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Are you using WiFi or Ethernet right now?

I live in a one-room cottage that I built myself. I never intended to work out of here, but I’ve adapted slowly but surely. One thing I haven’t done is run an Ethernet cable from my router to my desk. It’s only about 12 feet (it’s a one room cottage after all) and I have an Ethernet adapter, but the cable routing will be a hassle and my WiFi has been fast enough.

I’m curious though if the rest of you, working from home, have made the same compromise. Who’s run cable and who’s settling for wireless.

Top comments (73)

ahferroin7 profile image
Austin S. Hemmelgarn

Wireless, except:

  • It's 802.11ax (WiFi 6 as the WiFi Alliance is calling it).
  • I have a really nice (400 USD nice) AP with 8 transceivers.
  • I have very little interference since I'm the only person in my neighborhood who goes to the trouble of manually selecting WiFi channels.
  • I've done a lot of work performance-tuning the router.

In other words, I've gone to a lot of trouble to ensure that wireless works very well in my home. I got kind of lucky too because I upgraded most of my hardware to 802.11ax and got the nice AP literally just before the shelter-in-place orders went out where I live. I'm also a bit of an odd case though because until I get my internet service upgraded from the grandfathered-in legacy plan I'm on right now, WiFi is never going to be my issue with network performance (I'm on a 20Mb/s down 2Mb/s up DOCSIS link). Most of the reason I've gone to so much trouble for good WiFi is local transfers (I need to test across a lot of platforms regularly, and I'm running 30+ VM's on my home server for that purpose that I need to transfer data between regularly).

mrwensveen profile image
Matthijs Wensveen • Edited

Any good advice on how to find the proper channels? I have a router/adsl-modem with crappy wifi that we use upstairs (somehow the copper gets in here) and a (theoretically good quality) AP connected to the same router via ethernet downstairs. I don't think they interfere, but sometimes my connection drops when I'm downstairs.

Other tuning tips are welcome as well.

joelbonetr profile image
JoelBonetR 🥇

You can use an App called WiFi Analyzer (from windows store on your laptop) or one of many on Android Store (i suppose you'll find some on mac store too but i'm not into iOS since 4 years ago).
Then you'll see which channels are used by your neighbors so are more saturated, same on specific band too.
I recommend you to set 2,4GHz on channel 6 or 7 if are not saturated, and 5GHz on the highest possible.
If you use your AP as wifi extender (bridge mode) it must work all ok, if you use it as AP "as is" with different SSID, it can cause interference if both are on the same channel/band or near one of another.
If you need more wall-penetration signal, set the wifi on the lowest possible channel (note some devices may not work on channel 1 to 3, if 3,4GHz or below 36 if 5GHz, depending on your country law that applies to wireless bands) and set the AP as Bridge mode (wifi extender). It should work fine.
Another option (preferred, more powerful) is to use a PLC on the main router to send signal to another router upstairs, then you can set the main one on the lowest channel (that works with all your devices and its not saturated) and upstairs one on the highest possible (with same criteria).
Hope it helps you.

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buckyschwartz profile image

@joelbonetr - when I switch to WiFi Analyzer's suggested channels, the next time I check, it suggests I go back to the channel I was using before the switch. Have you ever had that experience?

Thread Thread
joelbonetr profile image
JoelBonetR 🥇

hahaha yes, of course, because when you switch to a channel, you will have a strong signal source near you on this channel (A.K.A. your router). The best way to check it out is shutting down your router, then analyzing and finally setting the correct channel / band. =D

jakesweb profile image
Jacob Colborn

My desktop is wired to the network but everything else I have is wireless. With a good wireless network, it isn't noticeable for most applications.

swrobel profile image
Stefan Wrobel • Edited

Absolutely running cable whenever possible (sending this from a gig-e connected iMac). I'm in an extremely densely populated area, hence wi-fi is extremely congested. Plus, my building is old and signal doesn't travel well through walls, despite having multiple APs.

julianduque profile image
Julián Duque

I just moved and found that my apartment is wired, but, sadly, the Ethernet port is on the opposite direction of where I'm going to install my desktop. So, I'll need to wire up the room and, during these times, not a project I would do. So, I'll remain using Wi-Fi. What I did is get a better Router (Asus AC1900) and will be extending the range of my coverage.

computersmiths profile image

I dislike wireless for anything I can run a cable for, just because it eliminates any questions about WiFi signal levels, interference, bandwidth, sharing, etc. If it's really hard to run a cable, and you get the kinds of results you expect from WiFi, and it 'feels' OK to you, then WiFi is fine.

My current setup is: 30 megabit FTTH router to RAD Airmux radio link (5 miles to another island) to an Airport Express router to an Adtran Netvanta router to my LAN. Works well except for a few seconds every 5 days when I get a new DHCP address from the ISP, or when one of the three of us needs to download a huge file. Your Milage Will Vary.

pauljherring profile image
PJH • Edited

Broadband hub in the dining room.

WiFi extender plugged into mains in dining room, connected to hub.

Main server in upstairs bedroom, ethernet-connected to WiFi extender plugged into mains, in bedroom.

hub <-> mains 'ethernet' <-> server

Using laptop, remoted into main server, at dining room table, via WiFi into the hub.

Laptop <-> WiFi <-> Hub <-> ethernet extender <-> server

Most of my 'proper' work done remotely on that server.

Except for the work stuff that requires a VPN. Which both laptop and server are on - both of which can use my work desktop, sitting lonely at my desk, doing more stuff...

Server <-> vpn <-> ethernet <->work

Laptop <-> vpn <-> wifi <-> work

Then there's my own personal server an ocean away....

onyxdragun profile image

I'm WiFi and Ethernet.

My main router is in the living room (near the modem) but my office is in the backroom which has no access to Ethernet. So I use a Wireless backhaul sort of setup to bring the network connection to my office then use a switch to attach all my devices (computers, NASes etc) via Ethernet.

My WiFi setup is a Mesh one so there is a dedicated link between the mesh nodes to ensure speeds are good. I do have a powerline adapter that runs to the first floor as well and that gives ~1200mbps speeds to the items up there.

andreasjakof profile image
Andreas Jakof

The first thing I did after (rather during) moving to our current home, was drilling some holes through the walls.

We relied on WiFi a lot in our last flat, but streaming was not possible, when we were using the Microwave.

So this time it is cable to all the essentials:

  • TV
  • Working Desk
  • Time Capsule
  • Home Server
marianorenteria profile image
Mariano Rentería

There is no workaround to fix the microwave issue? another band?

andreasjakof profile image
Andreas Jakof

Well, ist was the second one, that made it impossible to watch a stream on TV.
I assume it wasn‘t as shielded as the other one before.
But since one never knows... cable it is.

crcastle profile image
Chris Castle

If ethernet cable is easy, I hook the device up to ethernet -- e.g. a Raspberry Pi sitting in a closet where there was already an ethernet port. Everything else, including my work laptop and my TV from which I stream Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, all go over wifi. Luckily they are close to the wifi AP so they can hop on 5 GHz channels. Not sure if it would make much of a difference if they were 2.4 GHz channels.

If you want to use wifi all the time and you're having problems, I think the best course of action is to get a "prosumer" wifi access point like something from Ubiquiti.

zlynx profile image
Jonathan Briggs

The desktops and server are all on gigabit Ethernet. I'm planning a 10G upgrade sometime soon. File transfers, backups, etc, run at about 980 Mbps, but they could go a lot faster.

Most computers are in the office with the cable modem so short cables but the desktop in the bedroom has a 70ft cable run along the ceiling edges with staples.

rajrao profile image

Running wifi and it's nearly at the same speed as incoming cable. It's was terrible at first (50mbps dload), then I bought a new wifi router (Archer c4000). It was still not very good (100mbps), I then ran some wire to bring the wifi router to the center of house (from a corner). I get 300mbs consistently. Paid only $120 for the router!

sygyzmundovych profile image
Vitaliy Rudnytskiy

My wife and I are using Ethernet in a home office, and as well I connected TV to Ethernet cable too :) Our kids are struggling with Wi-Fi in their rooms, so for many school activities they are kicking us out from the home office to be on the reliable and fast cable.
Before this whole situation started and independently of it I our main router to ASUS RT-86 and turned previous RT-68 into AiMesh point. And we've been struggling with Wi-Fi since then performance and stability wise. I've been trying different configs and settings, but reliability, coverage and ASUS support were not good...

adamstaplesdev profile image
Adam Staples

I've used a powerline adapter to get Ethernet access in my basement office, and it has made a huge difference. Trying to work from home on wifi caused lots of instability, but haven't had any problems at all since hooking up to Ethernet.

dominicduffin1 profile image
Dominic Duffin

I use Ethernet all the time, except for my phone and ereader when I want to connect them to home internet. But I always work from home and we had cables run from the router in the hall to home office shortly after moving in.

leob profile image
leob • Edited

Wireless (WIFI) ... not a bottleneck for anything I can imagine because the outgoing network connection (WAN/internet) is an order of magnitude slower. In a big office with a ton of workstations I can imagine that you want ethernet wires but in a home setting ...