Tablets and wireless go together like peanut butter and jelly and Abott and Costello.
But more devices on the wireless network fighting for bandwidth inevitably leads to a slower network. Another reason why the home will still need a wire.
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Home networks can be great or they can be a huge pain in
the butt. Set aside some time this weekend to fix your annoying network
issues, boost your Wi-Fi reception, and add some great new features.
Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Before we get started, it's important to have a good grasp on basic
networking skills like how your router works and what you can do with
it. If you need to brush up your knowledge, check out our Know Your Network
Night School lessons. It'll help you pick out a great new router (if
you need one) and teach you how to use its basic functions or even go as
far as installing custom firmware to do even more.
Wire Your Home Effectively
Wireless isn't all it's cracked up to be. Networking with Ethernet cables is still a lot faster, so going completely wired in your home
is a great way to improve network efficiency and speed. Most people
like to avoid additional cables running throughout their house because
it involves a mess or the difficult work of fishing those cables through
their walls. That doesn't have to be the case, however, as you can
often hide your cables alone the edges of the wall, cover them with
tape, and then paint over that tape to make them appear flush.
Alternatively, you can buy FlatWire
and just paint over the wire that will lay flush on any surface. Alternatively, don't hide your cables at all and create an attractive design instead
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Basketball junkies, like myself, know Mark Cuban as the exhuberant owner of the Dallas Mavericks. What people may not know is he is a pioneer and innovator in deliverying programming online and via traditional pay TV.
His viewpoints are candid and honest and to the point. You may not always agree with him but he is worth a listen.
Rob Gelphman, director of marketing for MoCA
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Interesting article in Wired Magazine regarding connected or smart TVs.
Something of particular note is the definition of IPTV and TV accessed through the Internet. There is a differrence.
"On content delivery, there are two possibilities for internet TV poised to fight to break into the mainstream: namely, IPTV and Internet TV. The difference between IPTV and internet TV is simply that the former runs -- like cable television -- on a fully managed closed network that is available only to specific consumers, while the latter runs on an open largely unmanaged global network that is available to the widest possible audience using computers. Whatever the pipe, internet TV could be a veritable speed freak thanks to sophisticated compression algorithms and Moore's Law. The outcome of this struggle is still up for grabs."
People may think that getting TV programming over the Internet is free. That is true but that does not guarantee quality. Your pay TV subscription, while maddeningly high, is a managed network which guarantees quality. You pay for quality. The Internet is not managed. Managed is not necessarily a bad thing as it guarantees quality and delivery as well as someone to complain to if it does not work.
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I have noticed in the last few years the heightened hyperbole and superlative coming from the respective industry standard consortiums and vendors. There seems to be more shouting and less explanation. Kind of like our current political system.
There are only a few fundamental truths in life, however, gravity being one of them. That and the Cubs will never win the Words Series.
Another is that no singular technology or medium will solve all of the issues and challenges of a home network. I identify four major requirements of a home network: mobility, ubiquity, ease of use and reliability.
Wireless in the form of WiFi is great for mobility. The fastest growing device categories are tablets and smart phones. You aren't going to attach a wire to any of these devices. But reliability can be a challenge and it is a shared medium so the more people on the network, the slower it goes.
Ubiquity is defined as availability of outlets. There are powerline outlets in every room. Connecting devices via a wire is not prohibitive. HomePlug and WiFi both more than adequately address availability.
But powerline, by nature of the medium, is prone to interference. It is a static medium and can pick up unwarranted signals causing degradation in performance.
Ease of use is comprises both installation and actual use. Nothing is simpler than a HomePlug adapter. Just plug it in. WiFi is getting easier to use as well.
However, and especially for video applications, reliability moves to the head of the class. Coax is the best medium for video as it was built for video and is resident in more than 90 percent of all US households. There are numerous coax outlets throughout the home but they are not in every room. Video and entertainment are generally lean back experiences so coax in the living room, family room, bedrooms, places where the experience is more passive and relaxing, are ideal for program consumption.
The standard over coax is MoCA. MoCA, like Elvis, is the king of reliability. If you want reliable video delivery to a TV or other stationary device, ask your local retailer for a MoCA based adapter. Actiontec, NetGear, D-Link and ChannelMaster are on retail shelves now. TiVo has a DVR with multiple tuners with multiroom DVR capability also in retail.
One size does not fit all. But taken together, WiFi, HomePlug and MoCA, and you have all the necessary ingredients for a home network that is productive, useful and satisfying.
Any experiences from the readers and visitors are welcome and encouraged.
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Those guys on the AVS Forum
are really smart. If they were stuck on a desert island, they’d
probably find a way to get satellite TV using sand and a few coconuts
and then display it on an HDTV make from fluorescent algae. That’s why we don’t dispute it when one of their members posts their own TiVo networking tests
showing how MoCA performs almost identically to wired Ethernet and 2-4
times better than powerline or WiFi for basic TiVo activities like
multi-room DVR. That means if you have a TiVo and you’re not using MoCA
(or Ethernet), you are wasting double or triple the precious minutes of
your life waiting for a download or stream, when you could be spending
that time with your family, building the next Google, or finding a cure
for the common cold. You would think that the major cable companies,
Verizon, and DirecTV would all be using MoCA for THEIR multi-room DVR
systems – oh wait, THEY ARE so shouldn’t you?
Read the posting here.
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As the late great Howard Cosell said “I’m just telling it like it is”, and so are the guys at SmallNetBuilder as they once again stage their HD Smackdown using
the latest WiFi competitor, 3 stream 11N. Identified by 3 antennas
instead of the usual 2, the latest in WiFi technology has demonstrated
increased throughput, but can it successfully stream 1080P HD video
without interruptions? Sadly, it’s more “Agony of Defeat” as summed up by SmallNetBuilder:
It may seem hard to believe, but all the additional bandwidth provided by three-stream N still isn’t enough to ensure trouble-free 1080p wireless streaming.
The best performance I could achieve still had minor, occasional
problems during fact action sequences with a strong, next-room signal
and the router set to spectrum-hogging Auto 20/40 MHz bandwidth mode.
So how do you hook up to your brand new Internet TV? Not with the (2
antenna) dongle that comes with the TV and it doesn’t look like
powerline does the job either. What do the reviewers recommend?
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So it still appears that your best bet for trouble-free 1080p network play remains 100 Mbps Ethernet, with MoCA a viable alternative if your setup allows it.