running ethernet through attic
I'm not sure whether this belongs in the electrical forum or the construction forum, but I'm interested in running approximately 50 ft. ethernet cable to my room from a finished bonus room through the attic. I know how to network, so most of my trouble is making sure I don't make the house implode.
Anyway, here's the drill. Upstairs is a bonus room which must have the DSL modem and wired gateway because my dad uses it for VoIP at his desk. To get Internet access down in my room, which is on ground level all the way across the house, I've installed a wireless router in the bonus room and a wireless NIC in my PC. But no matter which hardware I use - and I've tried a lot - I get periodic errors often requiring hard resets of the router and manual configuration - which is annoying. Long story short, I need ethernet run to my room through the attic.
The good news is that there's an unused electrical box and cover up in the bonus room which would be just perfect for an ethernet jack, and that wall just happens to open into the attic which itself just happens to provide a nice walkway over to the top of one of my bedroom walls. Perfect so far, right?
My knowledge of construction is very, very limited, but I do know that the wall is hollow and uninsulated because it's an inside wall. Trouble is, there's a board - a 2x4? - attached horizontally to cover the top of this wall so that I can't simply drop a bunch of cable down into the wall.
There are several holes drilled in this 2x4 for other wires including cable TV and telephone. These wires run right down into the jacks which I want to use for ethernet, so in theory everything should be OK, but, talking to my dad, he seems to think that drilling a new hole through this 2x4 will crack the wall, the plaster ceiling, and who know's what else.
Will I be OK with drilling this hole, or, failing that, is there something I could do to minimize the chance of damage? It's a fairly new house, and the board isn't really near any of the plaster ceiling - maybe 2-3 feet away. If I make a crack in his vaulted, plaster ceiling, he's gonna kill me...
Assuming I can get the cable down into the wall of my room, how will I fish it out? I wish to use an existing box and jack along that wall since my dad doesn't want any new holes cut into his new walls. Surely there's some trick of the trade for this?
Can I cut out part of the plastic electrical box and just use a bent, metal coat hanger to snag the wire and pull it within grabbing range? Or do I risk wrecking some of the other wiring? I'm not sure, but it's possible there's some power cables running through that wall.
And in any case, I can't do this if there's a good chance of ruining something else. Having to call in a professional to open up the wall to fix something I've done to it would really tick my family off...
Advice on this would be much appreciated!