you can't run cables through your house, the next best setup is Wi-Fi.
Right up front; 802.11n Wi-Fi sounds
great -- offering throughput up to 300 megabits per second, and no wiring
hassles -- it isn't ideal if you want to do lots of media streaming and
moving big files around.
On the other hand, if you simply want to
connect a small number of PCs, Wi-Fi may be the right way to go for you.
Wi-Fi is a quick and easy way to connect several business laptops,
Wi-Fi-enabled cell phones, and light-duty devices such as an Apple iPad or a
What Kind Of Wi-Fi Do You Need?
If Wi-Fi is your only alternative,
definitely go with 802.11n. The prices of 802.11n routers and access points
have dropped substantially, so there's no point in using older 802.11g gear; which
is rated at 54 megabits per second.
When you're shopping for
equipment, here are several key features to look for.
• Simultaneous dual band: Such routers
can support both 2.4GHz and 5GHz or 5.8GHz. Only a few routers fully support
5.8GHz; you'll get increased bandwidth, but you'll also sacrifice some
range, particularly through walls. Some newer routers may include a pair of
• Multiple antennas: You'll want an 802.11n router with two antennas at a
minimum. Some home routers may have no visible antennas, but carry multiple
antennas embedded in the case. That's okay for moderately sized homes.
• Replaceable antennas: If you have longer range requirements, consider a
router with external, replaceable antennas. These typically attach to a
small, coax-style connector. Antennas are widely available from a number of
sources, and come in a variety of sizes and configurations.
The D-Link® Xtreme N™ Dual Band
Gigabit Router (DIR-825) uses dual band technology to support 2.4GHz &
5GHz wireless signals at the same time. This allows you to check e-mail and
browse the Internet using the 2.4GHz band while simultaneously streaming
High-Definition (HD) movies and other media on the 5GHz band. The DIR-825 is
designed for users looking to get a true HD wireless connection that can
handle multiple HD video streams throughout the house, while being backward
compatible with existing 802.11g and 802.11a products.
Most homes and SOHOs (Small
Office/Home Office) use use a mixed-mode, wired and Wi-Fi network.
Professional electricians run structured wiring to several key rooms in
the house, including the living room, the family room, and the kids'
bedroom. Everything is tied together with structured wiring into a central
panel in the basement, in the storage area adjacent to one of the two home
This works well for most households: You
have wired networking where you need it, and Wi-Fi access throughout
the house. Of course, your needs may be simpler -- you might want wired
networking in just one room, and Wi-Fi in the rest of the house.
Depending on your needs, just a single
router with four Ethernet ports and Wi-Fi access-point capability may get
the job done. Or your requirements may be more complex, in which case
you'll prefer to run wires to multiple rooms, as well as to include
wireless repeaters or range extenders as necessary.