Not being able to find a Wi-Fi connection is enough to annoy anyone these days. But worse than that, having a slow Wi-Fi connection is sure to raise anybody’s blood pressure. Even in the age of wireless technology, cables and wires are an essential part of making any machine work right. When a smartphone, computer, or any other device is connected wirelessly, the modem/router that wireless signal comes from is still using Ethernet cables. These cables may be providing the Internet signal indirectly, but they are still an integral part of the process.
There are different categories out there and the type used will determine how fast electronics can operate online. If a page is loading slow, a better quality Ethernet cable can potentially make those connections go faster. It also helps to know how much data the average online task uses. Something simple like downloading a picture should go fast on any Ethernet cable whereas more data-heavy tasks like streaming videos can put strain on weaker connections.
These factors ring true for both wired and wireless connections, although from a technical standpoint those can be two very different things. Speaking of things that are different, being in a building that supports fiber optic cable over Ethernet can also make a huge difference. Understanding the basics of these concepts can ensure you understand what steps can be taken to make your Internet faster.
Ethernet vs. Wi-Fi
Ethernet cable has a major role anytime and anywhere the Internet is involved. Whether Internet connections are used at home or in a professional setting like an office, school, hospital, or manufacturing plant, Ethernet plays a part. Even wireless connections have to get their signals from devices like routers or wireless access points that are using Ethernet themselves. But most people who use the Internet for activities with high data usage, like video streaming, will choose Ethernet for its faster speed over Wi-Fi.
Getting hardline connections ready may sound easy, but there is a bit of a planning process that goes into it. Firstly, think about what type of Ethernet cables you will need. Ethernet is divided into different categories. The current default cable is Cat5e, although newer and faster versions are also available. Consider what kind of data speeds the cable should be expected to handle and make a decision from there. Also, ask yourself where the cable will be located. If it is sitting on a desk in a room-temperature climate, any Ethernet cable will do. But if it will be exposed to extreme temperatures, sunlight, water, oil, chemicals, or any other harsh conditions, make sure to select a cable
You probably have a modem and router in your home, but what exactly is the difference between them? Each device plays a critical role in getting Internet access to computers, smartphones, and anything else you have with online access. “Modem” and “router” are often used as interchangeable terms, but they are not the same thing.
The purpose of a modem is to bring the Internet into your home by connecting to a wall jack. The type of Internet signal that an Internet Service Provider (ISP) sends out is different from the type used by computers and other household electronics. A modem translates that raw signal into a format that your electronics can use.
There are different types of modems out there depending on what type of Internet service you pay for. If you have cable Internet, you need a cable Internet modem. If you are on a DSL connection, you need a DSL modem. And if you have fiber Internet, you need an Optical Network Terminal (ONT) modem.
Each modem has RJ45 ports on the back for ethernet cables. The port that plugs into the wall jack will usually be a different color so users can easily tell it apart. The other port(s) can run ethernet cables to computers or other hardware, including routers. A standalone modem only transmits signals over ethernet lines. If you are trying to set up WiFi, you will also need a router to go with the modem.
Setting up a network sounds easy. Just run some ethernet cable, plug it into your computers and other equipment, and everything is good to go. However, that is a bit of an oversimplification. Under ideal conditions, things really would be that simple. But conditions do not start out ideal and how close they are to the mark largely depends on the prep work.
The best way to prevent any problems is to avoid them entirely. Knowing which mistakes are the most common during the planning phase is the best way to dodge them during implementation.
Poor Cable Management
Most people have probably laid eyes on a jumbled, tangled mess of wires at one point or another. Messes like this can lead to a host of problems down the road. Most obviously, tangled cables are hard to work with and annoying. If anything ever needs to be moved or replaced, the task becomes much more tediously. Additionally, cables twisted together can go past their maximum bend radius, damaging or even outright breaking cables in the long run. Keeping cables organized and labeled with a little extra work now can save you from a lot of extra work later.
These good practices also extend to removing old, unused cables. It is not uncommon for old equipment to be removed while the cables used for it are just unplugged. Those old cables take up space, can tangle with other wires, and get in the way when making new installs or repairs. If an old piece of equipment needs
Cable switches are used to connect multiple signal inputs (computers, DVD players, video game consoles, etc.) to a single output (televisions, computer monitors, etc.). Switches all work on the same general principle and most are purely mechanical. A switch only goes from multiple inputs to one output; if you need to go from one input to multiple outputs, you will need a splitter instead.
Switches are used when you have a screen, such as a TV or computer monitor, that does not have enough ports. For example, say you have a TV with one HDMI port but you want to connect a DVD player, a laptop, and a video game console. One option would be to constantly reach behind the TV and switch the cables, but that gets old fast. The simpler solution would be using a switch that connects all three devices to the TV and lets you change between them at the push of a button.
Most switches are mechanical and do not require a power cable to work. The inside of a switch works similar to switching the rails on train tracks. Say you have a 2-way switch, so the signal can come in from Input A or Input B. If the switch is set to Input A and you press the button to change it to Input B, parts inside the switch move from A to B to change the connection. This is why switches can only use one input at a time. If a switch was built to use multiple signals at once, the signals would interfere with each other and none of them would work.