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Hard and Fast

Go Wireless! End Copper

By Antonios K, in , posted: 22-Nov-2011 21:20

Well, I was faced with an interesting conundrum last week.

My internet is with TelstraClear, and it comes in downstairs. The network is attached to the house at the corner closest to the street pole. which means I have limited option for upstairs internet service, where the most demand comes from. Today it's served by WIFI, with varying results.

So I had the opportunity to put in high quality wiring from downstairs to upstairs, in that some renovations are going on and the floorboards are up. What better possible time, right?

Except for the quote, which came back at about $1.2k. Seriously. From 2 electricians. 2x 75m CAT6 runs.

I could endeavour to do it myself, but I genuinely don't have the time or the useful tools to achieve that without scrapped knuckles and banged head (time in roof space is required). which forced me to stop and reconsider.

Why do I need this?

$1200 would buy a very nice set of wireless equipment - if I knew what had the best punch/performance and so on. I don't, which means either taking brand risks (Apple's gotta be good, right?) or lots of time googling different kit. The reason I ask is because nearly every widget in the house - except tellingly, my PSTN line and TV services - have wifi built-in. Every 6 months is an improvement in chip performance and technology in market.

Why do I need premises wiring?

UFB is going to bring fibre and powered IAD into everyone's house. As part of my job, I've been thinking through the inhome experience UFB brings, and how to get quality internet out there for all to use. It boils down to 3 simple things:

1. Tidy and effective termination of fibre/iad. Hope Chorus and co spend some of the $1,4bn on on this item!

2. Quality testing and recommendation of high-performance wireless gear for in premises. Caveat Emptor need not be the case - any SP worth their salt should recommend quality over cheap.

3. Services for this modern environment - which means PSTN de-coupled from the line or jackpoint. Sometimes known as VOIP, but giving ME the option to control, not the SP determining a POTS port on an IAD is acceptable.

The technology fraternity 'kindof' gets this - but what's the point if this technology is the preserve of the interested? the elements above need to be ready for the mass market, who don't care about solution elegance but that it works - and technologists frequently forget that when they spout off about something being easy or old tech. If it were easy - your mum could tell you how to do it.

So roll on wireless - roll on the reduction of trailing wiring, of endless house work, in favour of the beauty of the ethereal.. wireless...

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Comment by Regs, on 22-Nov-2011 21:27

"apples gotta be good right" - actually, i've heard that apple devices break a lot of consumer wifi stuff due to the way they implement some stuff...

also, remember that wireless is a shared medium.  the more devices using it, the less bandwidth available to each device.  for a home with a lot of devices using a network for streaming (either via internet, or local PVR or NAS box) then i'd recomend wired as the best option.  Its not like you move your TVs from room to room right?  So why not have a wired network in place.  

Comment by lucky015, on 23-Nov-2011 07:00

While wireless can be extremely useful at times it does have its fair share of flaws and general problems, the biggest of which being actual throughput and range on anything less than the most expensive of equipment.

Comment by geekiegeek, on 23-Nov-2011 08:21

My guess is that a lot of the cost in your wiring quote will be the fact that you went for cat 6. We just had some quotes at work for some cat 6 and cat 6a and the cable cost is huge. Problem is that you only want to run the cable once so why would you use cat 5 right.

Comment by reven, on 23-Nov-2011 08:52

ive just replaced wireless on my HTPC that i could never wire (without major major work) with a netgear powerline 500 adapter kit.  im really impressed without, no dropouts, playing back live 1080i tv from a tv server in a different room, 1080p MKVs playback is fine too.
if i cant get wired to a room, im just going to use these from now on.  really really impressed with them. 

Author's note by antoniosk, on 23-Nov-2011 08:59


Difference was about 50c/m. Materials did have some impact, but the balance was pure labour - 2 junior sparkies (1 at each end) to drag wiring etc.

Comment by freitasm, on 23-Nov-2011 09:08

If you are going to stream anything in HD resolution, forget about current wireless solutions. You have to go the old ways...

Comment by StarBlazer, on 23-Nov-2011 10:03

I'm not an expert in cables and quality - what I do know however is that there is a significant markup for cables and equipment when bought through your sparky.

From cables direct 2 boxes of 100m cat6 cable @ $67 each means that you are paying over $1000 in markup and labour - you guess which way that split goes.  I'm sure 2 junior sparkies would not cost anywhere near that to employ for 1 day.  If it takes more than a day to run that cable you need to question their ability.

I would ring around again saying that you have the cable already and need some labour to run it through an already open house.

Comment by jonherries, on 23-Nov-2011 14:35

I have a combination of wired and wireless. Worth considering that backup using timecapsule (if you go apple) is much faster initially over wires.  Also agree with Freitasm's point about the HD streaming.

Also if you buy more than one, they bridge really nicely.

Maybe you could find some comp sci students, students are a notoriously cheap source of labour.

Comment by geekstuff, on 24-Nov-2011 00:48

like @reven I use a netgear powerline kit to extend TCL cable internet access out to a sleepout/office.
It has worked solid for 12+ months ... and that's in a 1950's house with 'vintage' wiring and mains board.
highly recommended 

Comment by Regs, on 24-Nov-2011 01:33

the powerline kits probably work better on older wiring.  i think newer wiring is split into more segregated runs

also, $1200 sounds expensive.  get another quote - perhaps from a data cabling company rather than any old sparky. 

Comment by nickb800, on 24-Nov-2011 09:07

At $1200 for data cabling, it sounds like it will be cheaper to pay the sparky to adjust your mains cabling to make the powerline kits work!

Author's note by antoniosk, on 24-Nov-2011 14:49

I tried the netcomm power line stuff. I'll write a separate article about that! Technology was ok, but the service wrap and fuzzy feeling around me as end consumer left much to be desired.

To be fair, $1200 was an estimate, but I do have to plan on worst case happening.... 

Comment by cyril7, on 24-Nov-2011 16:50

Hmmm, $1200 with open floor boards and presumably not to complex routes from end to end?, seems a little pricey.


Comment by Clayton Denize, on 25-Nov-2011 13:40

Get a PicostationM2 for about $170 from in CHCH and if you can run cat5/6 outside to get a better line of site from the side of the house, mount it there and transmit from outside. Depending on makeup of house, wood, concrete etc and line of site into house, windows etc this is by far the best option I use to do Wi-Fi hotspots on accommodations. The routers are POE (power over ethernet) and you can run upto 90 metres of cable outside (far more than you need). POE means you plug the router into cable (cat5/6) only and mount in position. Other end of cable goes to power adapter (POE) and into modem for feed. See picture on my site for more visual. Best option id say, and total cost $200. TechnoKiwi

Comment by Clayton Denize, on 25-Nov-2011 13:44

I just read your profile on the right. IT industry and you have to ask? TechnoKiwi

Comment by DarthKermit, on 27-Jul-2012 18:28

I've done most of our house with Cat 5e. I'm just a DIY dude, but one with some very long auger bits and extensions to run those pesky cables where I want 'em.Laughing

antoniosk's profile

Antonios K
New Zealand


Antonios has been actively employed in the IT & Technology sector since 1991, and has worked on many commercial projects and products in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. Working in product or actively managing programmes of work, he has always focused on building for the end customer, and not just promoting new technologies. Industry experience includes all telecommunications areas for business and private customers, private insurance, loyalty, media, energy and gambling. 

Since 2013, he has been involved with the development and launch of many popular smartphone applications in New Zealand, including

- TAB Mobile
- AMI & State Insurance digital experience
- Fly Buys
- Newshub for web and app
- Genesis Energy & Energy Online
- MyACC for Business

Genuinely passionate about technologies, internet and computing in general, he lives in the city he was born in - Wellington, New Zealand, the creative heart of hub of digital sector for the country.