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Smart Homes Depend on Robust Networks

Is Your Home Network Up to Par?

In today’s world, it seems like smart technology is invading almost every device or appliance in our daily life.  You may remember when a phone was, well, just a phone. Today our smartphones are always with us, a powerful pocket computer that can do banking, serve up audio and video entertainment, keep us connected to the world via social media, and make phone calls too. This smart device is joined by smart doorbells, locks, cameras, motorized shades, lights, thermostats, refrigerators, and more in the home.&

The common thread across all smart devices is that much of the intelligence that makes them “smart” comes from their connection to powerful software applications on the Internet.  Amazon’s Echo speaker is just a speaker unless it is connected to Amazon’s cloud, which has the processing power and intelligence to enable the little speaker to accomplish a wide variety of tasks. Without an Internet connection, some of these devices don’t seem very smart.

As we add more and more devices for smart home control and automation of lighting, climate, security, and entertainment, we need networks with the capacity to handle it all. Is your home networking system up to the task in Houston?

Read on to learn more.

 

SEE ALSO: How Does a Smart Home System Work?

 

ISP Equipment

Most Internet service providers (ISP) typically bundle equipment with their Internet service plans. Such bundles usually include a router and modem (often integrated into one device) that provides your connection to the Internet as well as the router function that connects your devices together and to the Internet. They may even supply wireless access points for better wireless signal in larger homes. The problem with ISP equipment is that it tends to be a one-size-fits-all solution and often the equipment provided is not best-of-breed. Some larger homes may have more difficult areas to reach with the Wi-Fi range of ISP-provided routers. Some homes have heavier data usage; it may be from streaming 4K video, online gaming, or working with large files and video conferencing on a home office computer. ISP equipment may work fine for the “average” home, but may not work for yours.

In the same way that different computers exist for different tasks, not all routers and networking equipment are the same. Routers, after all, are just special-purpose computers that run systems and software optimized to handle networking tasks. A home with many smart devices, streaming TVs, and computers generates higher than average data usage, which dictates the need for a more powerful router.  Higher-end routers have better radio hardware with greater range, a stronger processor, and a good history of issuing software updates to fix security flaws and bugs—just like we get in our computers and smartphones.

 

Security

While the Internet may not be the Wild West anymore, security is still a prime concern for just about any online activity. From privacy issues to hacking, we have to keep our information safe, not to mention financial accounts and any other sensitive data we access over the Internet. Obviously, if you use smart locks in your house, you don’t want someone hacking into your network and gaining access to the keys to your home.

Home networks should take strong security precautions. Many people leave the default administrator login and password the same on a router, making it susceptible to hackers that can access your router remotely and potentially wreak havoc, infiltrating computers and taking over smart devices. Strong log-in credentials protect router administration interfaces. Strong passwords also safeguard Wi-Fi access into your network. Routers support many protocols, and there are some which exist for compatibility with older devices which are less secure than others. Most people do not understand these protocols, but a networking expert will know how to limit access to them where necessary.

 

SEE ALSO: Stream Better Content with Home Media Distribution

 

Professional Design and Installation

If you want a network that can support your needs today and will also support all the smart devices you will have in your house in the future, a professionally configured and installed home networking system is the optimal solution. Refined Systems assesses your current needs and issues, discusses what technology you might want to add in the future (for example, smart security cameras), and suggests ways you can prepare your network for optimum security, capacity, and performance. For instance, if you want those smart cameras to monitor the outside of your home, we can run the wiring to the right places. If you anticipate setting up a new home theater in a game room, we will ensure the network infrastructure is in place to support it when you’re ready to install it.

 

Contact us today for a no-obligation consultation to get your network up to speed.