So, you understand that wireless technology creates harmful RF radiation in your home, and you understand that in order to keep yourself and your family safe from it you need to use wired technology instead. So far so good. But how do you actually do this?
This article will guide you through the process of switching your internet from wireless to wired, and we'll try to explain it as simply as possible but without leaving anything out.
Accessing the internet in your home normally involves 2 steps.
Step 1 - A company delivers internet to your home.
Step 2 - You distribute that internet connection throughout your home so your computers and devices can use it.
Step 1 - Internet delivery to your home
To access to the internet in your home you need to pay a telecoms company to provide it somehow. This company is known as your Internet Service Provider, often referred to as your ISP using the technical jargon. There is an ever increasing variety of ways they can do this but they are all either wired or wireless methods. If you live in town or city there's a good chance they're delivering your internet through a wired solution such as cable or fibre as they already have the cable/fibre laid and it's simple to connect your home. If you live in a rural area it's more likely your Internet Service Provider will be delivering your internet wirelessly through satellite, a community WLAN scheme or something similar.
If you're unsure if you are getting your internet through a wired or wireless connection simply phone or email your Internet Service Provider and ask them. If they tell you it's a wired connection (or you already know it is) great, you're half way there already.
If they tell you (or you already know) you're getting your internet wirelessly then ask them if there are any wired alternatives. If they tell you there isn't (possible in a rural location) then it might be worth checking other Internet Service Providers that provide internet in your area to see if any do have any wired options available. Through the phone land line may be an option.
The bottom line is if you are getting your internet delivered wirelessly you want to see if it it possible to move to a wired delivery instead.
Step 2 - Distributing the internet throughout your home
This is where a lot of people make the mistake of thinking "great, my internet is wired, all safe" then proceed to use a WiFi router to beam their internet signal round the home, and with it the harmful RF radiation that goes with it. There's a second step required.
To complete the move from wireless to wired we need to clear up some of the confusion that can arise from words such as modem, router, WiFi etc. first. Don't worry, we'll keep it as simple as possible.
A modem can be thought of as a little box of tricks that makes the internet connection your ISP is providing you connect to the wider internet. Your ISP will normally give you one when you sign up with them.
A router is another little box of tricks that allows you to connect your computer and devices to the modem (and on through to the internet). 9 time out of 10 your modem and your router will both be contained within the same little box of tricks and it will say modem/router on the box.
The picture shows what the back of a typical modem/router looks like. It has one socket to plug in the internet cable and some sockets (called ports in tech jargon) for you to connect your devices. To connect your devices you would connect a wire/cable to one of these ports, and the other end to your computer or other device.
The cable that connects your device to your router is known as an ethernet cable, and the little ports on the back of the router are known as ethernet ports. If you have connected your computer up to the internet like this then you have a fully wired internet setup, and no harmful RF radiation from it (as long as you have WiFi switched off, more on that later).
Wiring your home for internet
OK, assuming you're still with us the first obvious problem is going to be that you'll want to use your computer or device in another room from where the router is located (which is probably out on the hall table!).
There are a couple of options available to you for this. Essentially the first is using a much longer ethernet cable that extends into the room you want to use your device. However the first time someone trips over it and your computer flies off the desk the problem with that will become clear! So you’ll want to run the cables in a much tidier fashion. The simplest way to do this is use flat ethernet cable that can easily run along skirting boards, around door frames and under carpets from the router to the rooms you'll want to connect to the internet in. Flat ethernet cable isn’t expensive, you can get a 30 meter roll complete with cable clips to keep it all tidy for about €20 here.
Ideally for the tidiest job you'd run the cables within the walls (just like your electrical cables) to ethernet sockets in the rooms you need connectivity. If you’re a competent DIY enthusiast you can save some money by doing it yourself, however if your enthusiasm outweighs your confidence it might be better to get some help from an electrician with this!
To do either of the above is known as 'wiring your house for internet' or 'ethernet wiring'.
Using Ethernet over existing electrical wiring
If you've just thrown your hands up in the air with a "What! This is a much bigger job than I thought!" then there is a simpler option available. Essentially what we want to do is make a physical wire connection between your computer/device and the router so the signal doesn't have be transmitted wirelessly through the air, but that signal can use your home's existing electrical wiring instead of ethernet cables.
This technology is called 'ethernet over power' and as the name suggests basically allows an you to convert an existing electrical socket into an ethernet port. This is done via an adapter (called a powerline network adapter in the jargon) that plugs into a wall socket beside your router and allows an ethernet cable from the router to be plugged into it. Another adapter is then used with a wall socket in the room you wish to use your computer/device and you simply connect your device to it.
The pros of this method are obvious, it’s much easier to setup. The cons are your internet connection won’t be quite as fast as using ethernet wiring (no biggy) and they can be expensive, particularly if you get the type that don’t ‘use up’ the socket i.e. you can still use it as an electrical socket as well (called pass-through). The biggest problem with them though is they work in pairs and they have to be connected directly to the wall socket (so you can’t use socket extenders). This means the number of rooms you can have simultaneous connections to will be limited to the number of actual electrical sockets you have beside your router, which in most cases will be 2.
If you have a busy household and need permanent wired connections in multiple rooms simultaneously this method might not be for you and running ethernet cables might be the better option. But if you only need an internet connection in a couple of rooms at a time then this ‘ethernet over power’ might be just the thing you’re looking for as you can always move the adapter from room to room as you need.
If you need good internet speeds (if you stream video for example) we advise to not go for adapters below 1000Mbps. We also advise you get adapters with pass-through so you can use the electrical socket too. You can find a good pair of 1000Mbps ethernet powerline adapters with pass-through here.
WiFi - Switch it off!
So where does WiFi fit into all this? WiFi is a method of distributing the internet signal from your router wirelessly throughout your home instead of using ethernet cables or electrical wiring. It is therefore a capability of your router, so when someone says 'I use WiFi' they really mean I use a WiFi router. It's more convenient for sure, but at the cost of exposing your family to dangerous RF radiation. It probably won't mention that on the box!
Most routers these days can distribute the internet signal throughout your home through both wired and wireless methods. They'll usually have about 4 ethernet ports at the back you can plug your devices into (wired) AND also have WiFi capability (wireless). Although they can do both these routers are normally just called WiFi routers.
If you have a WiFi router in your home and are moving to a wired setup as long as it also has ethernet ports at the back you don't need to replace it, you can just switch off the WiFi. Depending on the make and model this may be just a button on the router itself or you might need to log into the router to switch it off. A quick internet search for 'switch off Wifi on router make/model' should be all that's needed if you're not sure how to do it for your particular router.
Tablets and phones
So you've made the move and now have wired internet in your home and in doing so have eliminated the RF radiation exposure from your WiFi router, fantastic, well done! But then comes the moment when you want to plug your iPad, tablet or phone in to surf the internet... but they don't have an ethernet port than can accept the cable... hmmm.
The vast majority of tablets and phones don't have ethernet ports so in order to use these devices through a wired connection you'll need a little ethernet to usb adapter. Again, not as handy, but now you can safely use the device without exposure to harmful RF radiation (ideally switch to airplane mode).
Although we don't recommend it even if you don't use a wired connection on your phone and just use your phone data plan while using the rest of your less mobile devices such as computers, gaming consoles etc. with the wired connections then you will still have significantly reduced the amount of exposure to harmful RF radiation in your home by not having WiFi constantly beaming throughout it.
Make sure you get the correct adapter for your device!
Micro USB to ethernet adapter (for most Android phones)
I need more connections!
If the standard 4 ethernet ports at the back of your router aren't enough for your home there are a couple of ways to increase them. One option is simply to replace your router with one that has more. But an even simpler way is to add a little box called a hub. A hub is basically an ethernet splitter, you connect it to one of the ethernet ports on the back of your router and it gives you another set of ethernet ports you can use. Hubs are tiny little boxes that can just sit beside or on top of your router and can provide you with as many ethernet ports (internet connections) as you need.
You might also hear some people refer to ‘switches’. Switches can just be thought of as hubs with some extra features and the terms are almost interchangeable when talking about simple home networks. You can find a good 5 port hub/switch here.
Unfortunately moving from wireless to a wired setup within your home is not as simple as flicking a switch. There's a bit of planning needed. You need to think about what rooms will need internet access, what devices, and how many of these you are likely to need connected at the same time. Your desktop computer(s) are obvious but maybe your TV uses internet, a games console perhaps, these things are normally in the same place so aren't a big problem. Phones and tablets being mobile in nature can be more difficult to plan for.
You'd be forgiven at this stage for sliding back into the thinking that the WiFi is just handier. And you'd be totally correct of course, it absolutely is. But if you find yourself thinking "maybe I'll leave it so" then please realize that the convenience that comes with wireless technology also comes at a terrible cost. You're not just saying you'll leave the WiFi, you're also saying you'll leave yourself and your family to constant exposure to scientifically proven harmful RF radiation that undoubtedly will have detrimental effects to their health in years to come. Making the switch isn't the easiest thing in the world to do, and will take a bit re-thinking about how you use today’s technologies, but it is without question one of the best things you can do to protect yourself and the ones you care about most.
If you have any questions or comments on the information presented here please feel free to get in touch with us through the contact page and we'll do our best to help.
**Please note the product links above are only meant as examples of the type of equipment needed, there are many variations of these products and some may better suit your particular requirements. We encourage you to try to source your products from local Irish businesses where possible and only use the above links as a last resort. In the interest of full disclosure we do recieve a small commission if purchases are made using these links.**