If you believe that networking is a subject where you can ‘get by’ with some basic knowledge (or just hire a chap who ‘knows about that’) then think again.

We all need to be experts, or we risk becoming dinosaurs in our own industry.

So how does your networking knowledge stand up? Here’s a little test. See how many of these surprising networking facts you know…

Most routers are in the wrong place

Let’s consider some basic facts.

The antenna in a run-of-the-mill wireless router is omnidirectional i.e. the signal emits in every direction equally.

Now, think about where your router is in your home.

For many, it will be by the front door, connected to the BT master socket, or it will be at some other corner of the house.

If this is the case then the neighbour is probably enjoying just as much of your precious Wi-Fi signal as you are.

Your broadband speed may not be the problem

The speed of a Wi-Fi connection (between your device and the router) depends on many things.

The quality of the router, other devices connected at the same time and the type of connection in use, but the biggest issue is distance.

Speed falls with distance – exponentially – thanks to something called ‘inverse square law’.

If you’re more than a few meters away then you can wave goodbye to the super-impressive speeds promised on the product box.

A 20Mb broadband (WAN) connection can soon seem like lightning speed compared to long distance wireless (LAN) one.

Network speed affects picture quality

Ever been watching a service like Netflix and the picture’s gone a little fuzzy?

That’s the server responding to a drop in network speed by compressing the image much harder to make the data stream smaller, they do it to maintain the flow of the programme.

It’s a good idea, after all who enjoys buffering? But if you can deliver a faster network speed (good equipment, wired connections and /or a decent Wi-Fi design) then you and your customers will get a better picture more of the time. Simple.

There’s more than one way to create a static IP

Some devices just work better with a static address.

Typically, anything that ‘serves’ things (IP cameras, printers, NAS drives etc.) will be happier this way.

Normally, you’ll need to login to each ‘server’ device and set-up its credentials by hand, you’ll also need to have the network set-up information at hand too.

But, routers often have something called ‘Reserved Dynamic Addressing’ or ‘Bind MAC to IP’ features that do something similar.

This allows you to lock a device’s MAC address to a specific IP address thus achieving the same thing.

Be careful though; if the router is replaced at any time those ‘locks’ disappear with it.

5GHz can be worse than 2.4GHz

When 802.11n devices appeared many people thought it would be the end of ‘wireless woes’, faster speed, more channels and a cleaner spectrum were all promised.

However, with higher carrier frequency comes reduced range and so the effect of distance is far worse at 5GHz.

The scores on the doors

So how did you do? If you knew all of the above already, then take a big bow.

You’re probably all set for a happy life of networking! If you didn’t do so well, then maybe now’s the time to really learn how it all works.

More Information on support services and training from CEDIA is available at www.cediaeducation.com


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