Household Voice, Data & Security: How to Install Your System

organize computer cords

Peek under any computer desk or behind the armoire that holds audio and video equipment, and you'll likely see a tangle of wires and cables. Stapled to the baseboard and popping out of holes drilled into the floor, such wires have been added over the years to meet the demands of new types of communication. These include speaker wire, phone lines, coaxial cable, and maybe the recent addition of high-speed, high-capacity Category 5 or 5e cable. These lines make up the other wiring found in your home -- low-voltage communication lines.

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Household networking
Taming the tangle is easier with newly available control panels and outlets designed specifically for household use. They help you wire your house for the present -- and future -- communication technology. They help ensure that bad runs or poor connections don't compromise the quality of signal. In addition they allow you to alter your communication network easily.

The heart of the system is a control panel installed in a central location. Incoming phone, cable, and satellite lines connect to it. Out of it run telephone, data, and video lines to various areas of the house. By using an attic, crawlspace, or basement, you can run Category 5 (and the higher-capacity Category 5e) and coaxial lines to outlets designed for phone, computer, fax, and video hookups.

This section shows you how to install just such a system. If your needs are more modest, it also shows how to extend a phone line, run coaxial cable, or install a wall speaker.

Fire and break-in protection
A growing number of municipalities require that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors be wired in a series so all units sounda warning. This section explains how to install such devices. In addition it explains how to plan and install a wide range of interior and exterior security fixtures and how to shop around for professionally installed and monitored security systems.

Wish-list Projects

Making these dreams come true is simpler than you thought -- print these instructions to begin!