New House: Wired or Wireless

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Le Big Mac, Feb 19, 2007.

  1. Le Big Mac macrumors 68020

    Le Big Mac

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #1
    So, I'm renovating a house. Question is whether to wire it for ethernet, or rely on wireless. (I figure I'd have some wireless for laptop at least).

    Wired is pretty expensive. Of course, wireless gets expensive once you start adding on a receiver for various devices. I know that speed is irrelevant for internet (at least today's broadband), but I figure the LAN could start getting pretty busy, between Tivo (transfers), Apple TV, and who knows what in a couple of years.

    I'm sure there's no right answer, but I welcome any insights.
     
  2. bushfrog macrumors member

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    Sep 23, 2006
    #2
    I would personally go for wireless for the convenience, and get a good N router with goo transfer speeds :)
     
  3. phungy macrumors 68020

    phungy

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    Dec 5, 2006
    Location:
    FL/NY/TX
    #3
    Go with wireless! Avoid wires, make it look clean :)

    EDIT: Well you'd need to add ethernet somewhere even if you wanted wireless and you're renovating so I'd just wire it then add wireless if you want in the future.
     
  4. yippy macrumors 68020

    yippy

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #4
    I would wire it for ethernet. Wires are simply faster, more compatible, more secure and more reliable than wireless. For these reasons I will use wired over wireless when available, especially with desktop computers. Besides, it is easy to ad wireless later and having wires allows you more flexibility in wireless access point locations and modem locations.
     
  5. BigPrince macrumors 68020

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    Dec 27, 2006
    #5
    Vote for wired. Do it sooner then later. The price for copper is sick.
     
  6. pianoman macrumors 68000

    pianoman

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    May 31, 2006
    #7
    i wish i could wire my house but it's so old i'm not willing to punch holes in the wall unless i'm doing a serious renovation (which is not on the to do list right now).

    my vote is for wired. adding wireless later is easy; adding wired later is a hassle.
     
  7. Le Big Mac thread starter macrumors 68020

    Le Big Mac

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    #8

    That's the main reason I'm leaning towards wiring it extensively now. Can't really do it later . . .

    For the network folks--how is it that Wireless N (or any future standards) could be faster than wired? It seems counterintuitive that something wireless could really be faster than with wires. Maybe as fast, but faster?
     
  8. yippy macrumors 68020

    yippy

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #9
    Wireless N has a theoretical max speed that is faster than the average ethernet routers/cards. However, gigabit ethernet exists which is theoretically more than twice the speed of N. All Macs now have built in gigabit ethernet and so can take advantage of this as long as you get a gigabit router. Also, from my experience, wired networks are more likely to reach their maximum speed than wireless and are less affected by distance.

    Side note: It used to be the case that you needed different (higher quality?) cable to get gigabit ethernet speeds but I haven't heard anything about this recently. Could someone confirm/disprove this for me?
     
  9. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #10
    If you're dumping large chunks of media through your house, there's no doubt about it: get yourself some Cat6 cable, a gigabit ethernet switch (they cost just a tiny bit more than their Cat5 couterparts and are best ordered online because brick and mortars don't carry Cat6 stuff) and wire it up properly. You can keep a wireless connection for laptops.

    I spent $30 on a switch and maybe $50 on cabling to do my place up, and I've still got some spare patch lengths left over. I also have an original Airport B/S beaming out signal.
     
  10. maccam macrumors 6502a

    maccam

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    Feb 18, 2007
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    Wisconsin
    #11
    go for wired, the ethernet wire (CAT 5) can also be used for telephone. :)
     
  11. RBMaraman macrumors 65816

    RBMaraman

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    Location:
    Prospect, KY
    #12
    I completely wired my parents house when the built a new one in 2005.

    I ran almost 1,000 feet of coax and cat5 cable, so let me give you some pointers.

    1. I bought everything except the wire at Home Depot. I had the maintenance department at the place I work order the cable because of the significant discount available. I got 1,000 feet of coax and 1,000 feet of cat5 for $100.

    2. In each room I put a plastic junction box attached to a stud where the wire terminates to outlets.

    3. Run conduit, if you have the right situation(s). It takes time, but you'll be glad you did. I bought 1.5" plastic "Smurf" tube (flexible conduit) from Home Depot and connected it to each outlet and run it to a central junction box in the mechanical room in the basement. Now, if say in ten years time, technology brings us even faster cables; all I have to do is take the face plate off the box, pull out the old wire, and put in the new. No ripping up drywall, etc. Now, if your drywall is already hung, don't bother with the conduit idea.

    3. I was originally just going to run cat5 cable, but I realized that I'd be future proofing if I ran a coax as well. So, each room now has a coax and cat5 outlet in the same box.

    The nice thing is, I have their router in the basement, not taking up valuable desk space in the office.
     
  12. SavageLLama77 macrumors regular

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    Jan 5, 2007
  13. Cybix macrumors 6502a

    Cybix

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    Feb 10, 2006
    Location:
    Western Australia
    #14
    I went through the same scenario.

    I did this...

    I wired SOME locations (from one end of the house to the other).

    One end of the house has the comms gear (net connection). A wired run goes from this end of the house, to the other end.

    At both ends I have an Airport Express (wired ethernet), not using WDS.

    So both have the same SSID, and the wireless strength in the house is great, from end to end.

    Previously, with just the one airport, there was near no signal at the other end of the house.

    My home office is fully wired (has comms gear, and one airport in it)..

    I didn't see the need to wire every room, wireless covers the whole house :)
     
  14. BigPrince macrumors 68020

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    Dec 27, 2006
    #15

    Thats a pretty niffty balance.
     
  15. char1iecat macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2004
    #16
    not even a close... wire it!!!

    i just remodeled my home and wired it. but, also added a 'hidden' wireless access point near the center of my home that's accesible throughout. got the best of both worlds.

    that said, if you decide to wire it, i recommend taking the time to think ahead about where you'll be putting everything you'll want on the network (computers, printers, tvs, phones, audio, intercom, etc). that way you can strategically locate all your jacks for optimal positioning and least visibility. also, if you really wanna do things right, you should have a place in your home where everything comes together.
     
  16. xfiftyfour macrumors 68030

    xfiftyfour

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    Apr 14, 2006
    Location:
    Clemson, SC
    #17
    I vote wired. Not only because it's easier now than it will be in the future, and it's faster and more reliable than wireless, but also because of how much it'll increase your house's value. Having high-speed wiring throughout will definitely make you loads more than what you'll spend out (in time and money).

    Oh, and I wouldn't do conduit like RBMaramam suggested if your walls are already up (if you don't already have walls up and in place - then definitely do it if you can afford it). Although it's a great idea for future renovations, you typically only see conduit in commercial buildings where it's required by code. The hassle doesn't really outweigh future benefits that you may or may not ever use, IMO.
     
  17. Cybix macrumors 6502a

    Cybix

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    Feb 10, 2006
    Location:
    Western Australia
    #18
    see this image. "office" (back of house) has most of the gear, and is wired (in-wall wiring), with ONE Cat5e run going to the garage (front of house) with another airport attached

    works sweet.
     

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  18. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #19
    Ideally run two Cat6 and two RG-6 coax cables to each outlet (in each conduit if you go that way).

    Some cable/satellite systems will require two coax to view two channels simultaneously, and if you double up the Cat6 you can have a bit more flexibility in your network. For example setting up dedicated runs between specific rooms.

    One other thing to keep in mind is to have lots of bandwidth between your phone company/cable demarcs and your internal distribution point if they are separated. (Probably the same 2 Cat6 and 2 coax). This is one thing the FiOS installer told me was not up to snuff with many of the houses around me. They had a nice distribution point in the middle of the house, with just Cat 3 wire (2 pairs) to the phone demarc.

    B
     
  19. RBMaraman macrumors 65816

    RBMaraman

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    Jul 25, 2002
    Location:
    Prospect, KY
    #20
    Agreed. I did mine when only the framing was up. No drywall had been hung, so it was very easy to do. If you already have your drywall hung, don't bother with the conduit.

    Actually, conduit is being used in many more new homes, especially since custom home theaters are becoming more and more popular. Companies that install these theater systems are utilizing conduit more and more as it makes wiring and adding additional components very easy. If you have a plasma TV mounted on the wall over your fireplace (as I do), and all the components located in a cabinet over 20 feet away (as the wire travels), then conduit was the perfect choice as it insulates the wires from heat dissipating from the fireplace stack, and makes upgrading a snap. Now, I agree that 95% of the time, conduit is overkill. But, sometimes it is well worth the extra time/effort/coast, IMO.
     
  20. holamiamigos macrumors 6502a

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  21. Le Big Mac thread starter macrumors 68020

    Le Big Mac

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #22
    That raises another question. I'm considering not even bothering with phone wiring. I expect that in 5 years (maybe 3, maybe 10), VOIP will be in a lot of homes.

    So, where I'd have a phone, I'm figuring I'll do an extra run of CAT6, and then have it go back to a phone patch panel. In a few years, I'll just switch the termination to the ethernet switch, and be good to go. Anything wacky about that plan?

    And I like the conduit idea. Walls aren't up, let alone dryway, so conduit will happen (except in the existing parts of the house where the walls will remain.)
     
  22. RBMaraman macrumors 65816

    RBMaraman

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2002
    Location:
    Prospect, KY
    #23
    No, sounds like a great plan.

    You won't regret it!
     
  23. Le Big Mac thread starter macrumors 68020

    Le Big Mac

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #24
    On 1) that's what I figure I'll do. Maybe 3-4 CAT6 for office rooms.

    On 2), not sure what you mean. At least for now I'm pretty sure I won't need more bandwith on my WAN port. The choke point there is the cable modem. Even with FIOS, Cat5 is ample--there's no need for gigabit. And, since it will be in the basement, that's one run I can easily upgrade.
     
  24. weldon macrumors 6502a

    weldon

    Joined:
    May 22, 2004
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #25
    Definitely go wired. When comparing maximum throughput speeds, remember that wired can be both full-duplex and switched. There's no way to do that with wireless and it makes a huge difference if you have a lot of devices on the network.

    If you're doing conduit, you might consider leaving a pull string in each home run. You can always use existing cable as a pull string, but then you have to replace that cable if you were just trying to add another run.
     

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