Home Networking is used to connect all of your home systems & devices together on a central network so they can be controlled with a common interface & react to each other. For example if you start a movie on the VCR, the lights dim & the telephone directs calls to the answering machine!
In order for home devices to communicate with each other, there must be a connection either via a wire of some sort or a radio signal (wireless). Because each system has different requirements as to speed of communication & volume of information to be communicated, different media (wire etc.) is necessary depending on the application. Currently these media are:
Once the network(s) is installed & the devices are able to talk to each other, we need a device that allows the home to communicate with the rest of the world (thus allowing the homeowner the ability to reap all the benefits of this electronic era). A "Residential Gateway" is just such a device (there are several of them available). With a broadband (fast) connection to the internet via this gateway the homeowner can not only control & observe the home from a remote location but also download entertainment & information to the home instantaneously. Residential Gateway's will probably be supplied & installed by the homeowner's Telephone or Cable company as an add-on service feature or perhaps by the systems integrator as a cabling hub.
The last but probably most important element(s) of the Home Network is the interface that a homeowner uses to communicate with & control the network. Again ... there will probably be a series of devices to handle this job & the choices are personal as well as technical. Traditional networks use touch pads and/or remote control devices. The telephone is becoming another interface of choice allowing both manual & voice control in some instances. Of course the PC keyboard & mouse are also human interfaces that are widely popular. As technology advances, new interfaces are being developed (for example a control screen included in the door of a refrigerator etc).
It becomes obvious from this discussion that the possibilities & permutations are endless when it comes to networking a home. In the end, a home will probably have several different networks using different media & languages to communicate internally & with each other. There is no "Standard Home Network" just as there is no "Standard Home Paint Color". It is necessary for the homeowner to get involved in the design of his/her network as each individual has different needs & wants. That is what this resource was developed for, to help all the players learn about the possibilities.
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