On our most recent IoT Podcast, Judy called into our hotline and asked if it makes sense to install wired ethernet in a new home she’s having built. And specifically, she’s wondering if she should even consider locations such as her garage for wired connections.
Without a doubt, if I was having new construction be built, I’d be putting network wiring and jacks in almost every room, including my garage. While mesh Wi-Fi works for the smart home of today, it’s difficult to imagine the types of devices and services our homes may use in the future.
For example, I hadn’t thought of what connectivity I might need in my garage. In fact, I didn’t think I’d ever need any. However, since purchasing an older townhouse in 2016, I’ve added a smart garage door opener and sensor, a Google Home mini speaker and I’ve even used my Lenovo Smart Display to watch YouTube TV for hours while sitting in the garage on a warm but rainy day.
Granted, all of these devices use wireless, not wired, connections. But I’d surely get better network performance if I had an ethernet jack in the garage where I could plug in a mesh access point. And then I could even expand my garage devices to include a camera, which can require a large amount of network bandwidth. It’s worth noting that many newer vehicles need a connection for software updates; extending your network into the garage makes this seamless.
In Judy’s case, we recommend wiring the house along with network ports in every room, especially wherever she may put a television set, simply because content is increasingly moving towards internet-based delivery. Additionally, wired jacks near certain windows may make sense for security cameras that need high bandwidth. And Stacey even had a network jack in the master bathroom of her old home: There’s been big growth in smart devices here such as smart showers and mirrors, not to mention smart toilets if that’s your jam.
It’s also worth noting that placing power outlets near windows and under the sink will be useful for webcams, smart blinds and water delivery or monitoring.
Judy specifically asked about using Cat-5 cable for her connectivity, but to better futureproof the network, we recommend Cat-6 cabling which supports faster speeds and reduces the potential for crosstalk, or interference between signals. Of course, if you’re getting 10 Gbps speeds then you’ll want to update all the way to the latest Cat-8 cable standards but for most places in the U.S., this will be overkill.
To hear Judy’s question, as well as our discussion in full, tune in to the IoT Podcast below: