Home Networking: The Wired Option Still Excels
Devices demanding WiFi capability are growing in abundance, but wired setups remain the best home networking option. The future of home networking includes a strong wireless network backed by organized and up-to-date wired connections.
Wired + Wireless
Wireless capability is an irreplaceable part of a home setup. Your cell phones, tablets and other mobile devices don't come with Ethernet ports. However, bandwidth in WiFi is limited, prone to interference and slower than wired connections. This is why wired needs to be the backbone of home networks. It remains the fastest and most reliable method for work-intensive connections.
The Wireless Side
Wireless networking has a few methods to create stable WiFi connections throughout a home. With the right setup, users can rely on access from entryway to attic. Wireless N Routers: The type of router used is important to the speed, security and connectivity of WiFi networks. Wireless N routers are the quickest fully-developed option. The con with this choice is that Wireless N routers can get pricey. Each device must be able to accept the wireless N connection. If it doesn’t, your devices will either need upgrades or a gateway device that supports multiple channels. Wireless Access Points: These boxes are put in an out of the way place throughout the house, often in the attic or any other central and elevated area. They receive and transmit radio signals throughout the home for full coverage.
The Wired Side
Wired connections shine when used for things like streaming video, gaming, and massive file transfers. Anything that will take up too much bandwidth should be wired. This leaves bandwidth open for the smaller and less-intensive mobile devices. However, it can also create a bit of a mess. It will save you a lot of headaches if you map out your home network setup before installing.
Cabling: Category Vs Fiber Optic
Wired networks carry data through the use of cables. Previously, Category 5/5e copper cables that allowed up to 100 mhz bandwidth were the standard for network connections. These days, Cat6 and Cat6A cables are the standard. Cat 6, with 250 MHz bandwidth, is the minimum for many homes and offices. Cat 6a, with 500 MHz bandwidth, is recommended for schools and hospitals. Some others choose with future usability in mind. For those looking 5-10 years in the future, Cat6A is the suitable option.
Fiber Optics are a newer type of cabling. Fiber optic cable uses light rather than electricity as a means of transporting signals. It’s quick with the capability of delivering 10 Gigabit connections, it travels over long distances and, by some accounts, it maintains a clean signal. Critics of fiber optic cabling state that its still prone to extreme weather disruptions. Fiber optics are still in the slow adoption stage.
Using those cabling connections, people still have option as to how the wires are dispersed throughout the home. In a large or even medium-sized home, it can seem an impossible task to wire everything. In this day and age, there may be a computer or TV in every room. Thankfully, there are a few options for connecting up throughout the home.
Hubs: A hug directs one-way traffic. This is useful for servers.
Switches: Unlike hubs, switches direct traffic in all directions.
Powerline Adaptors: these are a bit slower than a just a router-to-device connection but still faster than WiFi. They turn your electrical wiring into network cables.
Ethernet: This is still the quickest and most reliable option for network access. This is a direct connection between the device and the router.
There are a lot of advances currently in the works. Cat8 cabling, with the capability of 1400mhz, is excessive for some but is the next step in copper wiring. A few big corporations are putting their money behind fiber optic cabling. Even WiFi is seeing advances with WiMax and Satellite Internet. Everyone's investing in some area of networking, but that's okay. The future of home networking has room for them all.
Photo source: Flickr