Is Your Home Network Ready For Smart Technology?
Make Sure You Have The Proper Bandwidth to Run It All
These days smart devices are everywhere, and increasing inside our homes in Southlake TX. We have smart TVs, smart speakers, smart lights, smart appliances, and internet-connected AV gear. All those devices need network connectivity to be “smart”. In addition to all the smartphones, tablets, and laptops we own, there are a plethora of things that connect to your network and the Internet.
Add to that load the increased bandwidth requirements for streaming 4K video from services like Amazon Prime and Netflix, and higher resolution music from Tidal and Spotify. It all adds up to a taxing load on your network.
For a smart home with many devices that need to be monitored and controlled, you need a robust network to handle it all. Here are three important areas to consider during your home network setup.
Data bandwidth is simply about capacity. Just like the main water line going into your home must be large enough – and have enough pressure – to feed multiple faucets and spigots in your home at the same time, data “pipes” must do the same.
A typical HD (high definition) video stream takes about 5 megabits per second of data bandwidth to operate reliably. For a 4K stream, Netflix recommends 25 megabits per second to have a good experience. That’s five times as much. Now add to that multiple video streams on other TVs and from mobile devices, and that alone can tax a network. Add online gaming, computers downloading files and updates, and smart devices like cameras streaming video, and you can see how there could be bottlenecks if the network isn’t up to the task.
What’s the solution? It depends on what you have, but you have to ensure you have the data service coming into your home – 100 megabits, 200 megabits, or a Gigabit (1000 Mbits/second) – to feed all those devices at the right speed.
All routers are not the same, although most of them have most of the same features. Some consumer routers and many that are provided by Internet Service Providers (ISP) are not up to the task for larger homes and many smart devices. When there is high network traffic, a router’s processing power can be a bottleneck. You need a high-end router – which is really a special-purpose computer – for more extensive networks, just like you need a more powerful computer for intensive tasks like video editing.
Wireless bandwidth in routers has been increasing steadily. Newer video streaming devices – like 4K streamers and smart TVs – have been going to 802.11ac, which is the new standard incorporating a range of technologies for faster Wi-Fi speeds. Most newer routers are supporting this standard.
Beyond the new standard, walls, the type of construction, and other factors can affect wireless data performance. In larger properties, you may need wireless extenders installed to ensure a strong signal inside and outside the home. In some cases, mesh network systems may be a solution to achieve uniform Wi-Fi coverage throughout your property.