When I gutted and rewired my living room, I installed ethernet cabling (four jacks for the perimeter of the room). It was an added expense to an already very tight budget, but I bit the bullet and did it anyway. The work wasn’t difficult, but it required me to study up to make sure I was doing it correctly, and the parts and components are pricey (it cost me an additional $100 to rig up four jacks in one room).
And BOY am I ever glad I did! You see, I’ve been struggling with our wireless connection and security here are the homestead, and the constant hassles drive me NUTS. My kids have laptops upstairs, and of course there’s no ethernet cabling upstairs (heck, there’s hardly any electricity upstairs yet!). So we rely on wireless for their machines. Their laptops are old and new, with a mix of Windows XP, Vista, and Linux Xandros. I am the chief IT person for the family… and the CONSTANT hair-pulling problems with wireless have me screaming in frustration sometimes!
(If you need a well-written article on the properties and differences between ethernet and wireless, see this very good post here at BestBuy.com).
Of course, you don’t need to have ethernet cables inside the wall cavities to work. You can buy ethernet cables at any store, and plug them in to your router and string them across your room to the computers. But there are a few problems with that, obviously:
- You can only buy cables less than 100 feet long, or your connection quality diminishes.
- You have cables hanging all over the place.
- You can’t string the cables across windows and doorways.
- It all looks just darn ugly .
Well, I have decided that I am going to install ethernet cabling in EVERY room in this house, once we gut it. The problems with the wireless system is driving me crazy! Not to mention that having wireless can cause security problems within your network. EVERY network should be secure (see this post about securing your wireless network), but wireless security is an oxymoron. Hackers are figuring out how to get past the encryption codes to get onto your network, where they can make all sorts of trouble and even get you into trouble with the law. So, essentially, a completely wired system is best. And that’s what I’m doing when I can. Wired is better!
P.S. Remember, before you undertake any project with electricity, or go tearing out your home’s walls, check with a professional and be thoroughly read-up on the projects. Some older homes have toxins like asbestos, lead, etc– Take extra precautions to know what you are doing, and to be safe in doing it!