WiFi is good, cable is better


No video call without internet. Right. But why is it slow like in the 90ies even though you purchased a super broadband line from your internet provider?

What is it and why fix it?

A remote worker often needs nothing more than his computer and a good internet connection. But what if that’s exactly the problem: Too slow, too unstable, too overloaded. Before you consider changing providers or relocating to a different address, check out your equipment on site. According to our analysis, most of the problems are not caused by the internet provider, but by bad WiFi conditions. This article provides alternatives to slow and unstable WiFi connections.

How to do it?

There’s several components between your laptop and the internet. Their overall performance cannot exceed the performance of their weakest link. Surprisingly often, you can optimize throughput without contacting your internet provider.

WiFi is good, cable is better

No exceptions! Whenever you are able to connect via an ethernet cable instead of WiFi, just do it! Consider this: A common FullHD video stream in a digital meeting is well below 3 MBit/s. Even the (slightly outdated) 54 MBit/s WiFi setups would handle that, if only you could provide a perfect environment. Then reality kicks in and adds latency, congestion and concrete walls. Just run a cable in the first place and save yourself A LOT of trouble.

Get creative

Yes. Running the cable across your house can be a lot of work. It might still be worth the effort, considering the current circumstances. Probably you will be working from home for the next months or a year. Do it early, get the maximum out of it.

Workarounds exist for more complex situations. Powerline adapters use the electricity lines in your house to transmit data on top. The Throughput can reach Gigabit and the adapters are not expensive.

powerline adapter

Powerline Adapter (source: https://avm.de/produkte/fritzpowerline/fritzpowerline-1260e-wlan-set/)

superflat cat cable

Super-flat CAT cable for windowframes (source: https://www.wentronic.com/en/ultra-slim-rj45-window-feed-through-025-m-71411)

Vertical distance can be a bigger problem than horizontal distance. What if your router is in the basement but your workplace is on the 2nd floor? Consider running the cable on the outside wall. Super-flat ethernet cables will fit within window frames and underneath doors. Use RJ45 couplers to connect them. Don’t be too worried about weather conditions, just make sure that you keep the connectors dry and/or cover them in lots of tape. Warning: Never do anything like this with power supply lines (high voltage electricity)!

If you just can’t reach your desk

If you still can’t reach your workplace, would you be able to cover at least part of the distance via cable, to place an additional WiFi access point at a more suitable location?

Would you be able to relocate your router? Some houses have multiple telephone sockets available. Also, the cable that connects the telephone socket to your router can be even smaller in diameter than a CAT cable.

Just in case

If none of the above works for you, then you’ll probably have to stick with WiFi. Check out this guide: Optimize your WiFi