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LAN & WAN Basics

Making Our Choice

If your applications are simple - Internet sharing, printing, file sharing - if you only have three or four systems that are in fairly close proximity, if your budget allows it and if speed isn't your primary concern, wireless might be a better option for you. However, if you are going beyond these standard Internet functions and must share your Internet connection with devices other than computers, and if you are not put off by cutting holes in your wall, then wired switched 100-Mbit Ethernet is a better option.

If your kids have their own computers and spend a lot of time playing networked multiplayer games either over the Internet or against each other, for networked gaming performance a wired 100-Mbit solution is clearly best. In our case, we currently have two boys at home that enjoy networked gaming on their own computers, as well as an Xbox that is Xbox Live enabled in our family room. In addition, we use Audiotrons to stream MP3s across our home network to various places within the house. This means that we push the capabilities of the network when both boys are using it and my wife and I are also using it for work and research.

DLink DLW-810+

DLink DLW-810+

In our situation, we chose to go with a hybrid strategy of all three options. We elected to include 100-Mbit wired, 802.11b wireless, and 1000-Mbit input for two of our servers, as well. While this certainly is not the typical configuration that most home network users would choose, after much discussion it was obvious that we needed to consider current and future use; this resulted in our decision to install a state of the art solution that would address all of the possible uses of our network. I also spend a considerable amount of time working in my home lab doing testing and such, so we had to factor this into the solution, as well.

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