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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
I recently moved to a new home and am putting in more CAT6 to various rooms. Following advice from this forum, I invested in the Unifi system from Ubiquity, starting with three wifi access points, and now have an easy way to add more networking gear as and if needed.
As many others have mentioned, I use wired Ethernet for the more static installations. These include my Apple TV, Philips Smart TV, Sonos Amp, Synology etc. Having the iMac in the same room as one of the access points actually allows me to connect over wifi with no issues.
All iOS devices and additional Sonos speakers have the WiFi spectrum to themselves while streaming the majority of audio and video over the cable.
Interestingly, my Brother MFC printer doesn’t even have an Ethernet jack, supporting direct to USB or WiFi only
We have Cat6 to the larger rooms in the house. I got the same “most people use wireless” argument when I asked for the wiring. Everything that isn’t mobile (the desktops, Synology, and some oddball monitoring gear) is on Ethernet.
Our house doesn’t have a large footprint but it does have three levels with concrete in every floor (radiant floor heating) plus reinforcing to meet earthquake standards and to compensate for a design with Too Many Windows (or so we heard). WiFi has always been iffy here. I have a small stack of UniFi APs sitting on my desk that I’m about to install to hopefully fix that.
The builder and electrician also installed coax every place there’s Ethernet even though I told them we didn’t want it, would never use it and, given the location, no one else would be able to either. Somehow it was required anyway. What’s with that? It just uselessly clutters up our junction box.