Since we first moved into this house — I’ve wanted to ceiling mount a Wi-Fi access point on the 2nd floor. But getting a network cable to the attic was challenging, so instead I opted for a Unifi UAP-AC-IW in the upstairs living room.

It’s time to do it right, but I’m not running just one. My earlier Wi-Fi mapping revealed poor 5 GHz coverage in the kid’s rooms, so I’m running two CAT6 cables — for two ceiling mounted Wi-Fi access points.

To have the option of running more CAT6 to rooms on the 2nd floor later — I’m including a 10 Gbit fiber as well 😎

And as my previous runs — no visible cables.

Table of contents

The plan

I broke the plan into two parts; getting from the basement to a closet on the 2nd floor, and from there; up into the attic.

To the closet

This is the easy part, I’ve explained in some previous posts how there is a cavity alongside the basement stairwell, and that the wall towards the living room is partly hollow.

Wooden beam on concrete foundation
Wooden beam on concrete foundation

As I have done with a few network runs already; I can just run the conduit in this cavity, and up inside the wall. And, as luck would have it — it’s possible to get from inside the wall, into the closet above. Below the floor boards of the 2nd floor closet, there is an opening into the wall below.

Looking for openings with the fish tape
Looking for openings with the fish tape

I found this out by sticking a fish tape down an opening below the floor boards in the closet, and — using a mirror and a flashlight looking up inside the wall, I could see it from the basement stairwell.

Fish tape visible inside hollow wall
Fish tape visible inside hollow wall

To the attic

Getting from the 2nd floor closet to the attic, was more challenging…

Door to 2nd floor closet
Door to 2nd floor closet

The 2nd floor has a partly pitched roof, so it’s not possible to simply drill between the 2nd floor and attic. I had to find a way of running the conduit inside the pitched subroof.

Metal conduit in 2nd floor closet
Metal conduit in 2nd floor closet

I did notice something interesting; there was a metal conduit going from the closet…

Metal conduit from closet, going to the attic
Metal conduit from closet, going to the attic

…that I was able to locate in the attic.

Cutout in subroof for metal conduit, in closet ceiling
Cutout in subroof for metal conduit, in closet ceiling

Next to this conduit, in the closet — was a notch cut out in the subroof, and it looked like there was space available for another conduit.

Fish tape in pilot hole in beam between rafters
Fish tape in pilot hole in beam between rafters

But, a beam between the rafters in the attic blocked my view. So the only way was to drill a pilot hole and use the fish tape. The fish tape made it through and I could feel it next to the metal conduit in the closet ceiling.

22 mm hole in beam between rafters
22 mm hole in beam between rafters

Feeling more confident — I widened the pilot hole to 22 mm, enough to get my flexible conduit through.

Flexible conduit with threaded tape
Flexible conduit with threaded tape

But, being flexible — I wasn’t able to push it all the way down to the opening in the closet ceiling. So I cut the conduit and inserted a long threaded rod inside to make it rigid.

Flexible conduit visible from 2nd floor closet
Flexible conduit visible from 2nd floor closet

After some trial and error; I was finally able to push it all the way through, making it visible in the opening in the closet ceiling.

Flexible conduit pulled into 2nd floor closet
Flexible conduit pulled into 2nd floor closet

From there — I was able to grab it and gently pull it down.

Piece of flexible conduit in the attic
Piece of flexible conduit in the attic

Now I had a piece of conduit from the attic to the closet 😃

The conduit

Alright — time to get this conduit all the way from the attic, to the basement 👍

Flexible conduits duct taped together
Flexible conduits duct taped together

I duct taped the conduit spool to the short piece going through to the closet.

Flexible conduit pulled into 2nd floor closet
Flexible conduit pulled into 2nd floor closet

Pulling carefully; I was able to get the spool through 😃

Flexible conduit in 2nd floor hallway
Flexible conduit in 2nd floor hallway

I removed the duct taped piece of conduit, and pulled a long length of conduit out.

Shelves in 2nd floor closet
Shelves in 2nd floor closet

To run the conduit through the closet; I drilled through all the shelves.

Flexible conduits in cavity around basement stairwell
Flexible conduits in cavity around basement stairwell

Under the floor boards in the closet; I lowered the conduit down in to the hollow wall, where it emerged in the cavity in the basement stairwell — joining conduits from previous network runs.

Flexible conduits going into cable duct
Flexible conduits going into cable duct

Running inside the cavity, around the basement stairwell — the conduit ends in the cable duct I previously installed.

Flexible conduit fastened in 2nd floor closet
Flexible conduit fastened in 2nd floor closet

In the closet, I fastened the conduit to the wall with clamps.

Flexible conduit fastened in 2nd floor closet
Flexible conduit fastened in 2nd floor closet

And made a cutout in a floor board, so the conduit just neatly disappears down through the floor. I am still able to lift the boards, should I need access later 🙂

Flexible conduit fastened to a ceiling joist in attic
Flexible conduit fastened to a ceiling joist in attic

In the attic; I fastened the conduit to a ceiling joist, and put the insulation back. I tried to lay the conduit with a slight downward angle, to not trap any water. I don’t think condensation will be a problem, as I’m going to seal the end when the cables are pulled.

Condensation can happen when warm humid air flows to a colder environment and can no longer hold its water. But since the conduit will be sealed, there will be no airflow, and thus no condensation.

Flexible conduit in attic
Flexible conduit in attic

I didn’t fasten the conduit any further for now — to make it easier to pull the cables later.

Network cabinet

10" 4U wall cabinet, from Toten
10" 4U wall cabinet, from Toten

I bought a 10" 4U wall cabinet from Toten — to mount in the attic.

Keystone patch panel and MikroTik CSS610-8G-2S+IN switch in 4U cabinet
Keystone patch panel and MikroTik CSS610-8G-2S+IN switch in 4U cabinet

Inside; a keystone patch panel, and shelf with a MikroTik CSS610-8G-2S+IN switch.

Wall cabinet mounted in the attic
Wall cabinet mounted in the attic

Then I installed the cabinet in the attic, behind a support beam — where it would be out of the way.

Pulling the cables

Time to pull the CAT6 cables and fiber! I got my wife’s help with this, pushing on the cables while pulling on the fish tape is the best way in my experience.

Fish tape poking out of flexible conduit
Fish tape poking out of flexible conduit

The plan was to pull and push the cables down from the attic to the basement, letting gravity do some of the work. So, first I pushed the fish tape up the conduit from the basement.

Fiber — on top of MikroTik CSS610-8G-2S+IN switch
Fiber — on top of MikroTik CSS610-8G-2S+IN switch

Then, before doing anything else — I tested the fiber to make sure it worked. Pulling a broken fiber would have sucked big time. The fiber worked, so we continued…

Two spools of CAT6 and fiber, going into flexible conduit
Two spools of CAT6 and fiber, going into flexible conduit

I fastened two CAT6 cables and the fiber, to the fish tape. I threaded the CAT6 spools on a stick suspended between two chairs. Then we got started. I pushed, and my wife pulled on the fish tape from the basement.

CAT6 cables, fiber, and fish tape in the basement
CAT6 cables, fiber, and fish tape in the basement

There was some resistance, but it went surprisingly easy, and like magic; the cables appeared out of the conduit in the basement 😃

Two CAT6 and fiber, taped together
Two CAT6 and fiber, taped together

Stacking the CAT6 and fiber correctly was very important.

Fiber duplex LC connector in 20 mm flexible conduit
Fiber duplex LC connector in 20 mm flexible conduit

The duplex LC fiber connector is pretty big, and only fits through the 20 mm conduit by itself, not together with any of the CAT6 cables.

Two CAT6 and fiber in 20 mm flexible conduit
Two CAT6 and fiber in 20 mm flexible conduit

But the two CAT6 cables and the fiber has more than enough room in the conduit.

Two CAT6 and fiber, taped together — tied with string to fish tape
Two CAT6 and fiber, taped together — tied with string to fish tape

I didn’t want the fish tape to pull directly on the LC fiber connector. So I tied a piece of string to the fish tape and taped around it, securing the CAT6 cables, and fiber. I was a bit worried that it might come loose during the pull — luckily it didn’t 🙂

Cables and fiber in cable duct
Cables and fiber in cable duct

I continued the cables through the duct, along the basement ceiling, and into my home office.

Backside of homelab rack
Backside of homelab rack

With the fiber already terminated; I connected it to my homelab rack, and the attic switch.

MikroTik CSS610-8G-2S+IN switch in attic wall cabinet
MikroTik CSS610-8G-2S+IN switch in attic wall cabinet

10 GbE between the homelab rack and the attic, WIN! 😎

Flexible conduit in attic — with two CAT6 and fiber
Flexible conduit in attic — with two CAT6 and fiber

After the cables were pulled through — I finished mounting the conduit and put the insulation in the attic back.

Flexible conduit in attic, coming out of insulation
Flexible conduit in attic, coming out of insulation

I also added a passageway for easier access to the network cabinet, and the rest of the attic.

Terminating

All that’s left now is the final step — terminating the CAT6 cables.

CAT6 pairs in tool-free keystone jack
CAT6 pairs in tool-free keystone jack

As before; I used tool-free keystone jacks.

Testing CAT6 with Fluke MicroScanner²
Testing CAT6 with Fluke MicroScanner²

It’s always a good feeling when the network tester shows the termination is done right 👍

Keystones, patch cable, and switch in attic wall cabinet
Keystones, patch cable, and switch in attic wall cabinet

I added some RJ45 keystone jacks, for the Wi-Fi access points, removed the PoE injector and instead patched it to the newly terminated CAT6. So now the access point is powered by my PoE switch in the homelab rack, with a UPS and everything.

Now I just need to get the second Wi-Fi access point installed.

Keystone patch panel in basement home office
Keystone patch panel in basement home office

In the other end, my home office, I mounted the RJ45…

Fiber keystones in patch panel
Fiber keystones in patch panel

…and fiber keystones in the patch panel.

Done and done

I started this project back in August last year, so it has taken me a while to finish. I’ve been using the fiber since then — but it wasn’t until recently, when I mounted a new Wi-Fi access point upstairs, that I really needed the CAT6 cables.

But it’s nice to finally close this network run project 🙂