What other technologies can I use to create a home network?

There are several other types of technologies that you can use to build a home network.

Phone line networking allows you to plug your computers into existing phone jacks around your house. Your computers utilize the unused bandwidth in the phone lines to communicate with one another. There are benefits and drawbacks to this kind of network. It allows you to move computers around the house and still maintain network access, as long as there are phone jacks nearby. Phone line networking is not generally compatible with DSL service, so it limits your Broadband options. There are also distance limitations, that is, if the signal has to travel a long distance over the phone line, performance will be poor.

Phone line networking is generally less expensive, however each computer must have special hardware and software installed. For example, if you temporarily bring a laptop in, it will not be easily integrated into the network. On the other hand, if you have a conventional or wireless network, it would only take a few minutes to add a new computer.

Power line networking operates on a similar principle. The unused bandwidth in electrical lines is used to transmit information among different computers. The benefits and drawbacks are similar to phone line networking. It may be a good low-cost alternative if you do not have many available phone jacks throughout your home or small office. However, "electrical noise" can slow down or even paralyze your networking capabilities. For instance, if you've ever noticed the television signal degrade when you run the vacuum cleaner, you've seen what electrical interference can do. Similar conditions may already exist on your power lines, making this kind of network difficult to implement.

What kind of network is right for me?

Useful terms (Links will pop up in a new window)

phone line networking
power line networking

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