Planning a Home Network

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Introduction

So your thinking of a new home network but are not sure where to start. There are quite a few things that you might want to take into account before making any decisions as there are a lot of options out there which you could use to set-up a home network.

Options for Home Networking

Wired - This is the classic method of networking by connecting cables to you devices and a router or modem.

Wireless - A very affordable method of networking now, and involves no wires so you can browse the net    anywhere.

Powerline - Create a wired network over the existing mains wiring in your home.

Which way to choose?
Each of the above have good and bad points and you will need to choose the best way for your home. The good thing is that you can actually have all three of these options running alongside each other. In the modern basic home network there will be a router. The router will be the central device that all your computer, consoles and other devices that need access to the network will connect.
Many routers these days come with built in Wi-fi(Wireless) and Modems for connecting to the internet as well as ports for normal networking activities. Even if you do not have a wirelessly enable device having a router which supports it is well worth it for the slight extra cost that there is.
The overall aim of the network will be to get devices connected to the router. For this guide I am going to assume that the router has 4 ethernet ports, Wireless and is an ADSL2+ Router. You want to connect a Games console, your desktop PC, Your Laptop, Iphone to this network.
Now in the case of the Games console, you will need low pings. This is a measure of the time it takes for 1 bit of data to move from one point to another. In this case, going wireless would not be a good idea and there is extra time invovled going over wireless, which could cause games to feel unresponsive and laggy. Cat5 would be the best way here, but you many need to drill walls, if it is not possible to do this then the real only other way is powerline adaptors. These will cost a lot more then the other two options but you will get the benifit of Cat5 but without having the Drill walls.
In the case of the computer you could use all three and really cost is the only issue in this case, Cat5 would be the cheapest way followed by wireless and failing that Powerline Adaptors.
With the Laptop PC, it is will likely to have Wireless already within in so it would be a good option to use this, giving you the freedom to sit in any room of the house while working at the same time., and for the iPhone the only option you have is wireless as there are no ethernet ports on the device.
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