What a Home Network Is

Custom Audio VideoIn the days of yore, an internet modem and a computer were the only connected devices in a home, but now there are usually multiple computers, tablets, and phones; as well as printers, appliances, heating systems, security systems, televisions and home automation systems, all of which connect to the home network. With more and more devices connected, the traffic of communications going on in the background has increased dramatically and will continue to do so in the coming years. This is why it is extremely important to have a robust and reliable network in a modern home, one that can provide both wired and wireless connections and manage all of that communication traffic with the least amount of error.

How Much Internet Speed Do I Need

When setting up a new home with internet service, inevitably the question of how much speed to purchase from your internet provider will come up. A good rule of thumb for a moderate household would be 15 to 25Mbps (Megabits per second) per person, however depending on other factors this may be too much or not enough. In a home with many connected systems additional speed is warranted, particularly for items that communicate continually with the internet and also for items that either send out or download video form the internet. Examples of these would be network security cameras that upload to a cloud server and devices that stream video such as Hulu, Netflix, and other video services. If you find that the internet speed you have signed up for leaves you regularly waiting for videos to load before playing, a simple phone call to your Internet Service Provider can get you more speed, typically without any equipment upgrades. We always advise our clients to talk with CAV staff if you have issues or questions.

Network Speed Versus Internet Speed, The Bottleneck

Custom Audio VideoIn addition to your internet speed, there is a second set of connections happening in your home with their own speed capabilities within the network. Except in rare cases, the speed of the network within your home is far faster than that of your internet connection, so usually that is where the bottleneck is, but not always. A confusing result of all this comes into play with wireless devices such as phones and tablets and depending on where you are within your home and what your signal strength is there. Phones and tablets can have weaker WiFi antennas than some other devices and the signal they receive from the WiFi network may be weaker, which in turn means less speed. If you are somewhere in your home far from a WiFi antenna, sitting by the pool for example, and you try to play a YouTube video you may find it takes some time to load. This is an example where the issue is not your internet speed, but your WiFi network speed, because the phone or tablet just is not getting enough signal and therefore is slow to download content from the internet. If you are encountering problems like these Custom Audio Video can help you get the issue solved, either by adjustments to your WiFi antennas, or by extending your network so it better covers marginal areas for weaker devices like phones and tablets.

Smart Network Design, Wired and Wireless

When meeting with your CAV designer ask about what network choices are right for your home. In most cases CAV will design a network that includes both wired and wireless connections. Because some items use more bandwidth than others, certain items should almost always be connected via wire. This would include devices like streaming video televisions and dedicated computers in home offices. Additionally, CAV designers will most often include a WiFi multi-antenna system for medium to large homes, aiming for a strong WiFi connection in all rooms within the structure as well as porches and decks immediately adjacent to the home. In some cases, CAV designers will include outdoor WiFi antennas where a strong signal is desired out on your property, not immediately near the home, for example at a firepit or on the far side of the pool. In estate homes, where multiple buildings will be constructed on the property, Custom Audio Video can provide you with a network plan that will handle the difficulties and geography of such challenging projects.

In addition to good network design, key product selection is critical to achieve the right balance of scale and value. Because of this, Custom Audio Video supports and installs network equipment from several manufacturers, we are better able to meet budgets while achieving a reliable system. Custom Audio Video installs network products by Cisco, Pakedge, Luxul, Ubiquiti, and Ruckus.

Custom Audio Video