Thursday, July 29, 2010

☞ READ: Wiring the WSJ Harlem Brownstone

We have been following Wall Street Journal writer Julia Angwin's home renovations since we noticed the dumpsters outside the building at West 123rd Street (on the brownstone block west of Morningside Park) back in February. The topic of the day that many don't even think about until the time comes around is the wiring of the interior space. Do houses still need phone jacks in each room? Are land lines still relevant? Then there's Wi-Fi,WiMax, Ethernet jacks, cable jacks and all sort of outlets most brownstones builders never thought of when they were constructed 100 years ago. What is standard these days for modern technology becomes a big question.

Even with all the updating going on in this townhouse on the border of Morningside Heights and the southern half of Central Harlem, Ms. Angwin and husband also seem to be hanging on to the past. The couple can't bear throwing out their 25 year old TV and then there's a severely out of date, oversized sectional couch that does not even fit in the parlor space (it was gift). Read more in the WSJ article and check out the controversial couch: LINK. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Taylor.


  1. Good question, I would include a duct or 4” pipe running through all floors with removable inspection plates for puling new wires as needed in the future. The floors / ceilings can always be used for distributing wires across an individual floor between or across joists. Also I prefer cabled computer network wiring over wireless so would allow for it, now we are moving to IP phones hence more devices. I know some will not agree but when businesses fully abandon computer wiring for wireless then maybe it is time to move to wireless, until then I would stick with wired.

  2. It is likely that "wired" networking of some kind will always be faster, more secure, and more reliable than wireless connections.

    Speed, security, and spectrum bandwidth issues aside -- with wireless, you are to some extent always going to be at the mercy of radio frequency interference, either in the home or coming in from the outside. Hell, we could someday see sunspot activity that messes up RF communications for months on end.

    For a gut renovation, I think it definitely makes sense to at least run ethernet and coax, using conduit that would allow for easy pulls in the future. It would then be a simple matter to set up and physically secure your data network and computer server hardware in the basement, and then connect wifi access points in one or more locations around the home for mobile devices.