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


Netflix 1080p Timeline: When Will it Come to CE Devices?

The existing universe of 1080P Netflix devices includes the Sony Playstation3, Roku 2 XS and XD, WD TV Live and now LG 2011 Smart TVs and Samsung Smart Hub enabled devices, according to Tech of the Hub.

Netflix launched 1080p streaming in 2010, but we’ve barely seen it in smart TVs, networked Blu-ray players and other common CE devices from top brands such as Samsung, LG and Tivo.

Netflix 1080p was supported exclusively by the Playstation 3 when it launched last year, and since then has trickled out to media players from Roku and Western Digital. Netflix only this summer released a software developers kit for everyone else, and those everyone elses are finally incorporating the technology into their new and legacy devices (via firmware upgrade).

That’s good news for Netflix Watch Instantly lovers, but might be confusing as well.

As Tech of the Hub suggests:

The toughest part for the consumer is distinguishing the differences between all of the Netflix enabled TVs, Blu-ray players and streaming boxes at retail stores. All of them have the same Netflix logo on them. So, you can’t tell which Netflix boxes support 1080P, surround sound and subtitles.

The blog site has reached out to several major brands to determine when they will enable 1080p Netflix streaming for their CE devices.

Here is an overview, but check out Tech of the Hub for more details.

Samsung updated its Netflix app two weeks ago for Smart Hub-enabled Blu-ray players, TVs and home theater systems.

LG displays with Smart TV have been updated as well, with other LG devices following this month.

Netgear’s new NeoTV NTV-200 will support Netflix 1080p next year.

Pioneer’s Blu-ray players will not support 1080p for Netflix.

TiVo is working on 1080p Netflix streaming, but won’t say when it will be commercially available.

The big question is: Will Netflix raise its rates again when 1080p becomes universally available?!

By Julie Jacobson

http://www.cepro.com/article/netflix_1080p_timeline_when_will_it_come_to_ce_devices/?utm_source=CEPWeekly&utm_medium=email

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

Posted in 3d movies, 3D TV, Blu-ray, Flat Panel TV's, Gaming Systems, HDMI Specs, LED, Low Voltage Contractors, Media Rooms, Music and Movies, News, technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


The Cabling Industry Needs a Makeover

CIS is Charlotte's 1st Choice For Custom Home ElectronicsIt’s time for the cabling industry to reassess how it approaches marketing to consumers.

I find Twitter entertaining and, at times, almost addicting. This morning a tweet from Production Advice’s Ian Shepherd shocked me with concern for an electronics category that I think is beneficial: cabling.

Shepherd retweeted a blog written by L.A. recording engineer Bobby Owsinski, who blogged about a 2008 Engadget story that asked 12 “audiophiles” to compare an audiophile cable brand with another cabling product. It turns out the other cabling product was a set of coat hangers. The crux of the story is that those audiophiles couldn’t tell the difference between coat hangers and expensive cables.

Adding insult to injury, Owsinski points out the obvious difference between the audiophile community and professional sound engineers that use their listening skills for work by noting, “‘audiophiles’ showed just why they get so much abuse from pros over their so-called “golden ears.”

Monster was the cable manufacturer in question in Engadget’s blind testing, and Owsinski says Monster does make good products; the problem, in his opinion, is with how the products are marketed. “Monster Cable takes some reasonably good cable and markets it in such a way that its perceived value is a lot greater than it deserves to be,” he asserts in his blog. “The problem is that for speaker cable, 12 or 10 gauge zip cord [lamp cable] will work just as well as expensive Monster cable.”

Unfortunately for the cabling industry, Owsinski isn’t alone in his opinion, and websites such as Audioholics.com fuel the public’s disdain for cabling by publishing stories that attack the credibility of many of the cable category’s claims for improved performance.

Like Owsinski, Gene DeSalla at Audioholics points out that Monster and other brands aren’t necessarily bad, its just that their products don’t measure up to the claims.

To rectify this problem, I think it’s time for the cabling category to own up to its self-generated hyperbole and tone it down. Let’s start by addressing the claims of exotic materials, proprietary construction techniques and slick geometry designs that contribute to their out-of-this-world performance claims without any third-party verification.

Manufacturers should look to develop products that are affordable to consumers in these difficult economic times. Too often, critics point to the steep price tags attached to some cabling products and note that a consumer could buy a nice car or place a down payment on a house with the amount of money some companies ask for a pair of speaker cables.

The last thing the cabling industry needs to do is educate the public on the benefits of a properly designed cable that employs quality materials. Owsinski says cabling can make a difference in how a system performs, and I believe he is correct. Using dealers, let’s teach consumers on how to buy cable and how to listen.

One other suggestion I would make is that maybe we should think about locking audiophiles in the basements from which they came. For all their passion about music and equipment, they inflict a lot of irreparable damage to an industry that can hardly afford the scrutiny of a public that doesn’t respect their collective opinions. OK, OK, I’m only kidding about that last suggestion, but I would take away their Diana Krall and Patricia Barber CDs and LPs as punishment for their past transgressions.

By Robert Archer

http://www.cepro.com/article/the_cabling_industry_needs_a_makeover/K536

Custom Installation Services, LLC - ”We may be a few dollars more than the competition, but we are a million times better”.

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