The internet has changed the world, and Wi-Fi has definitely played a part in that. It’s more than just a way to connect people all over the globe. Wi-Fi has made that connection more accessible and convenient.
But despite the ease of Wi-Fi, it’s not always the best way to spread internet connections throughout your home. For one, the health effects of constant Wi-Fi use are not something to ignore. Second, if you put enough walls and barriers between you and your Wi-Fi router, you’re going to experience significant signal loss. So you’re basically exposing yourself to non-ionizing radiation for limited benefit.
For all these reasons and more, you might want to consider wired connections throughout your home, even if you have more than one floor. In this article, you’ll learn about the benefits of going wired and how to get Ethernet in your room.
Basic Hardware: Routers, Switches, and Hubs
Prior to considering the manner in which you will route cables through your home, you will need a few items to connect them all together. Here are the hardware items you will want to choose prior to beginning wiring.
In the event that your primary objective is not only to connect one computer to another, but also to the Internet, a router will be the glue that holds everything together. You likely already have one lying around, and it will most likely suffice. Most wireless routers also have four ports on the back that are ideal for a wired connection.
As a result, there is no need to purchase a brand-new wired router (in fact, you will probably still want wireless for laptop and iPad browsing). If you do not have a router that is capable of a wired connection (such as the Apple AirPort Express), you can pick up a high-speed wired router for less than $100. If you want the fastest possible speeds, make sure that it says 10/100/1000Mbps and not just 10/100Mbps.
Using the router is simple: connect your modem to the “Internet” port on your router using an Ethernet cable, and then connect your computers, DVRs, game consoles, and other devices to the other four ports on the router.
This is where the additional hardware comes into play: it is likely that when you take a look at what you need to wire up, you will realize that you have more devices than you ever thought. In my apartment, I have my desktop, a TiVo, a home theater PC, and an AirPort Express; that is four devices right now. If you live in a house with other people who have their own computers, even multiple DVRs, or video game systems, four ports will not be enough. To connect more than four devices to most consumer routers, you will need what is called a switch.
Switches are simply boxes that direct traffic from one port to multiple ports. Unlike routers, they cannot assign IP addresses that direct traffic from your router to your other devices. Therefore, while a switch cannot be the foundation of a home network, adding one to your arsenal essentially turns your 4-port router into an 8-port router for a mere $25 or so. Simply plug one end of the Ethernet cable into the Uplink port on the switch and the other end into one of those four standard ports in your router.
If your switch does not have an Uplink port, you may need to use a Crossover cable instead of an Ethernet cable and plug it into one of the regular ports on the switch. Many modern switches will not require a crossover cable, which means you can try it out using traditional Ethernet first and see if it works.
I will not discuss hubs in great detail, except to note that while they are often conflated with (or mistaken for) switches, they are not entirely equivalent. They do, however, appear to be very similar. However, unlike routers, hubs have a single traffic lane. Data can be sent from multiple devices to a single device, or from a single device to many devices. It does not “direct traffic” in the same way as a switch. As a result, while they are less expensive than a switch, they are only useful for servers that are transmitting data to multiple servers.
Methods of Getting Ethernet In Your Room
Now that you have a solid router with a couple extra ports to handle all your devices, it’s time to wire them up. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely all your devices are in the exact same place. They’re probably across the hall or even on different floors of the house. Below are the two easiest ways to get them connected to a main router or, to put it bluntly, “how to get Ethernet in my room.”
Add a Hard-Wired Ethernet Port to Any Room (Running Ethernet Cables)
This is the most direct methodology. It is also very labor-intensive. In other words, you will need to run Ethernet cables throughout your home, possibly even to the upper level. The concept is straightforward, but in practice, it is not always as simple as it appears. Ideally, you will want to run the cables through the walls and possibly through the attic. The good news is that you can purchase bulk amounts of Ethernet cables at major hardware stores, and they are surprisingly inexpensive. The bad news is that you will need to learn how to crimp the cables yourself. These same hardware stores sell simple crimping kits, which come with instructions.
You will also need to decide which type of cable you will use. Cat 5 cable is very inexpensive, but it is the slowest. It can only transmit at 100 Mbps. This is sufficient to stream high-definition video on a few devices, but it is unlikely to support more than three or four devices simultaneously. You will need to decide if the cost of a faster cable is worth the speed, but keep in mind that you may need faster internet in the future. Running all of these cables will not be fun if you add more devices in the future.
To connect the cables to each room (and possibly each device), you will need a good Ethernet switch. It should be located in the same room as the router. This way, if there is a connection issue, you can quickly troubleshoot it. You will then run a cable from the switch to each room that you want connected to Ethernet.
Since you are running the cables through the walls, you will only need a cable and jack in each room. While connecting the line can be described, the preparation is self-explanatory. If you are not comfortable doing this yourself, you can hire a professional to run the cables for you. The advantage of Ethernet is that it provides the most secure internet connection that you can practically get in a home. If you are a heavy internet user, this may be worth it. Otherwise, you may want to try another option.
Ethernet Over Power Line Adapters
The simplest approach to hardwire your device is to use powerline adapters. These helpful little devices plug into walls and use your home’s electrical wiring to transmit data. They are not quite as fast as a standard Ethernet cable; however, many versions will achieve speeds of around 200Mbps, with some providing up to 500Mbps. While this is not as fast as a pure Ethernet connection, it will still provide sufficient bandwidth for gaming, streaming high definition audio, and transferring large files quickly. Additionally, it is much more reliable than Wi-Fi. If you do not have the latest and greatest wireless router at your home, it is still likely a great option.
To use powerline adapters, simply plug one into your wall in the same room as your router. Then, connect it to your router using an Ethernet cable and plug in another one from the wall near your desired device. Note that you must plug them directly into the wall; you cannot plug them into a power strip or extension cable.
While powerline adapters are much more reliable than wireless, they can still experience some issues. Make sure that anything you purchase is returnable, as depending on your home’s wiring, you may experience some electrical interference. This means that you will receive lower than advertised speeds (and therefore, this may not be the best option for you). Again, this is not as prevalent as wireless interference, but it is something that you should at least be aware of.
FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
Even though we explained the process of getting Ethernet in your room, you might still have some questions that are related to the topic but were not covered above. Here are some frequently asked questions.
How much does it cost to get your house wired for Ethernet?
The average cost of a single Ethernet port installation is approximately $150. The Ethernet port itself can cost between $25 and $50, and the installation process typically takes one to two hours. If you are not installing the port yourself, you will also need to factor in the cost of labor, which can range from $50 to $60. However, before attempting to install the port yourself, it is important to read the manual and ensure that you are familiar with the process. Incorrect installation can lead to additional problems.
Is Ethernet faster than Wi-Fi?
To access a network via an Ethernet connection, users need to establish a connection between a device and the network using an Ethernet cable. An Ethernet connection is generally faster than a Wi-Fi connection, and provides greater reliability and security. Additionally, Ethernet connections have lower ping and packet loss rates. As Wi-Fi signals travel through the air, any obstacle can slow them down. In contrast, the medium for an Ethernet cable is fixed and will not fluctuate.
Does the Ethernet cable have to be connected to the router?
A router is not required. To establish a direct connection between your computer and the cable modem, you can use an Ethernet cable. If you will only be using one device that is connected via an Ethernet cable, you do not need to connect it to a router. If you want to use multiple devices, the simplest way is to use a switch, which allows you to connect the cable modem to it and have multiple outputs for other wired computers.
How do I know if my apartment is wired for the Internet?
The most common method of obtaining wired internet is through the use of the network hardware and network protocols known as Ethernet, unless you are obtaining it via Wi-Fi. If you have a wired Ethernet network, you will notice the characteristic RJ45 jacks located in the walls. This indicates that all of the Ethernet cables required to connect to the modem have already been installed behind the walls. As a result, you will not have to do it all over again. You may simply plug the cable into the jack and proceed to the next steps.
Do I need Cat5 or Cat6 cable?
If faster internet speeds are a priority, Cat6 is an excellent choice. It reduces a phenomenon known as “crosstalk,” which refers to transmissions that interfere with your communication stations. If you are satisfied with your current network speed and are using Cat5, you may be better off with that cable. But if you need more, Cat6 is an option. However, Cat5 should be sufficient for your everyday internet usage..
Wrapping it Up
Wi-Fi is a convenient, but limited, way to have internet access throughout your home. With a little bit of effort and creativity, you can have better internet in every room. Additionally, once the work is done, you can rely on those connections for years to come. It is fair to consider this undertaking an upgrade to your home, and if this upgrade has some appeal, then there is little reason not to take action.
However, if you desire more reliable speed, Ethernet is the only way to go. It provides uninterrupted connectivity with lower ping and packet loss. With a little bit of effort and patience, you can enjoy faster speeds along with seamless connectivity. We hope that you have gathered all the information you need from this article regarding “how to get Ethernet in my room.” And good luck wiring all of your rooms for Ethernet connectivity.