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Home Computer / Data Networks

Data cabling installation for computer networks

Until recently, most families either didn’t need or couldn’t afford more than one computer. But now computers are ever increasingly being used for school, shopping, downloading music, pod casts, playing games and video streaming just to name a few, so one computer is just not enough any more!

A small home network allows broadband to be available to everyone in your home at the same time.

If you're thinking of networking the computers in your home, you have several options to explore. In this article, you'll learn about the different types of home computer networks, and what to keep in mind if you're considering creating one.

Ethernet Networks (data cabling)

Ethernet Networks use twisted pair data cables to physically link computers back to a hub or network switch. There are different grades of cable quality used for this purpose with the most common are CAT5e and CAT6.

CAT5e is rated for 200Mbps and CAT6 is rated for gigabit ethernet so it has the capability of operating at faster speeds. CAT6 has more stringent manufacturing and installation protocols so it is more expensive to install.

Advantages

  • Secure
  • Fast
  • Trouble free

Disadvantages

  • Can be costly to install
  • Can be difficult to install in established houses
  • Needs a physical connection with a patch cord to the computer
ethernet data cable

Wireless networks…WiFi

Wireless networks use radio waves to transmit signals through the air from the wireless router to the computer and back again.

As long as the computers all have wireless adapters, several devices can use one router to connect to the Internet.

Advantages

  • Easy to install
  • Cost effective
  • No cabling required
  • Invisible

Disadvantages

  • Can be vulnerable to interference from cordless phones
  • Requires to be set up correctly to avoid "sponging" from others outside your home
  • Limited signal range from within double brick dwellings
  • Signal can drop out if too many people are downloading high bandwidth applications such as music or videos
wireless modem/router

Ethernet over Power

Ethernet over power is another way to connect computers. It uses existing electrical cables to form a network in your house.

Advantages

  • No new cabling is required
  • Convenient
  • It uses existing electrical wiring
  • Every room of a typical house has several electrical outlets

Disadvantages

  • Can be very slow
  • The performance can be impacted by home power usage
  • Older wiring can affect performance
  • Recommended only when other forms of networking at not available

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