Run a cable round your property.

Ever suffered with the dreaded “Loading …” message on YouTube or had the “buffering” message on Netflix when watching movies and other video content on your television. Maybe it’s because of a moody Wi-Fi connection.

Cable run with entry into wall filled
Ethernet Cable run along skirting board and through wall. Entry hole filled with external filler.

With the proliferation of mobile devices like phones, tablets, smart plugs and other internet Wi-Fi attached kit that we all have around our properties these days it can be a struggle for the software applications to find bandwidth. Couple this with the interference from other household electrical equipment like lights, transformers, microwaves, cordless phones and throw in stray signals from neighbouring properties it’s a wonder that Wi-Fi works at all.

Unless you can deploy a comprehensive Wi-Fi mesh system around your property, and even then you are not guaranteed a nailed on streaming experience, sometimes running a cable from one router to another router or device on your property is the only way to get a stable internet connection.

External cable run
External cable run parallel with existing satellite and television cables.

At first thought running cables through walls and floors can seem a bit daunting but with a bit of due diligence and the right tools it can be achieved without too much upheaval.

First of all work out where the run will go. Often if the cable source and target are on the same side of the property but on different levels and on outside walls then it can be easier to run the cable around the perimeter of a room tucked under the carpet and then out through the wall and back in to reach its destination. Be careful not to snag the cable on sharp carpet grippers that may puncture the cable and shortcut or break the wires.

Drill and drill bits
Drill and drill bits including long masonry and wood bits used to drill through wall.

If the source is on a different side of the property to the target, then investigate running the cable up into a loft area if you have access to one and back down into the destination room. Maybe you can run the cable down through the back of a cupboard for part of the cables journey. Be careful drilling holes through floorboards. Use a stud finder to identify where joists are, you don’t want to hit a joist on the way. Drill a hole to the depth of the floorboard to start with to make sure that there aren’t any services running below which could be interfered with. Have a look with an inspection camera to make sure there is nothing in the way if you are going to drill through the ceiling below from the floor above.

If you are running the cable down through a ceiling, then sometimes it’s easier to work out where the cable needs to come out in the ceiling and where it needs to enter through the floor above by measuring distances from the same wall on each floor. The holes can be slightly offset from each other as long as that doesn’t make them different sides of a joist. Fish the cable through one hole to another using a draw tape.

If you are running the cable externally then try to route them along existing external cable runs that you may have for instance for a satellite dish or television aerial.

When drilling holes through walls calculate wall thicknesses by measuring the depth of window openings if you have them or work out the structure of the wall e.g. cavity block and brick which are usually around 100mm for the block, 100mm for the airgap, 102mm for the brick and 25mm for the depth of the dot and dab plasterboard plus any skirting board that you maybe drilling through.

Another thing to take into consideration when drilling holes through walls is to be mindful of any services that maybe running through them. Use stud finders and pipe finders to aid location of pipes or wires. Note where services come into the property and if they go up through the wall. If drilling through skirting board then start off with a large wood drill bit to get through the skirting and dry wall. Then us a small diameter long, 400mm should be sufficient for most modern day cavity walls, masonry drill bit. Then follow that up with a masonry drill bit that has a large enough diameter to allow the cable t pass through the hole e.g. ethernet with RJ45 connector.

Use the draw wire to poke the cable through the wall having taped the cable end to the wire. Cut up coat hanger wire can also be used to poke the cable through the wall. Make sure you are happy with run of the cable from its start point to the end point before filling up the holes in the wall internally and externally. Use an external filler and make sure you push it well into the hole when making good.

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