Having a home that can give help you with chores or by giving you instant information has been a sci fi dream for a century. The concept shows up over and over in movies and TV shows such as Star Trek. We are finally living in an era where those dreams are finally possible the connected home is here.
Whether you are building new construction, remodeling or just doing some upgrades, here are some possibilities and considerations that you should keep in mind.
Wireless internet does not always give you the fastest transfer speeds. If you have a desk or someplace you sit to do work at home, on a desktop or laptop computer, you may want to use Ethernet wiring. Ethernet wire, also known as CAT5 cable, has a very high transfer speed and is the gold standard for speed in offices everywhere. It can be bought in standard length cables or in rolls, which are usually used by contractors. With simple tools, like a crimper, and a bit of basic knowledge, you can make your own custom lengths. You could hide it within a wall and make outlets, or run it through conduits.
Even if you do have ultra fast wired internet, you are going also want wireless networking. This will be essential to connected items ranging from laptops, smartphones and tablets, to connected devices like refrigerators, security systems and more. It is best to buy one that has the fastest level of speed, but one that is backwards compatible with devices that are not capable of connecting to the newer technology. This will be necessary for devices such as the Alexa home assistant.
If you want to share files, such as movies and music across devices, you could set up your own personal cloud server. What used to take a network administrator to set up now can be had in a single small box, that any layman can set up and use. You can even access it from outside the home, like a personal web server.
If you live in a rural area with poor cell phone coverage you may want to get a cell booster from a company like Verizon. You can get a box for your house that increases the signal strength. It is also helpful if you live in a building made with a lot of cement.
The “internet of things” is the term used for all those new connected devices. Each of these has its own software and interface, but will share the general house wifi. Some of your choices include the Nest thermostats, or a smart fridge. Stay tuned for new devices coming every day.