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I have a place where I want to set up a network connection through a normal residential wall where I can't cut any holes. I don't want to just set up a wireless system. Does anyone make a device that you place on either side of a wall to hook up a connection? Preferably something that can do 100Mb full duplex and can't be eavesdropped on with common hardware?

The situation is that I'm moving into a new place (that I'm renting, so I can't do any cutting) and the POP is in one room and I have all the equipment is in another room.

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migrated from serverfault.com Apr 23 '10 at 17:21

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Pull back baseboard, drill hole, run cat 5, reattach baseboard, profit! –  dlux Apr 22 '10 at 17:09
    
@Doug: That's not allowed :( –  BCS Apr 22 '10 at 17:15
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Can you give us more information please? –  Wesley Apr 23 '10 at 16:53
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7 Answers

Have you looked at Powerline Ethernet?

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I'll look in to it (+1), but it dons't fit the eavesdropping bit. –  BCS Apr 22 '10 at 17:04
    
It looks like the HomePlug standard supports encryption. I haven't dealt with it directly so I can't verify. –  Gerald Combs Apr 22 '10 at 17:24
    
If you are paranoid about eavesdropping setup a VPN. –  Zoredache Apr 22 '10 at 17:25
    
Not paranoid, but I'd like to make it hard enough to make me an unattractive target. –  BCS Apr 22 '10 at 18:21
    
I've never seen powerline that can do 100Mbps as requested. They all advertise 10/100 but actual throughput is usually closer to 10. –  MDMarra Apr 22 '10 at 21:47
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Get a long cat5 cable, lay it along the baseboard as you go from one room to the other.

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Messy, but i would work. –  BCS Apr 22 '10 at 18:21
    
Anyone know of a "extra small cat5" product? I've seen the flat stuff. –  BCS Apr 23 '10 at 18:19
    
I don't think you'll find such a beast. Cat5 specifies a certain number of wire twists that must be there to avoid crosstalk. If you go for completely straight wires, then the ones and zeros on the wires will, through electromagnetic fields, cross over to the other wires. –  Kevin M Apr 24 '10 at 18:33
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Check for force air ducts that might meet somewhere you can get to. I've run cables in apartments many times. You just need to get creative sometimes. A hole in the wall might not be an option that the landlord approves of, but you can get away with a lot if you're careful to conceal it, and of course patch it up if you ever leave.

In one apartment I was at, I found an electrical box that was nearly in the exact space on the other side of the wall, which allowed me to go right next to it and be concealed by the plate cover... now I don't suggest using an electrical box unless you KNOW what you're this can be VERY VERY bad if you hit a live wire...

Other ideas are to add a low voltage box and wall plate on either side of the wall, and if you make it look nice many land lords wouldn't even notice.. (The key is doing it right, so that it matches everything else)

If you have basement access, you might be able to drill a small hole under the carpet, near the corner of each room, pretty much hiding the hole, and it's really easy to pull the carpet back over into a corner without any damage.

I've seen a lot of people do these kinds of things half-assed, and that for sure will raise flags. If you take your time, and do it right it's worth it.

Knowing how terminate cat5 is helpful, since you can use a much smaller hole if need be. Drywall holes are very easily patched.

If there is a cold air return on the wall, they might be shared between both room.

Be creative, be safe, and be smart.

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Yah, a cat5 crippler (I do have one :) would save a lot of work later! –  BCS Apr 23 '10 at 18:18
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We do a fair bit of running cat5 wire at the company I work for and have this limitation on a number of places we install our equipment in. A common solution we use is to pull off the molding and run the wire behind it if we're running the length of the wall. If we're running wire through a wall we'll pull off the molding on either side pass through the wall and pinch the wire under the molding when we put it back on. It's not pretty but your only other pretty option is to fish up the wall and install an rj45 outlet.

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If you can't run cable/fiber and you want 100Mb without wireless you're stuck. The best thing you could do is set up a wireless bridge.

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Do you have access to the ceiling? Hardware is available to mount small conduit and boxes to the surface of the wall. You could run the cable up through the ceiling and down the other side of the wall.

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That only works for a suspended ceiling and given it's residential.... –  BCS Apr 22 '10 at 18:53
    
if you have attic access it'll work. It would require creating a very small hole in the ceiling where the cable would enter and exit. I dont know if that is an option or not. –  user5195 Apr 23 '10 at 15:57
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Use a wireless connection that is not on the standard MHz ranges. E.g 900MHz radios or microwave wireless. It's not 802.11, so is unlikely to be eavesdropped on. It's also filthy expensive and not terribly user friendly. However, you're project specifications are very unusual, so the usual solutions won't fit.

You could do some kind of Bluetooth point-to-point connection as well, but that's about as insecure as shouting your bank password at a carnival.

It would help to know why wireless is not a viable solution for you. Is it because of security issues or is that wall you can't drill through made of depleted uranium?

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Why is wireless undesirable? Security, speed, reliability, etc. None are killers by themselves, but all together... –  BCS Apr 23 '10 at 17:12
    
@BCS You can make it secure enough for government standards, as reliable as wired (plus backhoes, saws or hammers won't come into play), and well over a GBit with the right equipment. –  Wesley Apr 23 '10 at 18:56
    
"secure enough for government standards" could be very lax ;) –  BCS Apr 23 '10 at 19:52
    
@BCS You have a point there! =) Let me clarify, is 512bit TLS enough for you? It could be done. VPN over WiFi ala SonicWall's habit of doing things. Add in some microwave dishes and a '74 Buick as a generator and you've got yourself a par-tay! =) –  Wesley Apr 23 '10 at 20:04
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