• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL

Chapter 3. Choosing the Best Network Typ... > Wired or Wireless? That Is the Quest...

Wired or Wireless? That Is the Question

The previous chapter introduced some of the differences between wired and wireless networks. You learned that both types of networks function in a similar manner and that each offers certain advantages. Now it's time to decide if your home network will primarily use cables or radio waves.

Figure 3-1 shows a typical layout for a wired home network. Each device on the network is connected to a switch or router by way of a cable.

Figure 3-1. Every Device on a Wired Network Must Have a Cable Connecting It to the Network

Figure 3-2 shows how a typical wireless network compares to the wired network. Notice that the freedom from that jumble of cables can cause some nasty surprises if you aren't careful. Your neighbor (or a wandering hacker) might become a benefactor of the time and money you've put into your wireless home network. See Chapter 7, “Making Your Network Secure: Locking the Network's Door,” for more information on how to prevent these nasty surprises.

Figure 3-2. Wireless Networks Don't Need Cables, but You Do Need to Control Who Can Access Them

So how do you decide which type of network is best for your home? The best method might be to consider the following points

  • If you simply can't stand the idea of any more wires hanging off the backs of your PCs, go wireless.

  • If you intend to deliver streaming video to your home entertainment system, a wired network is likely to provide higher-quality pictures and sound.

  • If you want the freedom to sit outside on your patio while surfing the Internet on your laptop, go wireless.

  • If you aren't comfortable learning how to configure the more detailed security options that wireless entails, you should probably avoid installing a wireless network or find an experienced friend or family member to help you.

  • If you're willing to trade a little bit of performance and cost for a bunch of convenience, a wireless network might be for you.

The choice between wired and wireless networks is not necessarily an either/or option; you can have some of both if you're willing to put up with just a little extra complication.

You can probably think of a number of other reasons why a wired or a wireless network is your best option. Whatever you decide, remember that sometimes it's best to simply make a choice and get on with it instead of fretting over every possible minor issue. You should do your homework to make certain that the equipment you choose will be compatible with your PCs, but that's not a difficult task given the advice you find in this book, through online sources, or even in one of the popular computer magazines.

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint