A while back I wrote up a complete guide to installing hard wired internet that walks you step by step through the process of ditching your WiFi and using ethernet cables instead.
The guide is rather complete, but I realized that one thing I unintentionally left out of that article was how to get your hard-wired internet upstairs.
There are quite a few reasons that you might want to move away from WiFi and use a wired connection instead. A wired internet connection offers:
Lower EMF radiation exposureMore reliabilityFaster speedsMore secure than a WiFi connection
And much more. If you’re unfamiliar with the first one on that list, then I’d encourage you to check out other articles in the knowledge section of EMF Academy or just search around the site. I have a ton of articles about the potential dangers of WiFi and how to reduce your exposure.
Three Ways To Get Wired Internet Upstairs
Ok, let’s get to the guide. I’m going to walk you through three total options of how to accomplish this task, and inside of each section I’ll let you know what you’ll need.
Option 1 – Powerline Adapters
This is almost certainly the best way to get wired internet upstairs or anywhere else in your house. It’s fast, simple, and fairly inexpensive.
The only downside is that the internet speeds will be a little bit slower than our second option of installing ethernet cables.
The way that powerline networking works are actually really simple. Basically, you plug one powerline adapter into a wall socket near your modem or router and run a single ethernet cable to it. Then, in any room that you want to have an internet connection, you plug in another powerline adapter and then use ethernet cables to get the connection from the adapter to your device.
The powerline adapters actually use the electrical wiring in the home to pass the internet connection between the access point (the powerline adapter connected to your modem) and all the other adapters plugged into your devices.
Then, you basically have a simple home network, much like you’d have using ethernet cables, but without the hassle of cutting holes in the wall and crimping wires.
Many powerline adapters also work as wi-fi signal repeaters or extenders, but you can easily disable the wifi on these devices and just use them for the pass-through internet connection.
The other big benefit of this method is that just like using ethernet cables, this method produces virtually no EMF radiation.
I’d personally suggest going with this set of powerline adapters from TP-Link that you can get on Amazon. Just be sure to get at least one for each room that you want to have internet connection in, and get a few extra ethernet cables.
Option 2 – Ethernet Cables
This is one of the more popular options, and is great in the long-term, but can be a little bit troublesome to set up in the beginning. Essentially what we’re doing here is running ethernet cables between our router, modem, or switch, to all the rooms of the home that you’ll want internet access in. This will give you great speed and reliability.
I cover this more in-depth in the guide I mentioned above, but let’s go over the basics of how to do this step by step.
Step 1. Determine Setup
The first thing I need you to do is take a look at your current internet setup and determine if you have a modem and a router, or just a modem.
You’ll know you’ll have a modem because there will be a coaxial cable coming out the wall and plugging into the back of the device. The coaxial cable is what your internet service provider (ISP) uses to actually provide you with the internet.
Sometimes, this modem is also a router, meaning that it provides the WiFi to the house, however more commonly you’ll have a separate router if you’ve had WiFi in the house.
It’s important to determine what is what because we’ll want to be sure we create a proper setup to begin with, and we’ll want to turn off the WiFi once we have the ethernet system set up.
Step 2. Determine Port Requirements and Get A Switch
The next thing we’re going to need to do is to decide how many ethernet ports we’ll need so that we know which switch (sometimes called a splitter) to buy. You’ll want one port for each cable you are going to run to your house or upstairs in your home.
So, if there are 5 rooms in your home that you are going to run cables to, you’ll need at least a 6 port switch (remember that one port has to be left open so that you can connect an ethernet cable from your modem or router.
Here are links to good quality switches that will work perfectly for this:
5 Port Ethernet Switch8 Port Ethernet Switch16 Port Ethernet Switch
These are all Netgear switches, but TP-Link also makes really good switches for this purpose.
Once you have your switch, you’ll want to make sure your cable modem is connected to the coax cable and receiving internet, and then plug one end of an ethernet cable into the modem and the other end into the switch.
Running an ethernet cable between the modem and your switch.
Step 3 – Run Ethernet Cables Upstairs
Finally, it’s time to actually run the ethernet cables.
First of all, you need to know what kind of cable to get. You can either get these cables already pre-done, like this one I like from Amazon, or you can get them in very long lengths that you can cut to size. However, for this latter method, you’ll need to know how to reattach the heads, or how to wire them to ethernet wall sockets.
Don’t worry, I’ll give you some resources for both options. Before you get there though, you need to know what kind of cable to get. You’ll commonly see these cables in either:
Cat5 (sometimes called Cat5e): This is a super inexpensive cable that you’ll find in buildings all over the world. However, it doesn’t run at quite the speeds you might be wanting, usually at less than 100 gigabits per second.Cat6: This is what I would recommend, it’s a little bit more expensive, but it won’t slow down your ethernet connection at all.
Now, If you’re going to take your internet from your switch to the second floor of your home, or anywhere else in the house in a more permanent way, I’d suggest that you plan to actually install network jacks into the walls. This will not only make it much easier to connect devices in the future, but will also increase the value of your home.
You will need a few tools though, and quite a bit of ethernet cabling.
If you’re unsure how to accomplish this, take a second and watch this video that will walk you through it:
Once you know how to do that, now we just need to look at how to actually run the cables from wherever your router/switch is to the rooms of your house.
I personally found the following video to be super helpful when I was doing this in my own home:
Option 3 – MoCA
The last option for getting wired internet upstairs that I want to talk about is something called MoCA (multimedia over coax).
This is honestly sort of a mix between the first two options, but in my opinion is not quite as good as either one. It isn’t as good of a long-term solution, as far as speed and reliability go, as running cat 6 ethernet cables, but also isn’t as quick and simple as the powerline adapters.
Moca adapters work by using coaxial cables run between the room your modem is in, and your living room, bedroom, or anywhere else that you need internet. The installation is fairly straight forward though, and I’ll show you a video in a second that will walk you through it.
The biggest issue with this type of network is that most homes don’t already have coaxial cables running between rooms (just like it’s rare to see phone lines running between rooms), and if you don’t, then this really isn’t any better option then using ethernet cables.
Just like with the powerline adapters, MoCA systems do offer wireless connection as well, but this can be easily disabled.
If you need to get internet just from one room, to an upstairs bedroom, and you have some coaxial cable lying around, then maybe this is an option for you, however if not, it’s probably not worth it.
Here is a great video that shows you how to get a MoCA connection from your router to the upstairs, or another part of your house.
Alright, now that we’ve covered three simple ways to get internet upstairs, or to another room, let’s go over some other common questions that you may have.
How Do I Get WiFi On A Second Floor?
There are actually quite a few simple ways to do this, but first let’s take a look at your actual router.
If you have a large home, it is very likely that you just don’t have a router that is nearly powerful enough for your needs. If you’re using a very inexpensive router (that does not have antennae) then you need to get one that is more suited for penetrating walls or pushing a wireless network over much farther distances.
Your WiFi router needs to be suited for your home, or you’ll notice your internet signal falling off as you get just a few rooms away from your router.
For example, this Asus wireless router is meant to push a WiFi network throughout your whole house, and will do a very good job.
However, this inexpensive router from Belkin is really meant only for a small apartment.
So, if you’re having trouble getting WiFi on a second floor, this might be the first thing I would look at.
If you already have a nice router, and you’re still not getting a good connection upstairs, then you might want to look into a set of powerline adapters like we talked about above.
In fact, what many people will do is plug a powerline adapter into a socket near their router, and then plug another one upstairs. Then, they’ll connect a second router or network extender into the upstairs powerline adapter, and it will push a duplicate network on the second floor.
If your Netflix still isn’t loading fast enough, then you may just want to look into getting a Mesh router setup that will extend your network cleanly through your whole house.
Can WiFi Go Through Walls?
Yes, WiFi can absolutely penetrate walls, especially depending on how powerful the router is that is pushing the WiFi signal.
However, all walls and surfaces are not the same. For example, most WiFi signals will have no issue penetrating drywall, thin boards, windows, plywood, etc. however thicker things like concrete or metal might dramatically reduce, or entire block, the signal.