Wiring internet for Mother-In-Law apartment

graceshanJanuary 11, 2012

We are building a home with a mother-in-law apartment and we are in the wiring phase right now. Since we both work from home we have a network set up within our house. But we'll be renting the MIL to tenants. Since we don't want our tenants on our network (for privacy reasons), how should we set up the wiring so they can have separate internet access? Any suggestions? We have Cat-5, RG-6, and phone lines going in. Thank you for your help.

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As long as the utility wiring terminates at your structure, then CAT5e and RG6 between the structures would allow them to have their own service installed at a termination point on your structure and fed to the MIL structure using the cabling you put in place. They would of course have their own account and pay for the service to the ISP - same as if they wanted a land line or cable television.

If it is someone you are more comfortable with, then you could just patch their CAT5e into a wired LAN port on your router and provide "free internet" to them.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2012 at 7:13PM
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I really appreciate the response. Should the wiring terminate somewhere like our garage? I was reading about cat5 and how it goes from your router's location (I was thinking our home office) to each point you want an outlet and back again whereas the rg6 can just go point to point. I'm having trouble understanding if the termination point is different from the router point. or maybe I'm confused about the whole thing. Our electrician wants me to give him the location of all needed outlets for both cat5 and rg6 and I'm confused as to which the phone lines are attached to as well. Just want to be sure we get it done right....

    Bookmark   January 11, 2012 at 8:57PM
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The wiring usually terminates near your electrical utility meter box since they require access to the same electrical ground bonding.

This is known as the "demarcation point" where the utility wiring ends and your "on-premises" wiring begins.

The way you want to wire is often refereed to as 'home-runs." This means everything coming from one common point (home base) is wired out to the individual wall jacks (bases) including your MIL unit.

For the RG6 it would usually be best to have these feeds come from the demarcation point to the individual wall jacks.

For internet wiring with the CAT5, sometimes you are going wireless as well, you will need the wired/wireless router, after the DSL or cable modem, to be placed in a more central area of the home. In that case, you may wish to have additional CAT5 runs from the router back to the demarcation point. You can then feed back a wired connection from the router to the demarcation point, and from there, to MIL unit.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2012 at 9:40PM
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So the rg6 is straightforward -- just go straight from demarcation point to each individual wall jack. For the cat5 we run from demarcation to the router point and if we want to have a wired network with all our computers we run cat5 from router point to each individual wall jack that we want connected computers to? Then if we want wireless on top of that for cell phones, iPad, etc we can still put a wireless router near our wired one too?
For Mil we just run lines from demarcation point to mil for both rg6 and cat5 correct?

If we want telephone lines we need to put an additional cat5 drop in those locations too, right? Do those drops come from demarcation to wall jacks or from wired router spot to wall jacks?

Sorr for all the questions but I'm getting excited about figuring this all out! Thanks so much :)

    Bookmark   January 11, 2012 at 10:21PM
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You simply treat the MIL apartment as a separate structure with no wiring between it and your home. You can bring the MIL apartment's internal wiring to a convenient point within the structure but that's it. Your tenants would arrange for phone, cable TV, internet, etc.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 12:30AM
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Sorry for the late reply - been caught up with the CES show.

Most routers now provide wireless connectivity as well as wired ports, so it's generally the same router but can be separate.

For telephone, you can just run plain old 4 conductor telephone wire, or if more economical, use the CAT5e and appropriate RJ11 jacks.

While Mike makes a valid point, it appears from your description that MIL structure is an attached unit and and that's what I replied to. (I may have used the term structure a little too loosely here.)

However, even if it is a totally separate building, I would still run the cabling in-between - it provides flexibility down the road if the unit is no longer a rental and used by you instead.

Also, I had a situation before in the California Bay Area where I purchased a home with a detached unit in the backyard. It had it's own address and had to have the city reclassify it so I wasn't required to have, and pay for, separate mandatory water/garbage services. After that, utilities would no longer connect directly to the cottage anymore.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 7:41PM
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