I have been asked often about network setups
and which is better a wireless system or one
that is wired. The answers may surprise you.
Let’s say you want to install a new network,
which could be a simple home Internet
connection (WAN wide area network) or a business
that needs dozens of connected computers
(LAN local area network). What would be
better a WiFi (wireless) setup or a wired setup?
Exploring the pros and cons may be a useful
undertaking, let’s start with the traditional
wired scenario where a wire is run from your
router/modem (the Internet box) to your computer.
If your network is a simple one, running one
or two computers sharing the Internet, it becomes a
question of access to walls, floors and attics.
Pros, wires are inexpensive and reliable,
speed from Cat5e@400MegaBit to Cat6@1000Mbit.
The typical Comcast speed, for example, is
50-100Mbit so the cable will handle the
full speed of the Internet but Cat5e inhibits
internal (LAN) Gigabit connections. Cons,
getting access to walls, pulling cables,
testing connections can be troublesome.
If you decide to go wired in the walls,
floors, attics, etc. be sure to get
plenum cable, it’s more expensive than
cable running across the floor known
as a patch cable that connects your
computer to the wall plug. Plenum
rated cable has a special insulation
that has low smoke and low flame characteristics.
Plenum cable is mandated to be installed
in any “air handling” space.
For example, most large office buildings
use the ceiling to return air to the AC
unit. This qualifies this ceiling as a
plenum ceiling, and all the cables that
go through that ceiling must be plenum
rated. The reason why it costs more is
because the materials required, according
to L-com a cable products provider.
WiFi (wireless) offers a different approach
to the scenario by sending everything over
the air without wires. Pros, typical home
WiFi offers speed up to 100Mbits which is
about the speed of a typical router.
Special routers will push that speed to
1000Mbits (1 Gigabit). Best of all, no
crawling around pulling cable. Cons, you
are broadcasting your information and someone
could tap into you and steal your data.
If you feel that your info is
sensitive/private, get special VPN
(Virtual Private Network) encryption to
prevent that, or be far enough away from
prying eyes. Software and hardware are
sometimes incompatible so geek-style
tweaking may be necessary. You need the
latest operating system (think Windows 10)
and a WiFi device in your computer.
In conclusion, it depends. If you have
easy access to your building, by all means
go wired because its reliable. If you
have undesirable access to your building,
go wireless. With the advent of 5G wireless
there may soon be no need for wires. Humm?
I think I heard that about paper and computers,
or some’n like that? Good luck.