Best way to add WiFi to wired LAN

Intel / Core 2 duo e6600
January 27, 2009 at 16:07:34
Specs: Windows XP, 2.4/2GB
So here's the deal. My home was wired using CAT5 for the telephone line. I've re-purposed the wire and terminated them with phone (RJ-11 using blue & blue/white) and ethernet (RJ-45 using the remaining 6 wires). Essentially, I've piggybacked on the existing wiring to wire up my home - not advisable, I know but a heck of a lot easier than ripping out dry way and running wires.

Anyway, All the ports, 7 of them on my 8 port router are used. The setup is from the wall (cable) into modem, to router. From the router, there are 7 ports used back out to each connection point. I have 1 open port.

I would like to add back wifi to my network ONLY for the sake of convenience but need to know what's the most cost effective way of doing it. I've narrowed it down to:
a) picking up a wireless access point
b) trying to fine a decent 8 port wifi router
c) replacing my 8 port router with a 4 port wifi router and picking up 4+ port switch.

I don't really have a preference for hardware except I'm not too keen on the reliability of d-link products.

Anyway, any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!

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January 27, 2009 at 16:29:17
Just try a simple 4 port WiFi router and plug it into the last port on your first router. That would use your last port on the first router (I know, tragic) but that would open up three more ports on the new router.

Also, how did you use an eight wire CAT-5 cable to run both phone AND internet, or am I just reading this wrong. What wires did you use for what and how did you wire them. Just curious...

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January 27, 2009 at 16:34:04
First of all, there are ways to run CAT5 without ripping out the dry wall. You might have to drill though it but the rest can be done with wire mold or staples.

However, if you still want to add wireless, I vote for choice C. That would be the least expensive way and give you want you want.

Don't forget to change the default password the router, which no one does. Use WPA instead of WEP and I suggest static IP addresses instead of DHCP. If you do all that, your network will be secure.

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January 27, 2009 at 16:38:57

look down a ways iamwec to the ethernet pinouts and you will see only 4 wires used.

Of course this means manhattan01 won't be doing gigabit which requires all 8 wires and will have cross talk every time a phone call is happening and especially if manhattan01 undid the twisted pairs [twisted together to cancel crosstalk]

But yes you can do network and phone wiring with the same cat5 cable.
Further down in the link you have an example of this.

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January 27, 2009 at 17:22:43
Thanks...I forgot about just adding a 4 port router to the last port...that sounds like a good way to go...but yes...thanks for the tip on security. That's another reason why I don't dig too much on wifi - I've set up networks for others using wifi and the security part is generally a headache for me.

Yes, you can run phone and ethernet over 1 cat5e cable BUT I don't recommend it unless the alternatives are not feasible (I live in a 3 story home and re-wiring will be a pain). There IS the slight change that voltage from the phone line jumps to the other wires possibly shorting your network hardware but a) I've never heard of this happening and b) IMO, I think that risk is worth the gains.

How to do it? You'll need to google it but in short, exactly as I described, use the blue & blue/white wires of the cat5e cable for the RJ-11 jack and the remaining 6 wires go to the RJ 45. Look up the wiring diagrams and just omit the blue & blue/white wires. to terminate the connections, only strip as much wire as you need, and do everything you can to keep them twisted - they're twisted for a reason. And yes, you will cap your speed limit so you won't be able be doing a gigabit throughput but it's still MILES faster and more reliable (and secure) than wifi.

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January 28, 2009 at 07:51:37
As wanderer pointed out, you're limited to 100 Mbps with a 3 pair network connection. Since you actually only use two pairs for 10/100, you wasted your time by punching the third pair. Luckily though, you haven't wasted a whole lot of your time.

If it were me, and it was my home, and it already had existing cabling run throughout, I would have used the existing cable to pull the new stuff.

You could most likely have pulled two Cat5e cables to replace the singles. Since the original cable is already in place, attaching the two new cables to it and using it to pull them should work nicely without having to wreck any drywall or making holes or drilling or anything.

Consider yourself lucky, whoever did the developement of the basement of my house drywalled the ceiling instead of using T-Bar and tiles. Now I can't cable my home the way I would like to without major hassles and expense. I'd gladly trade my predicament for existing cables I could use to pull new ones..............

MILES faster and more reliable (and secure) than wifi.

Used to be. Now that 802.11N is almost standardized, wireless won't be so slow anymore. In fact, we have one 11n Wireless AP in place here at work for testing purposes and users are connecting to it at anywhere from 100 to 150 Mbps.

I won't argue the security and reliability of wireless though as I'm not a fan of it because it's inherently insecure and really is not a good medium if you want a reliable connection.

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