External ethernet wiring in condo

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May 20, 2018
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I live in a two-story condo that doesn't have ethernet wiring. My goal is to retrofit and get wires to as many locations as possible. After self-inspection and consulting with contractors and electricians, I have concluded that dropping wires from the attic to every room isn't an option.


  • Run a total of four cables from the office to other locations
  • Run three of those externally through the office window & power two security cameras & setup a jack in the ground floor living room
  • Run the fourth cable through the wall & attic to an attached garage


  • Avoid drywall patching because the office has a textured wall.
  • Limited space under the desk for a network enclosure
  • Maintain a clean look

1/ What can I use as a compact substitute for a network cabinet? Would a storage cube like Modular Cube with Shelf by Simply Tidy™ be a reasonable choice?

2/ AFAIK, these 4 'backbone' cables must be solid; any reason not to do so? Three of that four cables will travel externally attached to the wall, not buried. Also, what should I look for in an external cat6 cable? Is there a spec or certification?

3/ Do I need a conduit for the external cables? I am on the west coast to give a sense of the weather. This condo is under HOA, and I want to keep the wires discreet.

4/ Is there a lightening or water leak risk if I hole is punched through the external wall?

5/ Given the limited space in the enclosure, I plan to install two eight-port switches instead of a 16 port. One of those will be a POE switch, and the other would be a regular 1Gbps switch. My modem has four gigabit ethernet ports (TG4482A). Both switches will connect directly to the modem. Do I have it right?
Run a mesh system. Why deal with wires when they are not needed anymore. I have an Orbi tri-satellite mesh system and I receive internet all over the house, front yard, back yard, and down at the neighbor's house.
Run a mesh system. Why deal with wires when they are not needed anymore. I have an Orbi tri-satellite mesh system and I receive internet all over the house, front yard, back yard, and down at the neighbor's house.
I have an ethernet cable between my kitchen where my Google router and wifi sit and my second floor where I have a second Google wifi unit. They are connected together but they can connect wirelessly. I can easily get 300M down and about the same up via wifi anywhere in the house including streaming to three tvs, several laptops, Alexas, and tablets. Most everything these days is available to connect wirelessly.
Also, my satellite systems have ethernet connections so you can plug in directly to avoid wi fi usage.
WiFi is unmetered so if you can get the speeds you need via WiFi instead of wired shouldn't matter.

For the OP, not sure if surface mounted raceways are a choice. Without a floor plan and where he's trying to run the cables I can't tell.
I am amazed at how much stuff connects via wifi . my phone to my car, to my tv, to my computer, all intern-connected
I am an IT expert and agree with Havasu. Install a WiFi 'mesh' system and you won't need to run ethernet cable. We have a house in France, for example, that was built in the 1600s of stone. One wall is part of the town's original defensive wall, next to a Roman era gate, and this wall is 3 to 4 feet thick. The house is also three stories tall. So there is NO way to run ethernet cable!

I installed a TP Link mesh hub next to our router in the 'cave' at the bottom, then one in the kitchen on the same floor, then one on the second and third level. We have good WiFi coverage through the entire house -- even to the terrace on the top (technically the fourth floor in terms of height). This is probably the best 'torture test' for a WiFi mesh I've seen!

I installed this mesh in France after it solved the same problem in our 1950 era home in Massachusetts.

If you do need to run a cable for a PoE device, (1) DO NOT run the cable outside without a cover, e.g. plastic cable channel, because the sheathing on the cable is not designed for exterior applications. (2) Drilling any hole through a wall obviously creates an opportunity for a water leak. First make sure your drill won't damage pipes or electric cables hidden inside the wall. The space under a window generally eliminates pipe runs, and you can detect live wiring with a 'stud finder' that includes an electricity sensor.` The cable should turn down when it exits the exterior surface of the wall, and the hole must be thoroughly sealed, e.g. with DAP 230 (available at Home Depot.) (3) Interior runs of ethernet cable do not need to be in metal surface mount cable channels, but this may improve the appearance if you need to run cable along a wall. Another option is to gently remove the floor molding and run the cable behind the molding, in a channel cut in the drywall, e.g. with a multitool or hand saw.

I hope this is helpful.