Although wireless is very convenient, a cabled connection will typically be faster and more reliable than Wi-Fi. Here’s how to hardwire ethernet cable into areas where high-demand devices live.
We’ll also show you how to bring these cables back to one point in a cupboard or on a shelf that’s tidy and out of sight.
A cabled local area network (LAN), also known as ethernet, uses cables to directly connect your devices to your modem-router and the internet.
A local network also enables your devices to talk to each other, and can improve speed when sharing files between computers or streaming music or video from a computer to other devices on the network.
Most network-capable computers and devices these days can transfer data via cable at speeds faster than a typical Wi-Fi connection and usually even faster than your internet connection – which can mean no more lag or freezing when streaming movies or television.
Such connections between devices are made with ethernet cables (rated at least Cat 5e, preferably Cat 6). The plugs are known as RJ45.
First decide how many rooms or areas need a connection and how many devices you want to plug in at each location.
Let’s say that your modem-router is on a shelf some distance away from the areas that need connecting. You have a media room where you want to connect a smart TV, a media server (such as an Apple TV box), a soundbar that is the hub of a wireless sound system, and a games console. You also have a home office at the other end of the house where you need connections for two PCs and a networked printer, as well as a sitting room where you want a smart TV.
Getting familiar with the hardware you’ll need will help you understand how easily this can all be networked. Here are some key elements:
You should only mouse cables through walls from beneath the house upwards or from the ceiling cavity down. If you try to mouse cables sideways you’re likely to push your plaster away from the stud framing.
Be aware of the location of electrical cables. Apart from the risk of electric shock, placing data cables too close to electrical cables can interfere with data flow. Always use a non-conductive cable feeder to avoid electric shock.
Where a TV-aerial socket already exists, the smart way to run a data cable is to follow the same pathway as the aerial lead and then convert the aerial outlet into a dual aperture aerial and data point. If you need to pass cable through a wall between rooms you can fit a brush-type wall plate outlet cover on each side of the wall.
Before you start making your own custom wall-plate outlets check out the available range, which includes pre-made multi-RJ45 sockets and RJ45 and TV aerial combos.
To replicate the network at our house:
Here are some more handy tips for setting up your cabled network:
Let us know if you need a hand with this project and check out Bunnings smart home guides for more project inspiration.
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