Home Networking Options for your Home Network
There are many applications for home networking. Once your system is installed and running, you will find that you will be able to use your home network in many ways.
The first choice you will have to make is whether you want a cabled network or a wireless one. For almost everyone the choice was already made given the fact that the prices were one sky high and the wireless equipment was so very complex. However, costs have come way down. If you choose to put a wireless network together today, it is not going to be any more complicated than the more traditional kind.
The name of the game is compatibility. A Linksys wireless system is composed only of Linksys products so that you will be assured that everything will work together as soon as you take it out of the box. The various parts of this wireless system is made up of the following: Linksys wireless router, Linksys wireless adapter and the Linksys wireless card.
Today, cabled networks usually make use of Ethernet cables. Most of this cabling is designated by the name of Car-5. You do have another option. You may use fiber optic cabling. As far as home network designers are concerned, the extra amount of money and the potential reliability issues really are not worth the benefits. Some of the more common applications include file sharing, gaming and printer sharing. If you want your network to continue to run smoothly, be sure to take proper care of it.
You will be able to transfer files from one personal computer to another over a network that uses several different software packages along with methods. File transfer techniques include peer to peer, FTP, IM software and share Windows folders.
Ethernet cables will support speeds that range from the traditional 10Mb to 100 Mb all the way up to 1 GB or more. Theoretically the speed is limited by the cable. However, in practice, the attached devices are more of a limiting factor. Other factors come into play such as the number of simultaneous users, protocol used and other factors that are much more important in real-world applications. You will find the faster speeds in professional networks.
Wireless devices are usually 802.11b or 802.11 g type. The technical definitions are complex. However, the practical meaning for the home network designer is easy. 802.11b operates at 2.4 GHz and 11 Mb and 802.11g at 2.44 GHz/54Mb. Both of these numbers are important – the frequency (measured in GHz or 1,024 million cycles per second) and the throughput, in megabits (1 Byte = 8 bits.)
The frequency gives you some idea about the likelihood of interference. Some cordless phones as well as other popular home devices may interfere with your network. This means that when your phone rings and you go to answer it, you network may see a hiccup. This problem tends to occur more in laptops that use wireless cards.
The throughput is important since the numbers are theoretical ratings. The real data transfer rate tends to be a little lower than the numbers indicate. For example, 802.11b is more between 6-7 Mb/s despite the speed’s rate of 11Mb/s. That is roughly 1/5 to ˝ the speed of a DSL or cable Internet connection. Therefore, if you know how long it usually takes you to download a 10 megabyte file off the Internet; you will be able to easily estimate how fast the data will get to your home computer.
Other kinds of systems have been in the experimental stage for the past several years. One kind uses the wiring in your home to carry network signals. All you have to do is plug a special device in an electrical outlet in your wall and then plug your computer and printer into that via a short cable. While it is possible to obtain this equipment, most of the major vendors do not offer this option yet. For the time being, it is best for most home network designers to stick to the standard choices.
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