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I would like some help with home networking.

I have a place with two rooms. In one of the rooms there is a router with wireless capabilities. I can connect a computer to it with ethernet cables or get internet through Wifi.

Now my problem is the following:

I have a computer *without WIFI capabilities * so every time I want to use internet I have to connect it though a cable in the room with the router.

I want to use this computer in the other room. (Yes, perhaps I could add wifi capabilities to it, but let's discard this option). Is there a way that I can use wired connections in room 2 (other than having a really long cable).

I am imaging something like some device that gets wifi connection and then give the signal though ethernet?

  • 16
    From a practical POV, adding WIFI capabilities IS the easiest and cheapest way to go - you need nothing more then a (relatively cheap) USB WIFI dongle. – davidgo Mar 28 at 8:30
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    Fyi, @davidgo is probably right on this point. Any of the solutions in my answer will set you back a couple of tenners at least when cheap WiFi dongles go for as little as $/€ 5 and take little to no setup. – Stack Overflow is dead Mar 28 at 12:28
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    "something like some device that gets wifi connection and then give the signal though ethernet" - that's basically what a wifi dongle is, except that it uses USB instead of ethernet. – Vilx- Mar 28 at 16:32
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    You should either run an Ethernet cable OR use a Powerline adapter. DO NOT listen to the people telling you to use a Wi-Fi adapter. – InterLinked Apr 1 at 15:41
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    @KansaiRobot Wi-Fi has zero advantages apart from mobility. If your computer doesn't have Wi-Fi capabilities, it's for good reason. You'll get much high speeds, lower latency, and greater reliability with twisted pair or Powerline networking. Avoid Wi-Fi like the plague. – InterLinked Apr 3 at 13:13

11 Answers 11

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You could look into a wireless bridge (or WiFi bridge). This may be the component/term you're looking for in your situation. It's basically a reversed access point and it's a feature some WiFi routers have built-in. You connect it to an existing wireless network and it then "outputs" the network on its ethernet port or ports, usually acting as a switch depending on how you configure it.

A second option might be powerline networking. It's a technology that uses existing powerlines in your home (yes, using the sockets you plug your toaster or microwave in) to piggy back network signals. However, this is very dependent on how your home is wired and your mileage may vary in terms of speed, latency and stability.

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    This answer is on the money. Another term for something that is roughly a Wireless bridge, and maybe more appropriate to look for is an AP Client. – davidgo Mar 28 at 8:29
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    Thanks! This taught me a lot! – KansaiRobot Mar 28 at 13:40
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    Note, either of these options costs much more than a simple USB WiFi dongle. – Aron Mar 28 at 17:44
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    @Aron True in a relative sense, but "much more" should be put into perspective. A cheap wifi dongle is around £10, a cheap bridge is around £15, and a cheap pair of powerline adapters is around £25. None are expensive, so unless you are on a very tight budget you should just go with the most suitable option for your circumstances. – Jon Bentley Mar 28 at 18:18
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    @JonBentley. I wouldn't cheap out on a powerline adapter, though. From my experience, the cheap ones are less robust, and therefore much more likely to break. I once bought a "cheap" pair for £50, which broke in less than a year. I replaced them with another pair for £150, which is still working reliably after nearly 4 years of constant service. – Nolonar Mar 28 at 19:08
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Wireless is one answer, but theres a good opposite in "wired" as a solution.

Own work

ANSWER Run an ethernet cable, but do it properly, neatly and tidy.

How? Depends on the floor plan, and the structure of the walls, and whether you have permission or not.

  1. Start by getting permission from the owner (or not - that's on you)
  2. If your walls are framed timber and lined with sheetrock/plasterboard then locate a hollow area in the wall that is not obscured by furniture. Near a power point might be a good indication.
  3. Find and buy these items:

    • 2x wall plates with as many holes as you want cables. I'd go no less than two, and you could go up to 6 in one plate
      https://cdlnz.com/content/images/thumbs/1243878_FP-2PV2__fp2pv2_550.jpg
    • Jacks - I'd suggest cat6 for future-proofing. Make sure they fit the faceplate
      https://cdlnz.com/content/images/thumbs/1243900_FP-C6-005__fpc6005_550.jpg
    • And a short length of cat6 solid-core cable. A couple of metres will be more than enough.

You will also require a Punch down tool, and some way to cut/strip the cable.

https://cdlnz.com/content/images/thumbs/1243388_CT-STR-UTP5__ctstrutp5_550.jpg
Cheap and cheerful, costs about the same as one jack.


If you're uncomfortable wiring the cable to the jack, you could just fit two bullnose plates to the walls, and feed a long patch cable through there.

https://cdlnz.com/content/images/thumbs/1245734_WP-BULLNOSE__wpbullnose_550.jpg

Or there are "keystone jacks" that are wall-panel mounted RJ45 joiners, so you could have a short half-metre patch cord held entirely within the wall cavity. That would also avoid wiring.


Why bother when wireless is so convenient?

You're aware that your wired connection is probably 1000 Mbit, or perhaps 100 Mbit if things are a bit older. And that its all yours, in both directions (aka full duplex)

Wireless ethernet has a lower maximum, its half-duplex, and that limit is shared across all actively transmitting devices.

Of course there are plenty of exceptions, like MIMO, and that your internet link will probably be slower, and thus the limiting factor.

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    Regarding performance, even a small amount of packet loss can cause grief during streaming or online gaming. Nothing beats a wired connection. – sleblanc Mar 29 at 4:05
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    It was surprising to me that WiFi quality in my home dropped significantly with more than 5 or so clients. Living in a 5-story, multi-winged apartment building here adds to the radio load, especially now. We put our home office machines on patch cables which we simlpy ran along the walls for now. Works like a charm. – Peter - Reinstate Monica Mar 29 at 7:48
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    Another thing, perhaps should be asked in the homeimprovement stack: How do you then actually run the cable through the wall, around corners etc!? – Peter - Reinstate Monica Mar 29 at 7:51
  • @Peter-ReinstateMonica good suggestion - it would be somewhat off topic here but totally on-topic on DIY.SE If you ask there, do link it both ways with this question for relevance. – Criggie Mar 29 at 10:56
  • I have done some experiments with flat cables which helps if you are not allowed to drill holes. Nice but rather unforgiving for external forces. – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Mar 29 at 18:46
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I use Powerline devices but depends on your electrical wiring. I also use them to extend Wi-fi to my Man Cave in the garden.

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  • Never had much luck with powerline - when it works, it works well, but if it doesn't work there's not a lot you can do about it. And power companies hate it because of the upstream effects of high-frequency noise. – Criggie Mar 29 at 10:57
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    @Criggie They do? It was my understanding that the apparatus with fuses etc essentially was a low-pass filter so this noise basically does not leave the group the plugs are in (which is a requirement too). – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Mar 29 at 18:44
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Another way to go about this is to use ethernet over coax (EoC), also known as MoCa. It uses existing coax (cable) wiring in your home as the transmission medium, so you don't have to install any wires — just plug in some adapters. And it can coexist with the use of cable for internet access & TV.

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    +1 - After several tests with low-speed Powerline adapters, I discovered the joy of almost lossless MoCa. Buy two adapters (one for each end of the coax cable) in a set and be up and running in minutes. – Russell G Apr 15 at 18:15
  • I also had issues with powerline adapters and ended up going with ethernet over coax (MoCa). I have a Tivo Bridge coming out of my router, and two Actiontec devices on each end of my house (they were dirt cheap on Amazon). It's been working great! Note: I recently upgraded to a mesh network (Linksys Velop). This supports more devices and smarter switching to the strongest connection as you roam around the house. MoCa allows me to hardware (backhaul I think is the term) a couple of the mesh devices for better performance. – yazzer Apr 16 at 17:10
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As others have already mentioned a USB WiFi adapter would be the easiest solution. Or if you have an old WiFi router it might be configurable as a bridge.

There are still other options. If you have a laptop you can also configure this to work as a bridge if it has both WiFi and a LAN port. Plug your computer into the LAN port of the laptop. Every operating system (Windows, Mac OS, or Linux) has a way to share the WiFi connection.

One thing I am not entirely sure about is if you can also use a smartphone. It might be possible (at least in theory) to plugin your smartphone via USB and also use it as a bridge. This would be similar to tethering, but would use WiFi instead of the cellular network.

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The two answers I've used haven't been mentioned!

(1) What is called a wifi range extender - advertised and sold to pick up a weak wifi signal and emit a strong one (eg if you're in a very big house). But most of these also have a jack for an ethernet cable which is the part of it you will use

(2) A router that allows installing DD-WRT which you then set up in Client Bridge mode. (Difficult. I'll never bother trying this again, now I know about option (1)).

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If you have an ASUS router, their AI Mesh mode would allow you to add a ASUS router as an AI Mesh node in the second room and use the ethernet ports on the back to connect to your network. I have that setup in my home, and it's super flexible and fast if you're using 802.11ac (5Ghz), if not the cheapest option.

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I use a pair of powerline adapter plugs, really plug and play. You'll need to connect the plugs with ethernet in each room.

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  • Do you, perhaps, mean "powerline adapters"? And yes, they would do the job if the power sockets they are connected to are in the same "phase". – DocWeird Apr 16 at 10:24
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I have used powerline very successfully both for Lan connection and a Lan connected wlan repeater. This overcame problems with wlan bridging which was always flakey. Much less hassle than fixed Lan wiring. The only limitation I have encountered is that if the length of the connecting power run is too great it doesn't work!

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Powerline adapters seem to be what you are looking for. They use your home electric circuit to carry ethernet signals from socket to socket. Note that this also depends on how your home is wired. You need at least 2 of these devices, unit A and unit B. Most of them are plug and play, but read the vendor's manual. Basically, you connect unit A to your wireless router's LANX port using an ethernet cable, plug it into a socket (or adapter socket) nearby. Go to the other room with unit B, plug it in a socket. You might need to press some button to sync them... refer to manual. Run your ethernet cable from unit B's ethernet port to your WiFi-less device and that's it.

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I used a drill, the basement ceiling and a long cable I bought on ebay so it can feed the dvr! Cheap wifi bits did not work for it. Now I am thinking about a hub for the smart tv next to it, but so far wifi is good for that.

I have a wifi repeater I got on eBay, but never figured how to configure it!

Maybe 5g will free them all from the wifi, router, cable modem, cable pricing?

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