In July of 2000, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) changed
the minimum requirements for telephone wiring in new construction.
Wiring cables are classified by categories according to use and
capacity as determined by the Electric Industries Association (EIA) and
the Telecommunication Industry Association (TIA). These associations
have also developed standards for cabling. Category 3 wire was chosen
by FCC as the minimum standard.
However, many consumers have stronger networking needs. They may
want to transfer more data faster, interconnect computer system
components, remotely control home security or HVAC systems, or perhaps
increase their video entertainment capabilities.
Structured wiring systems have become increasingly popular to meet
those consumer demands. These systems often use a Category 5 (or
better) cable for voice and data and RG6 coaxial cable for video. Fiber
optic cable is also available, but many regard the installation as more
difficult and expensive.
Wiring installed in the home may not be the limiting factor in terms
of data transfer. While utility and cable companies are constantly
upgrading their systems, not all areas of the country may offer high
speed internet. Because changing the wiring system in a home after
initial construction may be difficult and expensive, planning ahead and
installing a better system may be a wise choice.