No matter how many devices you’ve got that connect to the internet, you’ve got some kind of home network. Also known as a LAN or local area network, it allows your home devices to "talk" to each other, sharing and receiving information.
Did you know CEDIA offers an Electronic Systems Certified Networking Specialist credential? Make sure your home technology professional is CEDIA Certified.
A home network needs certain components to connect each device. A network requires hardware, software and a way for the information to be sent to and from each device.
With the rise of mobile devices, Wi-Fi has become a common way for home networks to communicate with various devices. While Wi-Fi is convenient, it can also become unstable, especially as the number of devices introduced into the home environment increases.
Every device connected to the home network also will have an Internet Protocol or IP address. Don't worry: This isn’t info you need to remember. It simply allows each device to receive information from the router.
Most systems that perform well have a combination of hard-wired Ethernet cabling and a robust Wi-Fi network. This allows every device – from the computer in your home office to a guest’s smartphone – to be supported by the home network.
Designing and connecting a home network can be done by a CEDIA member home technology professional with ease.
The modem and router
If you already have Internet service, your Internet service provider may have already provided you with a modem. Modems connect your local area network (or LAN) to the wide area network (or WAN). This connection sends and receives information through telephone or cable wires, fiber optic wiring or via satellite.
Your home’s router takes the data received by the modem and allows all your devices to talk to each other. A router allows multiple devices to be connected to the Internet. Routers and modems are often combined in single units, and many include Wi-Fi transmitters
Wireless Access Points
In homes that are large – or have thick walls made of materials such as stone or concrete – one Wi-Fi transmitter won’t do the trick. For these projects, it’s key to have multiple wireless access points (WAPs) throughout one’s property. These multiple points “hand off” a device’s signal from one to the next, preventing interruptions no matter where the user is in the home. WAPs are often hardwired, however, “mesh Wi-Fi” systems can perform the same function on a limited scale.
You’ve likely heard terms such as “firewall,” “encryption,” and the like. These security measures ensure that your data or devices aren’t hacked. CEDIA professionals are trained to provide solutions to problems you likely wouldn’t even be aware of – like using your devices to attack web servers without your knowledge.
CEDIA professionals also often offer remote monitoring and troubleshooting services for a monthly fee. These services can help ensure your home network is always safe and reliable.