Home Entertainment & Automation Services in Matthews, NC.
Home Entertainment & Automation Services in Matthews, NC.
Home audio and Video Services in Matthews, NC.  TV installation, Surround Sound, Home Entertainment Systems
Why You Can’t Go Totally Wireless: 4 Network Topologies to Consider

Committing solely to wireless technology is ‘a recipe for failure’ for integrators. Here are the four home network infrastructure options to consider for every project.

Commitment certainly has its place in this world, like in relation to spouses or sports teams. But over-committing to a singular technology? That can be a risky move.

While Wi-Fi is the technology buzzword, particularly with homeowners, those of us tasked with actually fitting the myriad of modern electronics and digital services into a high-functioning, seamlessly networked home must understand the whole landscape.

What makes the current 802.11 Wi-Fi standards so alluring is the convenience of its mobility, ubiquity, and interoperability between so many devices. While the appeal is that Wi-Fi is seemingly in everything—our computers and smartphones, our televisions and cameras—that is also part of the problem. The 2.4GHz spectrum is being shared by all of your Wi-Fi devices, all of your neighbors’ Wi-Fi devices, and even proprietary devices such as baby monitors.

That’s quite a load. When the physical limitations of RF bands are strained or exceeded, it reduces the quality of service for every device, and consequently every person relying on them.

Those limitations are the source of audio drop offs, buffering delays or reduced definition during a streaming movie, and latency in competitive multiplayer video games. These nuisances undermine the intent of quick, reliable access to content, which is the very point of incorporating many technologies into the home. Your customers deserve better than that.

Part of the solution can be to use the 5GHz band for 802.11n or the upcoming 802.11ac standard to help alleviate some bandwidth traffic, but these options are not without their own limitations. First, the 5GHz band has less range than 2.4GHz and struggles to pass through walls and other building obstacles. Second, many devices today only communicate on 2.4GHz. While additional devices are expected to be dual band, 2.4GHz will continue to be the most used band in the near future.
So, truthfully, the real solution is recognizing wireless is not the be all, end all. And that’s okay. What a network needs to be about is uninterrupted access and content, and it falls on the installer’s shoulders to ensure the best user-experience.

Networking a home with a strong wired backbone remains the best practice to achieve top performance. Should an existing home have only a limited wired Ethernet network, a coax network using the MoCA standard, or a powerline network using the HomePlug AV standard, may be able to bridge the Ethernet service to the desired destination. Both of these wired technologies are affordable and easy-to-install networking alternatives that can relieve the Wi-Fi network of its highest bandwidth responsibilities. This will ensure superior performance for streaming and surfing on mobile and smart devices.

At the end of the day, all customers really care about is streaming that movie on Netflix with a pristine picture, synced audio, and no interruptions. Committing solely to a specific technology is a recipe for failure. Employing multiple technologies to build a complete, robust networking solution that can handle multiple applications is often the best solution.

Knowing Your Networking Options

When it comes to home networking, some technologies get more press than others these days (like, wireless). However, there are many viable options out there, each suited to address particular needs and overcome specific obstacles. Understanding all of the technologies available allows you to make the educated call on how best to accomplish each stage of designing a strong network for the technology-filled home.

Here’s a quick roll call of the networking players:

The Not-Extinct Ethernet Option: This option remains tried and true. Despite the introduction of newer alternatives with impressive stats and advantages, the truth is that nothing is faster, more reliable, or more secure than wired Ethernet systems. The solution already offers throughput capabilities of up to a Gigabit per second in a 1000BaseT network and 10Gbps for a commercial oriented 10GBaseT network using Cat 6a.

And innovation hasn’t stopped finding new uses of Ethernet, either. HDBaseT has made it viable to use Ethernet cables for transmitting HDMI signals over long distances, enabling streaming of high definition video and audio around to multiple areas from a central location. Though retrofitting Ethernet installations into existing homes can be costly and labor intensive, it is the best option for steady, high-quality performance.

 

The Up-and-Coming Coax Option: For existing homes with a limited Ethernet network, coax networking is emerging as a feasible alternative technology. Commonly referred to as MoCA (Multimedia over Coax Alliance) in deference to the technology’s leading standards body, this technology is already built into most cable boxes for multi-room DVR functionality. MoCA works reliably by transmitting over a frequency band unused by cable TV transmissions.

MoCA can also be used to stream video and audio to areas of the home that were previously without streaming service. The most frequently used MoCA standard today, 1.1, has a throughput of 170Mbps. The speed and reliability of this offering, paired with its ease to employ and cost-effectiveness, make it an attractive choice.

The Not-To-Be-Overlooked Powerline Option: The powerline option uses the readily available electrical lines to extend a home network’s reach. Though early powerline technologies encountered many issues, making some installers wary of the technology, the more recent standards from the HomePlug Powerline Alliance deserve due consideration due to better performance and greater stability. The HomePlug AV2 specification, introduced in 2012, delivers a maximum throughput of 500Mbps. It’s also the simplest of networking equipment options to configure. Merely plugging in two powerline networking modules gets a quick auto-confirmation of the connection within seconds. The modules then act as transmitters or receivers for data signals over the electrical line, and with most hardware, provide extra Ethernet ports for incredible flexibility.

Like all technologies, this one also has limits and obstacles. One obstacle is surge protectors, which can block network transmissions. Powerline also suffers from greater signal loss and more noise than Ethernet cable or coax, making it the third best option for high-bandwidth applications. However, for a simple and convenient solution, powerline technology may be the best fit for a fast extension of the wired network.

The Ubiquitous Wireless Option: Wireless is the new “it” thing. It’s the enabler for all mobile applications and often thought to be the networking option that makes your customer the true master of his or her space . It’s an undeniably flexible solution, which can offer speed and convenience to both you and your customers. Since its formation in 1999, the Wi-Fi Alliance has governed the evolution of the most commonly used standards. The most recent standard, 802.11n, was released in 2009 and boasts an impressive maximum speed of 300Mbps with the capability to broadcast over two frequency bands, 2.4GHz and 5GHz.

The convenience of Wi-Fi is why it’s so frequently turned to for streaming our entertainment. But it also has limitations: Scarce bandwidth, range limitations and vulnerability to interference all need to be considered in the network design, and many of these limitations or shortcomings can be avoided by offloading high-bandwidth applications to wired networks where possible.

The key to constructing the most robust home network is assessing the best solution for the right application. There is no single solution that meets the performance expectations and budget of every application. Installers must understand the strengths and limitations of each solution so they can best service the needs of their customers.

By Tom Cunningham

http://www.cepro.com/article/why_you_cant_go_totally_wireless_4_network_topologies_to_consider/?utm_source=CEPWeekly&utm_medium=email

Custom Installation Services, LLC – First choice for low voltage wiring and home networking in Charlotte, NC and surrounding areas

Posted in Automation, Blu-ray, Bose Dealer, Gaming Systems, Home Theater Design, Home Theater Setup, i-Pad, IP Cameras, Linksys, Low Voltage Contractors, Luxul, Multi Room A/V, Netgear Routers, Network Setup, News, Structured Wiring, technology, Wireless Network | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Sharing in the Vinyl Groove

C.I.S. - Charlotte NC's Source For New & Old Home Technologies!It’s easy to get swept back into the world of analog by adding turntables and a slew of cheap records to your audio rig.

This website is usually for discussing new technology. Recently, though, I rediscovered an old technology that still qualifies as new for many readers, and one that I can’t recommend enough as an addition to your audio system, especially if you consider it mid-to-high end: vinyl.

A Sony turntable I bought 10 years ago served me well at the time but had long been removed from my theater system when I got lazy about replacing its bum needle. Plus I’d become enamored with surround sound. But thanks to some electronics and speaker upgrades, and reading constant vinyl evangelism from Stereophile’s thirtysomething (my age) blogger Stephen Mejias and his “Elements of Our Enthusiasm,” the analog bug began biting again.

But aren’t turntables, cartridges and needles the kind of pricey gear that only so-called “audiophiles” invest in, you’re thinking? Yes, there are many types of ’tables, and cost can quickly escalate well into the thousands.

This time around, I figured I’d start at the very entry level. After a $50 Technics turntable find on Craigslist and $100 Cambridge Audio phono preamplifier purchase (you’ll need one if your processor or receiver lacks a phono stage), I wasn’t into the vinyl experiment for much money.

Plus, there are several respectable turntables in the sub-$400 range should I decide to upgrade. In fact, Mejias moderates the Stereophile forums, including an “Entry Level” thread with a sticky post called “Since this comes up a lot. Turntables under or $1,000” with all kinds of great turntable suggestions.

As much as I enjoyed spinning records 10 years ago, the analog epiphany really cold-cocked me this time. Perhaps my job as a custom electronics writer/editor has given me a greater appreciation of sound quality (especially when it comes to hearing demos at tradeshows), but listening to old LPs through this new setup was nothing short of nirvana. It didn’t matter that some albums crackled more than Rice Krispies—the instruments also snapped and popped a whole lot better, too.

Even while lacking the “golden ears” of some reviewers, it was easy for me—and my wife—to hear the differences between CD and vinyl versions of songs. The vinyl soundstage was wider, instrumentation was more defined, bass was tighter, hi-hat drum cymbals were thicker and livelier, and dynamic range was fuller. “I wonder if more people would the like music they say they hate if they listened to it this way,” my wife said after I forced Yes’ prog classic Roundabout on her.

And record hunting is almost as fun as record playing. I’ve bought LPs purely for the artwork; some include fancy lyrics booklets; Bookends came with a giant Simon and Garfunkel poster! You can discover gems at flea markets, tag sales, the Salvation Army and, if you’re fortunate, a local record shop. At Divinyl Revolution in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., this weekend I picked up 14 albums for $24.99, the majority of which cost $1—or the equivalent of a single, compressed song download from iTunes.

Not to mention that when I went to the Craigslist seller’s home to pick up the turntable, he gave me a small stack of records, including perhaps the most listened-to LP of all-time, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, with a sweet Dark Side pyramids poster up its sleeve. How’s that for good karma?

We know records have been making a comeback in recent years, to the point where Best Buy has added shelf space for vinyl and artists are appealing to younger-generation listeners by releasing vinyl albums that include free digital downloads of the same in MP3 format.

Of course, it’s places like Divinyl Revolution that predominantly keep the format alive and well. Even in summer tourist destinations like Saratoga, record shopping is a year-round excursion. “This is the only place like it, for about 40 miles in each direction,” explained super-cute shop proprietor Brittany Nasser, who’s kind of the anti-Jack Black in High Fidelity. “We have a bunch of loyal customers who can’t wait to hear what just came into the store.”

I’ll look forward to visiting again next summer.

by Arlen Schweiger
http://www.electronichouse.com/article/sharing_in_the_vinyl_groove/

Custom Installation Services, LLC - Charlotte ’s Home Theater & Technology Experts!

Posted in Audio Systems, Media Rooms, Multi Room A/V, Music and Movies, technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Facebook, Google Maps Come to Samsung TV Apps

If you were the type of person to spend countless hours in front of a TV as it is, how much time do you kill now with the added video streaming and web access that today’s connected TVs deliver?

Or maybe you just plug away hours in front of your computer instead?

We keep getting closer and closer to a glorious combination of the two, so soon we’ll have no reason to leave the couch. Toward that end, Samsung wants to make sure you stay planted by bringing more cool services to its Samsung Apps platform, which was announced at CES this year.

Its latest two additions to the Apps lineup are a couple of cool time wasters you may have heard about—Facebook and Google Maps.

You can download the apps directly from all 2010 Samsung Blu-ray players, Blu-ray Home Theater Systems (HTIBs) and the majority of Samsung TVs with screen sizes 40 inches and bigger, the company announced.

We’re sure you’ll have a blast hosting guests for dinner parties, too, when you can pull up everyone’s Facebook pictures and then show them the aerial and street views of their houses on a big-screen TV.

And you thought staying up to date with Facebook on your tiny smartphone screen was cool.

by Arlen Schweiger

Custom Installation Services, LLC - Charlotte ’s Home Theater & Technology Experts and Your Place For Sales & Installation Of Samsung TV Products!

CIS is Charlotte NC Favorite Place to Shop For Samsung Flat Screens!

C.I.S. is Charlotte NC's Favorite Place For Sales & Installation of Samsung Flat Screens!

Samsung’s Apps store has added the popular social network site and slick map service to its Blu-ray players and connected TVs.

Posted in 3D TV, Automation, Blu-ray, Flat Panel TV's, Home Theater, Media Rooms, Multi Room A/V, News, technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Custom Installation Services, LLC | P.O. Box 132 Matthews, NC 28106 | 704-400-8701 | dmiller@cis-nc.com
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