Each day I've been running a 20m ethernet cable from my router to the 'office' at the opposite end of our flat. It's unsightly and a trip hazard so I'm looking for a workaround. I've tried a wifi extender placed midway in the hallway, but the speed drops from 80MB to ~2MB.
I've recently removed all of our carpet, leaving clear floorboards from one end to the other. I'm wondering how feasible it is to run the cable beneath them. The flats split level so there's a small set of stairs to navigate, and it's a long way...
Before probing further, I wondered whether anybody else has done this, or similar? It looks like a lot of work and may not be worth while, but thought somebody may have a clever trick up their sleeve. Electricians must have tackle jobs like this regularly.
I successfully ran CAT6 Ethernet from one end of the flat to the other under the floorboards for many years.
Another option would be something like a Multy X 2-pack
Which should be fine for a flat.
If you need more coverage it's easy to buy and add more Multy X or Multy-mini nodes
A combination of those works really well for me in a 3 storey house
Happy to discuss further if useful.
That's great Adam – how was the routing process? Relatively straightforward or untold pain? As I mentioned I have had a quick look at mesh networks (both TP-Link Deco and Google Nest). Haven't heard of the ZyXel before so thanks for the recommendation. Can't beat a hard-wired connection for speed and reliability, but would prefer to pay £200 for a plug-and-play system over lifting numerous floorboards.
It comes with a mobile app which automatically connects the nodes together so setup was non-painful.
It supports 2.4 and 5ghz Wifi which you keep as separate SSIDs or combine into a single SSID. I did the former because I have some devices that only support 2.4ghz.
Adding any additional nodes is straightforward, just add the device in the app and it sorts itself out.
You can also give individual devices on the network permanent local IPs.
Has worked well for me.
I did exactly this recently, taking the opportunity while I was replacing some broken floorboards.
It was pretty awkward, and I was extremely lucky in the manner I got the cable down the stairs (also split-level). If the attached image doesn't make any sense, I had to cut the plug off the end of the cable and attach it to the cover from some plastic conduit that I had lying around. This was *just* both small enough to get through the hole between the cables, and long enough to get hold of at the other end. If it hadn't had been a straight run I would've been stuffed. Crimping a new RJ45 connector was a pain as well, despite buying a supposedly decent tool for the job.
I'd recommend saving yourself the hassle and go for mesh wifi. I've got a pair of Netgear Orbi at either end of a typical ladder flat and get 150Mb throughout.
Not a fan of the powerline things myself. Wiring obviously varies, but the dlink ones I had didn't manage more than 60Mb despite supposedly being 500. Having a 'wired' connection to my main computer considerably slower than the internet wasn't acceptable.
Excellent, thanks for sharing your experience Ian. The DIY to-do-list is substantial, so could do without the hassle.
Have you considered a mesh set up such as Google Mesh? Some advantages over extenders, repeaters etc - esp that the 'handover' to the nearest device is seamless. With extenders, you might get your devices connecting to a 'weak' signal from the main router.
Not cheap but nowhere as painful as ripping up floorboards. We manage to get pretty good coverage across 2.5 floors and have over 20 devices of all sorts connected at all times. Some sacrifice in speed of course but 80Mbps goes to 50-60 rather than 2. Like you our study / office is quite far from the router.
Plus you can do other things such as temporarily prioritising bandwidth to certain devices and setting up a Guest WiFi network and even manage its speed etc.
Only one pain factor has been that it sometimes randomly loses its connection and requires a reboot - maybe once every couple of months. Which is easy enough if one is home but very annoying if you're away and want to be connected. Though tbf I'm not sure whether it's a service provider issue. (We're on EE and generally pretty happy with it)
Oops just realised Adam already covered this :D
I've tried a variety of powerline extenders, some were better than others and I think you've a reasonable chance of getting 50Mbps using some of the better quality ones. One caveat though, one set I had somehow picked up a set a couple of doors down. I was able to access all of their files on their NAS and various other stuff. Make sure you add the password after set up.
I've used a few wi-fi extenders. They were all rubbish.
Personally when I had this issue I drilled a hole in the wall so I could get the wireless access point (I used a separate unifi one) nearer the middle of the house.
If you're in an upstairs flat I'd probably look at routing through the loft.
If you are running a cable I'd look at terminating each end with an ethernet socket rather than a plug, they are much easier to connect up.
Ultimately the TP Link Deco mesh or similar will probably be the easiest answer.
I upgraded our WiFi in stages. First on a recommendation from a friend I switched to a long range hub and since I’ve put in a switch, additional hub and some wired cameras. We have a small coal hole so access was not an issue for the most part.
Saying that the switch to the long range WiFi covered most of the house on 3G. This was more than sufficient for my wfh needs. The brand and hub I first used is
this is an interesting blog on setting it up
For reliability, Ethernet is #1. The cost of running cable when you fit out an office (bare shell) is normally £60-100 per cable (including surface mounted trunking and terminating both ends). If you need to start chasing cables beneath floorboards, etc. Then time racks up and costs more. Even if you know how to terminate the cables yourself on female wall adapters and male patch leads, it's a delicate job.
powerline adapters can work but the main problem with them is if your power rings are isolated. Then the speeds drop dramatically. If you use them as indicated (all in the same ring and plugged directly to the mains' socket), then they are cheaper with basic models at maybe £30 a pair.
in my opinion, Wifi extenders are a waste of space. They repeat the wireless signal but that increases latency. If you want to reach further from your main router, your extender will be reasonably far from it. So your final device may show good wifi signal, but the connection router-extender will be working at a poor speed, triggering lots of packet resends and the experience will be frustrating.
Mesh systems are much more reliable. I have a 2-note Deco M5, which does the trick. My best results were by plugging the first node to the router, the second one to my computer. The uplink between both devices is solid. Roughly you are looking at £70 per node, when you compare with running cable, it cheaper. If you compare with powerline, you can run 2 devices per node physically, but many wireless, so it may work cheaper as well.
The pros are clear: easy to set up and reasonably priced.
the cons: this particular model (for me) lacks in the configuration front (a very simplistic app and now a web interface that only has partial functionality). When it decides to shape the "beamforming", some devices lose connectivity temporarily.
newer models use a dedicated frequency channel for the uplink, which will improve reliability.
I've been looking at the Deco mesh system. As Conlon suggested yesterday, I think I'm going to attack the problem in stages. Our router is six years old, so starting there. I hadn't realised many routers don't incorporate a modem, so going to try something in the region of a 'TP-LINK Archer VR2800'. I hope that'll give the wifi signal a kick. Pending how that plays out, I'll then try one or two deco mesh outposts to carry the signal to back room ('office') and loft.
Thanks all for the thoughts and advice on the topic.