Wired Home Network: Worth It?

January 12, 2013

Not to skew this blog into “home improvement” but one of the first possible DIY nerd projects at the new place, is to build a home network wiring up every room. The house we’re moving into shortly is older without such bells and whistles. Anyhow, it seems one can buy wall jacks for just about anything imaginable, various racks for plugs, enclosures to wire up phone, Internet, cable, and even audio, and eventually end up with something from The Matrix in your basement.

But of course this would entail a lot of work, expense, and probably overkill for our needs:

So ultimately, save for coax cable, the wireless options seem pretty capable. I also don’t really want to spend a ton of time putting cables in only to rip them out if they become obsolete.

So is spending the money / time putting in a wired home network worth it? Am leaning towards “nope.”

Comments

  1. Rob O. says:

    A year or two ago, I would’ve argued fiercely about how much more capable a hard-wired home LAN is than a wireless one. And it still does hold true that the bandwidth afforded by wi-fi is a trickle compared the water hose of a basic CAT-5 cable.

    But I’ve since realized that the trickle is sufficient. We stream off of Netflix and Amazon via wi-fi just fine. My snazzy new Sony Blu-ray player (thanks Rich!) supports wi-fi as well. And of course, all of our portable gizmos are wi-fi-enabled. And nary a stutter or lag when steaming content, although I hafta admit that streaming content still only makes up a small-ish fraction of what we view.

    Our omputers reside in the same room as the cable modem and Linksys wi-fi router, so they’re easily hard-wired with the CAT-5 cables snaking neatly behind the desks (bundled neatly with Velcro ties straps). And that’s where I draw the line – I sure wouldn’t want to have to tolerate wi-fi bandwidth/speed on my desktop because of all of the large file transfers I do.

    • Thanks man your comment confirms my thoughts. Somewhere along the line WiFi has gotten fast enough to handle video / audio to multiple devices without choking things.

      The one thing I have to decide is whether the router goes in the living room or the desktop. And I’ll make sure both are wired for cable. Other than that, I do believe we can get away with TVs / monitors plus an Apple TV or Roku boxes in other spaces if we ever need ‘em.

      Seriously thinking about slapping an old iPad on a kitchen cabinet, too.

      • Rob O. says:

        You probably already do this, but just in case… Save yourself some headaches and make sure that your cable modem and router are both on an UPS!

        And one of my techie dudes at work was telling me that he uses MAC address filtering to limit what devices can connect vs. using encryption such as WPA2. He claims the encryption overhead can really chew into the router’s speed. He also says that a router with more on-board memory – which is something I had never even thought of when router shopping – makes a big difference.

        I have not as of yet put either of these ideas to the test but some reviews I’ve read do seem to substantiate the claim about the memory.

        While I’ve been generally satisfied with our Linksys, we do have some dead spots in our house – especially in the breakfast nook, altho oddly enough the signal is strong in the adjoining kitchen. I believe this’ll be our next router:

        http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-wi-fi-router-asus-rt-n66u/

        • UPS: Don’t have one right now… A while back I started looking into it and there are so many models with varying prices that it got tabled. But yeah, good reminder to look into that again.

          We have an AirPort Extreme (yeah, big surprise) which has worked really well, probably because the vast majority of our devices are Apple as well. The only dead spot has been in a far back room possibly due to a bathroom in between.

          I haven’t yet tested the WiFi coverage at the new place as Internet hasn’t been set up yet. Hmmm, that may affect my whole wireless plan.