I visited a new "show home" recently in the $500K price bracket and was dismayed to observe that there was not one data outlet in the house. Some CAT5e cable had been used to run to telephone outlets but I couldn't determine where the end point was or whether this was star configuration or daisy chain. DUH!
I spoke to a local journo about this a lttle while ago and he opined that there was no need for cabling because wireless would provide the required connectivity, so what's the problem? Is it this sort of uninformed advice from a reputable source that is creating a domestic housing landscape that is clearly not ready for broadband?
Sure wireless is great for some things, general Internet access (including the download of video clips of low resolution), ultimate portability, and for our systems useful for control functionality. BUT when you want to stream high quality video around the house, wireless just won't do the business. I find that I can stream a video of say VCR quality over the wireless OK (if nothing elese is going on) but DVDs and TV recordings do not work at all well.
Obviously wireless is getting better (faster) but suffers from the following problems:
New applications are going to require considerable bandwidth (On line DVDs, HDTV, video conferencing, gaming etc). So if you are building a new home or rennovating an old one, do yourself a favour and put in a decent cable network. Wireless can be used in conjunction to "fill the gaps", provide flexibility and mobility.
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Comment by Mark, on 20-Sep-2006 08:48
This is why I have both.
Wireless is great for internet and everything, but I need a wired network for media streaming.
Comment by sbiddle, on 20-Sep-2006 08:59
Home automation isn't wireless either.
The cost of running cat5 to every power plug and light switch in a new house is minimal yet as you point out nobody seems interested..
Comment by juha, on 20-Sep-2006 09:03
That is interesting - I see that in Australia, the builders now say that FTTH is a must-have.
Bit shortsighted by their NZ equivalents.
Comment by chiefie, on 20-Sep-2006 09:34
I have seen a few devices that use CAT5 cabling for transmitting VGA/Sound signals, and even some use it on DVI+Audio.
Pretty cool, but it is only using CAT5 for cable for further reach, rather than routable signal. So still a one-to-one connection. But this gave me a great idea that you have the machine running in a cool room, and use CAT5 cabling to connect the display, audio, USB to your workstation to link up with keyboard, mouse, speakers and display. Then you can branch off the USB to a powered-hub for external USB DVD etc. then you can keep your workstation tidy. :-)
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