The battle between Cable and WiFi will WiFi Logocontinue for a long time. On one hand you have builders not understanding and believe WiFi does it all, Smart Home technologists know the importance of a structured wired data network with the home owner caught in the middle, so who is right? 

During the build and renovation stage, cable is cheap. Its going to be there for on average 20-25 years, so needs careful planning based on both your current need, future growth and expected technology trends (and fears). I add fears here because there are some who believe WiFi saturation within a property is not a good thing, as I write this there is insufficient proof to prove or disprove the theory. However there is a rule of thumb regarding the balance of wired and wireless devices…..

If you can carry the device and regularly move it about or
remove it from the property, chances are you will connect WiFi.
For everything else use a cable…..

There are many reasons behind using a cable to connect devices to the Internet, and based on fear, the first is comp_CableSecurity. There have been many reports of WiFi devices broadcasting your home access credentials, this is not the case with a wired device. WiFi is also vulnerable to interference, not just from your other devices, but also from neighbouring networks.

Signal strength, bandwidth and the number of devices connected. There is a direct correlation between the 3 that directly affects your connection speed:

  • Signal strength and quality. Increased distance from the router or access point reduces connection speed rapidly, then add in real life and you soon limit the usable reach. Walls, furniture, insulation (especially foil backed) etc. soon sap the signal strength.
  • If you did not anticipate the number of devices that will access your WiFi you will soon see what squeezed bandwidth is. Think of it as a hose pipe, you can only get so much water through it. As signal strength drops, so does connection speed.
  • Tablets, phones, dongles, TV’s all seeking information and data from your WiFi, is it no wonder it can quickly fall over. Reliance on WiFi to solve all connection issues is poor planning, and mostly its not the home owners fault.

Lets get back to cable. Cat5e cable is perfectly capable and inexpensive for data, but for a few pence more per metre, Cat6 cable is a wiser choice. Providing a robust wired network to TV points, WiFi access points (AP’s), hdbaset_logo_cablelarge connected appliances (they are coming), doors, camera locations etc. you are preparing your home for wired Data.

Cable is hard to retrofit without damaging walls, floors or ceilings, which is probably why WiFi boosters or AC power solutions are treated as a normal solution, but they are ugly, or hog valuable power outlets. So how can it be done?

Plan, install, verify and test it. There are many types of data cable on the market, and we install from reputable suppliers. The Cat6 cable we specify is tested for use in 4K TV distribution, high speed networking, CCTV and even telephony. Careful retrofitting can be done with cables discretely hidden or run on exterior walls, decorative trunking or even left bare!

So what you are looking for is a balanced network, with room for expansion and seamless fast WiFi throughout your property. So do not discount cable yet, but choose wisely for a long life with cable. If money is no object, then look at Cat7 or fibre optic cable to ensure you have plenty of capacity for whatever comes…..

“Cable is not dead, Long live Cable”

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