Why Ethernet Wiring Can Save Your WFH Life — if You Hire the Right Pro

Scott Dylan Westerlund
Updated September 30, 2021
A man working on his computer with his daughter playing behind him
La Bicicleta Vermella/Moment via Getty Images

With most things internet-related, your internet service provider (ISP) is the first place to call—but not for Ethernet cables

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 In a wireless world, Ethernet wiring is still as crucial as ever. If you have spotty Wi-Fi in your home, wired Ethernet could be the solution. Ethernet wiring:

  • Connects a Wi-Fi router

  • Connects a modem

  • Connects devices to your local network

  • Hardwires televisions, security features, surveillance cameras, and other devices to your network

What Are the Benefits of Installing Ethernet Wiring in Your Home?

Don't assume that wires belong back in the 1990s. Even a home with high-tech wireless capability might still need Ethernet wiring done.

Wi-Fi Drop Zones

If you work from home, Ethernet is a must to avoid Wi-Fi drops and frozen Zoom calls. It's common for walls to block Wi-Fi signals and lead to unreliable internet. Even a strong, consistent Wi-Fi signal can be too weak to stay connected for staff meetings, streaming webinars, or downloading big files.

Common everyday items in your house can also weaken your Wi-Fi signal—things like microwaves, satellite receivers, cordless telephones, and baby monitors.

Speed

Ethernet is still a good option even if your Wi-Fi doesn't drop off, because even the best Wi-Fi connection can't compete with the speed of a hardwired Ethernet connection. Ethernet offers benefits for anyone who does heavy streaming, gaming, or file downloading responsible for slowing down computers.

Security

Even with password-protected, encrypted Wi-Fi, someone outside your home can gain access and steal data pretty easily. Ethernet protects data by making it accessible only through a wired connection.

There's a strong case for Ethernet over Wi-Fi if you're working from home using sensitive documents. Even people who are simply worried about someone breaching their network to steal personal information should consider Ethernet.

And if you have internet-enabled surveillance cameras at your home, Ethernet enhances privacy.

What Types of Ethernet Wiring Can You Install?

A woman plugging ethernet cable to the router
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There are six types of Ethernet cables used today with varying speeds for gigabits per second (Gbps) and megabits per second (Mbps):

  • Cat5: 100Mbps

  • Cat5e: 1,000Mbps

  • Cat6: 10Gbps

  • Cat6a: 10Gbps

  • Cat7: 10Gbps with 600-inch distance

  • Cat8: 40Gbps

Are There Any Cons to Installing Ethernet Wiring?

Ethernet comes with some accessibility issues. Using a longer cable can compromise signal quality. While standard Ethernet cables max out at 328 feet, pricier options with copper reinforcement maxing out at 700 feet are available.

How to Install Ethernet Wiring

With most things internet-related, your ISP is the first place to call—but not with Ethernet wiring. Most ISPs won't touch anything except your modem/router. While some computer service companies offer Ethernet installation, most homeowners entrust the wiring to a local licensed electrician.

Installing Ethernet is pretty straightforward:

  • Make an outlet

  • Run the cable to your jack

  • Run and connect the Ethernet wiring

  • Fit the cover plate

You need to hire a professional to get the job done right. Ethernet installation involves cutting drywall and drilling holes in floors to start, and handling wires can be especially tricky.

A qualified installer will know how to snip excess cabling, strip cables with a wire stripper, and thread the exposed wires. Most Ethernet cables contain four pairs of colored wires that must be separated, fanned out, aligned with the correct slots, and installed.

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