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Home Networking Systems

by Hickerson Brothers on April 29, 2016

Home Networking Installation and SetupSmart TVs, smart phones, and smart baby monitors; everything has to be interconnected and networked nowadays.  Of course this means that every home now needs a strong home network built into the home’s design to begin with.  While you may be thinking “œI’ll just by a wireless router and call it a day,” there’s more to having a good network than just buying a router.  Sometimes, it involves running brand new cables, placing devices properly, and understanding how bandwidth works between wireless and wired devices.

Devices and Power

What’s in a home network?  Most home networks consist of these things:

  • End Devices (Computers, TVs, Video Games, Phones, etc)
  • Routers and Switches
  • Internet Modem

Every device needs to be powered, and everything needs to be connected either by a cable or through the wireless network.  Not everything needs access equally, however.  If you only use a computer for checking e-mail and browsing websites, a wireless connection is just fine.  But, if you have a streaming device or a game console that requires more bandwidth, giving it a dedicated Ethernet line gives you a better chance of always having quality internet service.

See, your network can only move as fast as the slowest points on it.  For wireless networks, no matter how fast your router is, it’ll limit itself to the slowest device connected (older phones, an aging computer, etc).  At the same time, a fast computer can’t transfer files any faster than the wireless connection it’s on.  If you want a faster transfer, a wired connection is best.

Bandwidth is another term you may have seen pushed around a lot.  To explain it simply, while connection speed is how fast a file can move, bandwidth is how many files can move at that speed at the same time.  Your network may be strong enough to stream your favorite movie in high definition, but a reliable network will allow you to stream that movie while someone is playing a game in a separate room without stalling either system.  That may mean connecting both on a wired network to get that bandwidth, but sometimes it’s necessary, especially with a large number of devices.

So why have we said all of this?  It’s so you can be certain that you’ve connected the right devices to the right connections. Desktop computers and other stationary electronics that ask for heavy data demands should be connected with wired connections.  Knowing which devices need what, and even where certain things should be placed, can help improve how well your network functions.

Wired Networks

No matter how much work you put into your wireless network, at some point, you’re going to need some cables.  Whether it’s simply the Ethernet cable from your modem to your wireless router or a series of Ethernet cables running to different devices and cable ports in your home, they’ll be there.

The good news is that setting up wired networks for your home is fairly simple.  And once you’ve done the initial setup, many of the settings are similar for wireless networks.  The most difficult part is planning your cable runs.  First you need to identify which devices in your home need to be on a wired connection.  Media centers, stationary devices, and high-bandwidth devices are all likely candidates.

Second, locate where junction boxes are going to be placed.  As with any other kind of cable run, you need to be mindful how you’re going to deal with doorways and foot traffic.  The most appealing system is to run the cables through ceilings and walls.  If that’s your plan, it may be best to hire a professional electrician to complete the cable runs.  As an added bonus, they can install data ports in the wall.  That way if you decide to move things around you won’t have to run new cables either.

If you’d prefer to do the installation yourself, consider running cables along door jams and baseboards.  Any time you have to cross a walking path, be sure to use some kind of cable cover to prevent creating a tripping point.  This isn’t just for your safety as any time you trip over a cord you run the risk of damaging any connected devices as well!

Wireless Networks

So what about wireless networks?  You just pull the router of the box, plug it in, power it up, and you’re ready to go right? Not quite because, while that can work, it isn’t the best way to set things up.  Ideally, your wireless router should be centrally located in the house and up high somewhere.  Placing it in a cabinet, close to the floor, or in a back room is a bad idea for connection quality.

Our advice is to mount the wireless router up high in a central hallway or the corner of a room nearby.  Run an Ethernet cable to your modem, and make sure that this connection is hooked up to the internet port to guarantee the right connection.  This way, you won’t have cords running all over the home and you still have clear wireless coverage of the highest quality from every room.

Hickerson Electrical is your source for all home electrical services.  We’re ready and willing to deliver top-quality service to your home at a moment’s notice.  So call today at (703) 594-3913.

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