[TriLUG] Cabling wish list

John Franklin franklin at elfie.org
Tue Apr 23 14:40:41 EDT 2002

On Tue, Apr 23, 2002 at 01:40:53AM -0400, Tanner Lovelace wrote:
> Basically, I'm trying to figure out if it's worth going through
> the hassle of getting everything run or if I should just go
> wireless everywhere, *or* if I should do a mix of the two.

The three major data services you'll be dealing with are television,
telephone and broadband.  In order to go completely wireless in your
home, you'll have to go with wireless solutions for all three.  This is
more possible than you might think, albeit not as featureful as you'll

Television.  Television started as a "wireless" technology and the local
affiliates still support end users that use rabbit-ears or a roof-top
ariel.  Satellite TV is also largely wireless, especially when you
consider the wire distance as a percentage of the total distance the signal
travels.  However, unless you're willing to use rabbit-ears, the last
stretch of signal runs on wire through your house.

There probably is some solution where you have the cable or roof-top
signal re-broadcast into your home on a 2.4GHz or 5GHz signal.  There
may be some legal issues.  And I doubt it would give you the quality
you're looking for.

Telephone.  A completely wireless solution is available, and you
probably already have it: your cell phone, the world's ultimate cordless
phone.  It is possible to forgo getting a land line entirely and get a
nicer cell phone contract with the money you save, but you'll need a
POTS adapter for it if you want a TiVo or a FAX machine/modem.  Oh, and
security systems run over phone lines, too.  The other option is a
cordless phone with multiple handsets.

Broadband.  Your options here are a DSL line (requires a phone line
wired somewhere in the house), a cable modem (requires cable wired
somewhere) or satellite (e.g DirectWay).  These still require some wire,
at least to a central location.  Once you have the central location, you
can then go with wireless stuff, but then all your machines need to have
wireless NICs.

One more thing!  Consider what frequencies your various wireless devices
use.  Too many 2.4GHz devices would congest that spectrum.  The
introduction of the 5GHz range helps as does the existing base of 900MHz
cordless phones.

One more thing!  Consider the resale value of the home.  You may be
selling the home to people who aren't willing to be as wireless as you.
They want a bland cable connection in the bedroom, a POTS phone hanging
in the kitchen, and they don't want to be bothered with managing
wireless network stuff.  They want it to Just Work They Way They Expect.

It'd be wonderful if we could say that data is data is data and all
three come in to your house in one big pipe which could work over a
single, fat wireless connection to all electronics and appliances
everywhere in your home.

In general, a wired solution will give you better quality and more
features.  Cable/satellite provide more channels than broadcast TV,
and ethernet gets up to gigabit on wire while common 802.11 is currently
1/100 that.  TiVos and security systems expect phone lines, though they
will in the future be able to use broadband. 

Wireless is nice, but it's best used for mobile applications or for
where wire is inconvenient.  Laptops on the porch and wandering around
the house with the phone both fit that.  Wire is your best bet for
stationary setups.  The computer in the office, the TV in the living
room, speakers anywhere.  

While you could go with an all-wireless solution, I think you're going
to want to run some wire.  If you're going to run some wire, running a
lot of wire isn't so big a deal.  

John Franklin
franklin at elfie.org
ICBM: 35°43'56"N 78°53'27"W

More information about the TriLUG mailing list