Smart Home. Sunday , July 22nd , 2018 - 20:43:57 PM
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.
While technology is becoming more and more "distributed", a central server is the standard and perfectly future-proof solution for your home. By "server" we mean a system comprising a processor, file storage and networking. The range in servers is huge - you could have a single USB drive connected to the network and call it a server, or a powerful computer with massive storage. For most people, a system with at least one hard drive and a processor less than five years old is adequate. Of course, the server should be wired directly into your network at the fastest possible connection speed. You can purchase a "DLNA" server, "NAS" server (for several hundred US dollars) or high-end system to control your entire house (several thousand or more US dollars). But in fact any personal computer, laptop or even a capable Internet router will suffice. Some internet routers have a USB port that you can connect a USB hard drive to, and the router's processor can handle the media streaming, provided the router has appropriate software installed, such as a DLNA server. You can install free DLNA or other server software on a Windows or Mac PC in minutes. Basically you can re-use an old computer to act as a home server, or buymake a new computer specially. Many networking devices run on Linux, so if you see something like a NAS or DLNA server for sale, just remember you can install Linux on an old computer and easily replicate or surpass the supposedly high performance dedicated servers for sale today. When choosing your server, make sure a) It's networking speed is at least 100Mbits b) It has plentiful storage space c) The processor is at least less than five years old. Normally, providing the network speed is very fast and the processor quite recent, spend as much money as possible on the storage, such as multiple, high-capacity hard disks.
So before you start your digital home project check your rooms' outlets and circuit breaker rating (if you're not sure, best to check with a professional electrician). Make sure you are at going to use at least 50% less Amps than your house mains is rated at, because some devices may pull more than their rating under certain conditions and let's face it - not everyone using your home is going to think about the power drain when they plug something in. For extending outlets, it's better to invest in high quality extension cords and bricks that have a wider space per outlet so you can fit in the bulky ACDC adapters that come with many devices. It is absolutely essential that the adapter is fully certified to CE, UL, FCC or other standard as required by your country, and choosing a well known brand is one way to be confident it is. Consider buying power adapters with inbuilt USB ports so plugging in phones and tablets is convenient and separate chargers don't take up all your space.
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