Any home networking wiring experts here?

MagicSpell

one big somb1tch
Albatross 2020 Club Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Jun 18, 2012
Messages
1,534
Reaction score
1,624
Location
Tucson, Az
Handicap
20 ish
I'm looking to take on a task I've been putting off for years - wiring my house for ethernet. I've got wires running through several rooms already but they are just tacked to the floorboards and ceiling which is ugly. I even have a few running from one room through the air vents to another room (ouch!). I don't have a lot of specific tools for wiring but I do have lots of cable. Here is the current layout and considerations that I have to plan for:

1. Due to poor pre-existing coax cabling my cable modem is in my bedroom at the far end of the house (strongest incoming signal is here from a room addition to the house). My router is in my office (old master bedroom before the addition) to give better wifi throughout the house.
2. I've run a 50 ft ethernet cable from the cable modem to the router along the hall. 50 ft is too long but I didn't take the time to shorten the cable and re-terminate it. I then ran another 50 ft cable back from the router to the master bedroom to a four port switch in there to provide wired connections for my TiVo extension, Roku, and any future expansion.
3. In the office I have two additional six port switches. These ports provide connections to several personal network storage devices, two wired computers, my home phone, a TiVo extension box, runs to two bedrooms (these are the ones through the air vents since they are across the hall from the office), and a long run to the living room.
4. In the living room I have an eight port switch with connections for two more network storage devices, the main TiVo, TV, Blu-ray player, and media player.

The house has no basement or crawl space below. I do have a crawl space above the ceiling but it is filled with insulation (the house was built with UFFI which was sprayed throughout the "attic" making it difficult to run much up there after the fact. I no longer use a "conventional" phone so I went to look at the phone wiring. The house was built in 1980 so I was surprised when I looked and found the existing telephone lines at the junction box are four pair twisted (eight wires). This is good news. The bad news is the junction box is on the outside of the house with no power outlets nearby. I'm also not too sure how to tell which connection goes to which phone outlet in the house. Unfortunately when the house was originally built they didn't put a phone outlet in every bedroom (who does that??). Not only that, but they didn't even put a phone outlet in the living room!

Ok, enough of the background. What I'm looking for now are thoughts and ideas for the easiest way to wire the house without a lot of tear out and wall construction. How might I best use the existing phone wiring to at least minimize the cable runs I have to add? Any other options I should consider?
 

PatsFan

Jedi Knight
Albatross 2020 Club Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Mar 28, 2017
Messages
4,815
Reaction score
819
Location
Massachusetts
Handicap
25.7
Quick question why bother wiring the house? Just go with a Mesh network!
 

Reframmellator

Well-known member
Albatross 2020 Club Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Feb 11, 2016
Messages
5,099
Reaction score
1,463
Location
Ballston Lake, NY
Handicap
22.0
Three options:

Powerline ethernet - you can have several satellite units paired off a master which I would put near your router. You just have to be sure you don't have a GFCI or multioutlet power bar between the two units. They go up to "Gigabit" (not quite, but several hundred MBPS) I just upgraded to the TP-Link TL-PA9020P KIT when it was on sale. Downside is you lose an outlet if you plug it into a duplex outlet (one on the unit, but it blocks two on the wall. Dumb design.) Takes minutes to set up. If you can connect this way, just connect your switches to the adapters.

Wireless access point - if you have a second wireless router, you can connect it to the master router by ethernet cable and set up the second router in WAP mode. This is faster than a repeater and is essentially a poor man's mesh network (see below.) You may want wired connections, in which case you may not have enough ports for all of the rooms you want. A combination of this and powerline ethernet may give you what you want. The nice thing about this is that if you or a friend have a relatively recent wireless router sitting idle, this is a very low cost option. The most technically complicated of the three options. Some routers are easier than others to set up in WAP mode. It's likely easier if your router and WAP are the same brand.

Mesh WiFi - these are basically highly integrated master and satellite wireless routers. You set up the master, place the satellites where you want, and you can have up to 8,000 sf of seamless wireless network coverage in minutes. The satellites usually have at least one RJ45 port so you can connect switches. Cost ranges from $200-500, depending upon how much coverage, brand, etc. There is a thread on here about mesh networks. I have not gone that route, but from what I have read, the Netgear Orbi theoretically has a faster network speed because it has something called a dedicated backchannel for communications from the satellites back to the main unit. Other options supposedly use a shared band for backchannel communication.

If I were in your situation, I would look hard at powerline ethernet, supplemented by wireless/WAP. That's basically what I did.
 

kenh

Rats, that one's left. Again.
Albatross 2020 Club Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Dec 11, 2011
Messages
2,199
Reaction score
47
Location
Middle-of, CT
Handicap
short game
Some thoughts...

Your four-pair wiring is definitely not rated for data since 70's-grade copper was 10+ years before high speed data communications over consumer-grade twisted pair was even seriously considered. (10BaseT wasn't standardized until 1990, before that Ethernet was Co-ax and AUI).

Wiring houses with physical lines is IMO a losing proposition unless you need NSA-level security, run commercial-grade gear like some of my friends with equipment racks or you have performance requirements beyond what wireless can deliver. As you noted, it's also a PITA running wire in most homes since there are few good places to run cables and you really need construction-graded cable (plenum-rated) to meet code anyway. Also, frankly, the number of devices that even include a physical network port is dropping steadily.

I'd start with a high quality wifi hub/router in a good spot in your home. Don't be cheap here, spend time doing research on quality and performance with your target set a notch or two above your current requirements. Then you can use wifi extenders to fill in any coverage gaps. Modern 802.11ac 5GHz Wifi will cruise at 300+Mbit/sec to each endpoint which is pretty darn fast for most home use. If a critical device that you need to accommodate is not Wifi-capable then upgrading it to a wireless version would be easier than running wire for it -- or you can relocate the device to a place where it can directly plug into your router, of course.

Since your entrance seems to be in an awkward location and you have plenty of cable available, a compromise might be to run a single hardline from your entry point to the optimum location for the router -- but after that clean out the extra wiring from your home and enjoy.

Source: 25+ years in IT infrastructure, a home setup that has a lot less spaghetti than it used to and way too much time running wires through dirty spaces in the early 90's.

Good luck!

PS: If you're feeling particularly geeky, I am a huge-fan of Pi-Hole for network-wide ad blocking too!
 

clarkgriswold

2019 Grandaddy Alumni
Albatross 2020 Club Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Jun 18, 2015
Messages
1,849
Reaction score
1,736
Handicap
20
Not an expert but have done quite a bit in the past my own networking. I would agree and just go mesh and possibly some power line adapters or WiFi extenders where needed. Have had good luck with the Orbi and now they have a nifty outdoor extender if you want to go crazy. Originally I wired every from a central location on my house, it was a major PITA and now with the options available and the speeds you can get it’s probably overkill unless you get to build a new home from scratch and can pre-wire all the rooms with a centralized switch location in a closet or something. One thing you can do also is that if you have something like Fios is use moca extenders through the coax and get some extra ports where needed.
 

MagicSpell

one big somb1tch
Albatross 2020 Club Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Jun 18, 2012
Messages
1,534
Reaction score
1,624
Location
Tucson, Az
Handicap
20 ish
Thanks for all the input so far! Really good suggestions. Each of them I've thought of but not recently. Some bring up additional thoughts that I could use some help/guidance with.

1. Mesh network - I imagine Wifi has come a long way. My current router is a Netgear AC 1450 (no slouch in it's own right but a couple of years old). It does cover the house pretty well for the mobile devices (phones and tablets). However, it seemed to be a bit much for it to try streaming multiple TVs and my hard wired computers all at the same time. Do today's mesh wifi solutions have enough bandwidth for multiple streaming capabilities?

2. Powerline adapters - granted my experience here is several years old. I tried powerline early and it was a pretty big fail. Not sure if I was asking too much since I was "jumping" from original house wiring to the wiring in the addition but it was a no go. Might be enough to get me from the office to one of the bedrooms across the hall though. That's a good option I should look into.

3. Wireless Access Point - I do have a spare router which I have set up in one of the other bedrooms. It "works" but I've definitely seen some lag with the smart TV in there. Can't really say if it's the TV or the use of the old router (I could easily have it set up wrong). However, this room gets a lot of streaming use so I want a solid solution in there.

As all of you have basically mentioned, I'm not really wanting to put the labor into wiring. If I can find a reasonable, fast solution through wireless I'm all for it. I may keep a few of the hard connections for some bandwidth purposes but anything is better than what I have strung today. The hardest one to replace is the run from the modem in the bedroom to the office where I would expect the main router to be. I was hoping to at least replace that run with the existing phone cord but now that seems out as well :-(

Love the input! Appreciate all the advice and suggestions.
 

Reframmellator

Well-known member
Albatross 2020 Club Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Feb 11, 2016
Messages
5,099
Reaction score
1,463
Location
Ballston Lake, NY
Handicap
22.0
No experience with mesh networks personally, but all feedback I have seen on them is very positive. Should my main route crap out today, I'd go the mesh route. If you want to go wireless access point, you may want to use the AC1450 as the WAP and get a very good new router, but then you'd be about $100 from a mesh setup. Others know more than I, but as I understand it the WAP needs to be woired to the main router to get the best speeds.

Re powerline, I can connect to most but not all rooms in my house. I passed circuits in college by one point, so I couldn't begin to tell you why.

I upgraded my powerline and went WAP because I'm cheap and had a pretty good second router sitting around. From everything I've read, mesh is highly reliable, very fast, and super easy. It's just a little higher up-front expense.
 

parsaver

Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2015
Messages
338
Reaction score
10
Location
Prescott, AZ
Handicap
9
I would recommend updating the router. Several new ones are available plus the ones with satellite units you can place over your house. I have an ASUS RT-AC5300 with three bands, two 5Ghz and one 2.4Ghz. I have an ethernet cable from the router to an Apple TV unit and the wi-fi works better! Good luck, you will be happy when finished.
 

TYork

Well-known member
Albatross 2020 Club
Joined
Mar 15, 2011
Messages
1,051
Reaction score
124
Location
Utah
I agree with most of the previous post's. upgrade to better wireless routers or go mesh. I have the google fiber at home (1GIG) and can get 800mbps wireless anywhere in my home (fairly large/3 stories) with just 2 AC routers. One day I will upgrade to a full mesh network but right now Im 100% happy with 800mbps. running wires seems like a waste now-a-days.

I just checked costco and you can get a google mesh network with 4 AC routers for 300 bucks. https://www.costco.com/Google-Wifi-4-Pack---Whole-Home-Mesh-Wifi-System.product.100406436.html
 

kenh

Rats, that one's left. Again.
Albatross 2020 Club Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Dec 11, 2011
Messages
2,199
Reaction score
47
Location
Middle-of, CT
Handicap
short game
FWIW my experience with powerline Ethernet has been terrible. They seem to be extremely sensitive to the particulars of the wiring in your house.

In my case I saw very inconsistent performance and sometimes the connections would simply drop for no visible reason. I don't recommend them for anyone.
 

leftshot

Remember to smile
Joined
Dec 23, 2015
Messages
3,372
Reaction score
802
I'm with the others, go wireless. In addition to all the other good points, your ethernet cabling is of dubious value. Without a lot of specific documentation on what was installed, how and where, you have no idea what is behind those walls. You don't know what version or versions of ethernet cabling was installed, whether or not it is interconnected or connected to anything at all, much less to what and where. You also don't know what exposed wires may have been clipped, improperly bent, or attached to a stud using improper equipment as a prior owner or service provider just wanted to get a cable out of the way.

I support a six-building church campus that I inherited with no documentation. You don't want to know how many hours and dollars I've spent trying to figure out what wires go where and how or to what they are connected. Five years later I still have mysteries to solve.

There is no reason for you to go through all this pain and suffering. Go wireless!
 

Ottawaclo

#JakeNation
Albatross 2020 Club Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Jan 13, 2017
Messages
5,203
Reaction score
568
Location
Ottawa Ill
Handicap
Titos
recently went to the Powerline ethernet method and so far working very well.

Speeds increased dramatically and have the ps4 pro and TV now hardlined in instead of wireless connection.
 

Junkyard

A Work in Progress
Albatross 2020 Club Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Jul 15, 2012
Messages
2,663
Reaction score
2,185
Location
Ontario, Canada
Handicap
10.2
We had some existing wiring get damaged that essentially cut off the main floor of my office from the wired network; as a quick fix I ran all new wire back to the server closet, leaving the wire exposed from the drop ceiling down to each workstation.

Since I didn't get the wire fished in before the office was repainted, I looked into alternate options and was recommended Powerline adapters. Chose the D-Link AV2 2000 gigabit units, and in 6+ months of use we have had 100% uptime. Installation couldn't be easier - six offices in under 10 minutes. BTW, you can now get Powerline adapters that allow the receptacle to be passed through to the front of the adapter.
 

Ottawaclo

#JakeNation
Albatross 2020 Club Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Jan 13, 2017
Messages
5,203
Reaction score
568
Location
Ottawa Ill
Handicap
Titos
We had some existing wiring get damaged that essentially cut off the main floor of my office from the wired network; as a quick fix I ran all new wire back to the server closet, leaving the wire exposed from the drop ceiling down to each workstation.

Since I didn't get the wire fished in before the office was repainted, I looked into alternate options and was recommended Powerline adapters. Chose the D-Link AV2 2000 gigabit units, and in 6+ months of use we have had 100% uptime. Installation couldn't be easier - six offices in under 10 minutes. BTW, you can now get Powerline adapters that allow the receptacle to be passed through to the front of the adapter.
I got the ones with the adapter un front. Been amazing


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
 

fuffle master

Hit it, Hit it, Hit it Hard!!
Albatross 2020 Club Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Mar 17, 2018
Messages
7,221
Reaction score
3,013
Handicap
Working
Any home networking wiring experts here?

Any thoughts to hiring someone or yourself and run the wires from the outside of the house? That can give you straight hard wire shots and will be virtually invisible if done correctly outside.

From what I have read, many mesh and powerline options can be spotty.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

tahoebum

Well-known member
Albatross 2020 Club
Joined
Mar 25, 2012
Messages
13,253
Reaction score
4,118
Location
MN and FL
Handicap
0.4
I’ve had great luck with mesh networks - I have the Orbi and Velop at two different homes and the both work great. With a main and two satellites you can easily cover a 4,000-5,000 sq foot main level and the floors above and below it.
 

aljaklaw

2019 THP/BG Co-Champion
Albatross 2020 Club Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
May 5, 2016
Messages
7,357
Reaction score
1,804
Location
Canada
Handicap
tequila
my house has ethernet runs to a couple rooms to where the desktop computers are. this was done a long time ago, back when the wrt54g running tomato was the top end router. there was always too much fiddling with wireless at the time.

these days mesh networks have come a long way.
 

McRock

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 10, 2011
Messages
8,455
Reaction score
28
Location
Iowa
Handicap
11.6
We use ubiquity wireless access point. One unit fills the house. Only problem is that as the neighborhood has added more wireless transmitting devices, the more overlapping channel usage and interference.

As for the range of it. I live two blocks from the 7th tee block on our course. Its a direct diagonal line from my house, thru everyone's back yard, and then you are on the 7th tee box. There are days i pick up my wireless signal on the tee box.

We've also considered having our house wired, but it would be a two-fer for us. There is no coax in our house. The cost of high speed internet plus psvue has gotten so high that it would actually be cheaper to bundle internet with a tv cable package.

~Rock

Sent from my SM-G930R4 using Tapatalk
 

J4U

IronMan
Albatross 2020 Club Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Apr 20, 2012
Messages
13,617
Reaction score
267
Location
Parker, Colorado, United States
Handicap
Mental
Hard wired is always the best and have retro'd several houses. Unless you are moving large files or working off large files via network some new options will be acceptable.

The attic insulation is a pain buy displacement can be minimized using 2X6x4 to move with you. Will need two of them. Attic is pretty easy retro down into walls. Measure 5 times to make sure you are the right stud bay. Glow rods help here and a cheap set can be picked up at home Depot. Order your wall plates, inserts, and retro rings online. The orange retro ones suck .. Arlington retro rings are the best. The inserts are rediculous as well price wise locally. Tools also online.

I think you would be happy with a mesh network. Installed the Orbi 3 pod AC3000 in my home and it blew away anything else I've tried. The SAT's have hard wired ports on them you can use in the rooms you place them. I use one on each for backhaul but you have to be wired for that

The part most people overlook is your cable modem. Ditch the rented one from your provider. I recommend the ARRIS SB6183 as minimum. The SB6190 would be better. The up and down locks make a huge difference. Especially if your internet speed is over 100MB.

If you changed nothing in your house but the modem you would see a dramatic increase in performance alone if over 100MB service. Add in the mesh system and it will fly. If you can get away with using the wired ports in the SAT's in those rooms would save a lot of retro time. I retro like it's nothing but for someone who doesn't do it all the time it can get frustrating.

Good luck.
 

dpgator33

Active member
Joined
Jan 25, 2013
Messages
1,207
Reaction score
18
Location
Tampa, FL
Handicap
18
I’d echo what many have said, and that is to go wireless. I’m not familiar with home mesh products, however I’ve been a network admin professionally for 20 years and have ran wire in two of my own homes and a few times for friends, both for Network and A/V or a combination of the two. I can’t comment on the powerline type products, never used them. Personally I would go with a Ubiquiti solution versus a bundled home mesh type product like what Google/Linksys types offer. A UniFi security gateway as a router and two or three access points (only one needs to be hardwired, the others just need AC power after initial setup) depending on the size of your home. Given the time and effort to fully hard wire a home, it’s a no brainer. You can spend from $300-$1000 depending on what level of performance you need from your access points and have a reliable and easily managed and monitored network. I would also recommend Meraki or Fortinet products although they are a little higher priced.

Seriously, unless you’re needing to do enterprise type video editing or something else that requires massive throughout on your local network, hard wiring is pointless.

Strong passwords! And I would not enable any guest network unless you have a lot of randoms needing to access internet at your place.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

gmiller598

Par 3 Net Zero
Joined
Sep 2, 2014
Messages
4,252
Reaction score
635
Location
Worthington, OH
Handicap
21.9
Question for myself on this topic. I have a 1500 sq ft home built in the 40's. I have WOW internet at a 500 mbps speed. I use a roku tv in my upstairs bedroom and it works sufficiently on the 2.4 wifi network but my 5 ghz network is too weak. I'm using the stock Arris router provided by WOW. Would I have sufficient benefit of just getting a stronger wifi router or would a mesh network be a better option to strengthen to upstair wifi signal?
 

aljaklaw

2019 THP/BG Co-Champion
Albatross 2020 Club Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
May 5, 2016
Messages
7,357
Reaction score
1,804
Location
Canada
Handicap
tequila
Question for myself on this topic. I have a 1500 sq ft home built in the 40's. I have WOW internet at a 500 mbps speed. I use a roku tv in my upstairs bedroom and it works sufficiently on the 2.4 wifi network but my 5 ghz network is too weak. I'm using the stock Arris router provided by WOW. Would I have sufficient benefit of just getting a stronger wifi router or would a mesh network be a better option to strengthen to upstair wifi signal?
A stronger signal may help but a better option would be some sort of mesh network.

Although a single Roku on 5ghz is largely unnecessary, the benefit of 5ghz is higher throughput (at a cost of range) and more available channels.
 

lightningbolt44

Well-known member
Joined
May 5, 2012
Messages
13,165
Reaction score
39
Location
Raleigh NC
Wired cannot be replicated by wireless routers or any sort of mesh network. It can be a decent substitute and is far less work but I personally would just wire the house up. At that point it doesn’t matter what wireless channel the neighbor is on or how many wireless networks are in the area


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

gmiller598

Par 3 Net Zero
Joined
Sep 2, 2014
Messages
4,252
Reaction score
635
Location
Worthington, OH
Handicap
21.9
A stronger signal may help but a better option would be some sort of mesh network.

Although a single Roku on 5ghz is largely unnecessary, the benefit of 5ghz is higher throughput (at a cost of range) and more available channels.
Most items I have are on the 1st floor using the 5 ghz network. Using the speed test on the Roku tv, I get about 25-50 mbps on the upstairs tv on the 2.4 ghz network. I generally don't have many issues with slowness and buffering on there but it meets the minimum requirements for streaming in HD.
 

ChristopherKee

Active member
Albatross 2020 Club
Joined
Nov 26, 2013
Messages
5,165
Reaction score
13
Location
Aldie Virginia
Do today's mesh wifi solutions have enough bandwidth for multiple streaming capabilities?
Yes. I use an old version of EERO, and I get 250-350 Mbps speeds from each device. We have 4 computers, 3 phones, 2 tablets, 5 TV's that only stream (no cable), and 5 network camera's that stream to cloud 24/7.

My house was also run for 10g fiber and cat 6, and only thing running on the wired network are the server farm and NAS devices that each computer back's up to over wifi.

So yeah, mesh (tri band) is good for everything except maybe high level, for money, competitive gaming. For that, a wired connection with QoS set to that interface will be the trick.
 

Welcome to The Hackers Paradise

Don't just play golf, live it!

Register Log in
Top