My house here in Seattle has had pretty good (albeit not awesome) Wi-Fi up until today.

I’ve been meaning to upgrade it for a while now, but just hadn’t gotten to it. The bottle-neck was alway the Wi-Fi extender that was sitting in the living room: an Apple AirPort Express that was also streaming AirPlay to the Sonos.

Wi-Fi extenders mostly work. Even when they do work they never are very fast because you’re constantly needing to switch between receiving a packet on one channel then turning around and retransmitting it on another channel. It works, but it can be tediously slow.

Today I bit the bullet and make a few holes in my house. I had been wanting to keep things nice and tidy and just wire inside the house. I finally gave up on that plan this week — the amount of work that would be involved with that would be way too much for what we would get back. With that decision out of the way I got to examining where to cut.

In the family room I (for the first time today) noticed a blank cover next to an outlet. Blank covers are interesting things. They are what’s used to hide things. Upon removing it I found an ethernet cable! It only went downstairs to another cover I found after I went looking for it. While nice, it didn’t solve the issue at hand. (Though maybe I can wire Ennie’s desktop directly to the network instead of relying on Wi-Fi)

Conveniently that pre-made hole in the family room was on the exterior wall I wanted to use so it cut down the on the work there. A bit of work with a rotary cutter and I had the box installed in the living room. At this point it was short work to just drive a few holes in the house to join inside and outside.

I dipped into the box of cable I used to wire up the Solon house and dragged some across the side of the house. Pop on a few jacks and the job was done! :-)

Access speeds in the living room went from a paltry 8-10 Mbps to 60Mbps. That is a worthy boost for a couple hours of work. I only needed to get another $8 work of parts, the rest and tools for the job I just had in stock.

Tomorrow: a bit of caulk to keep the outside out. I’ll also post some pictures of the finished work.