The Replacement of Cat-5 Wire with Wireless Routers in the Home
By Mark J. Donovan
||It wasn’t that long ago that when you went shopping for a new home real estate agents and home builders would hype a home as wired for cable and the internet. More specifically, they were hyping the fact that the home had cable wire for television service and Category 5 (Cat-5) wire for internet connections strung throughout the home in the various bedrooms, kitchen and den areas. Both the cable and the Cat-5 wire typically terminated in a basement or utility closet where a cable modem and an Ethernet hub could reside if you were so moved to install them.
Cat-5 wire is a unique type of wiring that is slightly different than standard telephone wiring. Cat-5 wire is constructed with four wire pairs that are sheathed into one bundle.
Cat-5 wire is used for interconnecting a network of computers, printers, and other computer peripherals throughout a house that ultimately tie into an Ethernet hub. The Ethernet hub then connects to a modem that brings internet into the home, typically through a cable internet service.
Wireless routers provide high bandwidth internet access from a cable modem to any wired computer or computer peripheral in a home. Only for the discriminating homeowner interested in having very high speed internet for such applications as high definition video streaming is a wired home of true value. With the vast majority of today’s consumers of the internet, however, a wireless router connection to their computer is adequate. Not to mention, wireless services only continue to get better and faster.
The wireless communication protocol that interconnects the WMA and the wireless Router is referred to as Wireless-N (802.11n). Wireless Media Adapters include a remote control, and have user-friendly menus that are displayed on a television for easy viewing and control. The Media Adapters can support a variety of formats including; JPEG, GIF, TIF, and BMP. In addition, the remote control unit can also be used for browsing MP3 or WMA formatted music or video libraries. The cost for a Wireless Media Adapter is around $50, or half of what it use to be only several years ago. Residential wireless routers range in price from $50 to $100.
To conclude, yes there is still a benefit for having Cat-5 wire installed in the home. However, that benefit continues to decline as wireless router connections speeds increase and video compression techniques improve. So today if you hear a real estate agent or home builder pumping a home as Cat-5 wired, appreciate the fact but don’t let it play very heavily into your decision to buy the home.
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