I have a three floor home with the basement about to be finished.

Here is my issue: I want a hard line to the basement as my wifi doesn't quite get there, and the basement will be the new entertainment room. My cable connection/router is in my office.

My requirements:

  1. High Speed connectivity to my basement
  2. 3-4 open ports in the basement for direct access (entertainment center, TV, Xbox, etc)
  3. Open line for potential home network access

So my question is:

  1. Do I keep a switch in my office, or run it to the basement? If in the basement, do I only need to run one wire from my router to the switch downstairs, or do I need 4 separate wires?
  2. Can I have a home network running on the same switch, or do I need something separate there too?
  • A budget range would make a big difference here. Are looking simply to get it done, get it done exceptionally cleanly, get it done cleanly but fairly inexpensively etc.. – Austin T French Sep 21 '14 at 17:02
  • Budget: <$500. I can run the wire myself, as the basement is not yet finished. As for cleanly, again, I would like to do it myself. My reptillian brain is thinking this should be easy: a cable to the switch downstairs and disseminate to the media players there, or keep a switch next to the router and run 4 cables downstairs. Granted, the combining home networking may not be feasible...? – warrior.0608 Sep 21 '14 at 17:08
  • I use a power-line networking kit with a single-port master plugged into the router and a 4-port slave next to the TV, MediaPC, Blu-ray player, etc. This performs very well at speeds well in excess of my internet connection and avoids the cost and immobility of a fixed cable. – AFH Sep 21 '14 at 17:12
  • It will be better to purchase a new switch and keep it in your basement, since you want have multiple lines in the basement.

  • You only need 1 cable connecting one of the LAN ports on your wifi router to your second switch in the basement.

  • You already have a home network - which consists of wireless devices on your wifi, plus anything you connect to the LAN ports on your wifi router. The switch in the basement will physically extend your existing home network. If you want to make something publicily accessible on your home network, you need to configure port forwarding on your router and static IPs on whichever devices you want to be publicily accessible - but it doesn't matter where the devices are connected. You can do this with a wireless device on your network, but performance will be better obviously if you use a wired connection.


There are many options, in reality.

Option 1

Probably the easiest for now and the future would be upgrading your wireless network to something that can act as a wireless repeater. Cisco / Ubiquity comes to mind. Simply put your main switch/ router on the first or third floor and then use a repeater on the other of the two to repeat and re-amplify the signal. You could also run one wire to the basement to physically extend the network this way as ultrasawblade mentioned.

Option 2

The next easiest/ cheapest would be Ethernet over Power (EoP). The problems with this method though is that both network congestion and power usage in the home make this less predictable for speed and depending on circuitry in the home it might not work at all for you. But you may be able to combine option 1 and this one.

Option 3

Wire the house: Time consuming and expensive, but you can run the house with cable, I would recommend Cat6 for the future. It might cost more now, but in the future it could make a big difference. And this can look pretty good with the right wall plates:

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  • 1
    Option 1 I wouldn't do the wireless repeater. As he mentioned "entertainment room", there may be a likelihood of game consoles like PlayStation or XBOX. Playing games over WiFi is bad. Playing over a WiFi with a repeater is even worse. Option 2 This might actually be a good solution if it is a new home with modern wiring all thorough the house. Option 3 Get it done right the first time. If you can run the wire down to the basement, having a telecom or network guy to make a jack for you shouldn't be more than a bill ($100). – Sun Sep 21 '14 at 17:14
  • @sunk818 Wireless networks really have come a long way, I wouldn't rule it out unless gaming is a huge part of what you use it for, and every ms of lag counts... But with a good routing setup and the right gear the difference is minimal. For things like Netflix even cheapo-gear would do well enough; but a good point for consideration anyway, thanks. – Austin T French Sep 21 '14 at 17:22
  • 2
    Strongly disagree. Wired is the way to go if you don't want any problems. Who wants to play Madden w/ lag? Or be a victim of a headshot because you are using wireless. I don't know any hardcode gamer that uses wireless to play online. – Sun Sep 21 '14 at 17:31
  • @sunk818 and that's the keyword: hardcore most casual gamers don't care or wouldn't notice, especially with as far as say AC has come from A/B/G – Austin T French Sep 21 '14 at 17:34
  • All, thanks. I am mainly using the downstairs for movies, as I'm a casual gamer. My three boys in the future probably will be, and if I rent the house in the future, I would like versatility, hence my inclination towards wiring the house. I'm just curious if by wiring it FROM a room (upstairs office), if that will cut off future versatility. Also, I want to ensure whatever I run can "route" movies to my TV downstairs. – warrior.0608 Sep 21 '14 at 17:38

Do I keep a switch in my office, or run it to the basement? If in the basement, do I only need to run one wire from my router to the switch downstairs, or do I need 4 separate wires?

You only need to run 1 wire from your router that is upstairs, and connect it the switch in the basement, which will feed all the rest of the connection in the basement through the switch.

Can I have a home network running on the same switch, or do I need something separate there too? Thanks!!!

Everything connected to that router will keep you on the same network, so Yes. So the switch is basically acting like a port extender, if you will.

Running a hardline is the best method by far. There are alternatives now, like a ethernet over power connection, but through 3 stories and depending on the age of the power lines in the house, you might not get the best connection.

  • Thank you! I was kind of hoping for that answer. To clarify with a specific context: I have movies on my computer. Using the switch method in the basement, the switch will route my movies to the TV to watch in the basement using only the one line and a switch from the upstairs router? Again, thanks!!! – warrior.0608 Sep 21 '14 at 17:35

I would run a single Cat5e/6 from your network gateway to the basement and install a simple workgroup switch there in the basement.

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