Home Networking Guide : Ethernet

In some new apartments or residential compounds, Ethernet are pre-wired and Ethernet wall jack is in every room. In this situation, you simply need to connect each computer - that has been equipped with an Ethernet adapter - to the wall jack. Ethernet cables from all rooms are terminated in a distribution panel. Jumper cables (Ethernet cables) are pulled from the distribution panel to a hub or a switch. The distribution panel, hub or switch, router, and broadband modem are commonly put in a secluded room such as the basement to hide the wires from eyes and keep the house neat. The installation, distribution, and termination of Ethernet cables are usually done by a specialized contractor. 

Nonetheless, in many cases most houses don't have pre-wired Ethernet installation. They only have telephone and electricity (AC power) wiring. In this situation, if you want to build an Ethernet network, then you have to pull an Ethernet cable from each computer to a hub or switch. This is only practical if all computers are located in the same room. If your computers are located in different rooms, then you have to drill holes between rooms to provide pathways for cables or reconstruct the house for new Ethernet wiring.

Ethernet is the most reliable, the fastest, and the cheapest LAN technology, so if you don't put other requirements (such as mobility and no new wires) on the top list, Ethernet benefits are worth the troubles of installing the cables throughout your house.

direct Ethernet cables
Figure: 10/100BaseT Ethernet Network
In the simplified diagram of Ethernet network,
a Cat 5 cable is pulled from each computer (PC) to a hub/switch.

What Do I Need?
1. Pre-installed home Ethernet wiring. (OPTIONAL)
2. Ethernet wall jack with RJ-45 female connector, one for each computer. (OPTIONAL)
3. Distribution panel to terminate home Ethernet wiring and enable connections to a hub or switch. (OPTIONAL)
4. Cat 5 cable or better (Cat 5e, Cat 6) with RJ-45 male connectors. One cable for each computer.
5. A hub or switch as the central connection point with the number of ports adequate to connect all computers.

Back Next