Feeds

Soup up your home network

Tips for tuning a modern LAN

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Gizmo Week

Reg Hardware Gizmo Week logo small

There can’t be many Reg Hardware readers who don’t have a home network. In fact, these days you’d have to look hard indeed to find an ISP that sells its connection as strictly single PC only and just tosses in a USB modem rather than some sort of router.

A decade or so ago, just about any network would do. My flat still has thin Ethernet taps in some of the rooms, not to mention the serial cable for a long disused Wyse 50 terminal in the kitchen. The network connection was a 64Kbps kilostream and, since people didn’t tend to turn up with laptops and phones that they wanted to connect to the internet, it worked just fine.

NE2000 cards were once the rage

NE2000 cards, like this one from Arbor, were once all the rage

Now, though, with some broadband services boasting download speeds that can knock an NE2000 card into a cocked hat, not to mention streaming media in the home, and an ever increasing number of connected devices, from VoIP phones and iPads to security cameras and set-top boxes, it’s worth putting a bit more thought in to how you can make the most of your home network.

Wireless wonders

For many people, a wireless network is essential, partly because the lack of wires makes it much more acceptable to those with inclinations towards neatness, but also out of necessity, with many devices having no other way to connect them. Where once my flat just had a couple of computers connected to the net, now there are over 20 devices, not including kit belonging to the neighbours, who I allow to use my network too.

With so many ISPs giving away wireless routers with their broadband, congestion is starting to become a real problem for Wi-Fi users in some areas. In one Amsterdam hotel I visited, 22 different networks were visible from my room. I can see dozens from my desk here at home.

The more networks on a given channel, the more time each will spend communicating with the others and giving them space to send and receive data.

Most Reg Hardware readers will know that you can change the channel on your basestation to find a less busy one. But with each Wi-Fi channel overlapping the two on either side of it, and only 13 channels to choose from - or 11 if you live in the States and some other territories - you’re still going to suffer from congestion caused by too many networks operating in a small area.

With broadband top speeds now easily capable of outperforming an 802.11b connection – and sometimes even an 802.11g network too – even without congestion, many of us will need to take remedial action.

InSSIDer WLAN scanner

Tools like InSSIDer and iStumbler will help you pick a less congested Wi-Fi channel

Modern routers often have an ‘automatic’ channel setting, which should find the best channel – but it’s worth remembering that it’s only checking at the basestation. It’s well worth using a tool like InSSIDer or iStumbler to see what other networks are active in the places you’ll actually be using a laptop or other wireless devices.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Next page: Dual Mode

More from The Register

next story
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
The agony and ecstasy of SteamOS: WHERE ARE MY GAMES?
And yes it does need a fat HDD (or SSD, it's cool with either)
Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Shaves price, not screen on mid-2014 model
iPhone 6 flip tip slips in Aussie's clip: Apple's 'reversible USB' leaks
New plug not compatible with official Type-C, according to fresh rumors
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.