How much does it cost to install a hardwired computer network?
Installing a hardwired computer network in your home or business is a great way to improve its network speed and stability. Wired networking continues to be more reliable and faster than wireless networking, in spite of recent advances in wireless.
There are two main types of cabling normally used for modern networking installations: Cat 5 and Cat 6. Cat 5 is capable of speeds up to 1 Gigabit, while Cat 6 is capable of 10 Gigabit networking. Cat 7 is also available as the newest cable standard for Ethernet, the main difference is that this cable is shielded.
Fiber optic cable 1 is one of the newest options available for networking and it is substantially different from the copper wiring used for Cat cables. The cable is made out of thin strands of pure glass that carry digital information with light instead of electrical currents.
|Type of Cable||Pros||Cons||Price|
Compatible with older networking systems
Limited to 1 Gigabit maximum speeds
Currently being phased out
|250’ for $23.99|
Best speed for its price
Up to 10 Gigabit Ethernet 2 speed
It does not have the shielding protection
Limited to a distance of 90 meters
|250’ for $32.28|
Higher level of performancecable
Limited to 10 Gigabit Ethernet 2
More suitable for business than for technical uses
|250’ for $94.88|
|Fiber Optic Cable 1|
It does not have any interference
It supports longer distances
Special equipment is needed
Not cost efficient for smaller local area networks
|250’ for $50.00|
Although a home networking installation can be performed as a DIY project for some tech savvy homeowners, it is usually performed by an electrician or IT specialist. If performed as DIY project, the only costs are the material costs described below.
This guide will look at the cost to install wired copper networking for the average home office which is usually located in one 10’x12’ room. The cost of equipment prices for switches, panels and other necessities that can influence the total cost of the project.
- Installing hardwired networking in a 10’x12’ office by itself is a smaller networking installation job and presents the lowest cost option. Hardwire networking installations are routinely charged as a flat rate between around $300-$2200 based on the estimate from an electrician or IT contractor and the complexity of the installation.
- If charged hourly, most electricians charge between $65-$85/hr.
- One room takes approximately 3 hours to wire, so the labor cost would be between $195 and $255 to have a Cat 6 network professionally installed. Material costs are an additional $125-$225 depending on how many computers are in the room.
- The minimum materials that are needed for a one home office networking installation include:
- 250’ of Cat 6 Ethernet 2 cable: $50.
- Ethernet 2 switch: $25-$50. Popular brands include the TRENDnet TEG-S80g 8-Port Gigabit Switch ($26), NETGEAR GS108 8-Port Gigabit Switch ($41), and the TP-LINK 8-Port Gigabit Switch ($25).
- Patch cables: $25 for 5.
- RJ45 Jacks, plates and plugs: $25.
- Optional add-ons include velcro strips ($10), patch panels ($50), and plastic grommets ($10) for cable management.
Enhancement and improvement costs
- A patch panel can be purchased for $50 and wall mounted with about 1 hour of labor time $65-$85. They can improve the organization of a network but aren’t necessary for simpler networks.
- Adding more ports to the switch for more computers throughout the home, which costs $50-$100 for an upgraded switch.
- Additional rooms will cost 2-3 hours per room. However, each additional room does not need a new Ethernet 2 switch.
- To install Cat 6 cable 3 for 4 rooms in a home, the labor cost is between $195-$255 per room at minimum, or a total of $780-$1020 for the home. Material costs are an additional $275-$500 depending on how many computers are situated throughout the home.
Additional considerations and costs
- Before you start your network installation, ask yourself these planning questions to help you determine your network requirements:
- How many ports do I need?
- Most standard switches will have 8 ports but if you need more you’ll need to upgrade the switch. Every extra network port you install adds 5%-15% to your labor and material costs depending on the complexity of the installation. Adding more ports is useful if you have multiple computers, gaming consoles, smart TVs or Blu-Ray players with Ethernet 2 access or anything else that requires internet access through a wired port. Switches are available in configurations from 4 ports up to 24 ports or more per switch.
- What is a good location for distribution?
- Decide which part of your home is the best option for the central networking equipment. A good place to install the equipment is a central location which has almost equal distance to every room in the home that needs a networking installation. This can lower your costs and make it easier to install the network. You will also need a room with a sufficient amount of space to store the equipment, but the space requirements are minimal.
- What network speed do I need?
- Cat 6 is capable of handling up to 10 Gigabit speeds while Cat 5 cabling is capable of up to 1 Gigabit. For most home computing and gaming requirements, a 10 Gigabit Cat 6 network is more than sufficient because most home and entertainment programs and internet applications use far less than this.
- Cat 6 Ethernet 2 still allows for a great deal of growth as the data needs for a home may increase in the future. Cat 5e cable is not recommended for any new installations, even for basic requirements, but it certainly can handle most basic internet and entertainment needs if Cat 6 is not available for any reason.
- If the home is pre-wired for Cat 5, the cost drops down significantly. Cat 6 cabling 3 is backwards compatible with Cat 5 routers 4/switches. The amount of drilling and labor costs are reduced with an existing networking installation. In this case, the labor cost for one office room would be $65-$85 including removal of the old networking wire, and for four rooms the cost would be $260-$340 including removal of the old networking wire.
- If a home has damaged networking wiring in a room, replacing the wiring can cost 1 labor hour per room for the removal and installation of the new wire, or $65-$85 per room.
- If the home has a more difficult installation with attics or crawl spaces that need to be wired, the time it takes per room may increase by 1 to 2 labor hours, or an additional $260-$680 in labor costs for a 4 room project.