The detached garage/outbuilding in my new house is 15 metres/50 foot away from my main house – meaning that it was a big struggle to get working Wi-Fi in my garage, and on my driveway. I did try setting up an Eero point in my garage, but the Eero app rejected this – complaining of poor placement.
As a result, I ran two CAT7 Ethernet cables and a fiber optic cable in an underground trench, before backfilling with gravel and scalpings as part of my backyard landscaping.
Overall this was a pretty fun project, and I now have proper wired Ethernet in all parts of my property – inside and out. I get over 400 Mbps Wi-Fi speeds on my phone within my garage (and 500+ Mbps speeds – the max – when plugging into the Ethernet) – that’s pretty awesome in my opinion. However I did make a few mistakes along the way, including trying to use the wrong type of conduit, and forgetting to test the cables before burying them in the ground!
Today’s video shows all this off, and more. It was a fun project, so I hope you enjoy watching this too.
If you prefer text over video, please read on for the guide/transcript version of this video.
Video Guide And Transcript
Hey everyone, I recently moved house and I quickly realized that I had to run physical, wired internet to my garage. I did this job VERY professionally. I untangled and sorted ALL the cables before trying to run any of them – only a fool would do differently. I had a CLEAR plan of action to easily run the fibre optic cable through the conduit. I DEFINITELY didn’t wait until the very end to test that the Ethernet cables actually worked. I also spared NO expense, only buying the highest quality “widey cables”, whatever they are. And I TOTALLY didn’t lose the fibre cable somewhere inside the conduit.
Yeah, okay. But joking aside, this was actually a pretty fun project which has resulted in solid, wired internet connectivity throughout my property. But let’s back up a bit and explain WHY I needed to do this. As I explained in a previous video, I could easily get good Wi-Fi INSIDE my house (due to putting three Eero Pro 6 routers at different points), but OUTSIDE my house was a different matter. The garage is quite far away from the main house (and there’s a neighbor’s building in the way too) – so trying to rely on a wireless Eero connection was never going to work. There was just too much blocking the signal:
I mean, I did try but the Eero app rejected this (as expected) due to bad placement. I tested the signal strength on my phone too and I could never get a Wi-Fi signal when I was stood inside my garage. When I was on my drive, I COULD get a signal but it was very weak and it resulted in slow, unreliable Wi-Fi speeds.
Thankfully though, this is a new construction home and they come with LOTS of mud. This meant it was a perfect opportunity to dig a trench in my backyard, so that I could run various cables to my garage. Although I had just moved in, it was worth digging straight away because I planned on extending my patio and landscaping the rest of the backyard fairly soon after. I ran three cables in total – two 20 metre (or 65 foot) CAT7 cables that are rated for direct burial, and a fibre optic cable which I planned to run in a PVC conduit.
If I’m honest, I had no clue what fibre cable to purchase, but I read online that fibre is best for this sort of project, so I purchased one that seemed to support Ethernet media converters. As you can tell, I kinda Linus’ed this project a bit..!
Anywhoo, I started out by digging dirt – obviously. I dug down as much as I could, however there was fairly solid material (possibly concrete) around six inches down:
To be honest though, that’s a good enough depth for me. It’s deep enough that the cables won’t be accidentally dug up. I know some people online are like “OMG you must dig down AT LEAST 20 foot and run your cables in 10 inch thick cast iron to protect it”…
But I prefer a more pragmatic approach, especially because the UK climate is fairly mild. We don’t have minus 20 degree celsius winters here.
Once I had dug up a section, I then put some gravel in which is good for drainage. Basically you want a layer of gravel BELOW your cables so that water runs under your cables. This helps prevent frost damage to your cables in winter time. I had originally planned to run one CAT7 cable and the fibre through the conduit, and then run the other CAT7 cable outside as a backup. But I purchased the wrong size conduit and it was a complete pain to run cables through it – especially because I had purchased cables with ends on them. I should have cut the ends off but I didn’t want to crimp everything later on, because I suck at crimping. So I kept trying to run the two cables through the conduit, but I initially didn’t bother to unfurl the cables or conduit so this quickly became a nightmare.
Good job, me. I eventually gave up on the idea of running the Ethernet cable in the conduit, especially because it’s rated for direct burial anyway, but I pushed on with running the smaller fibre cable in the conduit. I unrolled everything, and thought I had run it through most of the conduit… but it seemed to get stuck. I ended up trying to use cable rods to find and remove the cable, but I struggled with this too. As I say, I Linus’ed this project up! I should have purchased wider, smooth conduit. That thin, “bumpy” conduit was a nightmare really because the cables kept snagging on the “bumpy grooves” (to use the technical term).
So in the end I decided to just run the three cables outside the conduit, but naturally I still kept the conduit in place so I at least have some sort of option to run more cable in the future (if I buy cables without ends, that is).
To help run everything, I straightened out the conduit and then cable tied everything together so that my backyard didn’t resemble Medusa’s hair. This helped me arrange the cables more, and naturally it’s better to have a single “bundle” of cables compared to having four seperate cables and conduit running underground. I then did some further digging through my backyard – around 11 metres in total – and put down more gravel as you can see.
The next stage was to get all the cables under the fence so I could then run the cables into the garage. This only required a bit of drilling and then I was able to run the cables through. I wouldn’t have had to drill at all if the ends weren’t on the cables, but – y’know – I was being lazy. While I do plan to run these cables in a metal conduit, for now I just cable tied them up as you can see.
Once I had organized and run most of the cable, I started to backfill the trenches with gravel and scalpings – before realizing that I should probably have tested that the cables actually worked – whoops! So I had to run a cable from inside my house to these outside cables. Since this is a new construction home that’s still under warranty, I didn’t want to start drilling holes through the external wall. I’ll do that next year, but for now I went with a temporary solution: flat Ethernet cable. I purchased a 3 metre flat cable that says it has extra protection for outdoors, and I connected it to a switch in my living room, and I then ran this through the rubber weatherproofing of one of my back doors. This allowed me to easily hook it up to one of my Ethernet cables outside. Well, I say easily – the outdoor connector that I used was only rated for CAT5 and CAT6 cables. The extra sheathing of my CAT7 and CAT8 cables meant that it was a bit of a pain to use the weatherproof connector. Eventually I got there, though, and I was then able to test out my Ethernet cables.
So I took my old laptop into the garage, and hooked it up. The first Ethernet cable I tested didn’t show any connectivity, which was partly expected because this was probably the backup cable that I hadn’t connected up anywhere. I then hooked up the second cable and it showed a connection – but said that there was no internet. Wait, what? Was the cable damaged in some way? Would I have to dig everything back up? Thankfully after a minute or so, it burst into life and said there was internet after all. Phew! I don’t know why there was a delay but as you can see, it has some fairly good internet speeds. As a result, I installed an Eero Pro and Ring Camera in this very permanent, professional setup that involves dangling extension leads and a coffee box mounting system. I added the Eero Pro router in my app and thankfully this time it didn’t complain of poor placement. It got set up really quickly, and my Ring Camera then burst into life and started sending me motion notifications. Success!
This was the first real confirmation that my plans worked, so it was a BIG relief – especially because I hadn’t tested the Ethernet cables at all up until now! It’s also good to know that all Wi-Fi devices would now be connected via a proper, wired backhaul system. This is so much better than relying on wireless backhaul – especially over a longer distance.
I then took a few day’s break because my back was hurting! But I’m one of those people that’s constantly thinking of things even when trying to take a break. And I realized that the cables were fairly unprotected, which wasn’t ideal because some of the gravel and scalpings can be sharp – and this could have damaged the cables. So I went out and purchased some galvanized steel channels. This isn’t a perfect solution of course (y’know, buying proper conduit in the first place would have been better) but by placing some conduit either side of the cables, I was helping to protect them. This “conduit sandwich” (to use the technical term) gave me a bit more reassurance that the cables would be protected when I came to properly backfill and lay pavers over the top of them.
From then it was just a case of digging more of the trench, putting the cables in the patent-pending conduit sandwich, and then backfilling with scalpings or gravel. I also laid a handful of pavers in a few places – these can’t easily be removed so it’s good that I ran these internet cables first of all.
So this is pretty much the final result for now. It’s the start of November and the weather is turning, so I might just leave this as-is for now and finish off the backyard landscaping instead. You can see that I haven’t dug any trench here yet, but the cables should be fine as-is.
And that wraps up this project log. Clearly this isn’t 100% finished, but it shows the overall approach and seems to work fine right now. Of course, I haven’t tested this setup over winter yet so I’ll be interested to run some speed tests when the weather is freezing. I’ll probably do a follow-up video early next year to discuss the results, but for now, what do you think?
Have I done a good job? Or am I racking up a bunch of problems for the future? Please let me know your thoughts down in the comments – especially if you want to say how amazing I am. Kidding. I should also add that I’m aware that I need to ground the Ethernet cables:
While we don’t really have “storm season” here in the UK, I will look to add these in shortly just to add some extra protection to the cables and my internal network equipment.
I’m also aware that I made some mistakes along the way. The conduit I purchased wasn’t really good – I should have purchased thicker, more rigid conduit. I should have also purchased unterminated cable to make everything easier, and crimped at the end. Mea culpa.
But other than that, I’m pretty happy to now have proper wired internet in my garage. In my old house I had a garage close to the house, so I put an Eero in my garage that ran in wireless mode. This worked decently well MOST of the time, but it could also be unreliable at times and my garage Wi-Fi speeds were never above 50 Mbps. Now I get over 400 Mbps from my phone when standing in my garage.
I hope you enjoyed this video. If you did, please click the thumbs up button. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know down in the comments. Please also subscribe to this channel if you haven’t already. Thank you!