Wiring for Wireless: Maximize WiFi Network Speeds with These 3 Tips

Published: 2017-11-15

Most people take their wifi network speeds for granted. Just plug in a router, connect your device, and you’re done, right? While that might work for most applications, gamers, hi-def video streamers, and heavily used commercial wifi networks need as much speed as possible.

So how do you go from fast to as fast as possible? Start by looking beyond the router to the wiring that forms the foundation of your wireless network.

Here are 3 things to think about:

1. Wire Your Walls Right

While you may never plug your device into a physical jack, the wiring inside your walls dictates your wifi network speeds. [related]

Currently, there are two Ethernet cable options available: Cat5e and Cat6. Cat5e cabling can handle existing wifi network speeds, including gigabit Ethernet. This will be an acceptable option for most users.

But by spending just a bit more, you could upgrade to Cat6 cabling and future-proof commercial wifi networks for the faster speeds to come. And at the rate technology progresses, they probably aren’t far off.

2. Match Your Jacks with Your Wiring

The wiring inside your walls connects to Keystone Jacks, which are the female connectors typically mounted in wall plates.

These are also available in Cat5e and Cat6 configurations, so if you want the ability to connect commercial wifi networks at super-fast speeds, choose the Cat6 option.

3. Don’t Settle for Cheap Patch Cables

A Patch Cable plugs into a Keystone Jack and transports a signal from the wall to your wireless router. Most people typically use whatever leftover cable is lying around or make their own Patch Cable from a bulk supply. But this is a mistake.

Cat6 cables are backwards compatible, meaning they’ll work with Cat5e if combined. But your network will default to its lowest speed cable.

So, for example, if your walls and jacks are wired for Cat6, but you choose a Cat5e patch, you’ll max out at Cat5e speed. So, if you really want the fastest possible speeds, buy a pre-made Patch Cable that matches both your wall’s wiring and your Keystone Jacks.

Read next: Fiber vs Cabling: Fiber Drives Bandwidth Better for High-Speed Connectivity

Keep it Consistent

Whether you choose Cat6 or Cat5e, the biggest takeaway here is to keep your wiring consistent throughout your network. Then, when you plug the right wireless router in your carefully selected wiring system, you’ll be set to enjoy the fastest network speeds possible.

Posted in: Insights, News

Tagged with: Cabling, IT

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