Pulling Ethernet?

Well let’s do some rough math for fun!
Aim-9 is listed on a quick google search as Mach 2.5 max speed, so let’s take that at face value.
A quick conversion puts that as 857.5 meters per second (ya, altitude, temperature and pressure are being thrown out the window).

So we can take your AIM-9 as being 3ms off point or 0.003s…so 0.003 * 857.5 = 2.5725 meters if we played on LAN.

Or if we take the internet ping of 40ms (0.04s) then it’s 0.04 * 857.5 = 34.3 meters off - perhaps that’s enough for a hit to be registered as a miss? I don’t know. :rofl:

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Isn’t AT&T still using basically a DSL connection?

Long time since I checked, but if so the added length of you cable runs may actually slow it down (distance from modem). Wireless routers are pretty nice and fast now. Lots of free wifi analyzers out there to see where your neighbors are playing on too.

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Why I like a well designed meshed WiFi network over Ethernet for a home network.

  • You are going to need it anyway. Having a wired LAN doesn’t rid you of the need to have a fast reliable wireless network in your home.

  • It’s flexible and scalable. Need to relocate a desk, smart TV, or piece of furniture? No problem and no ugly wall jack or need to call your IT buddy to help you do it.

  • You can take it with you when you move. Your Ethernet network won’t mean squat to the average home buyer.

  • Pulling cable in many homes is a royal PIA. That is unless you are lucky enough to do it in the framing stage.

  • Your performance loss is negligible. IE, most of us determine “speed” by Internet speed. I’m getting between 200 Mbps and 400 Mbps everywhere in my house via WiFi. Go ahead and try to make a pitiful argument for a NAS backup or media server. You should have your 3rd copy in the cloud anyway. And in the unlikely event that you are doing a disaster recovery of your local Napster library, you can pull a cable down the hall. And when we are talking the difference between .5 ms and 3 ms of latency for Internet gaming? Please man.

  • It might be cheaper. How big is your home? How many drops? Hope that you are going to have a patch panel to keep it neat and not have a bunch of cables hanging down with data jacks on the end. You doing it yourself? Hope that you have a punch-down tools, lineman shears, fish tape, and at a minimum, a continuity tester. Putting tips on data cable is a good skill to have. I’ve probably done more than a few hundred in 25 years of IT work. Possibly thousands. But you will need a good teacher to show you how to do it correctly. Might be hard to find in the current environment. Maybe not.

  • And remember, you still need that badass wireless network. For cameras and speakers and Alexa and smart home devices.

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So @Wes and @sobek I’ve pulled solid conductor before as an electrician, but I didn’t even think about bend radii for cat 5e or 6- I’m guessing there may be a section discussing that on Mike Holt’s forum, or somewhere similar?
@piper there’s fiber here now, and honestly I’ve been less and less impressed with AT&T since we moved in, and am about ready to see about starting a bidding war between them and Spectrum to see what they’ll give me. Meanwhile Google’s line terminates at Six Forks…a quarter mile away. And according to the neighbors that’s how it’s been for a few years now…
@chipwich I’m heading to bed, but I’ll continue replying to all this in the morning.

Thanks so far, everybody!

@Navynuke99 I was just about to ask you if you had ever pulled installed wire before . :grin: If its behind the walls and you did not build the home you might first get with the Contractor if hes still in Business and make sure they did not have some gung ho sub install it and secure it in some fashion. Its a long shot most likely, but if it is secured with some form of anchor thats going to be a task indeed.

If your find though you can pull it with reasonable ease , you can get some decent Test Fishing line and tie one end of the wire you want to install to the loose end that you are going to pull to you and that MAY do the trick and make it a easy job.

Pray the installer did not have a good staple gun, and I am sure you know, but if you by some miracle are able to pull it like I described , see if you cannot get a friend to help you by gently pushing the new wire while you pull the old.

Good Luck man !

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The pure distance indoors does not really matter (it can for some special applications like high speed trading, but not in this case) because of the high propagation speeds.

When you are indoors, the WiFi signal is reflected by all kinds of surfaces. That means that when you send out a signal, the receiver gets not just that signal, it gets infinitely many copies of that signal with different delay (because of the varying propagation path length). The receiver has to run complicated signal processing algorithms to adjust to the room it’s in and suppress all the copies to get to just the original signal. There’s other kinds of error handling as well that are necessary for WiFi but not for Ethernet.

All these kinds of error handling add up to a higher latency. Plus no matter how good your signal strength and error handling is, transmitting information wireless is an undertaking governed by statistics. A certain percentage of packages will get lost. When you are gaming and using the UDP transport layer for speed reasons, packages aren’t being acknowledged, so when something gets lost underway, contrary to (the too slow for gaming) TCP transport layer (where things that aren’t acknowledged get resent) they stay lost.

This is high frequency black magic. You have to bathe yourself in the blood of a goat fawn before you pull the cable.


For shielded foiled twisted pair (SFTP) cables, a rule of thumb is that it shouldn’t be bent to less than 15x the cable diameter. So for a cable that has 5mm diameter, you’d want a bend radius no less than 15x5 = 75mm radius. The data sheet of the cabling should contain more specific information.

The reason is that the cable is carefully manufactured to have a certain constant impedance over its entire length (among other things like crosstalk between individual strands). When you transition from wavelengths that are large compared to the length of your transmission cable to wavelengths that are small (or to very long cables, this happens in long overhead transmission lines too*) the transmitted signal starts to behave like a wave. The laws of wave propagation dictate that a wave only keeps propagating if the impedance stays constant. When the impedance changes, partial reflection occurs and that means that some of your signal power will end up at the transmitter (and missing at the receiver) among other more complicated and funky effects.

When you bend the cable too much, you screw with the impedance of the cable so you introduce a small area where part of the signal is reflected. This means that both transmitter and receiver have to deal with additional levels of noise. If it gets too bad, you can force the network from gigabit into 100 megabit mode.

This may all seem a bit intimidating, but what it boils down to in practice is to be very careful not to put kinks in the cable. Due to the handling characteristics, this happens more easily than one would first assume.

*Funny side note: This is the reason why overhead transmission lines can not have an arbitrary length. The voltage wave will form nodes and antinodes over the length of the transmission line. If you were to put a transformer terminal at a wave node in the line, you would not be able to extract any power.


Thank you for covering the retransmission and packet loss aspects of WiFi, I was aware of that aspect but you have covered in better detail than I could explain.

I would like to add that lost & retransmitted packets, at least to Windows tools such as ping, I believe are “silent” - as in you won’t know unless the packet is never acknowledged (complete failure) that it happened, which is how you can have a connection that reports OK but performs poorly. Example: streaming HD video at the edge of coverage area buffers a lot yet a ping shows low latency and 0% packet loss.

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Chipwich is right about everything.


Personally I still prefer a cable whenever possible, if just to exclude one potential source of mumbo-jumbo wireless packet loss hassle. It‘s for my own wellbeing more than for technical reasons. Probably mostly homeopathic.


There is no doubt that
A) Wired connections are superior to wireless for gaming and
B) Wireless is far simpler and cheaper to setup and broadly sufficient for most other needs.

So why not use a hybrid? Just how many different places in the house do you need for gaming? In which places would wifi be perfectly acceptable? Running Cat 5/6 all over the house versus running it to a couple of plates are two totally different things. Do you regularly move the gaming devices from room to room?

I have a mesh wifi setup for 95% of the things in my house (over 2 dozen on average according to the router), but I use Ethernet for my sole gaming PC. If I used an Xbox/PS for MP gaming, I’d probably run a cable, but as I’ve never bothered and only ever played solo games the wifi was good enough.

Likewise the ipads and phones and laptops have never played those types of online games, only offline or the types where latency is unimportant (my kids like Minecraft and Animal Jam and such).

So the cable modem sits on the desk with my PC, and both the router and my PC plug directly into it. Every other device in the house uses the wifi except one old Toshiba laptop, rarely used now, where the wifi died so there’s another patch cable strung along the wall boards in the office to it on my wife’s desk for those occasions when she needs it. Most of the time she uses her newer HP though.


Part of the “fun” of home ownership is always the discovery of what the folks before you did. During the home inspection there was a tiny bit of polybutylene piping visible in one room in the basement, and we started trying to get down the rabbit hole of finding the initial contractor, but had no luck whatsoever (and have since found that the original piping is in fact all polybutylene - this should make for fun times later). But anyway, even if I had found out who the original electrical contractor was, I’d only want to be in contact with him to cuss him out, and not let him touch anything else in the house- I’m finding little bits here and there that seem to hint that whoever did the electrical must have been a complete moron. But that’s another story altogether.

Fortunately, I don’t need to play in the attic at all. Main floor is kitchen and living spaces, but the master bedroom suite, den, and my office are all in the basement level, and I didn’t see any cable run through the attic the couple of times I’ve been up there (it’s not exactly walkable at all).

PC’s, a couple of smart TV’s, stereo system with speakers throughout the house, and eventually I’ll build an open-source home automation system. I have some ideas for that, and access to a lot of various bits and pieces thanks to some vendor buddies of mine who get constant demo models they can never fully use.

Eventually there will be controllers for lighting, HVAC, etc. I’d toyed with the idea of distributed DC devices (a lot of which are POE, and will be adapted from commercial applications to home applications in another couple of years), but I don’t think I’ll get enough advantage over traditional LED with local attached drivers.

We’re already having issues with line of sight, since my office is in the basement, and the girlfriend’s is at the extreme other end of the house. We’d have to pull ethernet regardless if we were to move the router from its location next to the exterior wall, so I figure why not look at killing a few birds with one stone?

Isn’t that most electrical work/ engineering in general anyway? :wink:


Aha! The magic words!
So now you have reason to buy a fancy POE switch for no other reason, stimulate the economy! :sweat_smile:


HF stuff is a special brew of crazy. HF pcb antenna design is the pinnacle of “don’t ask us why, it just works” type of engineering.


DEFINITELY not connecting any of those things wirelessly, and definitely not bringing in an Amazon or Google thingy. Too many security concerns and questions for my liking- and don’t even get me started on Ring devices.

laughs in Electrician. You make a very good point, but if I don’t already have it myself, I have friends nearby who do. :slight_smile: As for music, I’m a lot of a music snob- my library is all on either CD or vinyl (because bitrate and sound quality really, really does matter).

I’m not saying there won’t be wifi (because there obviously will be), but I think for what I’m wanting to do long-term, this is going to be a solution that has components of both a wired and a wireless system. DEFINITELY will need a wireless access point for the back yard, so I can hang a couple of outdoor speakers by the fire pit, and also so I can work remotely from the hammock I’m going to be hanging in the next couple of days.


…and this is why I steered clear of most of signal processing/ communications/ antenna classes in undergrad.

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Those are all perfectly understood fields with sound math background. Except antenna design. :grinning:


I will give to @chipwich on WiFi but only if we use Ubiquiti AirFiber! (Look that up it’s pretty awesome).

Agreed on all with the essentials of WiFi in this time with so many mobile devices I will have a cable backbone to the system.

Mesh is certainly an interesting and smart concept, practicality I have yet to experience. In case of a friend I have that could use it, even trying a range booster for them failed as the nearest outlet in the deadzone is too far such that the extender cannot connect. The nearest outlet outside of the deadzone is so far it doesn’t extend past existing coverage. (They have a very old house). Perhaps the additional nodes would help in their case, but knowing their basement - one could easily run a cable up to the far living room for a wired AP.

For the average user home? Mesh from the start will likely save dozens of headaches.

On the basic extender/repeaters (where it ends up being a different SSID/Network), I will always stand firm on a hard NO. Too finnicky for users.

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Yeah… my professor for my first two signal processing classes spent his lectures rambling about Dr. Seuss and time travel, and yelling at Canada geese out the window. So maybe I’m a little biased there. :wink:


I see the RCAF paid you a visit!
They are a bit indiscriminate with their bombing practice, my apologies.


Well, the dog made sure to deliver a very clear message to the one advanced scout they sent into my back yard. I don’t think they’ll repeat that mistake any time soon.


So, back to the questions. I’m thinking it should be possible (unless there are splitters- that may take some deeper investigation) to pull the ethernet along the existing coax at the same time I’m pulling it out. Thoughts on this?