Ethernet broadband (or plugged in broadband) is a far superior connection to Wifi with faster speeds and no connection breaks, but we have been seduced into thinking that Wifi is better. The truth is Wifi is more likely to be dogged by connection issues on a bad day and it fills our environments with debilitating electrosmog, making us susceptible to headaches or brain fog after working at the computer, or worse, sleeplessness and nervous disorders.
So, you've done your research and now you want to get rid of wifi in your home, but the thought of rewiring your internet, plugging it all back in - what kind of appalling upheavals will you have to make?
Well, apart from shelling out the price of a few beers on supplies, you will need to sit in the same place in your home when you log on to the internet. Hang on? You think, but I already sit in more or less the same place.
Quite so; on the sofa or a desk or table, the usual place you sit when you’re not at work, in the kitchen or in bed. Some brave souls might wander around their living rooms, swapping seats like they’re cruising the Greek Islands, but most of us are creatures of habit. There is no reason you can’t be sitting in your favourite place and be plugged in to the router. You just have to remember these four stages:
To begin, check for the existence of ethernet ports both on your computer and your router. Remember those? They look like this:
Helpfully labelled there too! This is on the back of a standard BT smart hub. Some ethernet ports are labelled LAN (Local Area Network) or WAN (Wide Area Network), but they look the same.
Many modern laptops and tablets no longer have their own ethernet ports since wifi has become ubiquitous. So you may need to buy an adaptor for your computer’s end. An RJ45/USB adaptor is the one to ask for – the RJ45 is the Ethernet port (female), and it needs a USB plug (male) on the other end.
Older devices tend to use USB A, which looks like this:
But some newer devices have started using USB C which looks like this:
Other options include Micro USB adaptors like the micro USB 2.0 - which can plug into android phones, and some PCs and laptops, and the equivalent Lightning to Ethernet adaptor for an iphone, ipad or ipod. Both of which we sell on this site.
You will know which one suits your own computer by looking at your port. For example the USB C is reversible (can be put in upside down) whereas the USB A is not.
So, armed with an adaptor and an ethernet cable – look for a CAT6 (good enough) or CAT7 (super quality) ethernet cable (often for as little as £5 on ebay):
You can now plug your computer into your router and start surfing wifi-free, right? Ah, if only life was that simple.
You must help your computer to overcome its addiction: constantly searching for wifi like a strung out junkie on a Friday night. This, you’ll be pleased to know, is relatively easy.
If you have windows 10, go into “Settings” (or the icon shaped like a cog usually near the power button), then click the following buttons in this order:
“Network and Internet”; “Ethernet”; “Change Adaptor Options”; “Wifi”; “Disable This Network Device”.
Your computer will now default to its ethernet setting and no longer automatically search for wifi.
Depending on the age of your Windows software, another way to achieve the same thing is to type ncpa.cpl into the search bar on the desktop, then Click the Alt button (to bring up the menu bar), click: “Advanced”; then “Advanced settings”; then “Wifi”; then click on the Green arrow pointing down. This bumps Wifi down the list of go-to options so your computer will automatically go to the Ethernet connection first.
You can just turn your computer to aeroplane mode (or airplane mode if you’re American); there is a helpful video that shows you how. but doing it the way I’ve suggested makes it more permanent.
That’s the computer sorted. The router, however, is still trying to push wifi on your computer like a crack dealer at a college disco. So let’s move to stage 3.
According to some boffins, switching off your router’s wifi transmitting signal is also important from a cyber-security point of view when you are using an ethernet cable to connect to the internet.
On a BT Smart hub the way to do this is to open an internet page on your computer, type the following IP address into the address field at the top of the page: 192.168.1.254. This brings up the BT smart hub configurations for your BT router. For other routers see below.
These are the instructions for BT Smart hub, but others will be much the same. So on your router’s configurations click on “Advanced Settings”, enter the admin password (you can find thison the back of your router). Then click on ‘Wifi’ and turn it to the off position.
If you use a different service provider, there’s a list of all imaginable routers and their configuration pages here. Just follow the instructions for your own make of router. If your router is not in this list, then a) that’s one obscure router, and b) you can search online by typing “how do I access my [name of router]”, and you will get the IP address associated with your router. Then type the IP address into your web address field and continue. Router configuration pages are pretty self-explanatory.
Done? Can we have a cup of tea now?
Sorry not yet. There's one more issue to consider.
Some routers, and this might shock you, have extra antennas that have nothing to do with your tariff. Internet Service Providers (ISPs), predominantly BT, pump out wifi 24/7 for public use. This is the BTWIFI-FON or BT OPENZONE public wifi options you can see on your smart phone when looking for an internet connection. BT, among others, provides wifi hotspots for wandering folk, and uses all its domestic routers to enable this, using your own electricity to boot. The cheek of it! In the US Comcast customers are taking their provider to court over the extra $23 a year they have been paying out in electricity. Make of that what you will.
To be really serious about zero wifi, these extra antennas have to be switched off as well. A simple test to see if your router is still emitting a wifi (RF) signal is to check with an RF meter, or a smart phone, after doing everything in the first 3 stages. If you can still pick up a signal then your router is still transmitting public wifi.
If you opt out of this feature on a BT router you will automatically lose your access to all BT wifi hotspots when out and about. After you’ve grieved sufficiently for this loss, go to https://www.bt.com/help/broadband/how-do-i-opt-out-of-bt-wi-fi-
where you will find these steps:
Log into My BT >
Choose Your package and then Inclusive extras
Scroll down to BT Wi-fi and click on Manage BT Wifi
Scroll down and click on the Opt out of BT Wi-fi drop-down, and then the Opt out of BT Wi-fi button
BT will tell you that the opt out can take up to 28 days to process. So the earlier you start the better.
Virgin Media have also started offering public wifi from their SuperHub routers. To opt out go to your Virgin Media account, click on your Profile, and click to opt out of public wifi.
For other routers you can log in to your account with your Internet ServiceProvider (ISP) and search their pages to find out if your ISP provides this extra service through your router, and how to opt out of it. More and more ISPs are jumping on this bandwagon, but BT and Virgin Media are the biggest culprits. Not letting their customers know they are doing this? Sneaky.
If you don’t trust BT or others to turn off their secret public wifi, then you can disable the antennas. This is a little trickier, but quite possible for the intrepid. Get yourself a soldering iron, roll up your sleeves, and go to YouTube. Here is an easy example using a TP link router, but with all routers it’s generally a case of opening your router housing, locating the points where the antennas meet the motherboard, and de-soldering them.
Now you can make a cup of tea, put your feet up and surf the net safely and securely using your new high-speed ethernet connection. No more dodgy wifi connections and dropped signals. The Ethernet is far superior in speed and reliability, a bonus for all your hard work. And of course, no more sitting in RF fields while online.
Just make sure no one can trip over the ethernet cable.