Remotely purchasing a new construction spec home and I’m confused

Hi All. I hope someone can help me. I am purchasing a new construction home remotely (it is in another state) and don’t have easy access to the builder to ask questions. Upgrade options included “RG6 cable with Ethernet outlet” and “CAT-5 phone outlets.” I saw “Ethernet” and thought, cool, I want one in every room. “Phone outlet”? Nah, don’t need that. The house is small, 1100 sq ft with 2 bedrooms and an office. It is rectangular shaped (26x56). The office is small (7x7) off the entry at the front of the house. The bedrooms are in the back of the house and the great room is in the middle. I added four “RG6 cable with Ethernet outlets” ($150 each). I did not add any CAT-5 phone lines ($130 each). Did I add on the wrong thing? I see a “Leviton” panel in the laundry room in the model home pics but I’m not sure what that is. Do I need to bite the bullet and pay a $300 change fee to select CAT-5 phone lines? I tried to research “RG6 Ethernet cables” and nothing comes up, only coax. Is the RG6 Ethernet cable only for streaming TV? I will be telecommuting 100% when I move so a wired connection for computing is essential. I feel so dense! Thank you in advance for any guidance you can provide.

RG-6 is TV cable, you want the Cat-5 or Cat-6 with RJ45 ports (Ethernet) not RJ11 (phone). You will want at lest one RG-6 for the cable modem (assuming cable) and one for each TV.

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Ask if they can exchange the Cat5 phone for Cat6 ethernet. Its the same work and $10 more cost for cable…

If not you can always replace the phone jacks and with ethernet. Cat5 is still good and much better then relying on WiFi only.

Only worrry is the quality of work, cables should not be kinked or pinched during installation. You should test the wiring before accespting the house and have them replace the wires. Tell them in advance to pay attention to installation because it will requuire a lot of work if a wire needs to be replaced…

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I built a new home 12 years ago and became very familiar with all this.

You don’t need the phone lines separately. But you will want Cat-6 Ethernet lines with Ethernet jacks (RJ45). You can use the Cat-6 as phone lines later if you want.

I don’t understand the RG6 with Ethernet jacks—that doesn’t make sense. As michaelpporter said, RG6 is coaxial television cabling, not Ethernet cabling.

The Leviton panel is a central location where wiring from all of the TV, phone, and Ethernet leads, and where you can put routers, switches, phone splitters, and the like. Leviton products actually clip in to the panel. But I found that the Leviton products are not great, and I ended up using other devices. The Leviton panel that I have is still useful for connecting my devices to the wiring throughout the house. Info on the Leviton panel:

I installed (did a lot of the work myself, with tools that my generous electrician let me use) empty conduit in the walls of my house with empty outlet boxes and blank wall plates on every wall throughout the house. This lets me add wiring very easily anywhere I need it—it’s a piece of cake to run new wiring through the conduit. I learned to make the connections and bought tools at Home Depot.

There is also (or at least used to be) a four-in-one cable with two RG6 cables and two Cat-6 cables. The idea is to run that cable to each room, or each wall, and then you have some flexibility in the future on what to use from that cable. That can get a little expensive, though.

I’m happy to answer more specific questions. Don’t know if there’s a direct message function on Discourse, but if there is, feel free to contact me.

Good luck!

Matt P

Ethernet used to use coax, but that’s horribly obsolete these days.

Thank you Matt. I am going to see if I can speak with someone with the builder who can explain to me what the RG6 cable with ethernet outlet is. Hopefully the ethernet is Cat6 and they just left off that detail in the description.

Thank you MacExpert. Clearly based on the feedback received from you all there is no RG6 ethernet cable. I’m hoping it’s just a matter of the description being incomplete and the outlet contains both a RG6 coax and Cat6 ethernet outlets. If not, I’ll see if I can get some Cat 6 wiring installed. My understanding is that the walls aren’t up yet so it shouldn’t be that big a deal.

Thank you Michael. That is what I thought re the RG6. Will see if I can speak with the builder to clarify what exactly I paid for!

Thanks Chris! That gives me hope that the description on the upgrade list was incomplete. I’m going to see if I can get someone at the builder to provide me with more information.

You need to verify the specs on the RG6 with Ethernet and see if is actually coax and cat5/6 to the same outlet. I have seen that done in some spec houses. If that is the case then you are good. I would put one in every room that might have a tv or computer.

Assuming that a large part of the MPU community are “cable cutters” I see why the consensus is for not installing the RG6 coax.

However, keep in mind that if you are selling the house (never say never!) it might be a major drawback for potential buyers not to have their trusted cable outlets in every room.

Adding Ethernet throughout the house can be considered added value removing the coax a distractor.

Also, consider running Cat 6 to some well-chosen locations at the ceiling or high up a wall for WiFi Access points. No power needed since these things are fed with POE.


Thanks Glen. I’m feeling encouraged reading the replies.

Macexpert, that is a great idea re the cat 6 in the ceiling. We have that at work but I never thought of doing it at home.

Although you probably don’t want it, you can use RG6 for Ethernet, and it is faster than the old 2 megabit/second coax, 10BASE-2, of the distant past (still some running through my house but no longer used) which used RG58.

In our current setup, RG6 carries both TV and wired Ethernet to our family room. It’s called MoCA, Multimedia over Coax Alliance. MoCA 2.0 is 500Mb/sec, and bonded MoCA 2.0 is 1Gb/sec. It can let you run Ethernet over existing or new cable TV wiring.

Make sure you specify Ethernet jacks (RJ45). I had specified CAT-5 throughout my new house (two outlets in every room). The electrician used the correct cable but put regular phone jacks (RJ11) on each outlet. I ended up redoing the jacks myself.

Hmmm. I wonder if it’s the MoCA that they’re installing. Thanks for the info. I received a lot of helpful information from everyone and will be reaching out to the builder.

That much I know I did!

Jacie - I doubt that the builder is installing MoCA. MoCA consists of multiple MoCA adapters (one at the point of entry and one at each outlet where you want ethernet), plus coax wiring (RG6). The MoCA adapters are relatively expensive, about $160 for a pair, so that’s why it is unlikely that the builder is installing MoCA.

As others have said, the term “RG cable with ethernet outlet” is at best ambiguous. You should ask the builder exactly what is meant by this. If this means RG6 coax cable PLUS Cat6 ethernet cable to each outlet location, that’s fine - but you should verify this one way or the other.

I had a large new home built in 2003 and paid an “audiovisual” contractor to install one RG6 coax and two ethernet outlets in each room of the house, all wired directly to a central “structure box”. This setup has proved invaluable over the years, as technology advanced and requirements changed. I now have a mesh wi-fi network installed with multiple wi-fi access points, each wi-fi hard-wired by ethernet cable back to the router. The provides for excellent wi-fi performance all over the house for mobile devices, as wi-fi bandwidth is not wasted for the “backhaul” (wi-fi access point connection back to the router). As many devices as possible are connected by ethernet cable - desktop computers, AppleTVs, printers, switches, etc.

One more suggestion: choose a central location in your home to position the router, then run two (or more) ethernet cables to this location from your “structure box” (assuming the structure box is not located in the center of your home. Why? This central location will optimize the router’s wi-fi signal to your home. If you have two ethernet cables wired to this location, you can leave your cable modem in the structure box. One ethernet cable connects the cable modem to the centrally-positioned router, The second ethernet cable connects the router back to a multi-port switch located in your structure box, from which ethernet cables connect to all rooms in your home. Don’t let the position of the structure box (or the place where your cable company terminates your cable connection) dictate the location of your router.

Another suggestion is to run RG-6 Coax cable from your attic, or a suitable location for a rooftop antenna, back to the structure box. This RG-6 coax is for an over-the-air (OTA) TV antenna. You can then connect coax cable directly to a TV, or a Tablo Dual or HD Home Run device to provide OTA TV signal to your local network. A robust ethernet + wi-fi network plus an attic- or roof-mounted TV antenna is a cord-cutter’s dream situation.

Good luck!

Hi Arthur! Thank you for your detailed response and suggestions. I really wish I could just go to the model home and ask these questions myself, but since I am in Hawaii over 2500 miles away I am having to rely on my realtor. She has reached out to the builder for clarification as to what type of ethernet connection they are installing, but I have not heard back yet. Competitors in the area are installing smart home packages in their spec homes, so hopefully my builder is at least on point with the ethernet wiring! There is a Leviton structured enclosure in the center of the home in the laundry room, although I’m not clear as to what exactly will be in it. Thanks again!

Jacie - It’s probably a good thing that a structured enclosure will be installed. This means that all of your coax and ethernet wiring will make a “home run” to this box. Hopefully your cable company will install its cable to this box, or at least to an outside terminal from which a coax cable will run to the structure box.

This Leviton box may be similar to this one:
link to Leviton structure box on Amazon
A box similar to this was installed in my son’s home a couple of years ago.

You may find that your cable modem and router will not fit into this box, so they will need to be mounted outside, maybe on a nearby shelf or surface-mounted on a wall. You would need to run RG6 coax cable and Cat6 ethernet cable as needed to the cable modem and router, either surface-mounted on the wall or behind the wall near the structure box. Whether it fits inside the structure box or not, you should mount the router outside the structure box so the wi-fi signal won’t be blocked. If there is not an ethernet switch provided in the structure box, you will need to buy an inexpensive 4- or 8-port ethernet switch (make sure it’s a gigabit switch) to connect your ethernet wiring. There may be a switch already in the structure box, though.

You mentioned that the Leviton structure box is in the center of the home. That’s good, and you may get adequate wi-fi signal to your entire home from a single wi-fi router access point in this central location. If there are unusual circumstances such as metal stud wall construction, you may need to use a mesh wi-fi system with multiple wi-fi access points.

Back to your original post that mentioned “ethernet phone outlets”. This may mean that the builder installs these phone outlets using ethernet cable (hopefully cat 5e or better) instead of old 4-connector telephone wires. “Ethernet” cables containing 8 wires are commonly used to connect to telephone outlets these days. The connectors for the wires are RJ11 telephone connectors, even though the actual wires are “ethernet” wires. To convert these outlets into true ethernet outlets, simply cut off the telephone connectors (RJ11) and install RJ-45 ethernet connectors using a simple RJ45 crimp tool. If there are “telephone” connections in the structure box, the wires will be connected to a punch-down panel. You could simply pull out the desired wires, install RJ45 ethernet connectors, and the result will be true ethernet wiring. I did this at my home, constructed in 2003, and the result was good - I converted most of the “telephone” wiring to “ethernet” connections because the wires themselves were cat 5e, not old-style telephone cable. If this explanation was not clear, try sending me a message with any questions.

Good luck! Doing your homework and making these arrangements now, before the walls are finished, will make your life much easier after you move in. Aloha!