One way of running a small business or home network with no new wires is by moving to a powerline networking scheme, which has been the subject of much study and interest due to its simplicity. However appealing this simple scheme may be, it is not suitable for all networks and does have its pros and cons.
The pros of this technology are obvious – most rooms have multiple electrical outlets so there is no need to run new wires or add additional terminations; printers now no longer have to be located near computers; the newest power line technology called PowerPacket runs at 14MBps so it is quite fast compared to earlier power line networking; and kits to install this technology are inexpensive (around $50-100 is all that is needed). Companies like Cisco and Netgear offer off-the-shelf power line networking switches and routers that are very cost-effective and easily installed.
This technology does have its cons, however, which is why it is not more popular than wireless technology today. Although chip manufacturers claim that their chips circumvent this problem, users of the technology say that network performance varies with electrical usage. This means you could have difficulty downloading a large file while running your dishwasher, for instance. Quality of electrical wiring varies from home to home and business to business – and some older buildings have very poor wiring. If you are in an older building, it is probably best to run some new cat 6 or cat 6e Ethernet cabling and call it a day.
Also, the adapter you need to plug in to run a home powerline network cannot be plugged into a surge protector, which may be inconvenient in some cases. Plus 14Mbps is not nearly enough bandwidth to allow video streaming or a good quality VoIP phone system to run properly.
If you have a simple one or two man office that doesn’t require streaming media usage or large file downloads and want to minimize wiring changes and expense, then powerline networking may be the way to go. It also may be a good supplement to an existing network in hard to wire zones such as warehouses or garages where the Internet is only used for data entry and to look up the number for your local pizza delivery guy.
But for most modern businesses and state-of-the-art smart homes, this technology still has some growing up to do!
If you would like a professional consultation on the suitability of powerline networking for your home or business needs, contact experienced network cabling installers. Their professionals will do a comprehensive assessment of your unique situation, and recommend the most cost-effective technology solution available.
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