Smart Home. Friday , August 31st , 2018 - 08:09:59 AM
The key ingredient for any smart home is the network. While more and more devices connect to mobile technologies like 3G, 4G and traditional cellular, the most economical and secure network for your home is still a fixed wired or wireless one. LAN (wired Ethernet) has been around for decades but is still cheap, fast and compatible. If you're building a new house, renovating or don't mind DIY, installing CAT6 LAN cables are ideal, and will be fast enough to power your smart home devices probably for the next decade. CAT5e is the minimum cable type that is recommended to ensure reliable data speeds of at least 1 Gigabit over long distances but to truly relax buy CAT6 knowing you can reach speeds of 10 Gigabits up to 100m distances in the future if your devices need it. If you need to route cables externally through doorways or other tight spaces, CAT5e might be better since the cable is thinner, more flexible and can be flatter (if you choose flat cables). But bear in mind your network is the critical backbone of your smart home so investing a little more money and time is best if you plan to live in your home for many years. A 100Mbit LAN can support Blu-ray 1080p content; possibly 4k video, and you can be rest assured that a 1 Gigabit LAN should support your media streaming needs for at least the next 10 years. After all, Gigabit Ethernet can transfer data at more than 100 MBs, while 1080p Blu-ray streaming requires only around 5% of that.
Hackers can already breach camera systems, smart TVs and baby monitors. It may not seem like much of a threat, but it has led to nude images of innocent people being leaked online. Smart meters in Spain have fallen victim to electricity blackouts and billing fraud. One woman found that she had the ability to control all the utilities in the houses of eight strangers, opening them up to poltergeist-like activity and break-ins. Luckily, she decided to alert the company and the device owners to the security problems instead.
So now you have the high power and superfast data ready for plugging your devices into, the first thing you'll probably want is some music. Because you'll need it to keep you energized while you install and setup the rest of your smart home! If your server is already online, or you have a portable storage device like a phone, you will need some kind of music receiver. It could be short-range like Bluetooth, or have longer range like WIFI. But the most important aspect is convenience - with music you want instant playback or listening becomes more stress than enjoyment. Look for a music receiver with always-on connection like Bluetooth, WIFI, or simply a 3.5mm analogue input cable ready to plug into. If all your music is on your server, again convenience reins supreme - choose a music player with fast and easy navigation to find your favorite song or playlist. Then, just add speakers! For TV, video, movies and games you will need some kind of screen - be it a computer screen, TV, projector or portable device like an iPad. But not all screens are created equal - some are smart, some aren't. If your screen is just a display alone, you will need something with a processor to retrieve and control your content. New "Smart" TV's have the necessary processor and software to work with most servers - if you have an older TV or just a screen you can buy a "Smart TV box" or "Dongle" that can do the same. Unlike Music, for video content you do need a good processor to display your content reliably, so choose a newer "Smart" TV or media player. Normally speaking, the newer it is, the longer you will be able to use it.
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