There are plenty of ways to get a network connection from one point to another, even if traditional networking cables aren't available.
Twisted pair Ethernet is the most common type of wired connection. It uses low-voltage electrical signals sent over specific types of twisted pair cables to transmit data. In addition to the several types of modern Ethernet cables, a building's existing Cat 3 or Cat 5 cables can be used.
Pros: Wide variety of cabling and equipment available. Most wired networking devices have at least one Ethernet jack.
Cons: Works only up to 100 meters (328 feet).
Fiber cables use pulses of light sent through glass fiber cables to transmit data. Many types of fiber optic cabling are availalble.
Pros: Great for fast connections over long distances or transmitting data in areas where electromagnetic interference (EMI) is an issue.
Cons: Can be expensive. Often requires special equipment to splice and terminate.
This is the technology that allows ISPs to bring internet service to your home via phone lines. Additionally, DSL technologies including VDSL and G.fast can be used to distribute a LAN network through a building where phone lines are the only existing cabling. DSL can also be used for long distance connections when fiber is not a viable option.
Pros: Quick way to stand up network connections using existing copper lines.
Cons: DSL can be quite slow compared to other technologies. Not a particularly common solution.
Wi-Fi technologies have evolved a great deal over time to support very fast speeds.
Pros: Most new consumer devices can connect via Wi-Fi.
Cons: Succeptable to wireless interference or crowding, especially on the 2.4 GHz band.
Point to Point (PtP) and Point to Multi Point (PtMP) wireless equipment is a great way to connect multiple facilities without having to bury or hang cabling. Connections can be very fast or very long depending on which wireless band is used.
Pros: Cost-effective way to connect multiple facilities.
Cons: Succeptable to wireless interference. Speed and distance are often a heavy trade-off.
Pros: Fast way to stand up low-density wireless connections.
Cons: Each “hop” will slow the connection speed by at least half. Requires special attention to wireless channel selection and possible interference.
This is the technology that allows ISPs to bring internet service to your home via coax (cable TV) lines. Additionally, MoCA can be used to distribute a LAN network through a building where coax cables are the only existing cabling.
Pros: A faster retrofit option than DSL.
Cons: Steep learning curve for those used to Ethernet connections.