Getting ready to rewire my house. It?s been patched in over the years. Cable phone and network. Should I use a central STRUCTURED wiring box? Or just make all the types of runs to the nearest junction location? I?m leaning towards the central box, but which one do I purchase? Are there any problems with RF between all cables? Just because there all in one box.
Almost every cabling system manufacturer I know of has a residential system these days, and they all revolve around a box that houses patch panels and other central components, and will mount inside the wall where you have 16" between the studs. Some are narrower than 16" but generally not wider than 16" (or 14? to 15" with flanges that sit on the studs to be exact).
Home Depot carries Leviton's boxes and somebody else?s (I forgot the other brand), so does Lowe?s and any other decent hardware store that deals with low voltage wiring. And then, there is always online suppliers. Smarthome.com is one, although their prices are sometimes not that cheap. Google for "home cabling", you'll find dozens of sources.
On a side note: your patch panel does not have to be always enclosed in a box, although it is a great idea to keep it away from kids and other disturbances ;-)
There is always electromagnetic coupling between any two cables with electrical current running, but in this case it is negligible, so don't worry about it. There types of applications co-exist rather nicely in huge data centers where there are hundreds of cables coming into the same enclosure (a bigger one, of course), and it usually does not create any considerable problem. Not in residential environment, anyways.
I bought 2 Leviton's 280 enclosures at HD and put them in a closet just for my automation. Really recommend that you run PVC from the boxes to the attic and then so that it is above the installation. You will expand over the years and so put in extra PVC now. Just tape over it until you need it. I ran 2 2" and 2 1" PVC from each box to the attic. Much easier and cheaper to do while the walls are open. Don't forget to ground the boxes to the house common ground. I left one set of studs in between the boxes and run a
1" PVC in between them in case I needed to link something. Also, below each box put a empty double gang box 18" off the floor with the back cut out or open in case you need to expand from the box to an outlet. You can put a blank cover plate on it until you may need it. Also, make sure you buy the power strip that goes in each box so that you'll have power. I have 24 phone, 24 lan, and 24 TV connections in the house realizing that all are not used at the same time. Using OmniPro II for automation/security. All goes to/from the boxes through the ducting and nothing comes out the front of the box.