Suddenly Home Networking Matters

Years ago your connection to the internet was much slower than your internal network, and you never had to worry about performance. Now we’ve got much quicker broadband speeds, home networking gets trickier because it matters.

Historically networking it was easy, you plugging in your 11mbps router and all was good. The 0.5mbps pipe from you to your provider was always so small that it didn’t really matter. You accepted patchy coverage as it was all quite new, and you had enough cable in place you could just deploy a second base station upstairs to fix that.

Now though, you can’t really ignore the performance of your internal network. If you’re using WDS to extend your network, have a slow WiFi bridge, or even just an inconveniently placed wall – it turns out it’s quite easy to reduce your throughput to the point that new services like BBC iPlayer in HD won’t work. With readily available broadband up to 16/24/50 megabits a second, your internal network matters.

I’m going through the pain of trying to get the WiFi network that both covers the house, covers the garden and works in my current room, which is helpfully the only place in the house without decent coverage of the existing network and precisely where the repeater to be for the garden coverage.

Do I bridge with Powerline networking? Do i just route a bit of Cat5 cable, because despite being ugly and low tech, it generally works?

While I know there are solutions to this, it does make me wonder that when someone who (mostly) knows the difference between 802.11a/b/g/n, has spare routers he can redeploy, and who despite the vagaries of compatibility that still seem to exist with WPA, (almost) has the patience to get this to work – what hope do the ordinary folk, and the Multi-service operators of the world of solving this.

Slingbox recommend using Powerline adaptors, and I’m beginning to see why.