There's Gold in Them There Walls
Savvy installers and integrators are leveraging the communications bonanza that residential structured wiring provides.
By Brian Ploskina&000;&000;
For more than a decade, builders have contracted with integrators to wire homes with next-generation cabling capable of delivering high-speed internet, high-definition television, whole home audio and more.
According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), nearly one million homes were built with structured wiring inside them last year. But most of the structured cabling cans that hold the components for home entertainment and security are half-empty, says Mark Cerasuolo, director of brand development for Leviton Integrated Networking and Controls. In the basement, he says, you'll find "large enclosures with fairly basic systems like voice, data and sometimes video, which leaves a lot of space to go back and equip those homes with next-generation technology."
Out of all the technologies home builders offer their customers, structured wiring is tops at 82 percent, and more than half of builders offer it as a standard option, regardless of the size of the home, according to CEA. Of course, the higher-end the home, the more likely the owner will be offered structured wiring.
"Structured wiring is closer to being the norm today than not," observes Dave Hanchette, vice president of marketing for On-Q/Legrand. "It has a lot to do with the expectations of the home." It's quite a departure when one considers structured wiring was only going into five percent of new homes just over a decade ago, he added.
WHAT IS STRUCTURED WIRING?
In that time, structured wiring as a category has changed some. However, most installers either comply with or draw their expertise from the Telecommunications Industry Association standard known as TIA-570A. "Grade 1" of the spec is the most popular configuration. It calls for:
- a centralized communications center—usually an enclosed box
- two Category 5 (or Category 6) cables, and