Wired or Wireless Home Network Setup

I was wondering how many of us have either a wired or wireless setup for our home networks.

I am exploring the pros/cons of hard-wiring my whole house, I understand that I will most likely swiss-cheese my house. But I am trying to see benefits of better networked connections in the home to the devices.

This is an older picture from a previous post, the macbook displayed there has died

I am thinking of moving all that into a more central and organized location. Even thought about what if I upgraded some things and put everything into a rack server mount.

It would be great if we can share pictures of our setups!

I am old fashioned and use a wire wherever I can. While at it install POE powered WiFi Access points.

When we built our house 7 years ago, I had Cat5e run to every bedroom and the family room. Got a funny look from the builder, he said “are you sure? Most people just use wireless now.”

Today, I wish I’d had more run than those 5, but they were charging quite a bit for the privilege ($100 per port). Got a small switch in the “spare bedroom” (now more like storage/home office) and I should probably put one in for the XBox and TV (and possibly AppleTV) to share. Probably another one in the master bedroom at some point as well for when I get an AppleTV, Roku stick or WiFi repeater up there as I’m probably going to go all-streaming in January.

We thought about running cables, but ultimately chose not to. The devices in the living room are wired in to the router via a switch behind the TV, but everything else is on wi-fi via a single Time Capsule unit. This works well for us because the living room is dead centre in the house (we have a little town house, and the router is therefore on the middle floor of three).

Wired can be really useful, but honestly the wi-fi has been fast and reliable enough that we’ve never wished for our connections to be faster, and the device that does all the 4K HDR streaming is wired in anyway.

I use a combination of wired, wireless, and powerline. Our house has three levels (four if you include the garage), so wireless is difficult even with mesh. I have a wired backbone that goes to each floor of the house (not including garage). It mostly goes through different levels of crawlspace as you go down the hill just because that was easiest for me to install on my own. My primary home use Mac, Synology NAS, and always-on Mini all use wired connections.

I’ve never been really happy with our wireless. We currently use an Orbi mesh with the main router attached to the wired backbone. The mesh signal will not get down to the lower level, even with satellites placed in the closest proximity I can get, so for that level the wired backbone transfers to a couple of Powerline adapters with built-in wireless (I can’t even get a reliable wireless signal from room to room on that level).

We’re in earthquake country so I suspect that all the plywood shear walls significantly hamper the wireless signal. Devices connected directly to the wired portion have great internet speed of about 450 Mbps down (as advertised by Comcast) and 11 Mbps up (a tad higher than advertised); but unless a wireless device is within a few feet of the Orbi router, and with nothing physically between router and device, the connection speed plummets to as low as 30 Mbps or 40 Mbps down and as low as 1 Mbps up – horrible. Barrier free signal between Orbi satellite and device is a little better, but it still frequently gets down below 100 Mbps and can give me a blocky signal on AppleTV (which is about 20 feet away from a satellite with no barriers).

It’s a lot more complicated than I had ever thought we’d need, but it works reliably now, if not at the speed I’d like to see on the wireless end of things. Time Machine to the Synology via wireless is just painful. I’m considering adding a couple more powerline adapters for high bandwidth devices like AppleTV; maybe even dumping the mesh in favor of powerline wireless access points.

My wifi usually works pretty well for the speeds we have. 2-Story house, my kids are in the toddler stage still. The only devices upstairs are just a Smart TV and an Apple TV all wireless which work fairly well, never had an issue. Of course, there are some areas where the speed drops like the guest room or bathroom, etc.

The main floor is what’s driving me a bit batty. The office closet and the living room within the same area are on wifi. The streaming isn’t always instant, it might be pixelated or blurry for a minute and then normal.

The office (2 macbooks) I figured since I am 2 feet away from the router doesn’t need a wired connection. (Office wireless speeds are avg 285 down and 30 up) Yet, transferring files from my Synology can be a nightmare to my macbook. But streaming from my Synology to any of the TVs works great. I know the easy answer would be just wire the macs in the office, but if I am going to do that, maybe include the whole house and future proof.

We actually tried power line connections for some of the static devices (Apple TVs, actual TVs, iMac) but they were far, far less reliable than the wi-fi for us. But as in my post above, our home is easily covered by wi-fi and that’s obviously not the case for everyone.

The fact that file transfers from the Synology are slow specifically while otherwise streaming is fine suggests that it’s not an issue with the wi-fi speed, but may be a software issue or a conflict somewhere.

I had tried powerline a decade ago with inconsistent results. The newer pieces that I purchased earlier this year have been much better. Unfortunately, I’m away from home for a bot and I don’t recall the brand/model of the new ones that we are using.

Really old house with lath and plaster construction in most areas would make installing ethernet an expensive proposition. Used powerline for a while, but it was inherently poor quality made worse by the age of the house wiring. So I overcompensated by switching to FiOS (fiber), from Xfinity cable, and upped the FiOS service to gigabit up / down. Combined with a really good Eero mesh, and ethernet for computers, Eero primary device, and Apple TV in the room with the FiOS router, I have good signal delivery speed in 95% of the house and can stream anywhere.

In other words, when cabling isn’t possible then buy a firehose.

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My home office computers are wired, just because they’re near the the modem and I have a switch there. The rest of the house is served by a 3 (full) Eero mesh network and it works wonderfully. My son’s gaming PC doesn’t have a wireless network interface, so it’s connected via ethernet to one of the Eero stations.

Office computers wired, the rest of the two story house (2x AppleTVs, iPads, laptops, phones) is doing well on 5GHz, which is much better than 2.4GHz (Koogeek, and Weemo outlets, door lock, garage door). Both from an AirPort Extreme in the office at one end of the house.

One consideration when wiring a house is susceptibility to lightning. A direct strike isn’t necessary to do damage to computers and network hardware.

I use power line to move to far places of the house, for TV and to make sure PLEX runs faster without any issues. I also bought a Tenda mesh for phones and it works well on wifi… so is a combination based on what are your needs.

Like some of the others above, I use a combination of wired, wireless, and powerline. My main Mac is wired to the router which is where most of the high bandwidth stuff happens.

In my lounge I use a power line adaptor due to distance from the router and find this works OK, seems to stream 4K without a problem.

Mine is a mix. I have Ethernet connecting my studio iMac Pro, Mac mini server and the gateway, with WiFi for everything else. Retrofitting wired networking in an older house was difficult but the distance to the studio required it.

I thought about drilling holes to run cables, but after getting an Eero router, I get the same speeds over wi-fi as wired.

Two things to keep in mind:

Wires never get interference from the neighbor. (Great Wi-Fi can suddenly be terrible when your neighbors upgrade their gear)

The most expensive wire is always the one you don’t run :slight_smile:

I live in a townhouse apartment and have been 100% wireless for years. I’ve got a Plex server running on Nvidia Shield, 1 AppleTV, 1 Roku, an iPad, an iPhone, a Mac mini, and some Eufy lights.

Ethernet isn’t an option, but my Amplifi router, (plus 1 meshpoint) gives me good performance, especially considering I normally can see 20 other networks.

If Comcast’s network didn’t drop 2 or 3 times a month, I’d have no complaints at all. :slight_smile:

I bet I’m the only person here with a loop of RG58 coax (10base2) running to all the bedrooms. That’s what we started with for Ethernet back in the 1990’s. It’s still wired where I can.

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I use wired because I have three rooms with 4K TVs and wireless just doesn’t cut it for 4K at all, even 5ghz. I can’t stand buffering. Tried power line connections for one room and couldn’t stream well, installed cables and the problem went away.

If I didn’t have this requirement I’d probably use WiFi more.