Part of a growing trend in home networks, multi-gig switches are poised to supercharge the home network of the future.
Multi-gig switches aren’t just for SMB and enterprise networks anymore. More and more homeowners are enjoying the faster speeds, higher bandwidth, and greater reliability of multi-gig switches throughout the house. Many ISPs now offer 1Gbps speeds (and even 2Gbps speeds like Google Fiber) to handle high density home networks more efficiently. As ISPs upgrade modems and routers compatible with these speeds, consumers are purchasing their own multi-gig switches to supplement their network infrastructure and hardwire even more devices to the home network.
Many new homes come with Ethernet outlets in nearly every room, while owners of older homes are hardwiring their homes for more dependable connectivity. These homeowners will still use Wi-Fi, but their networks will perform better with wired switch technology.
Moreover, some advances in network technology—which have been sluggish over the past two decades—have accelerated as people adjust to changes brought by the pandemic. More employees are working from home and more students learning online than ever before. Entertainment and media systems are growing and demanding more bandwidth and generating more user data as well.
The smart home of the future will be bursting with a multitude of connected devices and IoT gadgets, requiring a network that can deliver speed and consistency to everyone no matter where they are. Multi-gig switches are a key component to a fast, reliable smart home network.
Making Smart Homes Smarter
Home networks will continue to grow larger and more complex as the quality and quantity of devices increase. The smart home of the future will make each room a little “extension” of the network equipped with reliable connections for a variety of tasks. As long as the house is equipped with CAT5e or CAT6 cable, no cable needs to be rerun to take advantage of faster speeds.
Home office: While 30% of employees worked from home pre-pandemic, nearly half (48%) of employees now work from home and will continue for the near future. Businesses are realizing the benefits in lower overhead and to employees in reduced commute time and lower stress. Some experts predict that 73 percent of all businesses will have remote workers by 2028. This means the home office will need to function with as much efficiency as a regular office. Computers, printers, and other office equipment will need fast, uninterrupted connectivity, especially to mitigate teleconferencing and large file downloads.
Home classroom: Although K-12 students have been forced to take classes online, eventually they will all find their way back to the classroom. However, there is a growing shift in the way college degrees are earned. Massive open online course platforms like Coursera and FutureLearn allow students to access online courses and even complete entire undergraduate and graduate degree programs from many colleges like Princeton University, University of Illinois, and Georgia Tech. This trend will continue to grow as more institutions of higher learning tap into this new source of revenue. For online learners, reliable internet is essential.
Home Theater and Entertainment Center: The Wall Street Journal reported in early 2020 that the number of subscriptions to online video streaming services reached 1.1 billion worldwide—a 26 percent increase over 2019—while box office revenue plummeted by $30 billion. Clearly, the pandemic played a big role in this shift. But innovations in home theater might very well continue to make box office theaters nearly obsolete as super-expensive micro LED and 8K technology become more mainstream and affordable over the next several years. Enthusiasts want to recreate the big theater experience in their own homes with big screen TVs, gaming consoles (PS5, Xbox, online games), surround sound, AV receivers, and network attached storage (NAS) devices for storing and accessing media. With devices like these, home entertainment can be a massive bandwidth hog. For gaming and streaming, nothing beats a wired connection.
Home Security System: One of the most important home network components that can benefit greatly from a wired connection is the home security system. Running security cameras and network video recorders (NVRs) with 4K video streams requires a tremendous amount of bandwidth while security cameras recording 24/7 can take an even greater toll on network speed. (Incidentally, NVRs come already equipped with an Ethernet port.) Ethernet outperforms Wi-Fi in supporting this kind of functionality with its faster speeds and lower latency.
Smart Home Features: The ready availability of materials from stores like Home Depot, Lowes, and Best Buy has made the installation of smart home features much easier. Connected door locks, smart lighting, and remote monitoring are more of a reality today. Access points or mesh dots can distribute Wi-Fi more evenly throughout a large, multi-story house. Equally important is telemedicine technology for older or ill residents that deliver critical sensor data and video to medical professionals. A fast, reliable connection becomes especially important when time is of the essence.
Making High-Speed Multi-Gig Switches an Essential Home Network Component
The key objective in adopting multi-gig switches is to futureproof home networks. Bandwidth needs will continue to grow year over year, placing a heavy burden on network infrastructure. A home that has all the Ethernet wiring installed can not only make life easier now but increase home value and attract buyers later.
Wired LANs deliver faster speeds. While overall internet speeds depend on the quality of the ISP, downloading, transferring, and accessing files through the home network using a 2.5G switch is considerably faster than wireless or 1G. As you would expect, the 2.5G switch can more than double the download speed. Moreover, Wi-Fi 6E is coming soon and will offer wireless speeds in excess of 1G so that multi-gig speeds will become standard.
With a wired connection, there is little to no interference since the network isn’t bogged down by unexpected and unnecessary traffic. Wi-Fi suffers notoriously from interference from walls, objects, other electrical devices, and even your neighbor’s Wi-Fi network.
Furthermore, routers and modems from an ISP could have a limited number of ports, so adding an 8-port switch gives more options at a higher speed.
Lastly, it is harder to hack a wired connection than a wireless. Since more and more consumers are purchasing NAS devices rather than depending on cloud storage options that cost money every month, this added level of security can be especially appealing.
No matter how consumers get them, multi-gigabit switches are the wave of the future. The proverbial power strip for home internet, switches are proving more than capable of handling the speed and power requirements of the latest home network technology.
BPS Customs talks to Tek Wendell about the awesomeness of home network switches. Check it out!