Smart home technologies, including automation, lighting, and home theater systems, are increasingly becoming the standard for homeowners. These technologies work together to make your life more convenient, while helping you save money and get more enjoyment out of your home. However, one roadblock homeowners often face is a lack of cabling and wiring to support home networking. Even if the appropriate wires are in place, setting up a home network can be difficult or even impossible without the right help. At Technology Specialists, we offer both home networking and structured cabling and wiring to help homeowners take advantage of the technological advances that are changing the way people live. These complex topics often trigger a lot of questions for homeowners who are trying to figure out the best ways to incorporate technology into their homes. These answers to commonly asked questions about networking and structured cabling and wiring will help you make the right choices for your home.
What exactly is home networking and structured cabling and wiring?
Home networking in a general sense refers to a minimum of two devices that are connected within the home. They connect with each other via a central point, such as a modem, that is connected to the internet and provides internet connectivity to the devices. In smart home setups and home theaters, there may be several different networked devices, such as smart lighting, an alarm system, a thermostat, and a music player. The connections between the devices may be hardwired or set up via a wireless signal.
Structured cabling and wiring refers to the infrastructure that makes home networking possible. In order to network devices, you need to have a structured cable or wire system that features low-voltage wiring. Structured cabling and wiring allows you to do things like restart a TV show from a DVD in one room after starting it in a different room or use the same internet network with multiple computers and devices.
Why do I need home networking?
Home networking is essential if you want two devices to be able to share information with each other. Even if you don’t have a smart home system, you may need a home network so you can share information from your computer to your printer or if you want your phone and your computer to share an internet connection. However, for today’s homeowners, the real significance of home networks comes in with smart home technology.
In order to take advantage of smart home automation, you need home networking in place. Some of the things you can do if you are using home automation include:
- Using a thermostat that adjusts temperatures based on your schedule, so that you don’t waste energy on heating and cooling when you’re not home.
- Installing a security system that triggers all of your lights to come on when someone opens a door or window and doesn’t enter a password.
- Adjusting your lights in a home theater without having to use a dimmer switch.
- Having surveillance cameras that send you a message on your smartphone when someone walks onto your front porch.
These are just a few examples of what you can achieve with smart home technology that relies on home networking. If you have a home theater, then home networking will make that space more functional, since it will allow you to use DVRs, Apple TV, Roku, Sling, and other applications and devices in any room inside your home, including your theater, even if the main device is installed elsewhere. So, even if you aren’t ready to embrace smart home automation, home networking may still be valuable to you.
How do I know if I need to install structured cabling and wiring?
The best way to know for sure if your wiring is capable of supporting smart home automation is to have a technician who does wiring and cabling work inspect your setup. He or she will determine what you need.
Structured cabling or wiring is stored in a distribution panel, also sometimes called a cable distribution box. Within this box, you will find wiring for every communication system that is part of your smart home network, as well as low-voltage wiring leading out of the box. The cables may be from your internet company, phone company, satellite service, or off-air antennas. The box acts as a central hub for your home’s network—in other words, it is the brains behind the network. The size of the box will depend on how many systems the hub is hosting. Generally, the size and capabilities of home networks are only likely to increase with time, so your technician may recommend that you get a bigger distribution panel than you think you need to allow your network some room to grow.
Do I really need to add this kind of technology to my home?
Although not everyone needs or wants to use the most advanced technologies in their home, home networking and structured cabling are not passing fads. They will soon be as ubiquitous as microwaves, smartphones, and flat screen TVs, which were all considered to be advanced technologies and non-necessities when they were first introduced. Many people consider those items to be essential now, and home networking is likely to follow suit.
Home networking is also likely to become increasingly important as a feature when you sell your home. Buyers will be interested in buying homes with structured cabling and wiring already in place, so that they don’t have to go through the process of installing it after moving in. This demand will likely grow, and not having these systems in place may eventually impact the value of your home.
Technology Specialists has technicians who are experienced in home networking and structured cabling and wiring setups that can be customized to each customer’s needs. Our team can help you create the system that will support the smart home features of your dreams or help you decide what kind of structured cabling setup you need for your preferences and budget. Talk to our home networking specialists in Tucson today about embracing technology in your living space.