Electrician Ethernet Wiring – What You Should Know

Running ethernet cables though the wall can be a daunting task for many people. Wi-Fi, MoCA, and Powerline networking, all offer alternatives to running ethernet cables. However, ethernet is still king in 2022 and beyond. If you want to build a high performance network in your home or office, running ethernet cables should be at the core of it. Many people consider having an electrician run ethernet wiring, is this the best option?

Given the laborious nature of running ethernet cabling and the special tools required, many people would rather opt to have their ethernet wiring professionally installed. However, who should you hire? An electrician, low voltage tech, your internet service provider, your next door neighbor?

Ethernet cabling is categorized as low voltage cabling. This means that it is not considered as dangerous and therefore not subject to the same strict set of rules and regulations that cover high voltage wiring. This means that using a licensed electrician is not required from a building code perspective. It also opens the door to the possibility of doing it yourself or having a friend do it for you. There are several options, but for best results using a low voltage cabling contractor with data wiring experience is going to be your best bet.

Ethernet Cable Electrician

Ethernet Cable Installation Options

  1. Do it yourself (DIY).
  2. Have a friend or neighbor help you.
  3. Hire an electrician.
  4. Pay your internet service provider (ISP) to do the work.
  5. Hire a low voltage / data cabling contractor.

Do it Yourself

If you are comfortable doing the job yourself, you can definitely save some money in the process. If you already have the basic tools such as a wire snake and cable tester this could be a good option. Consider this option if you only need to run a single cable and you are either pulling through a conduit or through and interior wall with no insulation. These tend to be the simplest of installs.

Running an ethernet cable up an exterior wall can be more difficult without the proper tools and training. While not impossible, running cabling through exterior walls may not be as DIY friendly for beginners.

Get Help from a Friend or Neighbor

If you happen to know someone who is particularly handy, and has the necessary tools. consider enlisting their help. Depending on the circumstances you could agree to pay them a certain amount or offer to in exchange help them with a project of theirs.

This can be a great option if you have the right personal connections. This is not going to be an option for everyone, but could be viable for some people and often gets overlooked.

A friend or neighbor lending a hand could make all the difference and could also save you significant money vs hiring a contractor.

Hire an Electrician

You could hire a licensed electrician to do the ethernet cable pulling. This is an option to consider especially if you already need to hire and electrician to do other electrical work on a project. Often times it is cheaper to use the same contractor for multiple segments of a project.

Things to consider

  1. Many (not all) electricians are unfamiliar with data wiring.
  2. Could save you money if they are already doing other work on-site.
  3. Some will pull wires but do not terminate them.

If you are going to have your electrician pull ethernet wiring make sure they are familiar with low voltage best practices. This includes keeping ethernet cabling separated from high voltage wiring. This is essential for minimizing interference that can affect signal integrity. You will also want to make sure they are using the right kind of wire. For most installs, Cat6a is going to be the best option.

The other thing to consider is that many electrician will pull ethernet cabling through the walls but will not do the terminations. The terminations are something that can be a little tricky to do yourself if you have never done them before. They also require tools such as crimpers, punch down tools, wire strippers, and cable testers.

Ethernet Cable Twisted

Have Your Internet Service Provider Install Them

Generally this is not the best option, especially if you have a lot of cable to run. In fact, most ISPs will not offer to install cabling beyond what is nesecarry for them to install service. However, in many cases when your ISP is installing the cabling needed for delivering internet service to your house, you can also have them install ethernet cabling. You will usually get charged a flat rate per cable that you have them install.

This is generally only going to be an option if you need a cable or two installed at the time of signing up for internet service. Most people will be best avoiding this option. It should also be noted, that many ISPs tend to prefer to surface run the cabling and often do not go for the prettiest install.

Cable Modem Ethernet

Hire a Low Voltage Data Cabling Specialist

Generally the best option, if you are going to fork over some cash for a professional install is to use a low voltage cabling contractor. Often times they charge the same or even less than an electrician. They are also best prepared for the job both in terms of experience and in equipment.

A data cabling contractor is going to be familiar with al of the relevant standards for installing ethernet wiring. This is what they specialize in. They also have the fancy tools to most effectively get the job done right.

They will terminate and test / certify all of the cable runs and provide you with a report on the performance. They will also be best equipped to provide advice on what kind of cabling to use. (Cat6, Cat6a, etc.). Most people running ethernet cables through the walls should go with Cat6a cabling. It is not that much more expensive and greatly future proofs your installs.

Ethernet Patch Panel

Conclusion

A licensed electrician can certainly install ethernet cabling. You can also do the job yourself if you feel inclined to do so and have the required tools. For most people hiring a low voltage / data cabling installer will be the best option. Search the internet for data cable installers in your local area. You will likely come up with several. Then you can get quotes from them and select the best option for you.