Networking 101

I am currently revamping my home network and would like to share a few tips.

First, we need to decide on our network needs, do we need wireless or wired? 

If we need wireless things get interesting. But if it is wired you need to design the flow of cables and make it aesthetically pleasing.

If we are going the wireless route real planning is needed. For my current situation I have a two bedroom apartment with all wireless needs. So for this project I am placing the modem (cable companies use this to provision the internet rather than cable tv) and the router as close to the middle of my house as possible. I am doing this because My computer room and bedrooms are no where near eachother so I am hoping to create a network bubble in my house.

The first issue at hand is finding a router that can handle my needs and offer great signal through all sorts of walls. I decided on http://amzn.to/N50guU Image 

I chose this router for its dual band capabilities and the fact that it comes with the most user friendly and secure software built into the router. The dual band makes my network a bit more interesting because of the 2.4ghz band and the 5ghz band. Most networks run on 2.4ghz,along with radios, microwaves, cell phones and a host of other appliances.  That complicates networks and causes unnecessary congestion. My intention is to have the computers and my media server all on the 5 ghz band and everything else on the 2.4ghz. When using the higher band you have to have a shorter distance between you and the router, 10-15ft to be exact. Take into consideration walls and anything else you can think of before setting up something like that. When setting up the two bands you will be creating two networks, so associate a name that will separate the two accordingly. 

The next part of this process is playing with the settings and antennae to make your network suited to your needs. You could plug and play and just run a basic set up or you can fiddle with the settings and tailor the network specifically to your needs. Since I will be primarily blogging, gaming and streaming media to my tv I will make sure I give priority to my pc over anything else on the network.

The next part of this is securing your network. Network security is a major college degree for a reason, but to keep it simple here: DO NOT EVER USE “PASSWORD” FOR A REAL PASSWORD. Your network provides entry to all computers and media devices and if you want to keep that secure make sure you use something that is unique to you and not your neighbors and passing people. The most secure way to do anything for a network is to just run all ethernet cables, but that is a huge mess and not very great to look at.

To wrap this up, get a great router and set it some place close to all of your devices, make sure the settings are made so you can have optimal bandwidth, and secure it like Fort Knox.

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