Rabu, 14 Juli 2010

Do you have Ethernet in your lounge room?

Is your lounge room blessed with bandwidth?
I remember seven or eight years I ago when I got hooked up to Optus cable, the installer thought I was a freak because I wanted the wall socket in the lounge room rather than the study. He couldn't conceive as to why anyone would want Ethernet in the lounge room rather than the study and even left me a few spare metres of coax cable in case I changed my mind.
With the rise of Video on Demand, these days I'm sure that same installer wouldn't blink if asked to install a broadband modem in the lounge room. Wifi networks are now common place, but you'll generally get better streaming video performance via cables rather than wireless. After cramming too much gear in my lounge room when I moved house, I ended up moving my ADSL modem to the office downstairs in a quest to cut down on RF interference. I've got CAT6 Ethernet cable running up to the lounge room, with an eight-port gigabit switch to support all my AV devices blessed with Ethernet ports.
It's easy to take all this bandwidth for granted, as I was reminded this week when I went to my friend Bill's house to test out Telstra's T-Hub and T-Box (they only work with Bigpond and I'm with Internode at home). Suddenly I was a faced with a big challenge - finding an Ethernet port and aerial socket in the same room. The T-Box features wifi - 802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz only) - but like I said streaming video works best over Ethernet and I wanted to give the T-Box the best possible conditions to work with.
At times like this it pays to own a 15 metre Ethernet cable, which was enough to run from the study to the lounge room. If I was looking for a more long-term solution I might have used powerline Ethernet adaptors, to run through the electrical wiring. If I didn't care as much about network performance but needed an Ethernet jack, I might have used an Airport Express - Apple's tiny wifi adaptor with a built-in Ethernet port. I could have also built a wireless bridge between two wifi routers, although it's more mucking around.

Is your lounge room blessed with an abundance of bandwidth? How is it hooked up?

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