How Much Does It Cost to Install a Hardwired Computer Network?

Average Cost
(new installation of 2,000 feet of CAT-6 cable with up to eight connections)

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How Much Does It Cost to Install a Hardwired Computer Network?

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(new installation of 2,000 feet of CAT-6 cable with up to eight connections)

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Reviewed by Nieves Martinez. Written by

Despite the growing popularity of wireless and Bluetooth technologies, there is still a lot to be said for the security and dependability of a premium hardwired computer network. This is one of the best solutions for those who want a network that features high speeds and premium stability. Routers might deliver fast enough on the uploads and downloads, but nothing compares to the speed and reliability of a hardwired computer network. Plus, a hardwired computer network offers far better security protocols than what’s currently available for wireless technology, making it the ideal choice for anyone who wants a secure, reliable, high-speed network that isn’t at the mercy of limited technology. The national average cost for installing a hardwired computer network is between $2,500 and $6,000, with most people paying around $3,800 per 2,000 feet of newly installed CAT-6 cable. At the low end of the spectrum, however, you can opt for the installation of CAT-5 cable for $1,000. At the high end, you pay up to $6,000 or more for a fiber optic cable installation with eight connections and a dedicated patch panel.

Hardwired Computer Network Cost

Hardwired Computer Network Installation Costs
National average cost$3,800
Average range$2,500-$6,000
Minimum cost$1,000
Maximum cost


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Hardwired Computer Network Cost by Project Range

CAT-5 installation in a space with existing network components
Average Cost
New installation of 2,000 feet of CAT-6 cable with up to eight connections
Custom home network installation of fiber optic cable with a dedicated patch panel

Computer Network Installation Cost

Typically network installation technicians charge based on the cost of materials and the labor alone and then factor in other variables as needed. These are the biggest elements involved in this project, after all.

The cabling cost is a large part of the project. For example, while CAT-6 cabling costs about $350 for 1000 feet of material, CAT-7 cable will be a bit pricier. Here is where you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons of how far to upgrade your cable versus how much you’re willing or able to spend. Then, you will also have to factor in the cost of other materials, such as the router, ethernet switch, RJ45 jacks, additional power outlets (as needed), plates, plugs, panels, and other components that complete the installation.

The labor cost is the other big factor in determining what you will pay for a hardwired computer network installation. Currently, the average labor rate is around $50 to $60 per hour. Most installations take multiple days of work. Contractors usually estimate that it will take 30 to 40 hours to install 2,000 feet, depending on the complexity, whether it’s a new or existing network, and other factors.

The installation process timeline is variable because it involves running cables, installing necessary hardware and accessories, configuring the network, securing cables, and other elements that vary significantly from one job to the next. Therefore, while one project may only take 30 hours because existing network components are already in place, a brand-new commercial installation of the same caliber may take up to 50 hours due to the additional work involved.

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Computer Network Cost by Part

The parts needed for the network are essential and specific. When working with a professional, they can provide a list of the exact parts and hardware that you need. They can tell you about optional items that may improve your network or give you more of what you want.

In the table below, you’ll find an average cost of each component. Remember, your prices may vary depending on the individual circumstances of your installation project. Furthermore, you may already have computers and other devices on hand, which means you can subtract those costs from your budget. 

Below, you’ll find a list of the necessary components of a hardwired computer network. Bear in mind that you can add printers and other optional components and that those will incur an additional cost. For the sake of project estimating, we are only including the necessary parts of the network below, with all cost averages based on the sample project of 2,000 feet of CAT-6 cabling.

Hardwired computer network cost

Hardwired computer network cost

Network ComponentAverage Cost
Plates and plugs$25
RJ45 jacks$50
Ethernet switch$10-$100
Cable drop$2,500

Cable Drop Cost

The cable drop is simply the industry term for the actual cabling of the hardwired network. Cabling involves running the cable from the connection point to each network access point or computer. The number of drops or runs required and the length and type of cabling impact costs.

Computer Price

The hardwired network may be installed on one computer or multiple systems. Depending on how many computers will be on the network, the installation process may take longer and cost more.

Modem Price

The modem connects you to the Internet. While some ISPs (Internet Service Providers) have high-quality modems that are good enough to use on a computer network like this, it may be necessary to purchase your own modem for the best quality and data speeds. Your installation tech can advise you on this.

Router Price

The router is responsible for routing Internet access to various computers and other network devices. These typically have the option of wireless access. You’ll need to consider how that impacts the security of your network and decide whether or not you want to use WiFi at all. Then, you can choose the appropriate router for the job.

Network Switch Price

Some routers have only one LAN or WAN port, which will require the installation of an Ethernet switch that allows you to access multiple network devices. Some routers include a built-in switch, so you’ll want to discuss this with your technician.

RJ45 Jacks

These are the jacks installed in the wall to connect the cables to the network. RJ stands for “registered jack” and refers to the thicker phone-style cords and their outlets required for Ethernet access. The number of RJ45 jacks needed impacts the final cost.

Network Plates and Plugs

Networks cannot thrive without the appropriate power and connections. You may need to install additional wall plates, electrical outlets, and other connections to help the network run properly. Be sure to get the right accessories and components so that the network functions, even if it increases the project cost.

Patch Panel Cost

A patch panel works similarly to an Ethernet switch. The switch routes data from the devices to the server; the patch panel has a cable that runs from the device to a nearby desk, which would require a patch to connect the networks. This is an addition to your Ethernet switch that makes it easier to allow and terminate connections from various network devices.

Ethernet Cable Cost by Type

The type of cabling that you choose for your computer network affects the costs. Cables are priced differently based on their type, capabilities, and other features. Cable selection is something that you will want to discuss with your installation tech to ensure that you choose the best type of Ethernet cable for the job.

In the table below, you’ll see a breakdown of the cost for each type of cable based on the example of 2,000 feet of cable and the national average cost per foot. This price is for the cable only and does not include installation labor.Types of ethernet cables

Cable typeCost per footTotal cost (2,000 feet)
Fiber optic$1-$6$5,000

Coaxial Cable Cost

Coaxial cable is probably the most common type of cable. This standard black cable (or sometimes white or gray) includes the pin-style plug and connects to a cable jack in the wall. This cable is becoming less common, but it is the most affordable solution for those who want a hardwired network but may not have the budget for fiber optics or even CAT cables. Typically, it costs between $0.20 and $0.50 per foot.

Twisted Pair Cabling

Twisted pair cabling is more commonly known as the CAT family of cables. CAT-5, CAT-6, and CAT-7 are the most popular, but many cable classes are available. CAT-5 is made of twisted copper cables, while CAT-6 is constructed of standardized cable that offers much higher speeds. CAT-7 is the newest, offering a shielded cable that reduces network interference and crosstalk.

There are also two types of cables available--UTP and STP. These stand for unshielded twisted pair and shielded twisted pair. Shielded cable costs more but offers more network security built right into the cable. Unshielded cable is the most common choice. CAT cables typically cost between $0.25 and $0.75 per foot.

Fiber Optic Cable Cost per Foot

Fiber optic cable is a newer option that offers better technology for long-distance communication. These cables include thin strands, rather than copper wire, and can travel further distances. This cabling typically costs as much as five times more than the other options, but it can prove invaluable in many applications.

Fiber optic cabling is available in single-mode fiber (SMF) and multi-mode fiber (MMF) . SMF cable can uses one light mode at a time, while MMF can be used to preprogram multiple light modes for bigger bandwidth and speed. This cable ranges from $1 to $6 per foot.

Ethernet Cable Cost by Category

Different categories of ethernet cables are available and offer varying performance levels. In the table below, you’ll see a breakdown of the cost of each type of cable that is available for Ethernet networking today. The outdated cables are excluded from the list. Many aren’t even available to purchase any longer, meaning you have to move up to CAT-5 or higher.

The average costs of CAT cable by type are shown in the table below and are listed by average cost per foot and average total cost. These prices reflect cabling only, with no labor costs included.

Categories of ethernet cablesCategories of ethernet cables

Ethernet cable categoryAverage cost per footAverage total cost (2,000 ft.)

CAT-1 Cable

CAT-1 cable is the most basic cable option available. This cable transmits up to 1 Mbps of dnd was once used as a telephone cable. The unshielded cable is unshielded and is no longer in use. CAT-1 cable is not a twisted cable and cannot be used for networking.

CAT-2 Cable

CAT-2 is a twisted cable that transmits up to 4 Mbps and was previously used on token ring networks. Today, this level of cable is not installed in a new network. It is unshielded, cannot process a lot of speed, and doesn’t offer the network solution that most people need. Therefore, the cost of CAT-2 cable will also be excluded from the table below.

CAT-3 Cable

CAT-3 is the first class of cabling that can be used for Ethernet, although its application is limited. It transmits up to 10 Mbps of data and is available up to 100 m in length. This cable was once popular in standard networks but has been mostly replaced by CAT-5 installations. It is not recognized as a networking cable since newer options are available.

CAT-4 Cable

CAT-4 cable can be used on select networks with a frequency of up to 20 MHz. However, it is no longer commonly used and is typically found in old token ring networks running at 16 Mbps. Most network techs will advise you to upgrade to a minimum of CAT-5 for new installations.

CAT-5 Cable Cost

CAT-5 is the most basic cable available for network installations today. This cable reaches up to 100 Mbps and perhaps a little higher under certain conditions. Some higher-capacity installations will not be able to use this cable. Many technicians will not recommend using CAT-5 in some situations, but it remains an option. It is available in lengths up to 100 m. The average cost of CAT-5 cable is $0.20 per foot.

CAT-5e Cable Cost

CAT-5e cable is similar to CAT-5 but offers a slightly higher frequency rating and performance of up to 125 Mbps. This cable is also available in lengths up to 100 m and uses twisted pairs to prevent crosstalk. It offers slightly better performance than standard CAT-5 at a minimally higher cost of about $0.25 per foot.

CAT-6 Cable Cost

CAT-6 cable is the choice that almost all network technicians recommend for new installations. This cable performs better because it is wound more tightly and supports speeds up to 10 Gbps, but only for about 55 m. Those who need longer cabling solutions will not reach the highest speeds, but even the “low” speeds on CAT-6 trump the CAT-5 cables by a long shot. CAT-6 cable typically costs about $0.35 per foot on average.

CAT-6a Cable Cost

CAT-6a is a slightly improved version of CAT-6 cable, offering optimal performance and better crosstalk removal. This cable provides up to 10 Gigs at longer distances than standard CAT-6 cable; however, it gets a little more expensive. For those who want premium network speed and reliability with minimal performance issues, this cable is worth the investment. This cable costs about $0.45 per foot.

CAT-7 Cable Cost

Many providers tell people not to worry about CAT-7 cable. However, there are some applications where this higher level of performance is necessary. Hardware is still catching up to this cable option, but it can offer 10 Gbps at a full 100 m. This enhanced performance is something that high-end networks will soon be demanding if they aren’t already. This cabling also uses GG45 jacks instead of RJ45. CAT-7 cable typically costs $0.65 per foot.

CAT-8 Cable Cost

CAT-8 cable is not a common option for network installations just yet. Most of the available hardware and accessories cannot keep up with the demands of such a connection, so the money is wasted when the hardware limits the speed. CAT-8 cable is capable of speeds over 40 Gbps with a frequency of up to 2000 MHz. This cable costs an average of $0.70 per foot.

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How Much Does Internet Cost per Month?

The monthly cost of Internet service also has to be factored into your investment. After all, you will need to ensure that you have an internet service that stands up to the demands of your network. The average broadband Internet cost paid by most people is around $60 per month. Considering the speeds needed for a standard recommended CAT-6 or higher installation, you may want to consider upgrading to a higher package, which may average $100 per month.

Here are some of the top Internet Service Providers (ISPs), their cost per month for Internet access, and the speed offered at that price.

Internet cost per month

Internet cost per month

ISPMonthly costMax speed
AT&T Fiber$49.991000 Mbps
Xfinity by Comcast$79.991000 Mbps
Verizon$79.99940 Mbps
Spectrum$109.99940 Mbps

Most of these are introductory pricing offers that expire after the first year or two of service. You may also be required to pay setup fees, one-time activation fees, installation fees, equipment rental or purchase charges, and other costs. Internet setup is usually the most expensive part. If you are not participating in an introductory offer or need higher speeds, you can expect to pay more than the prices listed above. Also, check for data overage fees, late payment fees, cancelation fees, and other costs that may be incurred.

Ethernet vs WiFi

We have already mentioned the security aspect of Ethernet or hardwired Internet versus WiFi technology. However, the biggest factors for most people who are installing a network for residential or commercial use are speed and reliability. While WiFi devices have come a long way, they simply can’t keep up with the performance of a hardwired network that uses premium Ethernet cabling.

WiFi speed capabilities have improved in recent years, but reliability is still an issue. On the other hand, Ethernet is reliable, dependable, and capable of producing speeds of up to 10 Gbps or higher with premium cablings like CAT-6 or CAT-7. Wireless internet experiences more interference and crosstalk, which leads to further reliability issues. Then, latency may also be an issue. While it might be a matter of seconds or even milliseconds, WiFi has a lag compared to wired Internet. Ultimately, Ethernet is ideal for home networks because it is more reliable, faster, lags less, and provides greater security.

User conecting an ethernet cable to a router

Computer Network Installation Cost Factors

Several variables are involved in the cost of a computer network installation. The type of cable used, whether it’s a transfer or a new install, and the complexity of the installation are just a few considerations.

If you are replacing a network or installing a new cable in a building with existing cabling, you may have to pay to remove old cables. Complexity refers to how many lines the network needs. The cost of a job depends on the amount of cabling required and the number of network lines that are run. Another factor involved in network complexity and cost is the number of rooms that need to be hardwired for the network. Installing three access points in one room is much easier than installing three access points in three separate rooms. Be sure to be clear about how many separate rooms are included in your estimate or survey so that you get an accurate cost.

If an electrician is needed to assist with the network installation to add outlets, relocate wiring, repair wiring, and resolve electrical issues to ensure the network operates properly, this will incur an additional cost. Another major factor in the cost discussed in detail above is the type and category of network cable that you choose. Installing CAT-5 cable, for example, might be a cheaper option. However, it’s also a bit outdated or basic in terms of quality. For about 20% more, you could upgrade to CAT-6 or 6a for premium quality.

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Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Cable Management System

Once you install a hardwired computer network, you will have many cables running throughout your home. In some installations and new construction, the cabling can be done behind the walls to ensure everything is hidden and routed properly. Organizing exposed cables is a little trickier, but it will behoove you to invest in a cable management system. Typically, allowing the installation technician to add the cable management system during the installation won’t add much cost to your estimate. There are Velcro strips, rubber cable runners, and plenty of other options for managing network and computer cables as a part of your new hardwired network. You could spend as little as $20 on Velcro strips and cord keepers for a small network, but there are also cabling systems that could cost hundreds of dollars for premium organization.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • DIY: While just about anyone can hook up a standard Internet connection these days, a hardwired computer network is not a project that you should take on by yourself. Unless you are a skilled IT professional or electrician that understands the complex nature of cabling and connecting all of the ports, wires, and networks, it can be quite a chore. Plus, one wrong move can cost thousands in additional work, repairs, or redoing the entire network with professional installation. It’s always best to work with professionals for the best-hardwired network.
  • Estimates: Always get at least three to five estimates from professionals. You should consider getting estimates from IT providers and electricians and those who specifically work with network installations for home use. Although getting the job done right is your priority; shopping around for the best rates should still be on your agenda. Plus, you want to make sure that your estimate is accurate, and you can’t do that if you only get one.
  • Network security: The type of security that you choose may incur additional costs on your project. Some free services allow you to monitor your network and save some money. You should also keep your firewall turned on at all times. Also, install an outbound firewall to keep your information in and keep other people out of your network. There are many ways to reduce the cost of network security so that you can spend your money elsewhere on the project.
  • Networking location: Keep in mind that where you install the central network will impact the overall cost of this project. For example, installing a network in a small attic or closet space will have higher labor costs because the area is difficult to access.


  • How much does it cost to get an Ethernet port installed?

The average cost for a single Ethernet port installation is around $150. The Ethernet port itself will cost between $25 and $50 and takes one to two hours to install, at a labor rate of $50 to $60 per hour.

  • How much does it cost to install a home network?

The average cost to install a home network that is hardwired is around $3,800. This includes 2,000 feet of CAT-6 cabling with all necessary components, hardware, outlets and switches, and labor costs. Some projects can cost as little as $2,500 for smaller jobs, while large custom networks may cost up to $6,000 or more for residential installation.

  • How much does it cost to have CAT-5 installed?

The cost of installing 2,000 feet of CAT-5 cable would be approximately $400. With installation and accessories, the entire project would cost around $1,500 on average. CAT-5 is cheaper than CAT-6 and CAT-7 and costs about 20% less to install on average.

  • What is a network installation?

A network installation is a process that involves installing a high-speed, Ethernet-based Internet network in a home. This network connects all computers and devices to a central access point (server) and provides a seamless, in-sync network that functions better than just using standard Internet access.

  • Should you bundle Internet with other services?

Whether or not you bundle Internet service with other services depends on your needs. Some ISPs offer better deals for higher speeds if you package with your landline phone, mobile phone, or TV service. Compare standalone plans to bundles to determine the best option.

Cost to install a hardwired computer network varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

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The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources
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Cost to install a hardwired computer network varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources