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Question Thinking of adding hard wired network to home

TWGF1572

Junior Member
Nov 30, 2012
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I've been kicking around the idea of hard wiring a couple network connections in my home. Primarily our streaming TV's, wife and I are both working from home now - so those computers, and our home PC. I've been toying with trying something for a while, but it's a slow time of year and I'm stuck at home, so am thinking it's time to do something if I want to do this. A bit of background.
  • Our internet speed is bad. The price we pay for living in a semi-rural area. Download ranges from 30-10mbps, depending on the day. I know. I know. I just had a conversation with our company's tech support person who refused to believe that there was anyone in the US that had less than 100mbs internet. Had to show her the speed test.
  • I'm currently using a Google Nest mesh system for all internet. 3 story, 3,000 sqft house, 1 router and 2 APs. For the most part it handles things. We do get occasional dropouts where the computer says it's connected to the wi-fi, but there is no internet. Not sure if that is router or service provider related, but it has gotten much better since the first quarantines this spring. So I suspect service provider. But for the most part, things are OK.
  • My interest in punching a lot of holes in walls is limited. I suck at drywalling, and with the housing and renovation boom going on there isn't a chance of getting someone semi-professional in for months/years.
So given our internet speed, I've always kinda said what's the point in hard wiring. But since working from home, I do see benefits in getting a hard network to our work computers at least. I think it would likely give us more stability during video calls. And at some point, it would be nice to get a NAS set up. I feel like this is a project where I can get it done cheaply-ish, it will have some benefits. But not huge ones. But I also just like projects like this, so I don't mind doing the work.

Thinking two options -
  • Ethernet: The house has 8 strand wire run for phones throughout. It appears to be set up in a home run configuration - it's all wire nutted together where the line comes into the house - but I know that may not mean anything. The prior owners who built the house ran phone jacks to each room, so that will help. So I could potentially put ethernet jacks on the current phone lines where the computers are, set up a small network switch for those lines and see what happens.
  • MoCA: The house also has coax jacks in each room, which also terminate next to the phone lines and are home runs. So I could do a MoCA setup. But the cost seems more signifigant.
At this point, I'm thinking I'm heading the ethernet route. It feels like I could buy a couple keystone jacks, test it out on a few lines and see what happens. I have a 8 port switch I could use. If all goes well, I could certainly refine the setup. What I don't know is if the cable is Cat5 or 5e. There aren't any identifying marks on the jacket that I can find.

All I know about this, I've read online. So I'm sure I'm missing something. And like I said earlier, I think the returns to this will be marginal and probably come in the way of better network stability for our work computers. Which would be nice. But I'm in the "why not try it?" camp.

What do you think? Am I over simplifying this?
 

Hans Gruber

Golden Member
Dec 23, 2006
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What year was the house built? If 2002 or later it's probably Cat5e. I have standard Cat5 in my house. With Cat5 you get what you get. In my case that means up to gigabit speeds through standard Cat5 with some drop offs down to 450mbps. I did the running wires thing. It was like Moses parting the seas. But unless you are ready for such an undertaking, I would go the MoCA 2 route or start with a few Cat5e runs.
 
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Fallen Kell

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
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If you are going to run the wires, run CAT6a. The cost of running a wire isn't the wire, it's the time it takes to actually run the wire. Spend the extra couple bucks to purchase CAT6a instead of CAT5e. There is no point in putting in a wire standard that is 22 years old. Sure, CAT6a is 15 years old, but in terms of consumer network equipment, it is on the cutting edge of technology (i.e. 10GbE). Pretty much anything faster will most likely require fiber and will be a LONG time coming to the consumer space (if ever).

I recently had most of my home retrofit with CAT6a about 2 years ago (all but 2 bedrooms and the kitchen had runs added to them). Make life easier on yourself and run at least 2 cables to any location (not just one). The idea is to look to the future, not the current day. Having the second cable there lets you hook up something new in the future at bandwidth, and gives your some redundancy in case someone trips on a cable and it rips out of the wall, breaking a connection in the process. With the second drop/run into the location, you can just plug back in immediately to get going vs needing to perform a lengthy repair.

Also, make sure you get the correct cable to run. You will want solid core 23awg CAT6a, most likely plenum rated (its a firecode item that just makes your life easier if you just get it since you don't then have to worry about what the exact rules are in your location). What you don't want to have happen is for you to have a fire and then have your insurance say we aren't covering XYZ because your cable didn't have a certain rating (even though the purpose of the plenum rating is really more a personal safety issue since it ensures that the gases produced when the cable burns meets certain standards such that they won't have toxins that will kill you if you breath it in, since most people that die in fires don't die from the flames but from breathing in toxic gases which incompasitate them and then kill them).
 
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SamirD

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Jun 12, 2019
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I think your plan is absolutely dead-on as it is exactly what I would do. Except you may already have the termination you need if both ends are terminated to an rj45--it may be as simple as literally plugging stuff up!

If it doesn't work, then I would reterminate one cable on both ends and see how it goes, and then go from there.

Moca is an option, but as you mentioned it is more expensive. However, it might be easier if you just need to get a wired connection to a single place and then put a switch/ap for things nearby. Powerlines are also viable since your Internet bandwidth is so low.

I would look into using cellular Internet as a backup if work depends on Internet. You can get multiwan routers that will automatically integrate both internet connections and failover automatically. Once you've had this type of setup, it's really hard to imagine anything else--I don't think I've had to go without Internet except a handful of times in the last decade when both providers were out simultaneously (very rare). And reliability like this can make a lot of real-world difference when your job performance to a certain extent is tied to your internet.
 
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TWGF1572

Junior Member
Nov 30, 2012
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My house was built from 2001-2003. Yup. Apparently the builder and owner were best friends when it started, and enemies when it finished. So it could be either type of cable.

On the running cable part, I wasn't clear enough. I'm not going to pull cable. I have three floors, including the basement where the current lines all terminate. And the basement is finished with a drywall ceiling. Never say never, but I'm not really wanting to tackle that level of project. I'd pull a short run if needed, which I may need to do based on where the internet comes in the house vs. where the phone lines are. But going up two stories is off the table I think. So it's my existing lines or nothing there.

I'm liking this dual WAN router idea! I didn't know such a thing existed. I've done some reading, need to do some more, but it certainly appears like a solution to increase our bandwith and give some redundancy. We have two options for internet - both are the same speed roughly and both have crappy customer service. So there's no point switching between the two. But doing both, or including cellular, would be intriguing.

Thanks for the input so far everyone!
 

SamirD

Golden Member
Jun 12, 2019
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My house was built from 2001-2003. Yup. Apparently the builder and owner were best friends when it started, and enemies when it finished. So it could be either type of cable.

On the running cable part, I wasn't clear enough. I'm not going to pull cable. I have three floors, including the basement where the current lines all terminate. And the basement is finished with a drywall ceiling. Never say never, but I'm not really wanting to tackle that level of project. I'd pull a short run if needed, which I may need to do based on where the internet comes in the house vs. where the phone lines are. But going up two stories is off the table I think. So it's my existing lines or nothing there.

I'm liking this dual WAN router idea! I didn't know such a thing existed. I've done some reading, need to do some more, but it certainly appears like a solution to increase our bandwith and give some redundancy. We have two options for internet - both are the same speed roughly and both have crappy customer service. So there's no point switching between the two. But doing both, or including cellular, would be intriguing.

Thanks for the input so far everyone!
Ah, this is why the old business rule 'never do business with family or friends' is a staple. Many times it ends up like this, sacrificing the personal relationship in the process. :(

Glad you like the idea of the multiwan! And actually it's ideal for situations like yours. There are also routers that can take even more than two wans, so you can have 2 isps as well as cellular and aggregate them all. :)

This link has some incorrect information due to being so dated. For one, I personally had 3x cable modems on a single account, each one set up as a separate service with full bandwidth with a cisco rv016 router back in 2004--almost any service provider can do this today. The article also links to a very outdated cisco rv042 router which I believe is even eol at this point. Multi-wan is nothing new and nothing special in the world of enterprise equipment as fortigate and watchguard natively support it right out of the box. I've used watchguard for up to 3x wans so far and it works great. I'm sure ubiquiti and some others would also support it, but I haven't personally checked.
 

JackMDS

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Oct 25, 1999
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@SamirD

It works for you because,

For one, I personally had 3x cable modems on a single account, each one set up as a separate service with full bandwidth
Notice that I Bold single account.

My link above is to a page that eights the principles and Not toting old (or new) hardware.

In technology, hardware is secondary to the scientific principle of the issues (especially in these days that most of the common Schooling is actually pure marketing).



:cool:



 

mxnerd

Diamond Member
Jul 6, 2007
6,081
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Load balancing <> channel bonding. If you are downloading a big single file or viewing videos, it will not split the traffic into multi-wan connections. Even if you are on a single account.

Load balancing does work when user or users are viewing web pages, torrenting, or viewing videos on different machines which are downloading multi small files at the same time.

If OP has multi software (well, most of the time in current environment) that will be used at the same time, or software that does multitasking (browsers) it does can help using multi-wan. OP has no need to hardwire if internet is so slow at the time, however.
 
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SamirD

Golden Member
Jun 12, 2019
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@SamirD

It works for you because,



Notice that I Bold single account.

My link above is to a page that eights the principles and Not toting old (or new) hardware.

In technology, hardware is secondary to the scientific principle of the issues (especially in these days that most of the common Schooling is actually pure marketing).



:cool:
You highlighted something that went against what was in your link: "
Some people try to put two modems on one DSL line, or two modems on one Cable Internet account.

It does not work this way."

My personal experience is that it does. Principles are one thing, but I've dealt with multi-wan from before that link was written and have seen it evolve. Certain things are simply outdated and no longer true. The aspects that are true are the following:
Let assume that you have two 3Mb/sec. connections each capable to download at 300KB/sec.

With Combined Bandwidth you should be able to download one file at 600KB/sec.

With Load Balancing one single file will not exceed download speed of 300KB/sec. However you can download 2 files at 300KB/sec. or 4 files at 150KB/sec. etc.

Peplink has been in the multi-wan game longer than anyone and they can actually combine bandwidth across multiple isps without isp interaction on their range of routers--it's been their competitive advantage for years.
 

SamirD

Golden Member
Jun 12, 2019
1,487
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Load balancing <> channel bonding. If you are downloading a big single file or viewing videos, it will not split the traffic into multi-wan connections. Even if you are on a single account.

Load balancing does work when user or users are viewing web pages, torrenting, or viewing videos on different machines which are downloading multi small files at the same time.

If OP has multi software (well, most of the time in current environment) that will be used at the same time, or software that does multitasking (browsers) it does can help using multi-wan. OP has no need to hardwire if internet is so slow at the time, however.
Bonding has always been the specialty of only one company--peplink--and they do it well. Their products are just not cheap (last time I checked).

The usual round-robin or weighted load balancing works very, very well. I literally could see the speed increase and the 3x modems working in my set up back in the day. It was mainly for upload bandwidth and I could easily max that out with multiple uploads simultaneously going.

Almost anything that requests anything from the Internet as multiple objects (html, script, jpg like on a typical web page), each of those objects is treated as an individual request and balanced. So when a web page is looking for 120 objects, my 3x modems were getting 40x each and downloading all of them in parallel, literally speeding things up 3x.

The problem is when you have a single upload/download object--then you are limited to the fastest single connection you have. But you can get creative here when an application defaults to just a single object and divide out the job.

When I was uploading I would divide out the upload and actually have 3x different systems upload simultaneously so it would max out the bandwidth. Took 5 minutes extra but saved 2/3 the normal time.
 

mxnerd

Diamond Member
Jul 6, 2007
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Peplink SpeedFusion works because you have to use their products on both ends and it will create a VPN channel.

It will then re-assemble the packets on the other end. Simple load balancing won't.

You can divide out and upload files simultaneously through 3 modems, but they must be 3 different files with simple load balancing.
 
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TWGF1572

Junior Member
Nov 30, 2012
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So I think if I'm following everything correctly....in my use case load balancing would be fine. Where I start running into trouble is when my wife and I are having video conferences for work. Load balancing would most likely split those out over the two internet connections. Now when my kid starts running Xbox with his friends, I'm back to having some congestion on one line but I'd assume it's not as bad as all three of us on one.

Back to the plan, got the jacks and tool ordered. That is one big snarl of wiring in the ceiling. It's intimidating, but I hope the circuit identification tool I have helps.

Looked at a few switches last night. I didn't realize some offered a POE option for actually powering the switch. That functionality may come in handy.
 

ch33zw1z

Lifer
Nov 4, 2004
33,720
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You can limit bandwidth with some devices. I run a unifi setup and have a "guest" group that's limited to 10mbps/1mpbs. Might be a handy tool to ensure everyone's getting what they need but not hogging it all
 

aigomorla

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Sep 28, 2005
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(its a firecode item that just makes your life easier if you just get it since you don't then have to worry about what the exact rules are in your location)
i never understood this unless you were running PoE.
I really can not see how you could start a fire from 2 nic's communicating with each other over non PoE.
 
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bob4432

Lifer
Sep 6, 2003
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I always go Cu. With today's tech, the LAN is the bottleneck as I always see 100MB/s when moving large enough files in the LAN, and latency goes down.

I live in a small condo so I still get 100MB/s on the longest run, which is not that far, and I am running Belkin CAT 5E Plenum.

And use your router to delegate how much bandwidth people get with yourwufe and you get the most if you are video conferencing, the kids can deal with a bit less speed/more latency for gaming, hell they are not keeping the lights on. Also use the time availability on the router, set DHCP and dole out bandwidth as necessary per child. Unless they are maxing out the connection they will not know. Hello wouldn't bring it up unless they start complaining about issues, then up their bandwidth a little bit at a time until the bitchin' goes away (no disrespect to your kids).

Also you have to think of EVERYTHING. In your house that is using bandwidth - do you have a smart or semi smart home? If you do, limit individual items bandwidth, just set everything up via DHCP and name it and most routers will show you a our graph of what is taking the most bandwidth.

Again, I say go Cu, and since you are doing it today, go 6a or if you can rent a Fluke meter it should tell you what standard was used and how long the runs are. Do this before you invest in a lot of hardware (unless you can return it) just to make sure the current Cu was run using a standard (there is is a standard for a reason) - T568B or T568A.

Good luck,
Bob
 

Fallen Kell

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
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i never understood this unless you were running PoE.
I really can not see how you could start a fire from 2 nic's communicating with each other over non PoE.
It isn't about starting a fire with the network wires. It is simply about how those wires burn if they are in a fire and what gasses they give off when burned.

A plenum is the technical term for an air duct or passage way. In theory, you only need to use plenum rated cable when it is being run in such an air duct. They don't want toxic gasses to be blown through the entire house via the air ducts, turning what might have been small fire in one room of the house into something that kills everyone in the entire house (especially people who were asleep in their bedrooms and have not yet had a chance to be awoken from an alarm system as these gasses can kill in less than 1-2 minutes in some cases). The reason the local fire codes sometimes call for the plenum rated wires even when it is simply going in the wall is because some homes simply use the space between some walls as an air return, and many other homes have leaks in their duct work making the space in the walls where those ducts are located to be part of the airway. It is because of this that many local fire codes simple call out that any cavity in the walls or floors be simply considered plenum and just requires all cables to be meet that code (i.e. in their minds, they are erroring on the side that will protect more lives by requiring it).
 
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