocols

The basis for a cost effective automated building or home is low voltage wiring.  Low voltage wiring is not the same as the wire used for providing power to high voltage electrical circuitry to power lights and appliances.  There are many types and categories of low voltage wiring including; CAT5E used for telephone and computer, RG6 used for cable TV, audio/video and various grades of fiber optic strands formed into cable to carry audio and video signals.  Together, the various types of low voltage cabling comprise a network of structured wiring.  When installing the wiring for low voltage requirements, it is important to keep it apart from the high voltage electrical wiring.  If the two types of wiring are placed in close proximity, interference is likely to occur on the telephone, video or computer communication lines.  For this reason, there are usually different construction trades involved in electrical and structured wiring contracts.  K&W Audio specializes in the latter, and prefer to install the low voltage wiring after the electrical wiring has been completed.  If your want a more in depth understanding of a Home Network, click here.

Planning for Future Needs and Technology

Installing the wiring inside the walls of a home or building is the key to meeting the requirements for technology in the future.  The time to install wiring is prior to the dry-wall stage, when the building is closed in, but before the internal walls are clad.  Because wiring is relatively inexpensive, it is more cost effective to install additional wiring needed to meet future requirements at the outset, rather than having it installed later by ‘fishing’ wires through finished walls, ripping out existing dry wall or paneling, or running visible wiring along the floor or ceiling.

Because K&W system designers are experienced in anticipating future needs, we understand how to ask the client those questions, which stimulate forward thinking.  Forward thinking results in wiring for the future, while terminating it discreetly and out-of-sight, ready for future use.

In a well planned structured wiring installation, it could easily be expected that a bundle of wiring of 5 cm or more in diameter would return to the control room from every room or hall.

Eight Common ResiNet™ Applications

    1. Central Distribution
      Flexibility is the key to a ResiNet™ structured cabling system.  The ResiNet™ System makes it possible to custom configure each and every installation while maintaining a neat and orderly termination field that can accommodate application changes as they occur.
    1. Entertainment Center
      Advancements in HDTV and Digital Satellite technology require quality cable and connectors.  After these signals have traveled thousands of miles to reach their destination – why gamble on the last 100 feet?
    1. Kitchens
      Digital technology makes it possible for appliances to communicate with one another.  For example Mom can check on her child in the nursery from a television monitor located in the kitchen.
    1. Nurseries
      A nursery equipped with a video camera or intercom system for monitoring baby activity can give peace of mind.  The room can be monitored without intruding during rest time or to simply check in at any time from any location in the home.
    1. Children’s Room
      The world is at your children’s fingertips when they access the Internet.  By creating a ResiNet™ local area network within you home you can control access to the internet and television while allowing the sharing of software and hardware peripherals such as printers, scanners or fax servers.
    1. Master Bedroom
      Control all lighting and security functions in the home from the privacy of the bedroom.  Distributed audio and video capability allows one to view a movie or listen to a favorite piece of music from any source within the home.
    1. Security
      Closed circuit cameras strategically located throughout the home can be integrated and programmed to record activities while the residents are away.  This recorded information can be viewed at any time from anywhere in the world.
    1. Home Office
      36% of the new homes being built today are equipped with a home office.  The need for increased bandwidth within the home has never been greater and will continue to increase.  In many cases music streaming from the home office computer needs to be routed to the central audio processor, elsewhere in the home, and video is poised to as well, stream over the internet and start at this point for distribution too.

ResiNet™ Structured Wiring, Some General Principles

Let’s face it – no one will read this far. So this is just for we geeks.  That’s OK, we are used to people glazing over when we wax poetic about wire.  We know it’s all a bit dry, even though the results are really fun, and you have probably either called us or nodded off by now.

But for that one guy that’s as touched as we are with getting the techy stuff down, just a couple more things.  Technically the ResiNet™ system is defined as: “An ingress/egress protocol allowing for the introduction and extraction of signals at multiple points throughout the structure.” Nice eh?  In practical terms it means that a well designed and installed ResiNet™ system will allow a low voltage device to be placed anywhere.  Installing a series of cables in every wall requiring ResiNet™ service and running them back to a central Hub will accomplish this.  Typically a ResiNet™ wiring node consists of 1 RG6 (coaxial) line and 4 CAT6E lines, but the RG6 is becoming more optional every year, while the Cat cable takes over almost every function.

You need at least one ResiNet™ node per room, including the kitchen, as computers in this area are de rigueur in the well equipped home. Along with the Master Bedroom and Family or Great Room, the Kitchen should be treated as a primary wiring zone.  The Pantry may be a convenient spot to hide a node too. In major electronic areas such as the Home Office, where there might be several computer devices, we recommend having a node on each wall the desk may be situated against. This takes into account current needs and those of the future, if you re-arrange.

It is a good idea to have a node wired into the attic too.  It’s all about future proof. Placing 2 RG6 and 4 CAT6E up there along with a 14/4 speaker cable will give access to a dual LNB satellite dish, an off air antenna and an HDTV antenna with room for future audio growth too. The CAT6E lines can be used for Baluns, telephone, computer hub, servers and peripherals, intercoms, security systems and cameras as well as infrared control devices – they can also be used by control systems for a myriad of things.

Now, we just touched on what should be run – but precisely where it should be run, in each space is just as important. Actually more important. Not planning for wiring to the correct location based on probable use (in the system design phase) will leave you with a ball of wires on the wall opposite your office computer desk every time. It just takes a call or visit.  Let us help plan it with you, and don’t just toss wires in willy nilly.  Then, and only then then you will get the result you want!

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