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HOME SERVERS

Instead of using a modem or a set-top box to receive and process broadband applications, some companies are promoting the use of powerful home servers to take responsibility for these services. The server is used to connect an in-home network to the high-speed Internet connection. It handles the automatic configuration of devices that are plugged in to a home network. Most of the servers currently available on the marketplace are either based on PowerPC or Intel processors. The gateway interfaces with a high-speed modem through a standard Ethernet port and to the home network through its port that is specific to the in-home transmission medium (i.e., phone wires, powerline, wireless, or one of the serial technologies). Also included with most home servers is a suite of software programs to support the following capabilities: IP address sharing, automatic IP configuration, Web presence, and home information database. The home networking software suite normally includes the following components:

  • Network Address Translation (NAT)— NAT enables all the devices on a home network to share a single IP address provided by an ISP. The NAT program makes all the necessary address translations. In addition, NAT provides inbound access security so that access to appliances within a home can be controlled.

  • DHCP server— DHCP is short for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol. It is a standard method for computers to automatically configure all network settings. DHCP is covered in Chapter 10.

  • Micro-Web server— This server program provides a point of presence on the Web for such things as remote management and administration.


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