From the age of the hardware modems of 56kbps to the new era of broadband offering speeds of over 3 mbps (and more) at affordable costs that make it available to the home user (1 mbps is approx. 1000 kilobytes per second). But people have still, and for the most part, been wired down by their internet connections. This is where the wireless revolution is has come in to play.
Recently I purchased a home wireless router using the new IEEE 802.11g standard in an attempt to try and find a solution to have the flexibility of moving my networked electronics around my home. Of course I jumped at the chance to try out a Wireless Broadband Adapter for the Xbox, and I have been using one for over a year now. So how does wireless stack up against a wired setup? Here are the pros and cons of each set-up.
The Wired Network Approach
Alright, I know there are quite a number of readers who have this kind of setup at home. I used to be on of them. This is the traditional setup for any network that exists and all networks contain at least in some part a wired portion contained within. But is this really a practical solution for home user? Lets see some of the Pros and Cons of this type of setup.
The Pros to a Wired Network
Although it can be somewhat expensive wiring the entire house, it is still the most inexpensive solution in terms of networking, which makes it very appealing.
If everything is connected correctly in terms of wiring, you should hardly ever run into a problem on the cabling end.
Although wireless has made a great improvement from the 802.11b standard to 802.11g, it still cannot match the speeds that are now being introduced by new advancements in cabling technology. With speeds now hitting around 10 gigabits per second with category 6 cabling, wireless can not keep up at the moment.
The Cons to a Wired Network
Lets face it, not everyone is a network professional and if you try to setup up a network at home and have no clue at what your doing, your going to run into problems.
- Lack of mobility / flexibility
By far one of the biggest cons of the wired setup. The need to have a cable to access the internet everywhere in the house can cause problems and wiring nightmares.
- Wiring messes
I dont know about most people but I already have enough wires running behind my computer and my entertainment system and any way I could reduce it would be welcomed. And if you want to connect something without a nearby network jack, running a long cable to your Xbox or PC is not the most appealing thing for guests to see.
Now that you've seen the pros and cons of a wired network, we'll detail a wireless network on the next page.