Home networking seems to be simple. All you need is a router, a modem, an account with an internet service provider (ISP), and you’re off to the world wide web. The truth is that the underlying technology – like much of today’s products – is very complicated. Beyond switching devices and networking equipment on and off when there’s a glitch, few non-technical people know how to solve a networking issue.
Problems may be kept at bay if a network is not too complex. The standard solution from your ISP may work just fine, and if there’s a problem, something can be reset to solve it. When you start getting into more complicated scenarios – like a smart home with many smart devices and automation, and a large amount of AV equipment connected to each other and the internet – things may get a little dicier. One device not connecting correctly, or intermittently, can have downstream and upstream effects on your other systems.
That type of situation may not be a good fit for the typical ISP-provided setup. If you have the standard router setup, chances are the network settings are not optimized for more complex configurations. Unless you are really good at diving into complicated areas like opening ports and traffic prioritization on your router, your smart home may not function well or consistently.
Whenever we do a smart home project, we look at the network and specify any upgrades it might need. The network is the foundation of the modern home, and many security features depend on it almost as much as electricity.
So what does a professional network installation do for your Windsor home? It gives you a solid foundation for all your smart devices, automation, and security. Read on to learn why it makes sense for today’s hyper-connected lifestyles.
SEE ALSO: How Secure is Your Home Networking?
Laying the Infrastructure
While so many devices are wireless these days, including streaming devices for 4K video, there is still a place for wired networking. For example, if you want to have a specific video source distributed around the home to various locations, a wired connection is going to be the most reliable and robust. With video surveillance and smart cameras, wired connections are more secure as well. There may be other low-voltage wiring considerations for gate access controls and video doorbells. If you have the opportunity to install wired connections, especially during new construction and remodeling, then you should take advantage of it. Network wiring is not an expensive proposition when done in the right phase, and the flexibility it affords for future connectivity is well worth it even in this wireless world.
Optimizing network traffic is not an easy task. But with the right tools, training, and products, it can be greatly simplified. Why does traffic need to be optimized? Because some applications tolerate delays – called latency – and some do not. For example, voice communication isn’t tolerant of latency – if you have it, you end up with a choppy conversation where you miss important words that affect understanding. Voice should be high priority network traffic. On the other hand, delaying a few packets of information on a file download is not that critical – the software can be designed to accommodate latency and ensure the file is transferred. Similarly, video is not tolerant of latency. If there’s enough delay, frames get dropped, and you end up with choppy video that soon gets impossible to watch.
One method of managing traffic is setting up networking “traffic lanes” called VLANs (virtual local area networks). These are not simple to do – if at all – in standard consumer routers and those supplied by ISPs. But with professional equipment that we use, the software is designed to make that process simpler based on the networking traffic in your home. So if you install a lighting control system, when you hit a button to turn on a set of lights, it can get priority, so there’s not an agonizing delay that makes you wonder if it’s working.
The networking hardware that we use, like switches and routers from Araknis, is built to a higher standard than consumer and ISP products. Specifications that sometimes sound comparable turn out to not deliver the same performance. The equipment we use has higher-grade processors, antennas, and other components designed to provide high performance and greater reliability. Importantly, professional products also receive software updates over a more extended period to keep them safe from security flaws and fix potential issues.
Sophisticated Remote Management
Professional products have another critical advantage; their ability to be managed remotely. Remote management allows us to update your equipment’s software to fix any issues, monitor your network’s traffic and ensure you have no bottlenecks or issues, and even change a configuration remotely to help you integrate new devices and functionality. Lastly, remote management also allows us to monitor the security of your network and ensure that no one else is using it or trying to hack into it.
Outfit your Windsor smart home with a network installation that fits Colorado’s connected lifestyle. To learn more, reach out to one of our experts at 970-217-7018, fill out our online form, or send a message in the live chat window at the bottom of your screen.