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All posts tagged "networking"


Monday, September 12, 2011

Creating A Home Network Using Your Existing A/C Power Lines

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 05:00 PM

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4695/...vices-working/1

"I've been daily using as well as periodically evaluating various powerline networking technologies since the early portion of the last decade, back in the '14 Mbps' HomePlug 1.0 days (say hi if you ever see me at a show, and I'll show you my scars ;-) ). Given recent trends, I figured it was high time for an evaluation revisit. How well do latest generation adapters fulfill their marketing promises? Is it finally time to dispense with burrowing through dirty, spider- and snake-infested crawlspaces and drilling holes in walls and floors in order to route Cat5e cable around?"

If you've ever read about and considered powerline networking technology, then you are familiar with the feeling "wow, if that works it would be fantastic". The potential benefits are very enticing. Connect your home PCs and laptops to a wired network using the power cables you already have throughout your house. In fact, these sorts of networks are indeed possible, although users have had a mixed bag of success with them. Vendors and manufacturers have been pursuing the technology for some time, and recent developments (and market offerings) suggest that nebulous "potential" we have hoped for is getting closer to being realized. AnandTech has done a very thorough job looking at the state of this technology, and determining how well it works. Our Read link takes you the source article, which is well worth reviewing if you think powerline networking might have a place in your home.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Once You Go Wired, You Will Never Look Back

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM

http://lifehacker.com/#!5782479/how...-why-you-should

"We've shown you how to go completely wireless in your home, but as we mentioned recently, wireless is a good deal slower than a hard wired connection. Wi-Fi is undoubtedly useful and convenient for a lot of networking needs, but it can also cause a lot of frustration: interference, dropped connections, lag, and worst of all, slow speeds when it really counts."

Lifehacker has an excellent primer on how to turn your home into a networking wonder. While most people usually opt for a wireless solution, going wired can make a huge difference in how your network performs. Wired has always been the default preference for me; the performance and reliaibility of cables over radio waves more than makes up for the effort required to lay cable around the household.

While wired will offer superior performance, there is a right and wrong way to go about setting up your home network. Lifehacker does cover some of these points, like avoiding hubs in favour of switches. Another consideration should be things like the quality of cable you use, especially if you are going with long distances. I would also recommend that if you have the opportunity, get networking built into the house while it is being built, instead of doing it afterwards. It will save you money, unless you want to have cables snaking along your floors all over the place.

Do you have any tips from your experience in networking your household? What to avoid? What to use?


Monday, March 7, 2011

A Viable Alternative To WiFi

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 10:00 AM

http://gigaom.com/2011/03/04/is-201...ine-networking/

"But while Wi-Fi continues to be required on any connected entertainment device, that doesn’t mean the experience of Wi-Fi is always optimal. Anyone whose streamed Netflix over a significant range or a few walls knows the quality of the stream falls off pretty quickly, and sometimes will not work at all."

WiFi seems like the darling of the network industry. It is fairly easy to use and requires minimal set up for most homes. While handy, WiFi does not fit all situations. In homes that are large, have many walls (especially concrete apartments!) or are densely populated, WiFi can be an experiment in patience and colourful phrases. Running your own cable network is an option for some, but that option can also be expensive, messy, or problematic.

Powerline options use the existing wiring in your home and seems like a good compromise, however I have found that it also has its own challenges. While the theory is sound, and it can work great, it may not be a solution for all homes. Situations like how your hosue is wired, the quality of the wiring, or what is connected can greatly affect the transfer speed you see. Then there is the cost compared to WiFi other traditional Ethernet solutions. Powerline-type adapters are not cheap.

I have yet to personally see anyone successfuly use Powerline, but that is purely annecdotal evidence. Has anyone used Powerline equipment? What was your experience with it? A saviour or frustration?


Friday, June 18, 2010

Taming the Wild Wireless World

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 01:00 PM

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/...on-business.ars

"What will DPI devices be used for? According to ABI, "optimizing" mobile networks will be one of the chief uses—and by "optimizing" they mean limiting or prioritizing traffic from data-hungry mobile devices. "Brute force won't solve this problem," said ABI's Aditya Kaul. "If you double the number of smartphone users, you can't just spend $10 billion to double the capacity of your infrastructure.""

Lately, companies have been trying to find every way possible to make more use out of what they have and will go to great lengths to reduce their costs. Deep Packet Inspection, aka DPI, is known to be one of those options. Being in Canada, I see a fair amount of use for this with the wired kind of Internet connection. Both Bell and Rogers limit the speeds of customers that are using BitTorrent at certain times of the day. The result is that I feel like my internet connection is hampered. The result is that I do not use the Internet like I used to bgfore. If I want to do certain things like watch particular videos, share some files, etc, I have to take into account if my ISP is going to put me in the slow lane for doing so. Now it seems like it is coming to wireless networks as well. The end result is that if DPI wins, I feel that our use of the Internet will be reduced. It will no longer be a site of wealth and information, but a limited, destination based form of commuication.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Cables?

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 05:00 PM

http://www.pcworld.com/article/1938...able_guide.html

"Everyone has had the experience of staring at the back of a machine, device, or gadget, scratching their head, gazing in bewilderment at some unfamiliar cable port. In this massive guide to the bizarre world of plugs and cables... we'll explain nearly every modern connector for computers, TVs, and audio equipment, including which ones to use when you have choices, and which ones you can easily adapt to fit others."

Until all equipment becomes wireless, connecting the gear in our Digital Homes will depend upon a variety of cables. PCWorld.com has put together a "Giant Cable Guide" intended to help sort through the various types of cables and connecting ports that might be found in the typical home. The Guide is broken down into five categories of cables - Display, Proprietary, Peripheral, Audio/Video, and Networking - and includes advice on preferences (e.g.: when possible, use S-Video instead of Composite Video), adapters / converters, and methods that can be employed to add additional outlets to a given type of port. I found the article somewhat basic (or skimpy) overall, but it might still be a useful reference.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Belkin Routers Doing Double Duty

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 12:00 PM

http://hothardware.com/News/Belkins...in-App-Support/

"For starters, Belkin has made the app integration seamless and the process easy. Also, the apps are actually helpful; software will be around to help you print without wires, transfer music, stream media and do all sorts of other fancy networking tricks that usually require lots of in-depth knowledge."

It must be tough to be in the networking business. Networking standards seem to come along as a glacial pace. Once you have a router that handles all your routing needs, how do you keep your routers fresh and enticing? Well, if the past few years have been any indication, it is to pack a gazillion features into your router! Some routers offer NAS capabilities while others allow you to monitor your kids with parental controls. Belkin has decided that routers should be more like computers and offer a variety of apps for their new line of Play and Play Max routers. It does make sense, I have to admit. Unless you have need of a more powerful NAS, a router should be more than capable as acting as a competent multi-functional device. Since it is always on, it can act as the hub for all things networked. Short of the aformentioned monitoring capabilities, it looks like Belkin's new solution covers pretty much everything all the other routers from those other guys. One that is particularly interesting is its focus on music, and how it can stream and organize them for you. Is this enough to entice you into buying a new router?


Friday, March 12, 2010

Going Green With a New Windows Home Server

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 AM

Since first hearing about the Windows Home Server operating system a few years ago, I've been intrigued with Microsoft's efforts in this space. I was fortunate to be included in the first beta, for which I used my old software/hardware testing computer, cobbled together from an assortment of parts. I called this my "Frankenbox"; the machine was a standard mid-sized tower with a 400 watt power supply, a 3 Ghz Celeron CPU, and 2 GB of RAM. When I deployed it as my Windows Home Server, I added a few new parts to it: an Intel gigabit Ethernet card, a SATA card for installing extra hard drives, and of course a bunch of hard drives. It's easiest to show the hard drive arrangement with a screen shot. Read more...


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

These Technologies Tread Where Network Cables Cannot

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews...rking,2470.html

"When it comes to home networks, one size does not fit all. I had my home built five years ago and spread Gigabit Ethernet-ready CAT5e drops all over the house. I was lucky (or perhaps foolish, considering the present housing market). Most people don’t have this sort of structured wiring in their homes. But most have coax cabling in the walls, and just about everyone who doesn’t live in a tent has power to every room. If all else fails and you’re just not within reach of any plug, there’s WiFi (usually)."

While home networking has become as common-place as stimulus packages, most homes just are not wired to handle the increasing amount of traffic that is fluttering amongst our electronic minions. Sure, you could spend hundreds, likely thousands of dollars outfitting each room with a Gigabit jack, or you could try out some alternatives. Tom's Hardware has done all the hard work for you though, trying out what each technology is generally capable of, including the less frequented Powerline and Coaxial options. Overall, it looks like you get what you pay for, though all options deserve consideration. When it comes down to it though, I am quite certain most people will just end up using a combination of Ethernet where possible, and WiFi everywhere else.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

D-Link Ships Jack-of-all-Trades DIR-685

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM

http://www.electronista.com/article...router.now.out/

"D-Link has began shipping its Xtreme N DIR-685 all-in-one router that was first introduced back at CES in January. The device has a built-in draft N Wi-Fi module that allows it to communicate with network attached storage devices and a 3.2-inch LCD screen that lets it play streaming video or double as a digital photo frame."

Routers have gotten boring as of late. With no new wireless standards to push, and router speeds well in excess of what we can normally get through broadband, companies are looking for ways to get our hard earned money, and that leads to adding functions to their routers! In a sense, it makes sense. Routers do pack quite a bit of horsepower these days, and one might as well take advantage of it, especially since they tend to be considerably power sippers compared to a dedicated server. In fact, you see much the same thing happening to NAS devices. The DIR-685 does pretty much everything you would want, shy of being a full blown computer itself. I have seen routers with displays before, and considering where routers usually get placed, I tend to wonder about the utility of such a feature, but when a router costs $300, I guess you have to have something to explain the cost!


Monday, September 21, 2009

Belkin Releases Home Base for Storage and Printer Sharing

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:30 AM

http://www.belkin.com/pressroom/rel...9_HomeBase.html

"Belkin Home Base lets anyone within an existing wireless network print to a single, shared printer from anywhere in the home. Attach an external hard drive to one of Home Base's four USB ports to save and share music, pictures, and videos with your family. Home Base has wireless built in, so the wired port is an option if you do not want to go wirelessly. It will automatically back up each connected computer's files periodically to a connected external hard drive, so you don't have to worry about sudden data loss. With the automatic sharing feature, Home Base can automatically upload your new photos to a Flickr or Picasa account. With popular gaming consoles like PS3™ or Xbox 360®, Home Base lets you wirelessly access media files stored on an attached hard drive."

Pretty neat, my Western Digital WorldBook recently died, leaving me without network file storage (luckily I've got a mutli-layered backup scheme and didn't lose anything). The above paragraph just mentions sharing storage and printers, but the bullet points seem to suggest that you can share any USB device, so I wonder if a scanner would work too.


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