Importance of High-Tech Wiring Stressed for Today’s Homes

by WOHe

Importance of High-Tech Wiring Stressed for Today’s
Homes

Flushing, NY While most of the industry’s attention is focused
on the impact of the technological revolution on the Internet and
e-business, kitchen and bath designers should not fail to lose
sight of other key high-tech issues when planning residential
environments.

That’s the advice of the Leviton Institute, the educational arm
of the Flushing, NY-based Leviton Mfg. Co., which notes that
high-speed telecommunications wiring, video cabling and low-voltage
wiring are becoming increasingly important technological upgrades
to specify in both new homes and remodeling projects.

“Pre-wiring a home in this way provides flexibility and affords
countless immediate future benefits,” says Joel Ostroff, a Leviton
Institute spokesman. “These include turning any room into a home
office, connecting any TV to a cable or satellite hookup, and
controlling both inside and outside lighting from one central
location, to name just a few of the benefits.”

Adding high-tech wiring for today’s advanced communications,
entertainment and security systems is an upgrade that can involve a
number of major wiring systems, the Leviton Institute points
out.

What follows is a brief overview of them:

  • Wiring for the Internet. Most homes use “quad” wiring so-called
    because it contains four copper wires. This wiring is fine for
    regular voice service, but it’s less than ideal for connecting a
    computer to the Internet, since it contains very little “bandwidth”
    (or information-carrying capacity). Since the Internet enables
    users to download photos, graphics and music and similar
    transmissions, however, it requires fast speed and high bandwidth
    the more the better.

    To give homeowners speedy access to the Internet, high-speed wiring
    called “Category 5” is now available. Category 5 wiring has four
    twisted wire pairs, or eight conductors. “Yet even Category 5
    wiring may not be sufficient to support advanced technologies, so
    newer wiring called “Category 5e” and “Category 6″ is already under
    development,” says Ostroff.

    In addition to the Internet, the latest development in TV
    broadcasting high-definition TV requires high-bandwidth wiring to
    transmit crystal-clear signals into a home, whether it has cable
    service or a satellite dish.

    “The best choice for TV signals is coaxial cable,” Ostroff advises,
    noting that specifiers “may want to consider installing two coaxial
    cables for greater flexibility in the future.”

  •  Low-voltage wiring for home automation. Low-voltage
    wiring is the “backbone” of today’s home automation and security
    systems, according to the Leviton Institute.

    Low-voltage wiring is used for whole-house lighting control, for
    control of heating and air conditioning systems, and for
    integrating security and property protection systems into the other
    low-voltage systems in a home, such as lighting and HVAC
    equipment.

    “Having all of these low-voltage systems communicate with one
    another creates a unified network, making it possible to control
    the systems in a home whether a person is sitting in the living
    room or is miles away in a car, sending commands to a home
    automation system over a cellular telephone,” Ostroff
    observes.

    Remodelers and builders should talk to homeowners about running
    speaker wiring from the main entertainment center to other rooms in
    a home. “By pre-wiring, you’ll be able to direct both video and
    audio signals to outlets in every room, giving your clients maximum
    freedom and flexibility,” Ostroff advises.

    The Leviton Institute advises homeowners to ask for “home run
    wiring” meaning that every wire or cable starts from one central
    distribution box inside a home, and then radiates out to each
    room.

    “Home run wiring has several advantages,” Ostroff notes. “First,
    each outlet or jack has its own wire or cable, independent of any
    other connection, so it’s easier to make changes in the future.
    Second, it’s easier to diagnose problems with home run wiring, and
    when problems do occur, they’re isolated to that one wire or
    cable.

    “Finally, home run wiring provides the best signal quality, and
    this is of critical importance for getting the best performance
    from the Internet and high-definition TV signals,” Ostroff
    says.

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