Pre-Wiring Considerations

Pre-wiring guidelines
Q:  I’m building a house and I’m wondering what kind of wiring I should have put in to accommodate an antenna system, as well as my other technology needs. 
A: We do offer pre-wiring services. However, we do understand if you’ve already got an electrical contractor you’re working with. It would be best to contact us so we can determine what antenna setup would work best for your location, where it will be located (attic, roof, tower) and what pre-wiring options would best serve your needs.
General considerations:
-Ensure that RG-6 or RG-6QS coax is used for all in-wall runs (NOT RG-59).
-Black (U/V-resistant) cable MUST be used for all outdoor cable runs. White (non-UV-resistant) cable quickly degrades when exposed to sunlight.
-All cable runs should be one continuous piece of cabling running directly back to the distribution point – NO IN-WALL SPLICES AND NO IN-WALL SPLITTERS!!!
-If you want both satellite TV and antenna service simultaneously, run two sets of coax to each location.
-All coax runs should have quality compression connectors installed, NOT twist-on or hex crimp connectors! (Better yet – leave the coax un-terminated and have us do the terminations).
-Run an appropriate-sized conduit between the utility room/distribution point and the intersystem bonding termination outside (especially important if the utility room does not back up to any exterior walls). This will greatly streamline the installation of various services, including potential future fiber optic service.
Distribution point

It’s best to have all coax, Ethernet and phone wiring converging at a central distribution point, often located in a basement or utility room. Structured wiring panels and equipment racks are sometimes employed as well. If the distribution point is in a utility room with concrete walls, consider installing a plywood panel on which equipment, shelving and cable tie-downs can be mounted. We recommend installing a power strip/surge protector or uninterruptible power supply near the distribution point, in order to accommodate the numerous devices powering today’s home IT & A/V infrastructure.

A list of items that might be installed a the distribution point (Items with an “*” require a power outlet):

TV Antenna:
-Ground block
-*Preamplifier power supply
-*Distribution amplifier (if required)
-*Avant X programmable amplifier (if required)
-Coax splitters
-Rotator wire splice point (if required)
-*Over-The-Air DVR/Network-connected tuners

FM Antenna:
-Ground block
-*Preamplifier power supply
-*Distribution amplifier (if required)
-Coax splitters
-TV/FM diplexer (if required)

Satellite TV:
-Ground block
-*Satellite LNB power supply
-*Multiswitch and power supply (if required)
-Coax splitters-Antenna/Satellite diplexers (if required)

Cable TV:
-Ground block
-*Powered splitter/Coax splitters (if required)

Cell Signal Booster:
-Ground block
-*Cell Booster unit
-Coax splitter (if required)

-*VoIP/Cable Phone interface (if required)
-Phone wiring punch block

-*Cable/DSL/Satellite Internet/Fiber/Satellite Internet modem
-*Ethernet switch (if required)
-*Power over Ethernet (PoE) power supplies (if required)
-*Network Attached Storage (NAS) server
-*Over-The-Air DVR system

Attic Antennas: Run a coax line from the distribution point to the attic. Two lines would be preferable if you’re also interested in an antenna for FM radio. A multi-antenna, Avant X system may require up to 5 coax cables (up to 4 for TV antennas and 1 for FM). For maximum flexibility, a conduit tube (‘smurf tube’) can be run between the attic and distribution point. 
(Please note: While attic antenna systems can receive some signal through asphalt shingles, plywood and wood/vinyl siding, they absolutely will not work with metal roofing, foil-backed insulation or stucco/steel siding.  If you plan on using these materials, the antenna needs to be mounted outdoors, away from metal materials.)

Outdoor Antennas: One option would be to run coax AND a ground wire (#17CCS, #10 Copper or #8 Aluminum) to the attic and/or up through an attic vent to the roof, close to where the attic antenna is to be installed. Ensure black (U/V-resistant) cable is used. Alternatively, a conduit tube (‘smurf tube’) can be run between the attic and distribution point.

Another option would be to run coax from the distribution point to the exterior of the house, near the utility entrances and Intersystem Bonding Termination block. Two for FM & TV antennas. A multi-antenna, Avant X system may require up to 5 coax cables (up to 4 for TV antennas and 1 for FM).
Rotor-controlled Antennas: The rotor system requires an 18/3 cable (sometimes used as thermostat wire or XLR microphone cable). This should be run from the distribution point alongside the coax to the antenna and from the distribution point to any place(s) you might want to control box located. If desired, runs from multiple rooms can be spliced together so the controller can moved from room-to-room.
Satellite TV/Satellite Internet: Run coax and grounding (#17CCS, #10 Copper or #8 Aluminum) from the distribution point to either to an attic/out of an attic vent or have a flexible conduit tube (‘smurf tube’) installed between the attic and distribution point. Coax/ground can also be run to a location near the utility entrances and Intersystem Bonding Termination block.  At least one coax per service (check with your provider on this). It is also useful to have a site survey done beforehand to determine where the dish will need to be mounted in order to receive signal. We have the tools to survey for all available satellite services.

Starlink Satellite Internet: The Starlink dish comes with a pre-attached 100′ Ethernet cable, which much be connected to the power supply unit. The pre-attached Ethernet cable has large ferrite choke beads, which require drilling at least a 7/8″ hole. We recommend purchasing a Cable Routing Kit with the dish, which includes cable grommets and the like. It is also useful to have a site survey done beforehand to determine where the dish will need to be mounted. This can be achieved with the Starlink app on your phone. For more information, see our Starlink page.

Cable Service: Run coax from the distribution point to the utility entrances and Intersystem Bonding Termination.
Fiber Internet: Most fiber providers convert the fiber to Ethernet at the demarcation point. Run a Cat 5 (or better) Ethernet line from the distribution point to the utility entranced and Intersystem Bonding Termination block.   
Coax outlets: It’s best to have coax cabling run to all locations you might possibly want to install a TV set: Living room, den, office, garage, bedrooms, etc. Additionally, you may want to have jacks installed on more than one wall of a large room, so that a TV set can be installed in various locations without having to run cable half-way around the room.
Above-fireplace TV mounts: You’ll want 3-4 cables run for above-fireplace TV locations:
-Power outlet (to power the set – preferably a recessed outlet box).
-HDMI jack (run in-wall to a nearby HDMI jack, for connection to disc player, game console, receiver or other components).
-Coax jack (for direct OTA tuning on the TV. We often see this omitted, necessitating the addition of an external tuner box, connected to in-wall HDMI jack).
-Ethernet jack (wired Internet/network connection, for best streaming performance-optional)
Alternatively, a conduit tube may be run to a nearby location where equipment is to be situated.

Home networking and Whole-House WiFi: For optimal WiFi speed and coverage, we recommend having a WiFi access point no further than ~30ft from any place in the house. Additionally, HVAC ducts and other metal objects can cause dead spots in WiFi coverage with a single access point. For this reason, we recommend using 2-3 separate access points located throughout the house. Make sure to have several Ethernet lines installed for this purpose, as wired Ethernet gives much better results than WiFi-to-WiFi repeaters or network-over-power line systems. Wireless routers can be installed in cabinets, closets or utility rooms. On-ceiling/On-wall Powered Ethernet Wireless access points (usually the size/profile of a smoke alarm) are ideal for many locations throughout the house.
Additionally, you may want consider having Ethernet lines installed at TV locations or places a desktop computer/home office might be located.
Detached garages/outbuildings:
-For maximum flexibility, consider running conduit to out-buldings.
-Any buried cable should be explicitly rated for direct burial.
-TV cable should be RG-11 type and NOT RG-6 (especially when over 200ft in length). 
-Ethernet cabling is limited in distance to 328ft (100M). Beyond that distance, consider Ethernet extenders, Ethernet-to-fiber or point-to-point WiFi links.

Cell Booster Systems:
Before building, you will want to consider whether a cell booster system may be necessary to ensure un-interrupted call quality and fast data speeds. 
The first step would be to take out your phone, walk around the property and observe how strong the service is. If it’s below 2-3 bars outside, you may want to consider a booster system.

If you plan on using metal/stucco siding, or foil-backed insulation, which block cell signal, you will definitely want to consider one.

Cell boosters require specialized, low-loss cabling, such as RG-11 or LMR-400 (depending on the system) and an outdoor antenna. Additionally, one or more indoor antennas need to be mounted in specific locations to ensure even coverage – also using specialized, low-loss cabling. 

If you are considering a cell booster, please contact us. We will need to perform a site survey, review blueprints to optimize antenna placement and make accommodations for cabling installation. Additionally, we can use our test equipment to determine which cell carrier offers the strongest signal at your location.

Fixed Wireless Internet: At some rural locations, Fixed Wireless Internet service is the best option available. For MN residents, we have prepared a list of Fixed Wireless providers (by county). We recommend contacting the provider(s) in your area to determine if they serve your location. They may have also have to perform a site survey.

Reception of fixed wireless signals is strictly line-of-sight. At some locations, a roof-mounted antenna may be all that’s needed. Other locations may require a remotely-mounted antenna, tower or a relay system. We can assist in installation, if necessary.

Most Fixed Wireless providers use a receiving antenna that connects to Ethernet, paired with an Ethernet Power inserter (PoE) located indoors, so you will need to run black (UV-resistant) Ethernet between the distribution point and the mounting site. Running a flexible conduit tube from the distribution point the attic is an alternative (the cable can be run through a roof vent and through the conduit)