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Home Networking Basics

Home Networking Basics


A home network is a residential local area network, and is used to connect multiple devices within the home.

The simplest home networks are used to connect 2 or more PCs for sharing files, printers, and a single connection to the Internet (usually broadband Internet through a cable or DSL provider).

Network Devices

A home network may consist of the following components:

  • An Ethernet hub/switch - a central networking hub containing a number of Ethernet ports for connecting multiple networked devices.
  • A broadband modem for connection to the internet (either a DSL modem using the phone line, or cable modem using the cable internet connection).
  • A router connected between the broadband modem and the rest of the network - this enables multiple devices to connect to the internet simultaneously. Routers, network hubs, and DSL modems are often combined.
  • A PC, or multiple PCs including laptops.
  • A wireless hub for connecting wireless devices.
  • Entertainment peripherals - an increasing number of devices can be connected to the home network, including DVRs like TiVo, digital audio players, games machines, and stereo systems.
  • Internet Phones (VoIP).

Network devices may also be configured from a computer - for example, broadband modems are often configured through a web client on a networked PC. As networking technology evolves, more electronic devices and home appliances are becoming Internet ready and accessible through the home network. Set-top boxes from cable TV providers already have USB and Ethernet ports "for future use".

Information obtained from Wikipedia

 

Home Networking Wireless Standards Chart


 

Standard
Data Rate - Max (MBit/s)
Data Rate - Typical (MBit/s)
Range Indoors (Feet/Meters)
Frequency (GHz)
Modulation Scheme
Security
802.11
2
1
100 Feet / 30 Meters
2.4
FHSS or DHSS
802.11a
54
25
100 Feet / 30 Meters
5.0
802.11b
11
6.5
150 Feet / 50 Meters
2.4
DSSS with CCK
802.11g
54
25
150 Feet / 50 Meters
2.4
OFDM above 20MBps, DSSS with CCK below 20MBps
802.11n
540
200
160 Feet / 50 Meters
2.4
802.15.1 (Bluetooth)
2
---
30 Feet / 10 Meters
2.4
PPTP, SSL, or VPN
HomeRF
10
4
150 Feet / 50 Meters
2.4
IP & 56-Bit Encryption

 

Introduction to Wireless Networking

 

Types of Wireless Networks

WLANS:Wireless Local Area Networks

WLANS allow users in a local area, such as a university campus or library, to form a network or gain access to the internet. A temporary network can be formed by a small number of users without the need of an access point; given that they do not need access to network resources.

WPANS: Wireless Personal Area Networks

The two current technologies for wireless personal area networks are Infra Red (IR) and Bluetooth (IEEE 802.15). These will allow the connectivity of personal devices within an area of about 30 feet. However, IR requires a direct line of site and the range is less.

WMANS: Wireless Metropolitan Area Networks

This technology allows the connection of multiple networks in a metropolitan area such as different buildings in a city, which can be an alternative or backup to laying copper or fibre cabling.

WWANS: Wireless Wide Area Networks

These types of networks can be maintained over large areas, such as cities or countries, via multiple satellite systems or antenna sites looked after by an ISP. These types of systems are referred to as 2G (2nd Generation) systems.

Below is a table indicating the range that wireless data networks can handle:

Metres

Network

0-10

Personal Area Network

0-100

Local Area Network

0-10000

Wide Area Network

Understanding the 802.11 family

The 802.11 standard first appeared in the 1990’s and was developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. It has now emerged and expanded to be one of the leading technologies in the wireless world.

802.11
Using either FHSS (frequency hopping spread spectrum) or DSSS (direct sequence spread spectrum) this provides a 1 to 2 Mbps transmission rate on the 2.4GHz band.

802.11a
Using the OFDM (orthogonal frequency division multiplexing) this provides up to 54Mbps and runs on the 5GHz band.

802.11b
This is also known as Wi-Fi or High Rate 802.11, uses DSSS and applies to wireless LANs. It is most commonly used for private use, at home. It provides an 11 Mbps transmission rate and has a fallback rate of 5.5, 2 and 1 Mbps.

802.11g
This provides a 20+ Mbps transmission rate, applies to LANs and runs on the 2.4GHz band.

The image below demonstrates the wireless data infrastructure as an extension of the Internet.

Bluetooth

Bluetooth is a simple type of wireless networking that allows the formation of a small network with up to eight devices being connected at once. Such devices would include PDAs, Laptops, Mobile Phones and Personal Computers. However, Bluetooth may also be found in keyboards, mice, headsets and mobile phone hands-free kits, amongst others. It was originally invented by Ericsson in 1994. In 1998 the Bluetooth SIG (Special Interest Group) was formed by a small number of major companies