I've just moved house - the previous owner clearly went to a lot of effort to wire the whole place with Cat 6 cable, but frankly it's pretty unsightly (the room with the router looks like the floor void in a bank trading room...) and, all things equal, I'd get rid of it. I have BT 900 fibre into the house so it would be a shame to waste that speed, but in these days of effective wifi and mesh networks etc., do I really need it, or is it one of those technologies that has been leapfrogged?
Cables always work. WiFi can be moody. Only you can judge how important reliability is to you.
You can probably rationalise the mess
I have good wifi with a second access point in my house. I ran Cat 6 cable as a lockdown project. My download speed is about 10x faster connected to the cable than is it connected to the wifi, and the upload speed is about 40x faster. So, for me it was well worth the effort!
However, it does depend on what you are using it for. I thought it would make a noticable difference to things like streaming services - but actually most of those have sophisticated buffering systems that smooth out short drops in connection or variable speed so it doesn't make an obvious difference. It's made a massive difference to me working from home though!
I'm very much in favour of wired ethernet. I keep all static devices e.g. TV, printer, NAS, Xbox attached via cables, it should, and certainly seems to, give a more reliable connection. The difference in speed is also noticeable if you need to transfer big files within the house. A third advantage is that it can also make life easier if you have wifi deadspots in the house.
Agree with comment above that you may be able to rationalise, I find one connection to each room plus a couple in the office plenty.
I’d keep it. Mesh isn’t great. I’ve got proper unifi access points hardwired back to the router and even then the WiFi is only 200-300mbs maximum. I get 940mbs directly connected.
If it’s been properly done in cat 6, it will be future proof to 10Gbs (10,000mbs) when that becomes standard on laptops etc.
You should be able to tidy up the cable terminations. Maybe get a small 10” patch panel in a home av rack or similar.
Do you need it? No, clearly not, most people don't have it.
Might it give better performance? Give it a go and see.
Interesting topic, as I am just wondering if I need to upgrade my Cat5e cable to Cat6, if the runs are short (say 5 meters max between switches, as I remember something about Cat5e generally being capable of 1000Mbps up to 50 meters, which should be plenty for a small house). I am currently upgrading my house and each room will have 2 Ethernet ports. I am planning on having the Playstation on one and a gigabit switch on the other feeding the TV, the Freesat box and a PC. As the pinout is the same then there is nothing to tell the switch what cable is plugged in and assume that the switches negotiate with each other as to the speed they can use, so maybe short lengths of Cat5e would be sufficient? My old system used 10/100 Mbps switches and was never a problem but guess that data rates will keep climbing with things like 8K TV’s.
First rule of wireless - if you can run a cable, do it.
If someone has already run the cable so much the better.
I seriously doubt it's worth upgrading existing Cat5e cable to Cat6, as Cat5e will almost certainly be fine for anything you want to do for the forseeable future. If you're installing new then it might be an idea depending on much extra it costs, as that will mean you can use 10Gbit if it ever becomes worthwhile for you.
Bear in mind that to get the extra performance from Cat6 it's not just buying better cable. There are very strict requirements regarding termination, routing and bend radius that you need to meet to get full performance.
> Might it give better performance? Give it a go and see.
It's pretty much guaranteed to. My WiFi has not been able to saturate my Internet connection for many years.
I have recently run a cat 6 cable from my router to the room with my hifi, which I had to do having bought a new music server which doesn't support wifi. But I never had a problem with wifi before - speeds were perfectly adequate for my internet use and my internet TV. If you have been happy with wifi in the past, you probably will be in the future.
I'm a big believer in wired networks for fixed kit and wifi for mobile devices. If you have (or expect to have) non-mobile devices like desktop PCs, media streaming boxes, NASs, etc then use it for those. You'll get much better performance that if everything is fighting it out for limited wifi bandwidth. It also mitigates interference from wifi networks in surrounding properties, and dead spots within your property.
Properly terminated Cat5e will run at 1gbs up to 100m length, if both devices are capable. If they only negotiate at 10 or 100 then it's likely that you have a fault with one of the pairs, likely in the terminations if they've been done by hand.
Thanks all, helpful comments...though not the answer I was hoping for!
Have you considered running Ethernet over the mains? I do not have personal experience but my son who has his own software development business that he runs from home swears by it.
Depending on the electrics in the house it can be either great or abysmal. In all cases it causes a tonne of interference, I remember driving to my house and losing Radio 4 pulling onto the drive.
> Have you considered running Ethernet over the mains? I do not have personal experience but my son who has his own software development business that he runs from home swears by it.
That works, but would definitely be a backward step from having network cabling installed (as the OP already does.)
Cat6 is overkill for a house. A few long Cat5 cables and stick a cheap 5 port switch on the end if you've got a few devices in the room which is a long way from the BT router. WiFi can't keep up with a good internet connection these days and drops out a lot more frequently which is a nuisance for gaming but an advantage for Zoom calls.
Is your house old? All the internal walls in my place (1950s) are brick and Wi-Fi sucks.
As mentioned elsewhere cables are more reliable than wifi and if you can't route the cables under the floor they are unsightly.
We were concerned recently when we had fibre installed. Previously we had broadband by copper cable and used ethernet cable in the house for our two PCs. The location of the new fibre router and the PCs meant we had to use wifi to connect the PCs.
At present I'm using one of these -
which is at least 15 feet horizontal and about 10 feet vertical from the router and with the signal having to go through a wall and floor(which has copper pipes and electrical cables). So far the signal is great, usually about 140 down and 30 up.
However, I'm guessing you might need a more specialise wifi adapter to handle any where near the speed you'll get from BT 900.
I read this:
"but frankly it's pretty unsightly (the room with the router looks like the floor void in a bank trading room...) and, all things equal, I'd get rid of it."
So not a backward step in that context perhaps?
So to answer the question, "do I really need it."?
Basically wired connections will be faster and more reliable for things that have network ports. Printers, Desktops, Laptops, Games Consoles etc.
You'll still need a decent wifi network for your phones, tablets etc.
However, if you have an ok network, then yes you can just get rid of it. Personally I wouldn't, but if you don't like it and your wifi is good enough, then get rid of it.
> Cat6 is overkill for a house.
It's already wired with Cat 6, though...
> > Cat6 is overkill for a house.
> It's already wired with Cat 6, though...
Well in that case it is crazy not to use it!
CAT6 is so last week, rip it all out and put CAT7 in....
Cat 8 is what you want - 40Gbps 2000MHz. I'm a little embarrassed to say what I was looking up to find this. Suffice it say my mind is saturated with woo and I am gagging on snakeoil.
I wouldn't bother. Unless you're in an industrial setting with lots of electrical noise. You'd be just as well of properly terminating the cables if you're not getting good enough signal.
It really depends on your house. If you live in a big old stone house it's worth keeping and putting a couple of wireless access points at key locations.
Most stuff comes WiFi enabled.
If its not been embedded in the walls or floors then I get your point its pretty ugly and if you can't box it away easily behind the skirting boards then ditch it.
I would suggest keeping it for home CCTV or home security. A lot of home security stuff on the market is very insecure and the last thing you want is someone hacking your CCTV to see when your not at home.