What is ethernet?

 

Ethernet is a transmission technology that allows you to exchange data between devices within a closed network. With an Ethernet connection, you can provide connected end devices such as computers, printers, game consoles and smart TVs with Internet – or feed the home server with important data backups such as photos and videos.

Ethernet Icon

What does LAN mean?

 

LAN means „Local Area Network“ – a local network where data transfers take place. There are various types of connections that are summarized under the term LAN, the most common being the ethernet standard. Thus, when you talk about LAN cables, you usually mean conventional Ethernet cables.

To summarize (slightly simplified): LAN cable equals Ethernet cable – at least in everyday home networking. But why would you want to lay cables in your house at all if you can just enjoy the convenience of Wi-Fi?

LAN or Wi-Fi? The advantages of Ethernet in the home network

 

Wi-Fi technology is convenient, wireless, practically invisible – and perfectly adequate for many applications that we encounter in everyday home networks. Not for every single one, though. Particularly data-intensive activities massively benefit from the use of LAN cables, for data transmission via Ethernet is faster and more stable.

 

Unsurprisingly so: nowadays, numerous Wi-Fi devices in an average household transmit in a jumbled manner – this can lead to chaos in data traffic. In this scenario, a LAN cable acts like a freshly paved downhill expressway, allowing for higher and more constant data throughput.

A router and a man in the background

It is therefore still worth to rely on a clever mix of wired and wireless LAN in the home network. This ensures that each of your end devices receives the right amount of data at the right time.

Home applications that particularly benefit from Ethernet

A woman enjoys a video stream

(UHD-) Streaming

 

Streaming dominates the entertainment habits in our households. With increasing image sharpness – from Full HD to 4K and now 8K – the amount of data to be transmitted is also growing.

 

For a stable, constant 4K streaming experience that does not suddenly falter at the most exciting moment, we therefore recommend using an Ethernet cable.

Man with a controller in his hands

(Online-) Gaming

 

In heated online multiplayer battles, every millisecond can make the difference between victory and defeat. An online connection via LAN cable not only ensures higher data rates, but also lower delays (latencies).

 

By the way: Because more and more games are downloaded, installed, patched and expanded with additional content via the Internet, it is also recommended to use Ethernet for single play.

Woman in home office

Home-Office

 

Whether you work from home, or your little ones visit virtual classrooms: YouTube tutoring videos, large uploads and downloads and overlapping video conferences in particular benefit from stable home networking.

 

Ethernet cabling of your work areas and children's rooms therefore enables particularly productive work without annoying interruptions or other disruptive factors in the home office.

Man with a laptop on his lap

Home Server (NAS)

 

Network storages (NAS) are very practical. And if you regularly store files on your personal home server, a network connection via LAN cable is also of advantage.

 

Have you ever backed up dozens of gigabytes or even terabytes of holiday videos and photos? A stable Ethernet connection ensures that the most valuable memories are always stored quickly and safely.

Laying LAN cables in the house – 5 basic tips

 

If you live in a house that has pre-routed LAN cables and Ethernet connection sockets in every room, you can easily connect your end devices. If this is not the case though, you can remedy the situation yourself and subsequently install Ethernet in the house. But this requires a certain amount of preparation and effort.

 

Therefore, you should carefully consider in advance which end devices you want to connect to the Ethernet and in which rooms they are located. That way, you can keep your efforts – and the amount of cabling you need to extend your home LAN – to a healthy level. The following basic tips and information about technical aids will help you with planning.

LAN cable and router

Which end devices would you like to connect via Ethernet?

Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets cannot usually be connected via Ethernet are well served with Wi-Fi anyway. Laptops are a mixed bag. Here, a wireless connection should meet the requirements of many applications. Though if you use the device for downloads, data transfers, video conferences or even for gaming, the use of Ethernet can definitely be worthwhile.

 

The LAN cable is really recommended for large and stationary devices that serve one or even more of the applications mentioned above. PCs, Smart TVs, game consoles, home servers and similar end devices most certainly provide an Ethernet port and should be allowed to use it to ensure uninterrupted entertainment, productivity and data security.

Which rooms absolutely need an Ethernet connection?

A classic case is the living room. In most households, this is where the entertainment center is located; here you stream and play content to your heart’s content. And because the router is often located in the nearby hallway or even right in the living room itself, an Ethernet cable is comparatively easy to lay in the direction of a smart TV or game console.

 

It can be more difficult in the hobby room, bedroom, study-and children's room though: Depending on the architectural structure of the house or apartment, you may have to lay LAN cables across the entire living space – sometimes even down to the basement or up to the attic. This is more complex, but with a few tools and a dose of craftmanship it can be done.

Rely on the right technical aids

If you want to lay LAN cables as economically and space-savingly as possible, you can rely on various technical accessories. LAN couplings, for example, allow you to connect two Ethernet cables with each other. You can effectively extend a LAN cable and thus increase the effective range.

 

The use of LAN splitters or switches is also recommended. A Y-splitter splits the incoming cable into two outgoing cables – as the name suggests. A LAN switch that follows up an Ethernet input with four or more outputs is even more effective. This allows you to connect multiple devices to the home network without having to run each cable all the way to the router.

Pay attention to the correct cable standard

When wiring your living area, pay attention to the correct cable standard. Today, network cables of the categories CAT 5, CAT 6, CAT 7 and CAT 8 are relevant. These differ in various properties, including general transmission speed, effective distance and shielding.

 

CAT 5 network cables are often sufficient for home users. These work with data rates of up to 1 Gbps and offer a decent range of 100 meters. CAT 6 cables already reach up to 10 Gbps. On the other hand, they show a sharp drop in performance with increasing length and their range is limited to around 50 meters.

 

CAT 7 and CAT 8 LAN cables are even better shielded and all the more faster – CAT 8 even enables transmission speeds of up to 100 Gbps. But these cables are not recommended for amateurs and home users because they are disproportionately expensive, sometimes require special plugs and sockets and are therefore more aimed at companies and specialists.

Clever cable routes avoid cable clutter (surface or flush-mounted)

The easiest way is a surface-mounted solution for subsequent cable laying. Plan the route of your LAN cables carefully and efficiently: On the one hand, you want to keep wall mounted cables as short as possible, because it is cheaper and involves less efficiency losses in data transfer. On the other hand, cables running along baseboards and door frames look less conspicuous, but they have to be longer.

 

So-called flat cables look more discreet but can have disadvantages in terms of shielding. Alternatively, you can also hide Ethernet cables behind baseboards or inside appropriately installed cable channels. This requires additional work, but is usually worth it.

 

If you do not spare any costs or effort at all (and are working towards a long-term solution in your own home, for example), you can of course also go the flush-mounted route. Then it is time to drill holes and lay cables out of sight – the most visually appealing, but unfortunately also the most complex solution.

With patience, money and a little manual dexterity, you can provide your entire living area with cables, distribute Ethernet throughout the house and thus enjoy ideal Internet on any device you want. However, you can also make it easier for yourself by simply using the lines that are already laid within the walls of your house.

The simple alternative:

LAN via socket – with Powerline

The magic word is: Powerline – Magic Powerline to be precise. The efficient internet aids from devolo use the power lines in your house to transport the router signal throughout the entire living space. Simply place an adapter near the router and another one in the room without internet and you are done.

 

devolo Adapters allow for up to three high-performance Gigabit Ethernet connections per socket – and, depending on which devolo solution you choose, also feature fast Wi-Fi. Simultaneously, reliable and wherever you need it.

 

You see: When opting for a LAN-connection via the power grid, you can save yourself the time-consuming task of laying cables. Also, you can easily use the ideal combination of wired and wireless LAN. Awesome right?

LAN cable, devolo device and router
devolo powerline adapter

The beginner

devolo Magic 2 LAN

 


 

Application: Placement in a socket near the router and in other rooms, each with an Ethernet-enabled end device (e.g. PC, smart TV or games console).

devolo adapter powerline

The multi-talent

devolo Magic 2 LAN Triple

 


  • 3 Gigabit LAN ports per adapter for an easy Ethernet connection
  • Internet everywhere – with Powerline technology
  • For medium to large living areas (several floors)
  • Efficient, parallel use of data-hungry applications
  • Powerline speed up to 2,400 Mbps

 

Application: Placement in a socket near the router and in other rooms, each with several Ethernet-enabled end devices (e.g. PC, smart TV and games console).

devolo adapter powerline

The all-rounder

devolo Magic 2 WiFi 6

 


  • 2 Gigabit LAN ports per adapter for an easy Ethernet connection
  • Plus: Wi-Fi 6 with up to 1,800 Mbps
  • Internet everywhere – with Powerline technology
  • For medium to large living areas (several floors)
  • Efficient, parallel use of data-hungry applications via LAN and Wi-Fi
  • Powerline speed up to 2,400 Mbps

 

Application: Placement in a socket near the router and in other rooms, each with up to two Ethernet-enabled end devices and additional Wi-Fi devices (smartphone, tablet, etc.).

Whether streaming, cooking, gaming or even in the home office:

devolo provides strong Wi-Fi for the whole house.

 

To the application overview