Wireless is not always the answer!
A question we get asked a lot by people doing major home renovations or a new build is whether they should include hardwired network connections throughout the home. As with all questions there is no one right answer and the best solution for you will depend on a number of factors. It is often the case that a hybrid solution of wired and wireless gives the optimum connectivity to suit your needs.
By the end of the article you should feel more informed and confident to discuss your requirements with your electrician or smart home integration specialist.
In an ideal situation, our recommendation is to have a minimum of one hardwired network connection in every room and ideally one dedicated to each television to allow streaming services to have the best possible connection. You will want to look at the layout and plans for your home to visualise where you will position the new smart devices, to ensure that they have the power supply and internet connection that they need. Things like smart ovens and kitchen appliances are growing in popularity so don’t forget the kitchen in your plans.
Sometimes overlooked areas include garages and outside spaces. If you might want to automate your garage door or driveway gate or add external security cameras, having Ethernet cabling out to these locations is a good investment and easier to do at this stage than when your project is complete.
Another growing trend is for smart window coverings, these again are best hardwired (due to their requirement for power for the motor more than the control side of things) and can be really invaluable for large windows that may be hard to reach but where you want to have control over the light levels or temperature in the building.
Here is a quick guide of when to use wired versus wireless:
Requirements Ethernet cables. Space for network equipment, you will need a
location where all the cabling comes back to. This is normally the rack (which is the brains of the house)
Type of property New build or major renovation
Requirements Good WiFi coverage (many need range extenders, or hardwired
wireless access points) and/or you could choose smart devices that communicate over bluetooth
Type of property Existing home, rental property
To help you visualise the recommendation for wired versus wireless, we’ve created a handy schematic which you can download and print.