Category Archives: Residential

Is Your Home’s Network Infrastructure In Order?

Covid-19 has forced us all to spend most of our time at home. Whether working, going to school or entertaining ourselves, chances are that you will be doing all or most of these at home for some time to come.

We have already heard on the news the disparities of broadband coverage in some areas of the country and while we do live in a strong broadband area in the DMV, that doesn’t mean you are not subject to networking problems.

While your Internet may have been fast before, it may now be slowing down due to all the people in your home using it at the same time. In addition, the broadband coming into your home slows down from the Internet provider during times of the day when usage is very high, something you can’t do anything about at all.

That’s why you need to have the strongest internal network possible. “Products do not create a strong network infrastructure, designing a custom infrastructure for your home is the best solution” says Lew. Lew’s been creating residential networks for more than 17 years now and while he may use a certain line of products to create the network, he has found that no two homes are alike in what will work. One home may need nothing more than additional hard wiring, while another home may need multiple WIFI access points. Most require a combination of hard wiring and network expansion via access points and in some cases even extenders.

There is a huge waste of time and money spent on products that don’t fit the infrastructure and they can even cause more trouble by confusing the network you already have in place.

This virus isn’t going away anytime soon and even after there is a vaccine, many businesses will still be asking some of their employees to work from home either temporarily or for the long haul. Colleges have added more online classes, so don’t be surprised if they keep these going to help reduce the cost of education for those who can’t afford the room and board college experience. Even our school system may make changes that include more online learning.

That means you need to get your home’s networking infrastructure in order.

Things DO break

We all face frustration with technology. We hate it when something stops working for no apparent reason. Sometimes with electronics it can be a simple power reset to make the problem go away. But sometimes there are actual major problems that need to be fixed. Here are a few items we run into on a regular basis.

Poor installation practices. Sometimes people just don’t care. This customer was experiencing intermittent outages. The cause was buried in this rat’s nest of cables. Stability returned to the network once corrected.

 

This is what happens when something does not fit quite right. Inside the wall jacks are tiny metal fingers that make contact with the connector on the cable. If the wrong connector type is inserted into the jack or if a connector is forced into the jack this can happen.

 

Never underestimate critters. This is a section of outdoor cable that an animal took a liking to. This was most likely a mouse or squirrel that developed a taste for plastic and wire braid.

 

Ring’s new Video Doorbells & Chimes

Ring now has a Video Doorbell 3 and 3 Plus, as well as a Pre-Roll feature, which captures the 4 seconds before motion is detected to help users see what triggered a motion alert.

The new “near zone” detects motion within 5-15 feet of the front door. You can also exclude areas that you consider to be privacy zones. As the others did, you can still turn off video or audio recording for an extra layer of privacy at any time.

Plus users can utilize Alexa to communicate through Ring with whomever is at the door. Ring can be integrated to their smart cameras and their Smart Lighting systems.

The Chime Pro includes a built-in nightlight and Wi-Fi extender. Features from the earlier Rings are still incorporated into the 3 model.

Why Your Single Router Isn’t Enough

A single router will not handle the requirements of today’s household. There are far too many devices contending for the “airtime” that a legacy single router provides. To add insult to injury, the wireless signal is usually not strong enough to provide a stable signal throughout a sizable house.

The fix is typically a combination of 2 things. One: Using an Ethernet connection to hardwiring devices that do not move, i.e. Smart TVs, game consoles, PCs and Laptop docking stations that are used at a desk. Two: deploying multiple access points (the radio transmitter/receiver for Wi-Fi) around the house to provide stable wireless connectivity for devices that move like phones, laptops, etc. The access points are hardwired back to the router, not a wireless mesh network. Wireless mesh networks do not work as well as advertised.

Internet speed is usually not an issue. Personally we have run our house for years on 75mbs. That speed covers our business needs, streaming services, kids gaming and more. Today’s home network has to be designed and engineered like a business system to work well.

Outdoor speakers

As the weather starts to warm up, we will be spending more time outdoors. Sitting back and listening to some tunes is relaxing as well as fun. Take a look at some of your options.

Mounted speakers: There are a variety of speakers that can be attached to the house or porch. These speakers are weatherproof and come on a swivel mount to direct the sound down. Our preference on the high end is Bose 251 Wall Mount Outdoor Environmental Speakers and for a mid-range speaker the Polk Atrium 5 series.

Rock speakers: For those who want to hide their sound in the garden, rock speakers or environmental speakers are very popular. The Niles Audio rock speaker delivers years of worry free use in all types of weather conditions and sounds fabulous. Another style of garden speaker (and Lew’s personal favorite) is the Bose Free Space Environmental Speaker. This speaker is buried about 2/3 of its height into the garden and provides a rich warm sound to any patio, pool or garden setting.

Planter speakers: The only planter style speaker that is worth purchasing is the Niles Audio speaker in either terracotta or weathered concrete. Niles knows what they are doing to ensure this is a quality speaker that looks good and will last.

Other speakers: In addition to the above, there isn’t much you can’t do with outdoor speakers. Several manufacturers make an in ground speaker system that is scalable and designed for flower beds and around the yard.

Sophisticated, elegant and powerful, today’s outdoor audio is capable of delivering state-of-the-art performance.

*Product recommendations are solely the view of H&ONS. We are not receiving compensation from any manufacturer when we mention product types in this article.