Networking Cable Plugs, Jacks and Wall Plates

The worst thing about wired network is the cabling. One reason why wireless networks became so popular is simply because you don't have to run cable drops everywhere you're going to use a device. It also saves on the cost of networking cables and adapters. It's convenient, but there's a tradeoff; you pay a big performance penalty for that convenience. However, with the right cable plugs and wall plates you can bring the network closer to your devices getting much of the convenience without the performance loss.

Wired vs. Wireless

The real question when deciding between a wired and wireless connection: what are you doing? A wireless connection is great for your mobile, but less so for your home media streamer. The wired connection is faster, more robust, and it doesn't interfere with other devices on your network because each cable is a separate connection. It's also easier to connect, you just plug in the cable and the network is up and running. Finally, wired connections offer lower latency, so your online games are more responsive.

Understanding Cables and Plugs

All Ethernet cables use the same RJ-45 plugs on both ends, regardless of the type of cable. The two most common kinds of infrastructure in use today are Cat 5 Ethernet networking cable plugs, jacks and wall plates and the faster Cat 6 Ethernet networking cable plugs, jacks and wall plates. Either sort of cable will fit into connectors for the other, but you can only get the full speed of Cat 6 if your plugs connect to the appropriate back end.

Installing Home Network Cabling

Unless all your devices are in the same room, you're going to need to run long cables to connect them. The problem with that approach is that running network cables all over the house not only looks ugly, but it's also a safety hazard. Installing networking cable, plugs, jacks and wall plates inside the walls not only removes the hazard but looks better, too. A wall plate makes it look just like a power point or telephone jack.

When to Use Jacks

The best time to install wall plates or other network infrastructure is when you move into a new home. You want to run at least one line to wherever your media streaming box goes, and another to any gaming systems.