Repair your Wi-Fi using cables

Hear. I don’t have anything against Wifi. High-speed wireless Internet access is almost miraculous, and there are many situations where using a wired connection doesn’t make sense. Can you imagine if your phone was connected to the Wall?

But since we’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of Ethernet, I’d like to make a pitch for the humble, hardworking wired connection.

A wired connection is more stable than Wi-Fi, is almost always faster, and has much lower latency. It’s simply better to send a signal down a set of copper wires than to convert it into radio waves and blast it through walls, furniture, appliances, and people. (Wi-Fi isn’t bad for people; people are bad for Wi-Fi.) And each device you disconnect from your Wi-Fi will also help the devices that are still connected. You should wire as many devices as you can, especially computers, game consoles, televisions, and especially your Wi-Fi access points (home servers and network attached storagetoo, but if you have them, you don’t need me to tell you about the advantages of cables).

Even a little wiring can have a dramatic effect on your Wi-Fi situation and could save you from having to search for a mesh network system or worse, a Wi-Fi extender.

These are the two best things that wired networks allow you to do.

Move the router: The best place for a Wi-Fi router is in the center of the house, but unless your house is already connected to Ethernet, your Internet connection is probably along an outside wall, somewhere convenient for the ISP’s installer but not necessarily for you. . Running a wired connection between your ISP’s modem/gateway and your router allows you to put Wi-Fi where he should be while keeping the modem where he needs to be. Everyone wins.

As an example: my fiber gateway, where my ISP’s fiber optic signal comes in, is in my garage. My house is about a decade old and wired for Ethernet, but the connection between the gateway and the network cabinet in my laundry room is indirect and full of splices due to some puzzling decisions by previous ISP occupants and installers , so my internet connection kept dropping. . Eventually, I’ll have a proper direct Ethernet connection in the wall that avoids that mess, but in the meantime, I’ve run a 50-foot patch cord out of my garage door, into my laundry room door, and into the wireless network. router because the alternative is to put the router in the garagewhere it would cook only slowly, and I would still have to run a patch cord to connect the rest of my network.

Mesh Backhaul Replacement: The only reason mesh networking kits have become popular is because they give you a decent Wi-Fi connection. without cables, and here I am suggesting that you reseat the cables. Listen to me.

Mesh networking kits like the Eero, Nest Pro, and Orbi use Wi-Fi to communicate between the router and satellite nodes, as well as client devices. They typically dedicate one Wi-Fi band for backhaul, communication between mesh nodes, and one or more bands for devices. But each node has to be close enough to the next to get good reception on the backhaul band, and you have a lot more Wi-Fi signals in your airspace. Replacing even a backhaul from your main router to a satellite node with a wired connection, if your mesh system supports it, dramatically improves the connection, especially for devices further away from the main router. You can place your Wi-Fi access points further apart, have better communication between them, and use less of them overall. (This is how I fixed my in-laws’ Eero installation last Christmas, to a slight applause.)

Some homes and apartment buildings, especially those built or renovated in the last decade, are lucky enough to have Ethernet in the walls: some in just one or two places, others in almost every room. If that’s an option for you and you’re not already taking advantage of it, you don’t need much to get started beyond a network switch where all your Ethernet connections are and some cables to plug things into your wall outlets. But most people No have ethernet in the walls, and it’s not trivial or cheap to get, even if you have the option of putting a bunch of holes in the wall.

Fortunately, there are many alternatives. In order from cheapest to best to… least good, there’s buying a really long ethernet cable, using your existing coax cabling, and finally, mains power.

The cheapest option: get a really long cable

Here is my proposal: get a very long ethernet cable. A hundred foot cable from a reputable company costs around $25. Connect the things you want to connect. Perhaps this will allow you to put your Wi-Fi router in the center of the house. Maybe it will allow you to connect your gaming PC and stop falling behind in multiplayer matches. Maybe it allows you to use wired backhaul to one of your mesh network nodes, or maybe you want to connect your entire entertainment center with a simple network switch. This is a good option for renters and people who don’t have ethernet. either wiring in the walls and you don’t want to (or can’t) put it there.

Now you have spent $25 or $50. If you’re happy with the performance but not the aesthetics of having a hundred-foot Ethernet cable, do what you can to dress it up a bit. Tuck it under baseboards or the edge of the carpet if you can, or use a peel and stick cable trunking. It is elegant? Not precisely. Works? Yeah.

Real Best Option: Using Your Wiring

MoCA adapters like this one convert between Ethernet and coax cabling, so you can use your existing cable to extend your home network.
Image: Nilay Patel / The Edge

Most older homes have coaxial cable in at least one or two rooms, thanks to generations of satellite TV, cable TV, and cable Internet installations. If your house or apartment was built in the 1990s or later, you may even have pre-wired coaxial cable connections in most rooms. If you have existing wiring, you can use MoCA adapters (that’s Multimedia about Coax Alliance) to convert ethernet to coax and vice versa without the hassle of Wi-Fi or powerline. Depending on your exact setup, it may not be the easiest or cheapest option, but it’s just as good as your in-wall Ethernet network, and it’s much more likely that you already have it there.

The current version, MoCA 2.5, can support transfer speeds of up to 2.5 Gbps. A basic MoCA setup requires an adapter at each end. you should search MoCA 2.5 adapters with 2.5 GbE Ethernet ports. Most people’s Internet connections aren’t quite as fast yet, but 2.5GbE ports are becoming more common on desktop and network devices, and there’s no reason to bog down buying MoCA adapters in the future. with 1 Gbps ports when 2.5 GbE options are not available. much more expensive.

To get started with MoCA, you need a coaxial port near your router. Get a MoCA adapter and connect it to one of your router’s LAN ports with an ethernet cable. Plug the coax side into the nearest coax port. The other adapter plugs into the coaxial port on the wall of your destination; Then you can connect the ethernet end to your device or a network switch to connect multiple devices. You can use multiple endpoint adapters with one adapter on the router side, and if your router has a coax port, like most FiOS gateways, it already has MoCA built in and you only need the endpoint adapters. the edgeNilay Patel’s editor-in-chief uses MoCA adapters to backhaul his Eero network.

Of course, that assumes a direct cable connection between the router end and the device end, which is absolutely not guaranteed. I’ve seen homes with three or four non-crossing coax networks set up by various cable and satellite installers over the last few decades. You also need to make sure there aren’t too many splitters in the way between them (these can reduce signal strength) and if you’re also using coax cables for your TV or incoming internet connection, you’ll need a PoE filters, ensuring that the MoCA network does not interfere with other signals on your network. This may require a bit of cable archeology and pruning of disused splitters and cables.

The most useful and up-to-date explanation of MoCA that I have found is the one Dong Ngo just gave posted in aprilwhich includes helpful information on network layout, splitters, and PoE filters.

Could Work Very Well – Power Line Networks

A powerline adapter sends your Ethernet signal over your existing electrical wiring. It may work fine, although it depends on the age of your electrical wiring and other factors.
Image: Richard Lawler/The Verge

Powerline network allows you to use your existing electrical wiring to expand your network. It makes a lot of sense in theory; most people have electrical outlets in each room.

But in practice, its performance depends a lot on how old your wiring is and how each socket is connected to your electrical panel. Richard Lawler, the edge senior news editor, uses a AV2000 Powerline Network Kit in his house. He says he gets 700-1000 Mbps (on a Gigabit network) in some rooms and 300-500 Mbps in others. That’s better than you’ll get with many Wi-Fi routers in range, though not better than MoCA or a long Ethernet cable.

wire cutters power line item — which still has a GIF of my floor lamp in disco mode during my 2015 testing — is a good summary of powerline options. Joel also knows what he’s doing.

In addition to power line kits, cable cutter I’ve also tried MoCA adapters, and you can see in that article how completely MoCA kits outperform powerline kits. Just say. You’re better off with MoCA if you have it. A long Ethernet cable beats power line if you can handle it, but if that’s not an option it’s worth a try.


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