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Home Networking

With today's rapid advancements in home technology and our increasing dependence on high tech products many people are choosing to have their new homes built to handle home theatre, multiple computers, lighting controls and security systems. The process of building a home is the perfect opportunity to install an integrated home networking infrastructure that will accommodate your changing needs. It is a lot easier and less costly to have this wiring done during construction than to go back into a completed home to install the necessary hardware. You can often save around $200 per wire run by having the installation done during the construction of your home.

When you are having your home networked, you will want it to include Category 5 or 5e wire. This is a high quality wire for voice and data transmission. This wire comes in twisted pairs; two solid core insulated wires twisted together to reduce interference. Category 5 wire carries data at 100 megabits per second compared to your average phone line which is 4 megabits per second. Though more expensive than traditional wiring, it is better able to handle the demands of high-speed transmissions. Another option for enhanced systems is RG6 cable, which is an enhanced cable for TV and video. This holds signals better at longer cable lengths.

As your home is being set up with different outlets and wires running to separate rooms, you will want access to all of the wire connections to easily setup different systems. The concept of consolidating all of the wires into a centrally located junction box or distribution panel is called Home-run wiring. This allows for easy access to connect or disconnect different systems in your house. An example would be that you get a new computer for an upstairs bedroom and want it to share the one printer you have downstairs. You can go to the distribution panel and simply connect the computer to one of the hook ups designated for the printer.

Deciding what services you will want to use in your new home can be a difficult task. Here are several questions to ask when considering what needs to be installed.

  • Will you want whole house audio or a home theater?
  • How will you want to receive your TV signal: traditional antenna, cable or satellite?
  • Do you want to network multiple computers?
  • Will you want high-speed Internet access such as cable modem or DSL, and is it going to be shared?
  • Will a security system, lighting controls or other automation systems be installed?

Narrowing down what is going to be used in your new home will help your contractors know what type of wiring to install and how it needs to be laid out. It is beneficial to have items wired during construction even though they may not be used initially. This will allow you to add devices and functions as you grow into your home, and will save time and money in the long run. You may decide today that you don't need a security system, but if you have this pre-wired during construction it is always an option for the future and will add to the resale value of your home.

As with all aspects of building a home, it is important to hire the right person to handle the installation of your home networking. It is a good idea to get bids and initial design layouts from several contractors. The bids and layouts you receive back may vary, which will give you an understanding of each person's expertise. Next you will want to see how your priorities compare to the proposals you receive back. It is important that the design layout involve systems that you are comfortable with and that it is within your set budget. Lastly, it is always important to check references, and in this case you may want to see demonstrations of network systems you are thinking of installing.

During the construction process there are many important decisions to make. Having your home wired for networking and automation might not be first on your list when figuring out the home you want to build or the materials going into it; but it is the best time to have all of the installation done. This will save time and money and will enable your house to easily accommodate your current and future technologies needs.

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