Wired and Wireless Home Networks

As explained in this post, you can build your home network by using either wired or wireless infrastructure. Ethernet, Power Lines and Phone Lines can be used for wired home networks, whereas the dominant technology for wireless home networks is the WiFi 802.11 standard.Below we give you a quick snapshot and comparison of the different home network technologies available.

Technology

SPEED RANGE COST Wiring Ease Peripheral Availability

 

 

 

Wired
Home
Network

Ethernet
(Using Copper Cables)
Up to 1000 Mbps 100 m
330 ft
Low Difficult if nodes are in different rooms Very popular, Extensive Availability
PhoneLine
(HPNA 3.1)
Up to 320 Mbps 300 m
1000 ft
Moderate Easy. Uses Existing Phone Lines Not popular, Limited Availability
PowerLine (HomePlug AV) Up to 200 Mbps Half Duplex Length of Power Line Low to Moderate Easy. Uses Existing Power Lines Not popular, Moderate Availability
FireWire 400 Mbps 5 m
15 ft
Low Easy. Usually between two PCs High Availability

 

 

Wireless
Home
Network

WiFi 802.11a 54 Mbps Radius
~35 m *
Moderate No wires Not popular, Limited Availability
WiFi 802.11b 11 Mbps Radius
~38 m *
Low No wires Very popular, Extensive Availability
WiFi 802.11g 54 Mbps Radius
~38 m *
Low to Moderate No wires Very popular, Extensive Availability
WiFi 802.11n Over 200 Mbps Radius
~70 m *
Moderate to High No wires New standard, gaining popularity

* WiFi Radius Indoor Distance depends on number and types of walls. It is usually much less than the shown value.
Home Network Security
A factor that must never be omitted when building a home LAN network, especially when the network is connected to the internet, is how to protect data and preserve your privacy. “Defense in Depth” is the best security approach to take. This layered security concept refers to implementing an outer perimeter layer of security using a firewall (included in the Home Gateway broadband router for example), and then implement inner layers of security (on your internal home network computers) to protect against viruses, spyware etc.

The need for setting up a home network

The driving force behind the explosion of home networks is the need for information and resource sharing. By having your computers, and other information resources, networked within your home, you have the following benefits:

  • Internet Connection Sharing: Multiple home users can access the Internet simultaneously.
  • File Sharing: Share music, files, photos etc between home computers.
  • Printer Sharing: Install a network printer and share it.
  • Home Entertainment and Multimedia Sharing: Stream music or video stored in a Network Storage Device and play them through your Multimedia Center.
  • Multi-player Games: Use your home LAN network to organize home game parties !!!.
  • Use VoIP Telephony: With Voice over IP Telephony you can easily utilize exploding Internet Telephony applications (such as Skype), use software phones, share multimedia on the phone device etc.
  • Use Wireless Security Cameras: You can install a wi-fi wireless IP security camera to monitor your home remotely. You can connect from the Internet (while at work for example) on your home security camera to watch whats going on inside your home.
  • Use Network Attached Storage: A NAS (Network Attached Storage) is a hard disk device connected to your home network for file sharing. Advanced NAS units (such as Synology and QNAP) offer also a Bit-torrent/HTTP/FTP software for downloading files directly on the hard disk without using a PC.

A typical home network topology is shown on the diagram below: Continue reading “The need for setting up a home network”