If you told me five years ago that there would be refrigerators that used the internet, I would’ve snorted, then asked “To do what?” But yes, in today’s connected house we have PC’s, laptops, and phones sharing the internet along with your television, electronic picture frames, security systems and yes, even your refrigerator to allow you to do things you’ve never thought of, but now can’t do without.
There are multiple ways of keeping your hoe connected, but it isn’t as easy as it sounds, and stories of people having an excellent connection on the patio, but virtually no signal in the bedroom where they wanted it in the first place are quite common. Every solution comes with its own requirements and pro’s and con’s, and it is just a matter of picking the solution or a combination that is the most feasible.
- Wi-Fi is the most obvious solution for most houses. It is easy to hook up, and if positioned and configured correctly, will give you internet in every room in the house without having to run wires. Although it is essentially the easiest to install; simply connect the router to the Ethernet port, it does come with its downsides, the first is it is sensitive to obstructions and interferences, and the signal can be blocked or deteriorate because of a thick wall, or electromagnetic interference from other appliances. It is also relatively easy for others to intrude into your network or steal your signal if the security isn’t set properly.
- Ethernet Cables are the physical cables that are connected to the Ethernet jack on the wall or on the Wi-Fi router, and are a solution for providing internet in places and rooms where the Wi-Fi can’t get through. The challenge here is most houses have a limited number of Ethernet ports, which means that cables will be crisscrossing the entire house. A solution to avoiding having unsightly wires all over the house is to install them in the walls along with the Ethernet jacks, and perhaps a router. Setting the wring inside the walls themselves has its own requirements aside from the obvious cost and labor; they will need to be a reasonable distance away from electrical wiring and you will have to avoid obstacles such as waterlines and air ducts during the installation.
- If the thought of running and installing Ethernet cables across your home does not sound like much fun to you, you can also try power line networking. It involves using the houses electrical system as your network grid at the same time and eliminates the need to install the Ethernet cable. All it requires is a set of power line networking adapters. To install the system, simply connect one adapter to receive the signal, and the other one in the room where you need a connection. It is slightly more complicated with multiple rooms but the basic concept stays the same. The drawbacks are that this method, while reliable, is slower than the other types of networks, and the adapters are quite large. It might also be a bit of a hassle in rooms with only a single outlet.
- Home PNA networking involves using your home’s phone lines and TV coaxial cables for your network. Since most houses already come with phone and coaxial jacks, the installation only requires an adapter similar to the power line networking method; all you need to do is have the correct one since adapters for phone lines and coaxial cables cannot be interchanged. This is a great way to make use of the existing phone lines if you have switched from your regular landline to a VoIP service or cellular network.