Connecting computers in garage to the internet

Hi everyone,

I want to improve the network connection to my computers in the garage (which is detached from the house). I am currently using powerline adapters and I get about 7-10 MB/s. This isn’t great as I use the systems for file storage/Plex etc.

I think I have two options really, one is point to point wifi and the other is putting an ethernet cable in. The rest of the house has ethernet, with the main switch right in the middle of the house (builder wouldn’t put ethernet to the garage).

Would wifi be an improve do people think? Or should I go for the cable?

I assume from your post that your server is in the garage and you pipe it into your house from there.

Yeah definitely use wire for your sanity. You will need a wire that is rated for outdoors.

Either option will probably work fine but wired will always be more reliable. If you live anywhere prone to thunderstorms be sure to use surge protection if burying ethernet. Gas discharge tube protectors have always well for me when properly grounded.

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For a run out to a garage, I’d use conduit with multi-mode fiber and a couple media converters. That way lightning isn’t likely to be an issue and you don’t have a shared path between the buildings. For something like a 100mbit setup, you’d be looking at about $150 including the converters. To upgrade it in the future, you just replace the converters.

Whenever you bury a wire, use conduit. It will save you having to dig up the trench later on to repair/upgrade and gives the cable extra protection.


I hadn’t thought about lightning, the north of England doesn’t get many thunderstorms but it does get some. I like the fibre option, that might be the way to go. If I got a lot of drop outs from the Wi-Fi that would interfere with my work a bit. Potentially cause issues with file corruption.

I wonder if the existing conduit to the garage would be a possible route for the cable. I will see if I can get the plans off the builder.

Recently just bought an Old house at the north cost of the UK and i used some regular ethernet nothing special and then used some trunking to cover it up as im near the coast and get some pretty strong rain and wind and no issues yet, so I dont think you’d need to worry all too much about protecting it from lightning as you said, we Don’t really get it here

Hi Phil,

Having done this myself recently(here and here), I think you’ve got a few options - I’d side with others and suggest keeping it reliable and wired if possible.

CHEAPEST Cheap CAT6 network cable (as a 1-3 year solution)
MEDIUM External rated CAT6 cable
HIGH / BEST The fibre option would be excellent, in a 20mm conduit (You can get 10m cheaply from screwfix).

You could also either plug in direct to garage file storage machine, or put a socket on the wall in case you wanted to add more devices (wifi or another machine) later on.

Like others have said, in our country (UK) there is such a low chance of a lightning strike, but the fibre route would certainly protect you (and me!). Also of course, you get better potential speed - even if your machine couldn’t take advantage of it now, it might do in the future.

Personally, I’m taking the middle ground:

1 x SFP+ run for 10G speeds (with a 4 port mikrotik switch)
1 x SFP run for things that don’t need much speed (using cheapish PoE netgear switches)
1 or 2 CAT6 runs for redundancy (these can use the above switches if needed)

Bit weird the builder didn’t want to know, a spark would do it with ease…although they’d charge! Depends on routing of course, it’s a fairly easy job, but I’m in construction so I do have an advantage…not so much when it comes to tech! :laughing:

Hope that helps :+1:

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the best thing to do is two ethernet cables into the garage one main cable and one backup.
And then put a switch in the garage to connect the computers to.
That way you keep it separate from the other systems in the network.
And it pretty much gives the best results in regards to speeds and stability.

Do it with cables (fibre or cat6).

Use conduit somewhat bigger than you think you need.

Run a pull rope alongside to leave in there for if you decide you need to add other cables later. TV antenna cabling, for example.

Bury it around 50-60cm deep minimum to avoid damage. In some places the laws will say how deep minimum, so maybe check that.

Keep the outside run as short as you practically can and the buried section in as straight a line as possible (so you can tell where it is in 10 years when you want to dig a hole for something else).

Thanks for the advice everyone. My plan is to see if I can get the electricians for the housing estate to run a cable. I suspect there is an existing conduit and they will probably be able to do it.

The other option that I am mulling over is if I can move the servers inside somewhere and use the heat. Perhaps with a heat exchanger on the inflow to the hot water system. I might conclude that is too much hassle for not much reward.

Apologies for only leaving cautionary responses to your topic, but I gotta do it one more time. If there is an existing conduit, that’s hands down the way to go. But If the conduit also contains your 230V feed you won’t want to use CAT6 as the EMI can interfere with signal integrity. Fiber will be your default choice at that point but then you’ll have one more decision to make.

  1. Do you use a cheap, per-terminated patch cable? Or maybe pull a second/spare at the same time? Once these unprotected cables are in the conduit it will be very risky to pull future cables as they can wrap around and break the strands. (I don’t recommend doing this but I also recognize budget constraints)

  2. Pull a pvc multi pair cable and terminate both ends with a fiber patch panel. Future expandability but more expense.

Just a couple more things to consider. Cheers

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Completely agree, it’s consistent with what I’ve heard from multiple sources…who knew, the internet could agree on something! :laughing:

Good points. My plan was to ask them the best fiber option and see what they say based on their knowledge of the conduit etc. I don’t mind spending a bit more for it to be more future proof within reason.

It good to be armed with a few more ideas/knowledge so thanks for the tips.