The wireless-G connection to the computer in the back room was flaky. A large wall mounted mirror on a wall between the office router and the back room reduced the signal strength. Using a cantenna on each end helped the signal strength, but did not eliminate the flaky connection. Using one cantenna was better, but was still not reliable, and there was message loss.
In a completely different direction, its time for a new satellite TV service [Dish] and the DVR requires a phone connection – Dish charges another $5 a month if there’s no connection. They are probably harvesting viewing habits with the phone line, in addition to allowing PPV ordering.
These two issues have created a project to wire a set of CAT5 cables around the house. The rear of the house has no crawl space and no attic, so the wiring is external on the outside of the house. The best and simplest method appears to be to use outdoor CAT5 cable with UV coating and silicon gel for direct burial. Oregon is wet, so while not used for direct burial, the cable is likely to be wet for much of the year.