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  • Writer's pictureTom Curnin

Guide to Computer Home Networks

Updated: 1 day ago

Introduction

This guide is a general introduction to computer home networks. If you have any questions after reading this guide, please contact us. Bravo AV stands ready to handle all of your New Jersey home computer network needs.

Design Philosophy

We are headed toward the “Internet of Things,” where more and more devices are connected to the internet. A typical household of four may have 40 or more networked devices, and this number will grow as our need for technology and information increases. To support this level of network traffic reliably, it is essential to use small business/light enterprise devices rather than consumer-grade devices. Bravo AV will guide you through your network design to ensure it meets your needs.

Hybrid Wired and Wireless Networks

  • Wired Connections: Faster, more secure, and less prone to interference. Ideal for:

  • Known computer locations

  • Network printers

  • Other computer peripherals

  • AV equipment for streaming audio/video


  • Wireless Connections: Provided throughout the house for easy, reliable, and speedy connectivity.

Installation Approach

  • CAT 6 Lines: Used for all TVs, Blu-ray players, Apple TVs, AV receivers, and networked power management devices.

  • Local Switch: Connects all AV gear within the same cabinet or rack.

  • Network Design: Robust small business grade networks designed for today's needs with room for future demands.


Bravo AV Computer Networking Capabilities

Bravo AV stands ready to handle all of your home/business computer network needs. Our services include:

  • Physical Wiring: See www.BravoAV.com and our papers on “Bravo AV Structured Wiring Approach” and “Classifications of Low Voltage Wiring.”

  • Setup and Configuration: Modem, router, firewall, switch, WAPS, PC, printer, etc.

  • Data Backup

  • Wireless Network Configuration

  • Network Security


Benefits of Networking

Every modern home needs a robust computer network. A network is two or more computers or devices linked together, allowing them to connect to the Internet, communicate, and share resources.


Network Classifications

  • Client Server

  • Peer-to-Peer

  • Wired vs. Wireless

  • LAN vs. WAN

Most home networks are peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, where all PCs communicate and share resources as equals.


Protecting Your Network

Several features in the Bravo AV network design can be customized to meet your specific needs.


Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)

VPNs enable secure, encrypted communication over the Internet between devices on your network. Commonly used by businesses and home offices for secure remote access.


Appendix

Appendix A: Network Diagram

  1. Change the Default Password: Factory-set passwords are well-known to hackers. Create a unique, hard-to-guess password.

  2. Change the Default SSID: Factory-set SSIDs are also well-known. Change it to something unique and update it regularly.

  3. Enable WPA Encryption: Use WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) for more secure data transmission.

  4. Disable SSID Broadcast: Prevents your network from being easily discovered by hackers.

  5. Enable MAC Address Filtering: Limits network access to specified devices.

Appendix B: How to Secure Your Wireless Network

Five essential security measures:

  1. Change the Default Password

  2. Change the Default SSID

  3. Enable WPA Encryption

  4. Disable SSID Broadcast

  5. Enable MAC Address Filtering


Appendix C: Wireless Protocols & Data Speeds

Wireless Security Protocols

  • WEP: Outdated and typically not used.

  • WPA: Uses a pre-shared key (PSK) and TKIP for encryption.

  • WPA2: Uses AES for encryption, approved for top-secret information.


Wireless Network Protocols

  • 802.11g: 2.4GHz, 19-54 Mb/s, range: 50-125 feet

  • 802.11n: 5GHz/2.4GHz, 74-300 Mb/s, range: 75-230 feet

  • 802.11ac: 5GHz/2.4GHz, 150-1300 Mb/s, range: 35-250 feet

  • 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6): 5GHz/2.4GHz, up to 9.6 Gbps, range: 35-200 feet


Appendix D: Terminology

LAN: Local Area Network, useful for sharing resources like files, printers, and applications within a small area.

WLAN: Wireless Local Area Network, extends an existing wired network using radio frequencies.

WAN: Wide Area Network, spans large geographic areas, often connecting multiple smaller networks.

VPN: Virtual Private Network, a secure connection between two computers over the internet.

ISP: Internet Service Provider, provides internet access.

Network Protocols: Standards and rules for data transmission over the network, such as TCP/IP.


Network Hardware

  • Network Adapter: Connects computers to the network.

  • Modem: Provides connectivity between the ISP and the user.

  • Router: Manages data routing and network traffic.

  • Firewall: Protects the network from external threats.

  • Network Switch: Connects multiple devices within a LAN.



Continue learning with our Comprehensive Guides on Network and Wi-Fi Solutions:



Contact 

Bravo AV 80 Morristown Rd.

Bernardsville, NJ 07924

Tel. (908) 953-0555


Tom Curnin, the owner of Bravo AV, is a CEDIA Professional Designer, a certified THX Level 1 home theater professional, and a member of the Home Acoustic Alliance trained to Level II. You can contact Tom directly at (908) 953-0555 or through email at Tom@BravoAV.com.


Last updated July 13, 2024

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