[Originally posted Friday 29 Aug 2008; corrected to fix formatting and typos.]

While flipping through the latest issue of “Cabling and Installation Maintenance” magazine (setting aside all questions of taste in reading material), I noticed a fairly neat product: CATV coax to Category 7A patch cables.

Apparently, the new (draft) ISO/IEC Cat 7A cabling standard has so much available bandwidth — supposedly useful to more than 1GHz — that you can run analog cable TV over it without anything more than a simple balun to convert the 75-ohm unbalanced coax connection to the 100-ohm balanced one used by Cat 7. This isn’t IPTV or digital compression, it’s just running the analog RF signal right over the balanced network wiring.

That’s pretty impressive — in comparison, Cat 5e UTP wiring is only useful up to around 100MHz, and Cat 6 up to 250. And it opens up some neat possibilities for home wiring. Rather than having to decide which rooms you want to run coax to for cable TV, and which rooms to run Cat 5/6 to for data and phone, you could just run one type of cable everywhere. If you want cable TV, just hook it up (in the wiring closet / basement) to the incoming cable line; if you want data, plug it into a switch; if you want POTS, into a punchblock.

Having just spent far too much time screwing around with home wiring, that sounds like a pretty nice proposition.