Computer Wiring for the Home Office

Computer wiring for the home office. How do I make everything work?

There are two basic configurations for connecting your computers together and allowing access to the Internet for surfing and sending and receiving e-mails. They are wired and wireless.

WIRED is the most secure. It allows high speed connections of 10 mbps, 100 mbps and 1,000 mbps or also called ” gig E ” and is the most difficult computer wiring method to install. (“mbps” is mega bits per second).

WIRED is known as 10 Base T and 100 Base T and is good for distances of 100 meters or approximately 330 feet. These connections can be prone to electrical interference.

Basic wired network for a home office.
Here is a picture of computer wiring for a basic wired network.



Complex Data for a Home Office
Here is a picture of computer wiring in a complex network.


WIRELESS has speeds of 11 mbps(b) 54 mbps(g) of up to 300 mbps(n). However, these are the BEST possible speeds in a lab environment. The real speeds are approximately two-thirds of the best possible speeds and decline from that point.

WIRELESS adheres to standards of 802.11b and 802.11g with speeds of 11 mbps and 54 mbps. There is also a 802.11n. (Ethernet standards are 802.11 and the letter denotes the specific standard for an application.) The 802.11n is still in development and a standard has not been established as yet.

Basic Wireless Network for a Home Office
Here is a picture of a basic wireless network.

If you go the wireless route, make sure to buy all the equipment from one manufacturer. Actual data throughput (or actual transmission speed) will be approximately 60% of what you expect.

Another thing to remember. What is the fastest connection speed your data provider can give you?

Most cable companies advertise their product as being up to six times faster than DSL. The part they leave out is their comparison is against dial-up service, which is usually 56k . High speed is considered by carriers as 128k and above. This is more a of a marketing ploy than reality. Actually, dial up service is something that dates back to a time when dial up service was the only service. Now the number of users of dial up constitute 15% to 30% of all internet users.


DSL usually starts out at 128k and goes up in 64k increments. The more you pay, the faster you go. Cable, on the other hand, normally starts at one meg and goes up.

We used @Home for a few years and their speeds started at 12 megs. There was a money dispute and the cable company threw them out. Suddenly our connection speed dropped drastically. The original circuit was an OC3C (155.52 mbps). It was cut down to a T-1 (1.544 mbps). It was a major cost savings for the cable company but they had some really mad cable customers.

Just remember the data in your home office is only as fast as the data provider wants it to be based upon your monthly bill. There are many wonderful programs you can download to see exactly what services you are being provided and by whom. Neotrace, for instance, draws a map and lets you see all your computer wiring.

Here is an example of what happens once the data arrives at your home office.

The local cable company and the data arrive on TV coax cable at normally 6 mbps. The upload speed is much lower. The cable goes into a rented Motorola cable modem (this is just for example purposes) that is DOCSIS (another standard) compliant.

We rent our cable modem. If lighting hits the cable, it takes out the cable company’s modem not my router.

Then the signal is routed into a Linksys firewall router, where it changes the IP address again. I like security.

The output of the second router then goes into a 16-port hub or switch where the computer wiring delivers it to the individual printers, computers, the VoIP box, the weather direct box, the DVR , the data backup box , as well as a media center extender box. All the routers have security enabled and limits set on the number of users assigned including the wireless.

Here is an example of why you should use security enabled routers.

I know a neighborhood where there are 6 wireless routers with 3 of them having no security enabled. So there is free access for some other neighbors, as well as people who are passing by.

Did you ever wonder why there are people sitting in their cars around Starbucks?

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Dave Altman

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