Smart Home. Monday , July 23rd , 2018 - 13:42:59 PM
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.
You create information wherever you are; the question is how and where to store it until you need it next. If you have a server, this is the natural place to store it. If not, it's another reason to invest in a reliable server. Your information is critical - the server should have redundancy, meaning at least one backup of itself that can be restored. Once you've got your information to the server (by copying over the network manually or with automated backup software) you can either backup your server's information manually (which is a rather wasteful endeavor) or choose a server than can do this automatically. For most servers, the minimum requirement here is two hard disks, of which one will be a mirror image of the other (known as RAID 1). If one disk fails and all information is lost, the other retains an exact copy. Given the higher importance of digital information today such as photos, documents, designs and such like, implementing a redundancy system is critical. Aside from storing your important files, web-accessed information such as news can be downloaded via your network and accessed on any smart device such as a tablet or screen. For example a screen in the kitchen to access recipes or check the news at breakfast time.
It's easy to overlook the power needs of your devices. Some people only discover their power setup is deficient after buying and setting up all their devices. In today's modern home, full of portable electronics that must be charged up, lights, televisions, routers, speakers and other gadgets, one quickly runs out of available power sockets. If you are buying energy intensive devices like heaters, ovens, large entertainment systems and the like, it's also quite possible you will overload your home's mains power. In traditional mains wiring, at least each room, and normally lights and power sockets in the room, will have a circuit breaker rated at a particular amperage. If you plug in too many devices you might overload the circuit breaker and find your TV suddenly cutting out in the middle of your favorite show, your blog article being lost when the PC loses juice or your bread loaf dying when the oven cuts out unexpectedly - a nightmare for anyone. If your home is poorly wired or older, overloading might also present a fire risk. Another issue is lack of space to plug things in - you will probably need mains extension "bricks" and adapters everywhere if your house is older or poorly designed with insufficient outlets.
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