>Would you recommend Cat 5e or just plain Cat 5 cables for a home/small business network?
CAT 5 is obviously better than CAT 5, but it makes no difference in the operation of a 100BASE-TX network. Most of the cable I see now is CAT 5e and it costs about the same as CAT 5.
>Would you recommend the 568A or the 568B wiring standard?
I use 586A just because it is the preferred standard, but it makes no difference in the operation of the network. 568B is an acceptable alternative.
>I use straight-thru cables wired for 568B, would it make a difference if I used 568A for all other wires?
No, they can be mixed. The same standard must be used at both ends of the cable for a straight-thru cable.
>Should I have a face plate in between the wires going to my router, or should I just have the wires comming out of the wall terminate in a male receptical?
I would run them straight to the router in a small network. It costs less and there are fewer things to break. Receptacles, wall jacks, are female. Plugs are male. The birds and bees of network cables… Larry