Internet comes through in the basement (semi-basement), so, all life relating to computers and such grew around that, but it's started to be more trouble than it's worth. The house has three levels : the semi-basement, main floor, and upstairs. I want to be able to run a line up through the walls on the basement and have it exit neatly in the room above two floors upstairs.

Is this feasible getting anything to go through two floors/wall like that? If I want it done professionally what contractor type generally does it? Electrician or someone else?

  • it is possible if you can get through walls. you can get plenum rated lan cable that can run through return air ducts. – jsotola Feb 26 '18 at 2:42
  • You could use powerline adaptors to run your ethernet over the mains power cables - saves running cable at all. – Chenmunka Feb 26 '18 at 9:46

Ethernet cable comes in many varieties. For now, let's assume you are talking about Cat5e 4-pair cable. Anyone can run it, but electricians are experts at snaking wires through walls and may be the best (even if not the cheapest) choice. But any contractor or handyman who has some experience doing it can do it safely, as long as they keep away from the regular electric wiring.

Most (I can't say necessarily "all") of the issues with electrical wiring do not apply because the voltage & current are much less dangerous than with household AC wiring. But the tricks & techniques are the same. I gave my electrician a short course in Ethernet cabling years ago because he knew how to run the cable but didn't know anything about the ends.

I highly recommend that the cables be terminated with jacks. I have seen many installations, including by "professional" installers, that terminated with a cable coming out of a whole in the wall and plugging directly into a router or other device. This is in my opinion, unprofessional (who wants a wire coming out of a hole in the wall?) but more importantly if the end of the cable ever goes bad (and it will, the day of a big deadline) you have to crimp on a new connector. Properly installed jacks rarely go bad and if the cable from a jack to a device goes bad you toss it and plug in another one.

Unlike regular electrical wiring, Ethernet cabling can use box eliminators instead of full electrical boxes, though if you have boxes available (e.g., from previous projects but without any live electrical wires inside them), you can use those too. If you have existing old phone wiring that you no longer need, then you MIGHT be able to use it to pull new Ethernet cables through the walls, but keep in mind that telephone wiring (especially residential) is often wired in a daisy-chain fashion while each Ethernet connection will normally need its own home run.

  • "who wants a wire coming out of a hole in the wall?" Some people (me) have no experience crimping ethernet cable and no equipment to test bandwidth of the resulting connection. I've always trusted the factory connector to get me the 1GHz bandwidth I paid for (but mostly don't need). But the results are a bit hokey, yes. – Stanwood Feb 28 '18 at 3:02
  • @Stanwood That's exactly my point. Anyone who is reasonably handy can install a Cat5e wall jack. Yes, simply taking a 100' cable with factory-installed ends and running it through some holes in the wall is even easier (at least in terms of not dealing with jacks or ends) but what I am comparing is not a pre-made 100' cable but rather someone taking a box of cable and running it through the walls and cutting it to length and then crimping on connectors (bad) vs. connecting to wall jacks (good). – manassehkatz Feb 28 '18 at 3:35
  • Ah, gotcha. I've always run pre-terminated cable. Would have preferred jacks but didn't think I'd do a good job terminating them. I'm perfectly handy but figured at such high bandwidth I couldn't distinguish a good from a bad connection without test equipment. Is this not true? – Stanwood Feb 28 '18 at 3:41
  • @Stanwood As I understand it, the key is to use a good tool and to keep the wires twisted as close as possible to where they are terminated. In the old days (telephone wiring and 10 Meg. ethernet), you could get away with using the little plastic caps that come with some jacks to punch down the wires, but those days are (I think) over. A decent punch tool does wonders. You can spend a lot more, but even the ~ $20 punch tools generally work quite well. Also keep in mind gigabit ethernet is doing various things (using more wires, multiple codes of some sort) and not 10x the raw bandwidth of 100. – manassehkatz Feb 28 '18 at 3:58

The idea here is to find a path up. Check where the plumbing or electrical goes up, there might be some space to add wires and fish them up.

Or, identify a closet on the main floor, and run the wire in that space from basement to main floor, and another wire (or more) up to upper floor. Not always as easy to do than to say, i know ;)

Electricians/alarm installation/cable installation crews can do that for you ($$).

Hope this helps.

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