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Non-Invasive Networking - HomePNA vs. HomePlug?

Cliff posted about 12 years ago | from the when-you-can't-settle-on-traditional-wired-or-wireless dept.

Hardware 84

zonker asks: "I live in a relatively new, moderately sized home that doesn't have conduit in the walls, nor does it have extra wires for networking. I am investigating getting a broadband connection, but first I have to decide how I will connect the network for the 6 computers in the house. As per the owners, I am not allowed to drill holes in the walls, and as per my girlfriend, I am not allowed to run Cat5 through the halls, so I am looking at my alternatives: wireless, HomePNA, and HomePlug. I'm afraid the house is a little too big for wireless without getting expensive, so it looks like either phonewire, or electric-wire. I've done some initial googling for people's opinions of these products and my quick findings where that magazine and website reviews seem to be favorable of some of them, while personal accounts seem to vary wildly. What solutions have worked for you? Are these things ready for primetime? Or should I suck it up and buy a few WAP's to extend the radius of a wireless network?"

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First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4475538)

Well, there we go!! .:.

Wireless not an option? (3, Funny)

Guspaz (556486) | about 12 years ago | (#4475542)

Wireless has a range of 100 meters, and if you place the access point in the middle of the house, the range between the farthest computers is 200 meters... It's impossible that your house is more than 200 meters accross unless it cost you several million dollars.

Regards, Guspaz.

Re:Wireless not an option? (3, Insightful)

spencerogden (49254) | about 12 years ago | (#4475590)

I don't believe that 802.11b can go 100m through walls, appliances, etc. In my last house I had trouble going more than 75ft. from the WAP, mainly because the kitchen with all of that metal was between the two points. Of course I may have shitty equipment... YMMV

Re:Wireless not an option? (3, Informative)

zonker (1158) | about 12 years ago | (#4475620)

It's a 2 story, 5 bedroom home with a lot of stuff throughout the house that I fear that would interfere with the range (cellphones for instance, are virtually useless in the house). Unfortunately I don't know anyone that has wireless that I can invite over to test it. I would like to be able to go outside with my laptop, so wireless would be nice eventually...

Re:Wireless not an option? (4, Insightful)

MaxQuordlepleen (236397) | about 12 years ago | (#4475706)

I was initially concerned about the range of wireless in my two-story house, thought I would have a lot of problems due to all the portable phones, baby monitors, big metal appliances, etc.

I put the access point in my daughter's bedroom on the second floor, end result I can use my wireless card from the basement to the second floor, and a significant distance in the front and back yard.

I'd suggest buying a wireless card and access point from one of those electronics superstores that charge ten to fifteen points more, but have "no-hassle return policies". If the shit doesn't work in your house just take it back.

Re:Wireless not an option? (2, Insightful)

vlad_petric (94134) | about 12 years ago | (#4476032)

I put the access point in my daughter's bedroom on the second floor ...

Don't! The effect of microwaves on the human brain is not well known/researched/documented, so I *wouldn't* do experiments with my own daughter (the more so if she were less than 10 years old).

Cancer, unfortunately, is a disease that you can't link with a cause in most cases. However, it is known that "x" increases the chances of cancer. The question (unanswered yet) is whether microwaves from that domain are a cancer factor or not.

The Raven

Re:Wireless not an option? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4476538)

I don't understand how anyone can live with that sort of paranoia. If you want to take it to that extreme then you might as well move into a cave in the middle of no where... If you live anywhere where the is even the slightest amount of pollution in the air you've just increased your chances of getting lung cancer having to breath that stuff. And what about going outside? I hope it's only at night, don't want to get skin cancer. That Sun is a bitch.

Gold ...who is thinking of starting smoking again just to get some nice clean _filtered_ air...

Re:Wireless not an option? (1)

vlad_petric (94134) | about 12 years ago | (#4476575)

Take a look at this:

cbsnews []

BTW, 60% of the radiations emitted by a cellphone are absorbed by the brain. Moreover, children are at much higher risk than adults, as their brain is not fully developped. Earlier analog models (which have higher emissions than the current ones, though) have been shown to interfere with the brain.

The Raven

Re:Wireless not an option? (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 12 years ago | (#4479842)

The microwaves! They're coming for me! Quickly now, get the tin foil hats before they scramble our brains.

Re:Wireless not an option? (2, Interesting)

Guspaz (556486) | about 12 years ago | (#4477575)

You may want to give 802.11a a shot. True, it does cost more, but it provides up to 72mbit and much better range. It also doesn't operate in the microwave spectrum, so should shut up those crazy schizophrenic "The Microwaves! They're coming for me!" people (802.11b works in the 2.4ghz range, but 802.11a works in the 5.8Ghz spectrum, which is pretty empty).

Regards, Guspaz.

Re:Wireless not an option? (1)

Glonoinha (587375) | about 12 years ago | (#4477870)

802.11a is higher bandwidth, but shorter range. If range is an issue and all you are doing is sharing a broadband connection, stick with 802.11b.

Note - 802.11b has conflict problems with the new 2.4GHz phones whereas 802.11a does not ... something to consider. I also believe (not sure) that microwave ovens also hassle an 802.11b connection.

Re:Wireless not an option? (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 12 years ago | (#4478235)

2.4 Ghz phones and microwaves do indeed invade the bandwidth space of 802.11b. But 802.11a is not to be spared; manufacturers are introducing 5.8Ghz cordless phones.

Re:Wireless not an option? (1)

MerlynEmrys67 (583469) | about 12 years ago | (#4481262)

Ok, I have a two story, 4 br 2000 sq ft house. I have the WAP in the downstairs computer room at one end of the house, and I have a perfect signal upstairs at the other end of the house. I have no problem outside anywhere on my property and down the street for a couple of houses.

There may be reasons that cell phones don't work inside (like it was all ready a dicey connection outside and wrapping a tissue wrapped around the antenna breaks the connection outside). I would go get a 802.11b (not a, range is way lower, and walls really mater) from somewhere that will accept a return, put it in where you want it, then run around your house with a laptop and see what the signal strength is.

Where I used to work was a large office building and some people installed some "ad-hoc" wireless points in a very busy office environment (elevators running, cubicles, conference rooms etc.) and a single access point worked for almost a whole floor, many times the footprint of my house. In fact where I am now, I get my corprate WAP, plus one downstairs...

Re:Wireless not an option? (2)

leuk_he (194174) | about 12 years ago | (#4477380)

yes, but at 100 meter inhouse it is much slower that 11 Mbps.

Ever hear of walls? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 12 years ago | (#4479574)

Walls and stuff reduces your range ya know..

well (0)

fredopalus (601353) | about 12 years ago | (#4475544)

What works for me is having a computer 5 feet away connected to the network with a fifty foot cable. That can get tangles in it though.

linksys (0, Troll)

thor (3901) | about 12 years ago | (#4475556)

linksys []

Thank you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4476565)

We are all aware of LinkSys. Your point?

which solution, not which brand. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4477224)

yeah, and netgear [] , proxim [] , hp [] ... so?

the poster already linked to plenty of manufacturers [] of these products [] . he's asking which solution is best, not which brand...

No wires? (5, Funny)

Jonny 290 (260890) | about 12 years ago | (#4475685)

Let me get this straight? She says that you can't run Cat5 along the hall baseboards?

Dump her and buy yourself a spool. You'll end up better off in the end.

In situations like this, the best solution is the bitchy-girlfriend-less network, rather than the wireless network.

Re:No wires? (0)

zonker (1158) | about 12 years ago | (#4475739)

The problem is more that I can't modify the house (no pulling up baseboards or drilling holes), and it has to look good (no wire alongside the baseboards) in addition to a few pets that are fond of wires. There is also a lot of hallway in the house that makes it difficult. So an existing-cable network is really the solution I'm looking for. I also like that they are somewhat more inherintly secure as they aren't broadcasting to all of my neighbors...

Re:No wires? (3, Offtopic)

MaxQuordlepleen (236397) | about 12 years ago | (#4475811)

I can't believe how many times I'm replying in this thread! :) Have you considered cable raceways like these [] , they will run along the baseboards and might pass the girlfriend's aesthetics requirements :)

A few buddies and I used something similar in a poorly-equipped college apartment to run telephone and CATV wires.

Re:No wires? (2)

Drunken Coward (574991) | about 12 years ago | (#4476334)

Those are pretty pricey, it looks like about $2/ft for the smallest size. You might be better off buying colored Cat5e to match the color of the walls.

Re:No wires? (4, Funny)

Hard_Code (49548) | about 12 years ago | (#4477582)

"You might be better off buying colored Cat5e to match the color of the walls."

Or even this fabulous rumored substance called "paint".

Re:No wires? (1)

HyperbolicParabaloid (220184) | about 12 years ago | (#4477493)

Dump her and buy yourself a spool. You'll end up better off in the end.

I'm guessing you don't have a date this weekend.

Re:No wires? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4477689)

Married, actually. (No dates OR sex)

Not to be a moron, but... (4, Insightful)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | about 12 years ago | (#4475714)

Drill some holes. Who cares what the agreement says; a little Cat5 goes a long way! It isn't that hard to patch holes! Hire a general contractor with a clue, and you would be amazed what they can do in a day. Just think about it in a way to make the thing flexible. If you have nice coverplates that match everything else, the owner will never notice the improvement you have made.

Plan the infrastructure so you can put a few WAP's in places that would improve the overall experience, and deal with contingencies. You don't have to put in all the WAP's now... maybe one in the living room, one in the bedroom.

If it is a place you are going to stay for a few years, you will outgrow what any of the 1Mb links will offer. Save yourself the hassle and do it right the first time!

Re:The way I see it.. (1)

melee (95039) | about 12 years ago | (#4476273)

I know where all the holes in the wall are in my house, and would damn well notice a new one. But I suppose it depends on how observant the owner is. But in any case, all it takes to repair a reasonably-sized hole in the wall right before you move out is fiberglass tape, some joint compound, paint, and maybe a can of spray-on texturizer.

What're they gonna do, anyway? Knock a twenty off your deposit?

Re:The way I see it.. (0)

zonker (1158) | about 12 years ago | (#4476540)

The owner is effectively my father in law, and he is looking to put the house on the market soon. He doesn't want to change things in the house, so the issue is kind of closed in that respect. BTW, he designed the house so he knows the layout pretty damned well (about 12 years ago before home-networking was popular). So as much as I'd love to go ahead and run the wire, it ain't gonna happen.

Re:The way I see it.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4477035)

There's a whole lot of anti HomePNA posts here, but I've had no problems with it whatsoever, beyond the previous unavailability of Linux drivers for the cards.

For a standard home network, the bandwidth is more than enough to keep you satisfied. The only downside is that you're screwed (as in 'cables through the halls') if you later want a computer in a room without a phone extension. If that might be the case, go wireless, but as it is, the phone line network is far cheaper (and secure, too, unlike wireless)

Re:The way I see it.. (1)

Gibbys Box of Trix (176568) | about 12 years ago | (#4477196)

If the house is going on the market soon, I'd say there's no question that you should go with wireless... If you're going to be moving out in a matter of months, your new investment will move with you, without any effort.

Re:The way I see it.. (2)

ivan256 (17499) | about 12 years ago | (#4483425)

The last three places I've been I've drilled holes when I wasn't allowed. If you've got baseboard heat, hide the holes behind the radiator. Otherwise make the holes 1/4" in diameter, and some joint compound will cover the hole in minutes before you move out. At the hardware store you can buy a spray can that you can put standard latex paint in. Match the color and feather out from the center of the patch when you're done. Furniture will keep the hole invisible if the landlord comes over to visit. Believe me, even the most obsessive compulsive/invasive landlord isn't going to notice holes like that. My last evil landlord lady couldn't find the single hole that wasn't behind the radiator when she did her rediculous inspection. I think that I'm the first person she ever had to (begrudgingly) give the entire security deposit back to.

Re:Not to be a moron, but... (2)

Hard_Code (49548) | about 12 years ago | (#4477611)

1) Drill Some Holes
2) Get Kicked Out
3) $$$!

802.11b (3, Informative)

Stigmata669 (517894) | about 12 years ago | (#4475716)

has to be the best answer. For a medium sized home, range should not be an issue, and many 802.11b basestations come with a router incorperated so that the broadband connection should be smooth. Many will say 11mbit isn't good enough, but for the requirements, and relatively low cost, Wi-Fi is the way to go

Use the Phone. (0, Troll)

Trusty Penfold (615679) | about 12 years ago | (#4475732)

Transferring data across the electricty cables is slow. Rates are limited to 60bps (50 in Europe) because of the frequency of the AC.

The Hell you say! (1)

Breakerofthings (321914) | about 12 years ago | (#4475962)

From Linksys' site:
"The Linksys Instant PowerLine? EtherFast®10/100 Bridge offers a complete Internet connection solution for your home powerline network. The PowerLine Bridge makes sharing your broadband access easier than ever. Build a strong and simple-to-use home network by taking advantage of the most pervasive home networking medium - powerlines.

The PowerLine Bridge is ideal for users who already have a router. It can be plugged into an Ethernet port on a router to equip a network with powerline capabilities and take advantage of the router's features. The PowerLine Bridge can also plug directly into a cable or DSL modem to allow Internet access and data transfer rates up to 14Mbps over home powerlines."

Go Wireless (3, Informative)

marvinx (9011) | about 12 years ago | (#4475775)

I recommend going wireless. Not only is it easy, it's Ethernet, and your OS likes that. You'll also like the little access point that also doubles as a firewall. Plus, the roaming with the laptop is sweet.

If you're worried about bandwidth, get an access point/router with two antennas. That will allow more devices to connect with greater bandwidth.

There's nothing better than getting 11Mbps with zero wire hassle.

Ask Slashdot: Who's Richer? (0, Offtopic)

leviramsey (248057) | about 12 years ago | (#4475960)

  • Lunix Torvalvidios
  • Bill Gatts
  • Magic JOrdan
  • Earnest Hemmingway

The answer in a moment...

Re:Ask Slashdot: Who's Richer? (-1, Offtopic)

leviramsey (248057) | about 12 years ago | (#4475965)

A: Bill Gatts

B ill Gates owns a mansian made out of solid steel and if yuo brake into his house without dying he will gives yuo $5.5 million. his robots run on Microsoft Oragami XT so all yuo have to do si sends them teh jabbascript and they'll CRASH INTO A WALL!!!

HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! Lunix Torvavvavlids invented open sours but he didant make any big moneys becuase Micorsoft stole his car and sold it to Denmark for a prince's ransom. ALso Lunix si free whitch is a bad marketing decisian from a buisnisess standpoint because teh only free things are Bonzi Buddy and Comet Cursor and we all see how grate those dirt naps are!

HomePNA (5, Interesting)

TheDarkRogue (245521) | about 12 years ago | (#4475977)

I've had nothing but trouble with the PhoneLine networking. It would go in and out sporadically without any good reason. I can say though that it is about the only thing you can fix by Singing.... Just picked up a phone on the line they were on and started to sing abit and BAM, the conection was present again. It would of course go out again in like 10 minutes, so we just replaced all the phone wiring in the house with Cat5 using the 2 free pairs. And what is with this house that you can't use Wireless? are all the walls lined with metal or something? And on the note of PhoneLine, how good is the phone wiring in the house? PowerLine, Linksys says it's shit can do 12-14mbps, but I've never really heard of anyone using powerline networking for anything other then Home Automation. Also if you are using DSL I think (NOT SURE) that you can just forget phoneline, they I belive will interfere.

Re:HomePNA (2, Interesting)

Kaoslord (10596) | about 12 years ago | (#4479622)

I have PNA in my 6 bedroom house on our main phoneline, I put the dsl-style filters before each phone and it works great. From the 2 farthest points in the network i get like 9mbps So I'm pretty happy, The line it's on has 5 phones attached to it and 6 computers attached to it. my only complaint is the bandwidth, i wish i had like 100mbps but 9 will have to do for me i guess until i run some other wires

Wire the place (2)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | about 12 years ago | (#4476072)

I would recommend you go with a wireless/carrier solution only if you have no other choice. Run UTP out the windows, under the carpets, wherever. A wired connection will be orders of magnitude superior to any other solution. Those other methods not only result in a slow link, they often wind up slowing the rest of your network down. I tried wireless and it's quite annoying.

Re:Wire the place (1)

MerlynEmrys67 (583469) | about 12 years ago | (#4481333)

Hmmm... must have done it wrong...

Of course it depends on what you are doing, but using a 11 Mbit connection to access the internet at 1.5Mbit is no problem at all...

Of course if you are busy trying to copy a 1GByte Divx over the wireless link then you will want a wired connection. Of course what I do is use the wireless for convienient connectivity to the internet (corprate VPN, surfing, games etc.) then if I have to do some large internal transfers, I can walk to my computer room, plug a wire in and have a full 100Mbit connection...

YWLMV (Your Workload May Vary)

I have been nothing but absolutely pleased with my 802.11 network for 2 years now.

Phone line network... (2)

I_am_Rambi (536614) | about 12 years ago | (#4476109)

I know of a friend who has had a phone line network for some years. Yes, there is a limited bandwitdh (about 10mbps), but that wasn't the biggest problem. The biggest problem this family had was cards getting burned out. Within the past year, there network has been down because the cards have burned out. You may be able to replace cards faster than they can, but you may still have that problem. I don't know of anyone that use power lines for a network, so I don't know of any of the specs.

I would recommend going wireless, buy some coax, and some pringles, and then have small relay station in the corner of the hallway. No holes needed. You'll just have to have the coax go in between the door and the door post. You won't sacrifice too much speed either. If you use a Y-jack, you should have a problem having relays to pass the signal.

HomePNA has problems (3, Insightful)

rrowv (582861) | about 12 years ago | (#4476242)

I use HomePNA for the network I have in my house. It works great, but I have had a few problems with it. The major one is that at 8:30 every night until 1:00 am, the phone company aparently sends out signals on the same band as the HomePNA signals. The connection instantly gets periods of 100% packet loss and very freuently cuts out. Be wary of that, its extremely annoying. If you want my opinion, HomePNA and HomePlug just plain suck. Go for wireless if you can't run Cat5, its your best bet.

HPNA 2.0 Rules (1)

Shwayder (578043) | about 12 years ago | (#4476261)

I don't know what you people are talking about who think HPNA sucks. You must be idiots or something (I'm done insulting now). Seriously though, Our house is too big to do wireless... why? Wireless kinda sucks. In a large house with 3 levels and a lot of spread out...ness, you have to go with a hard line for stability. For about $250 we set up our entire house for a high-speed network. And you can't beat that with anything unless you have Cat5 running through your walls already. Thank you creators of HPNA 2.0 (1.0 and 1.1 sucked) for making my life so much easier! .: Ryan "Blackguard" Shwayder .: The GameWatchers Network .:

Re:HPNA 2.0 Rules (1)

Shwayder (578043) | about 12 years ago | (#4476278)

I forgot to change that to Plain Old Text. Sorry if the spacing sucks... actually here:

I don't know what you people are talking about who think HPNA sucks. You must be idiots or something (I'm done insulting now).

Seriously though, Our house is too big to do wireless... why? Wireless kinda sucks. In a large house with 3 levels and a lot of spread out...ness, you have to go with a hard line for stability.

For about $250 we set up our entire house for a high-speed network. And you can't beat that with anything unless you have Cat5 running through your walls already.

Thank you creators of HPNA 2.0 (1.0 and 1.1 sucked) for making my life so much easier!

.: Ryan "Blackguard" Shwayder
.: The GameWatchers Network
.: []

I'd go with HomePNA (2)

uradu (10768) | about 12 years ago | (#4476267)

Just because of price alone. You can get HomePNA 2.0 cards for $10 [] (just an example, do a search on PriceWatch for more), they're PCI, and they all use the same Broadcom chip so they're essentially the same card. HomePlug is A LOT more expensive at the moment and only seems to be available in USB right now. The other nice thing about HomePNA is that you can simply daisy-chain a bunch of computers together using simple phone cable, without needing a hub or anything, just like in the old coax days. I've heard some people having problems when running the network over their primary phone line (although many others haven't had problems). In that case simply use the other pair of wires for line 2--even most older homes are wired for two lines. Heck, just get two cards and try it out--if it works fine for you, you saved yourself a bunch of dough. If it doesn't, you're only out $20 (for two cards).

We use HPNA 2.0 (1)

Anonymous Covard (140827) | about 12 years ago | (#4476336)

We use HPNA 2.0 on the second wire pair in our apartment and are happy with it, though we did have the occasional glitch when we were using a second phone line for a modem -- nowdays we use a cable modem and 2wire's HPNA router instead.

Two possible gotchas: It seems like HPNA gear is becoming harder to find, so I don't know how much longer it will be supported; I also don't know if there is Linux support for the chipset.

possible linux driver solution... (0)

zonker (1158) | more than 11 years ago | (#4493342)

"I also don't know if there is Linux support for the chipset."

try here [] , or more specifically here [] .

I'd stay away from that wireless (2, Insightful)

kevlarboxers (468599) | about 12 years ago | (#4476358)

I tried to run a wireless network in my house for awhile, and I can tell you that unless you live in a wharehouse or have those japanese-style paper walls, wireless is worthless.
First off, 802.11b uses the 2.4 GHz band, the same as the newer wireless phones and MICROWAVE OVENS. (as well as incedental radiation from some flourescent lights). 2.4 GHz is also the approximate resonating frequency of water molecules (hence its utilization in microwave ovens)so high humidity, waterpipes, and PEOPLE between the antennas tend to f0x0r up the reception.
I dropped WAAY too much money on a Linksys setup, and I hated it. Even with the newest drivers and hardware flash updates it was almost impossible to get the damn thing to transmit through more than one exterior wall or 2 interior walls. And even when I could make it work I got slower transfer rates than RFC1149 [] .
Two tech calls to Linksys (at 45 min apice)later I finally broke down and dropped cat5. (I also learned that Linksys considers 802.11b to be a "Line of Sight" protocol.)
I faced similar restrictions in hole-drilling, but generally, with a little work (and a little sense) one can overcome such restrictions. Check your phone and cable drops. These do not have to be stapled in to meet code, so you can tag a picec of cat5 on and just pull it through into either your attic or crawlspace and BAM! You could even spring for those cool Leviton integrated faceplates and jack phone and data out on the same plate. Same goes for cable.
Or, as a last resort, talk to your landlord, tell him you'll pay to add value to his property. They like that.
If you absolutley MUST go wireless, though, hit [] . The pringles can antenna works pretty well sometimes. But Linksys uses proprietary antenna connectors-- gender inverted TNC and SMA connectors. Theyre a bitch to get a hold of.

Try out HomePNA (1)

CatatonicBoy (1596) | about 12 years ago | (#4476386)

I used HomePNA for quite a while. I found that there can be problems if you mix 1-megabit cards with 10-megabit cards. Besides that, they were fine, working just like regular ethernet. They worked alongside DSL on the same line.

But you won't know how well it works for you until you try it.

Pry around the house, else drill holes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4476439)

I realize you've said this isn't an option, but really, drilling holes isn't such a big deal. A bit of plaster & paint is all it takes to cover holes up, and who knows, the owners may even like the improvement to their home!

In my apartment, I removed the baseboards, and snaked cable behind it, the heating elements along the wall, and for the living room -> bedroom, drilled a hole. That's not the least of it, though, as I've hung multiple shelves on the wall, and painted the entire place to colors that I enjoy more. (and yes, the landlord has seen/approved of all of it, he just asks that the walls be returned white when I move out, and the holes get patched up -- which I have full intention to do)

My suggestion is to check the lease, most permit "hanging items from the plaster" of varying degrees, and putting a tiny hole with a wallplate on either side really isn't any worse than a hole from a picture.

Besides, what will the owner do, kick you out? A low-voltage wire through a wall is hardly a capitol offense. Just be neat about it.

-anonymous for various reasons

Well, (2, Insightful) (555899) | about 12 years ago | (#4476561)

if you arn't allowed to drill holes, why don't you use the ones that are already in the walls? I'm sure you can get some dual data/power wall plates and just do it like that.

Self Determination (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4477040)

No disrespect intended, but you live in this house, you know the layout, you know your limitations, yet you ask this on /.? No one here is going to help you any more than a 5 minute google search. You know you are going wireless! Pick one and do something for yourself please.

rundown of the options as i see it... (3, Informative)

NevermindPhreak (568683) | about 12 years ago | (#4477214)

my first response was to try to pursuade the landlord to let you drill some new holes, and insist that the faceplates will be barely noticable and match nicely. however, i see from one of your posts that the landlord is your father in law (or soon to be, at any rate), so i imagine that that is out. someone else suggested that you use the existing holes, using dual power/cat5 or telephone/cat5 faceplates, which is the second thing i would suggest. however, this too might not be an option, and at the very least would still require asking your father in law. of course, you could always drill holes, then cover them up before you move out, as another post suggested. not very hard to do, but if you got caught, im sure your father in law wouldnt like it.

alternately, if your house is carpeted, it is very easy to put cable under carpet, and is unnoticable if put in the right spots (i.e. following the edges of walls). just dont place the cable straight across rooms, otherwise you can feel the cable when you walk on it.

if the carpet is not an option, you might want to check out the raceways someone suggested. personally, i dont think these look all that good, and they would be too expensive for me, but its an option.

also, check into painting your cables, and running them along non-noticable places. if you match the color right, you can eaisly place cable along the little thing of wood that sticks out that seperates the room from the trim below the ceiling. that is, if you have that to begin with; some people do, some dont. if you run cables along walls, though, make sure to match colors just right, attach them tightly, follow corners and unnoticable places, and make sure there is no slack. otherwise, it looks kinda shoddy.

i wouldnt suggest using the data-over-power or data-over-phone routes, personally. ive heard only mixed reviews about these. try them if youd like, though.

your last option is wireless, which is nice in the fact that you can take it with you when you move. too slow of data rates for me, but its damned convinent. a hassle to set it up, watching out for interference and everything, though.

the option id favor the most would be convincing the father in law to let you run cables through the walls. use dual faceplates, make them look nice, and cover all the costs yourself. i dont see how this would decrease the value of the home, and might even raise is slightly. if i think of anything else, though, ill post it.

as to all the "this topic is boring and i dont want to help out" people, why do you even take the time to post and bitch about it? just dont read the discussion. i dont bitch that some TV station is playing a boring show, i just change the channel. same concept.

Got forced-air heat? (3, Interesting)

Telecommando (513768) | about 12 years ago | (#4477333)

Run it down the furnace ducts. A friend of mine has done that to the last 3 houses where he's lived. Just make sure to use plenum-rated Cat-5 and route it out of the ducts at an unobtrusive location several feet from the furnace's heating element.

Pry an opening in a duct in the furnace room, route the cables out of it to your hub, cover the hole temporarily with a strip of duct tape. When you move out, just yank the cables out of the duct and cover the hole with another piece of duct tape. The owner will never know.

Re:Got forced-air heat? (1)

djweis (4792) | about 12 years ago | (#4477680)

Plenum cable isn't for air feeds, it's for air returns. What you suggest is very much against any wiring codes. The only cable that you can have in a feed is to operate the equipment necessary for air flow, and only as short of a run as possible.
Legal stuff aside, that does work fine, though.

Re:Got forced-air heat? (2, Informative)

embo (133713) | about 12 years ago | (#4477684)

Run it down the furnace ducts. A friend of mine has done that to the last 3 houses where he's lived. Just make sure to use plenum-rated Cat-5 and route it out of the ducts at an unobtrusive location several feet from the furnace's heating element.
Wouldn't this violate fire code in almost all of the 50 states, even if the Cat5 is plenum rated? Whether it's carrying low or high voltage, my understanding is that you cannot run wiring through your ductwork (even plenum rated), except at a 90 degree angle across studs through a cold air return. I may be wrong, but I personally wouldn't do it. Wiring melts and burns during a house fire, and burning wiring running up through ductwork helps spread fires throughout the house that much faster.
The owner will never know.
Unless there's a fire in the house and the insurance inspector refuses the claim due to wiring in the ductwork that violates code. I would expect you'd be sued fairly quickly at that point for the value of the damage, and possibly some negligence damages as well??

802.11b will work (1)

algorithm_x (265429) | about 12 years ago | (#4477827)

I work at a WISP (wireles ISP) We use ORINoCO (Lucent in a prety box)equipment and have really good results. As for the whole line of sight idea; it is true, but only if you are putting up a link that exceeds two blocks. If you buy a decent AP (linksys is horrible) and some standard Lucent(Linux waveLAN ) pcmcia cards, and use pci converter cards, you will have no problem with setting up a home network. IF you really want to work some magic, use the ad hoc modes, and have one boxen (preferably Linux) as your gate way. That way, all of your computers feed each other bandwidth.

For some reason I don't like the idea of HPNA, or using my electrical outlets to do networking. The best bet would be CAT 5 or WiFi.

I have the above configuration working at several businesses and at my home, feel free to go to the website and find my E-Mail and I can answer some of your questions on setting something like this up.

802.11a (2)

NetJunkie (56134) | about 12 years ago | (#4478155)

HPNA is good, but not fast. 802.11b works well, but is definately not fast. I just switched from 802.11b to 802.11a and the speed increase is GREAT. I can now stream divx movies across the wireless with no slowdown or chop.

The cost of the APs is already very reasonable and definately worth going with over 802.11b.

Conductive Paint Networking (3, Interesting)

cybermace5 (446439) | about 12 years ago | (#4478522)

I tried to find some info on this, but no success.

Has anyone tried running Ethernet over conductive traces painted on a wall? I know it wouldn't be optimal, as the capacitance due to the twisted pairs would be difficult to match. But for a few dozen feet, perhaps it would work. I imagine the paint would be more resistive than copper wire, and of course more susceptible to interference (unshielded, unless six layers of conductive and regular paint seems like a good idea).

A person could do this in two ways. One requires a lot of conductive pens and a steady hand. The other requires a can of conductive paint and a high-density foam roller with four ridges. After the wires are carefully run along the wall or ceiling, a touchup roller with matched interior paint would conceal the traces. Connections could be made with a copper tab that you can solder a wire to, would be superglued to the wall and the conductive paint brushed on and around it to make the trace connection.

This "solution" repulses me since it goes against every instinct of proper design and following the Ethernet cabling standard. But...hey, if you can't generate enough trust with your soon-to-be relatives to let you run REAL wires, then you have to deal. Honestly, if running WIRES (a valuable improvement, come on!) was such a problem with either my girlfriend or landlord, I'd seriously start to wonder what other problems might be present in both relationships.

Re:Conductive Paint Networking (1)

NateDawg (17671) | about 12 years ago | (#4481429)

I remember hearing once that the Army once ran ArcNet over barbed wire fences. I guess the slower speeds allowed it to be a little more noise tolerant. I wonder if you could try your "paint networking" theory with ArcNet and have better results than ethernet.

How about coax? (2)

toast0 (63707) | about 12 years ago | (#4478769)

You say your gf/wife/whatever will kill you for running Cat 5.... whats wrong with 10base2?

Since its not a star topology, you don't have to run cables to one return point, just between nodes.

If you really want faster than 10mbps, you can run it at 16 mbps w/ token ring :)

You might already have coax running ghetto style for cable tv, whats one more?

hmm... (3, Funny)

RedWolves2 (84305) | about 12 years ago | (#4478911)

1. Break up with GF and run the wires down the hall. Where are your priorities man.

2. You want to network a house that you don't own? What a waste of money. Why don't you buy a house? Believe me the amount of money you pay in rent is about the same as owning plus that money you pay is equity you have later in life.

3. As already mentioned go wireless. No wires, no holes and it keeps the girlfriend happy. A little more money but it will get the internet to the 6 computers in your ... err ... your landlords house.

Why not buy? (2, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | about 12 years ago | (#4479708)

Well some people dont have the ablity to buy a house, regardless of the fact they are paying more to rent.

You have to prove tothe bank you are a good risk, regardless of what is 'cheaper' or 'makes more sence'.

And renting is NOT a waste of money.. you have to live somewhere. It may not be an investment, but its not a waste.

*disclamer, i do own.. and have cat5 on the floor, shorterm beacuse attics are hard to crawl around in... to the displeasure of the wife --

Re:Why not buy? (1)

Yottabyte84 (217942) | about 12 years ago | (#4481680)

I ran mine in the attic. You're just a wuss ;)

Re:hmm... (1)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | about 12 years ago | (#4479946)

Believe me the amount of money you pay in rent is about the same as owning plus that money you pay is equity you have later in life.

Maybe if you have good credit and plan on living there for a really long time. Otherwise you're going to get killed with points and PMI.

Also, very little of "that money you pay" is equity. The vast majority of it is interest payments. Rent you pay to the bank for borrowing money.

A little more money but it will get the internet to the 6 computers in your ... err ... your landlords house.

Nah, either way it's probably the bank's home. Welcome to capitalism.

Re:hmm... (2)

RedWolves2 (84305) | about 12 years ago | (#4480037)

You need good credit to get an apartment too.

I'd rather take a home that I pay the bank any day over living in a restrictive apartment/house where I couldn't do anything to improve my surroundings.

Re:hmm... (2)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | about 12 years ago | (#4480298)

You need good credit to get an apartment too.

No you don't. I know lots of people with horrible credit that have apartments.

I'd rather take a home that I pay the bank any day over living in a restrictive apartment/house where I couldn't do anything to improve my surroundings.

What about a non-restrictive apartment/house where you can do lots of things to improve your surroundings?

I'm not trying to say renting is always the better solution. In fact, for most middle and upper income level people, it rarely is. But for lower income people who don't get very much if any tax benefits, it is commonly cheaper to rent.

Re:hmm... (2)

RedWolves2 (84305) | about 12 years ago | (#4480498)

I am sure bad credit people can get got to live somewhere. But what kind of place is it? What "pets" come with the place?

to your second point, What is the point to rent and improve on someone elses property. It makes the value of their house go up at your expense.

Re:hmm... (2)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | about 12 years ago | (#4481045)

I am sure bad credit people can get got to live somewhere. But what kind of place is it? What "pets" come with the place?

I'm really not sure what your point is here. If you have bad credit, you're almost surely better off renting. Let your landlord get the low interest rate and pass (most of) the savings on to you. Landlords tend to be much more forgiving about credit problem than banks are.

What is the point to rent and improve on someone elses property. It makes the value of their house go up at your expense.

Many landlords will reinburse their renters for improvements they make. This has the added bonus that the landlord gets a tax break, while if you owned the property there would be no tax break at all. Now if you're making improvements that aren't going to increase the value of the property, you're not going to get the landlord to pay for it, but your house value wouldn't go up if you owned it anyway.

It also depends on how long you plan on staying in one spot, and how much money you're willing to risk on that one investment. If you're planning on staying for a long time you can usually get a much better deal on a rental property, though.

Look at it this way. If you're in the 15% tax bracket and you know someone in the 28% bracket, you have bad credit and you know someone who has good credit, doesn't it make sense to let that other person own the place, get the better financing, get the greater tax deductions, and then rent it to you?

Re:hmm... (1)

NevermindPhreak (568683) | about 12 years ago | (#4486565)

he said in a previous post that the house was his (soon to be) father in law's. theres a good chance he gets the house cheaper than he would if he rented from someone else, possibly even for free since he said the house was going to go on the market soon. if i had an extra house that i was going to sell soon, and had family members in need of a place to stay, i wouldnt hesitate to offer it to them until i sold it. unless they were slobs or something.

One major problem with HPNA 2.0 (2)

CTho9305 (264265) | about 12 years ago | (#4478927)

I use Intel Anypoint 10mbps cards at home - the network works fine. It is more than fast enough for broadband internet and LAN games. File transfers vary in speed, but I think they usually go about 4Mbps or faster (which is compeltely acceptable for my network). The only problem is that ALL of the 10Mbps HPNA cards I know of use a Broadcomm chip that has no linux support, and none of the manufacturers (including broadcomm) is willing to release drivers or datasheets. This means that I can only use windows at home - no *nix.

Re:One major problem with HPNA 2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4479934)

actually there is a linux driver, check's FAQ

its only for the PCI (Broadcom chip) version, nothing for the USB

Re:One major problem with HPNA 2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4479979)

This is not a problem at all, as linux can run HPNA 2.0. Refer to: .
I built an ethernethpna bridge using an old p100, linux and ethernet and hpna cards. Now the system on the 2nd floor talks hpna to my ethernet segment via the bridge in the basement. This works quite well, except the 2nd floor w98 box is not nearly as stable as the linux bridge, but this has nothing to do with hpna.
BTW: Intel put out a beta of an Anypoint software bridge that ran on windows. It worked as well as windows works. That's why I replaced it with linux.

broadcom linux driver (0)

zonker (1158) | about 12 years ago | (#4480986)

dunno if this will help, but there is a driver for some broadcom [] chips...

Re:broadcom linux driver (1)

CTho9305 (264265) | about 12 years ago | (#4481835)

Thanks! This is great news :)

Ethernet over phone lines (1)

Captoo (103399) | about 12 years ago | (#4481329)

A lot of the newer houses I have seen have the phone lines arranged in a star configuration. You could run 10Mb ethernet over the phone lines to a central hub. (Assuming that the phone lines are Cat 3 quality.) This would prevent you from plugging phones into those jacks, but you wouldn't have to rewire the house. If you want phones near your computers, use a wireless phone line extender.

Re:Ethernet over phone lines (1)

NevermindPhreak (568683) | about 12 years ago | (#4486578)

mod the parent up, thats a great idea. forget about the wireless phone jacks, though; just use cordless phones :)

well, you might need one or two wireless jacks, for a modem or something. but still.

Outside runs? (2)

cr0sh (43134) | about 12 years ago | (#4482513)

How long are you going to be living there - and does your landlord/FIL/fiance care about outside runs?

Run the cable through windows, let it hang loose and drape it over the roof - maybe put it inside some PVC pipe to protect it a bit on the roof from the elements - leave a "droop" at the point where it comes in the window so that rain will drop off and not into the house.

I would advise against trying to run the cable via the electrical conduit and getting new plates as others have suggested. While this sounds like a good idea, running 120VAC next to Cat5 would almost have to introduce noise into the line. Furthermore, if the lines are in flexible conduit, there likely won't be enough room for both - the little room there is would make moving the Cat5 a bear, perhaps even dangerous. If it isn't in conduit, navigating the holes in the firebreak crossbeams in the wall will be a nightmare, to say the least.

Keep these problems in mind when you buy a house, though - because it WILL influence your decision on what to buy. The house I bought earlier this year was perfect for wiring anything. It was built in the early 1970's with block construction. The interior walls are drywall set off from the brick by vertical 1x2 furring strips - there isn't any insulation between the strips and the wall, and no horizontal furring strips - so running cable is as simple as getting into the attic, drilling a hole in the baseplate 2x4 at the top of the brick, and dropping the cable down the hole!

All that and no damn HOA!!!

Cold air returns (1)

umStefa (583709) | about 12 years ago | (#4488060)

You may want to do what I did in my house. Run the cat5 through the cold air returns.

No hot air travels in these ducts but you can run cable through them without major difficulty.

Everybody win's: You get your broadband, owners don't get holes, girlfriend don't have to look at cat5 all the time

What about security? (1)

Build6 (164888) | about 12 years ago | (#4489148)

Question for all the people talking about wireless:

are there any *cheap* implementations of per-user-per-session key generation setups, or are you thinking of changing WEP keys every time you figure the total amount of traffic you've broadcast has reached a usable amount for airsnort to crack? (you've got to be kidding, right?)

I know Cisco has LEAP, I don't think their setup will be cheap (correct me if I'm wrong?).

Doe Lucent/WaveLAN/Agere/Orinoco have an equivalent per-user-per-session setup?

Anyways, I think if you've got a house that wireless can't cover with a single base station, then you really shouldn't worry about the trifling cost of a couple of access points (or, for that matter, some expensive Cisco LEAP setup :-)

(I'm taking it it's not some kind of out-on-the-bayou ranch, since HomePNA and whatnot wouldn't work there either).

It takes quite a few walls to block off 802.11, and unless your house is nuclear-strike-resistant, you really shouldn't have transmission problems. Why don't you borrow a base station from a friend to test?

Re:What about security? (1)

Build6 (164888) | about 12 years ago | (#4489156)

Follow up: how secure are the powerline-based setups? Would other people on the same power grid be able to sniff your packets?

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