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Ethernet: Why your home office could use more of it | ZDNet

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This kind of network technology has a history of nearly 50 years and is still one of the best ways to connect home and office equipment to the Internet. We reviewed many options.


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It has been almost a year since many of us started working from home, and this situation does not seem to change anytime soon. In the previous Jason Squared show, Jason Cipriani and I talked about

 and even

. However, there are other ways to improve the connectivity of the entire family. Today, we will discuss one of the oldest methods of connecting a device to the Internet, and perhaps still one of the best.

These are ZDNet's preferred Wi-Fi routers for home offices and remote work.

 By a computer engineer named

(For many years, he too


And was responsible for the formation of 3COM, which was later purchased by HP in 2010) and his team of researchers,

Category 5e Ethernet cable

Over the years, Ethernet has evolved from the use of coaxial cables to twisted pair cables and fiber optic cables. The original standard required that network frames be sent at 10Mbps. Nowadays, it is very common for Ethernet to communicate at the speed of 1Gbps through twisted pair cable. In a corporate network in a data center or in a dedicated environment, using fiber optic cables, Ethernet can move quickly at a speed of 40Gbps/100Gbps. 

Chances are, you may already use at least some Ethernet in your home. Most consumer broadband installations will have a residential gateway that will contain Wi-Fi and certain broadband access equipment, such as cable modems or optical network terminals (ONT). Those will be with a short


Many households may have Ethernet installed. However, all home routers/residential gateways have at least one or more other Ethernet ports, allowing you to expand the Ethernet network. So, for example, in my own home, through my AT&T ARRIS residential gateway (main router), I have some additional Ethernet ports. I have a

Connect to one of them to add more Ethernet connected devices.

However, you don't need to worry about the number of ports on the router. One

Just like the USB hub you can buy on a PC or Mac. If you run out of Ethernet ports, you can buy a switch, which will provide you with more network interfaces.

There are many reasons. Ethernet is super reliable for beginners. It is safe; if you use Ethernet, especially when using devices such as VLANs, it is much more difficult for someone to sniff your network traffic. It is also much faster than the Internet connection in most home environments that use Wi-Fi. Even with Wi-Fi 6, you can only get speeds of 450Mbps to 650Mbps under the best conditions. You will still experience interference and delays. But through AT&T's 1Gbps optical fiber connection, when using a computer connected to an Ethernet switch, I often get download speeds of over 900Mbps, which is close to the wire speed.

Another advantage of Ethernet is that it has a high distance limit, for example, about 100 meters per operation. In this way, you can take full advantage of the speed of the cable within that distance. If you have a multi-storey residence, such as an entertainment center in the basement or a place where you want a high-speed internet connection in the bedroom on the upper floor, then this is a good choice. 

Maybe the underlying Wi-Fi or even your mesh network didn't cut it off because there are too many walls. You can bridge the network through a Wi-Fi access point that uses Ethernet, and connect a long cable to a switch or router. You need to be able to pass the cable through the wall soffit, loft or crawl space, or along the wall under the carpet to the desired location. 

In my case, my office is in the room where all the broadband equipment is located, so I hired a handyman to install an Ethernet jack on both sides of the next door. But I know that many people just drilled through the wall and drilled a hole,

Or a

Used to push the cable through. You can buy it at Home Depot.

An inexpensive 8-port Ethernet switch manufactured by Netgear.

It does not have to be expensive. I often see unmanaged desktops

The price on Amazon is less than $60. You can buy

They can be bought from Best Buy or Amazon for around US$22, and I have also seen them as cheap as US$12 at Wal-Mart. But you can also crimp your own cable using the following method

And buy


, If you have to wire it yourself, it’s not that expensive.

Many streaming devices have built-in Ethernet ports, such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and game consoles such as Xbox and Playstation. Network adapters for laptops are not that expensive. A few weeks ago, we talked about hubs. Many products on the market include Ethernet and HDMI, as well as additional USB-C and USB-A ports, which cost about $40.

The high-end models are managed switches and are expensive because they have special segmentation and security features, such as for VLANs. These are usually used in small and medium enterprises. But another thing these more expensive switches can do is Power over Ethernet or PoE.

In addition to carrying Ethernet communications, Cat5-Cat6 twisted pair cables can also carry power. This means that if you want to place the wireless access point in a remote area of ​​the house or in a small business that does not have an AC power outlet, all you need to do is to plug the Cat5 cable into that location and plug it into the device. This is useful for broadcasting Wi-Fi signals to a wide area and installing access points on the ceiling. 

For example, in my house, my main access point is installed high on the wall of the living room, and the signal can reach a large part of the house. It is powered by a PoE switch connection in a spare bedroom where all my communication equipment is in it, including broadband connections. In addition to PoE-enabled switches, PoE can also be used-you can get them

-You need to have a device that can be powered by PoE, such as an enterprise-level access point.

; Netgear has

. If you are having trouble with a mesh router like me, that is another way to get Wi-Fi coverage for your entire home or entire enterprise.

A pair of MoCA coaxial with Cat5 Ethernet transceivers manufactured by Actiontec.

There are other ways to move Ethernet. One way to achieve this is MoCA or "Multimedia on Coaxial Cable", which uses coaxial cables that may have been used at home in the era of cable or satellite television. Many houses must have coaxial cables installed many years ago, but you can also coaxial cables outdoors and return to your house when needed, because it is a thick shielded copper cable designed to better protect it. Not affected by the elements. MoCA adapters are devices that are connected in pairs, so there is one on the side of the coaxial cable that sends Ethernet signals, and there may be one end of a switch (for example, an access point or something) on ​​the receiving end.

. Its advertising speed on the existing coaxial cable is as high as 2.5Gbps, which is very fast.

, You can also get it on Amazon. 

A pair of HomePlug AV2 powerline to Ethernet adapters manufactured by TP-LINK

Finally, we understand a technology called "Powerline Ethernet", or

, Just like the opposite of PoE; we are sending an Ethernet signal through the AC power cord already in your home. Again, this uses a pair of devices. Plug one into the wall, and then connect the Ethernet cable to your switch. The other is plugged into the wall where you want to transmit the Ethernet signal, and then an Ethernet cable comes out, which can be plugged into any cable you want to plug in. Using this method, you can plug these adapters into the power outlets of the entire home, making your electrical system a large network. 

Now there are some pitfalls: if your wiring is old and clumsy, it may not work properly. You may not get good throughput from it. However, theoretically speaking, it is feasible to establish a gigabit connection in this way. You can get

, And companies such as Netgear, Trendnet, TP-Link and D-Link all adopt them. In the past, when using such devices to expand the entertainment center in the living room at home, I have seen speeds of up to 400Mbps per second-which is about the same as the fastest speed most people see with 802.11. In the best case, use ac Wi- Fi.

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