How To Choose A Structured Wiring Panel

by Jeff Fisher

Many people call us asking what parts are best to purchase when considering a structured wire panel. This is a pretty vague question considering that there are so many choices out there, so we will attempt to narrow the choices to the most popular items purchased from a few vendors.

We first must make an educated guess that you have just built and wired your house with a boatload of wire and/or are considering wiring a house using structured wire. Most of our customers are wiring their homes using Structured wire, (2 RG6 quad shielded coax cables + 2 CAT5E's) from a central location, master bedroom, closet, garage or basement to all major rooms in their house.

We sell Open House, Channel Vision, Leviton & FutureSmart, (Now Honeywell). We have a Letterman like top 10 list of things that our customers say, and #2 on the list is, "I should have bought a bigger structured wire panel." #1 is: "I know I'm forgetting something" Anyway, our point is, people always underestimate the size of their panel. Keep in mind that managing cable itself takes up allot of room in the panel. Most of our customers are putting their networking gear in the structured wire panel as well. This means, cable or DSL modems, Routers, switches and sometimes camera modulators and other auxiliary equipment.

The larger 36" 38" 42" or 50 inch panels are recommended for most installations with 8 or more structured wire drops. 4 to 6 rooms a 19" , 28, or 36 inch can is recommended. The most wire we've seen put into a 50" Channel Vision can is 16 structured wire drops. This was accomplished only by someone who was versed in excellent cable management techniques. Open house is popular as they offer lots of marketing materials, diagrams and retail packaging that is consumer friendly. Their 8 way RF amplifiers tend to be more expensive but they are very high quality and offer IR injection capabilities for controlling gear around the house. Open house is manufactured by Channel Plus.

The Can: The Open House is only available in 2 sizes. A 36" and 18".

Of course we always recommend the 36" to our customers. There are plain metal lids and a cool deeper hinged lockable lid that is very popular.

36" Can H336
18" Can H218A
36" Metal lid HC336
18" Metal Lid HC236A
36" Plastic Deep HDC36A
18" Plastic Deep AC outlet for the bottom of the 36" only use the Leviton
47605ACN or 47605ACS AC for the 18" can use H291
Phone Distribution:
The most popular way to distribute phones is to us a bridging telco module. This means whatever phone numbers comes in to the panel gets copied to all other locations.

H616 1x6 (4 lines to six locations.) If you have more that 6 locations, purchase the expansion module H618 which adds an additional 8 locations for a total of 14. Add as many H618"s as you need.

For those in the Midwest that my be prone to spikes & surges over the phone lines, Open House offers a module H611 to protect against such things.

Open House

Open Houses Video Distribution consists of a basic bi-directional 1x 6 amp model H816BID. If you need more outputs they also have an 8 out unit that offers infared injection capabilities that allow you to control TiVos & DVD players from other parts of the house.

The H270 Grid Manager is a great device to help with cable management and allows all the H628 & H616, H619 & H618 to rest on top allowing cable to flow underneath.

Quick shopping list
H336 Can
HD360 Deep Lid
H628 8 Data patch panel
H619 Phone Module
H270 Grid Manager
47605ACN AC receptacle
C0213 Spare RG6 Terminations


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