Networking

Networking

What is networking?

Networking allows multiple nodes such as computers, mobile phone, printers or even NAS units to connect and exchange data. The links are established utilising either a cabled or wireless (WIFI) connection standard and instead of allowing only one device access, a network allows multiple devices to share the available connected resources.

Overclockers UK sells a wide variety of networking hardware and accessories enabling you to create your perfect home network whatever your requirements.

Basic overview of common network devices:

Router

Routers

The brain of home networking is called a router and you will likely of received a basic modem router from your Internet provider as part of your broadband package. The router literally routes and prioritises data - simply and efficiently routing data packets between nodes. In the modern home, networking is now common place without you even knowing it - Being used by everything from your PC to your security cameras and smart home devices. Today’s routers utilise both WIFI and wired Ethernet connections allowing you to connect a variety of devices.

Powerline Adaptor

Powerline / Home plugs

These small devices utilise your homes electrical wiring as the cabling for your network. Turning any electrical socket into a potential connection point for networking or internet connectivity.

Access Point

Access points / Bridges

Access points and bridges essentially extend the range of a WIFI connection with some units having a Ethernet port built in allowing older non wireless devices access to your high speed network.

network adaptor

Wireless Network Adaptor / Wired network Adaptor

Need to connect your pc or laptop to the internet/home network? You need a wireless or wired network adaptor. Most PCs have a wired adaptor as standard built into the motherboard but will likely need a wireless adaptor. Most gaming laptops have both options available.

The adaptors come in 2 forms – Internal and external with the external models connecting via USB.

Network Switch

network Switch

When you run out of Ethernet connections on your router you can use a network switch, expanding the amount of devices you can connect to your network.

NAS

NAS

Network attached storage devices are exactly what they sound like – storage that is attached to the network. NAS units allows many devices to access the data or save to a centralised storage location.

Smart Home

Smart Home

Turn you home into a modern marvel by adding smart home devices. Control everything from lighting to electrical sockets using nothing but a smart phone or connected assistant such as the Amazon Alexa. These devices either connect directly to your router or a master hub which in turn connects to your network.

Network standards

There are many different Network standards so we have included them below in a easy to understand list. This will help you understand what you are buying and why certain standards are better than others.

WIFI Logo

WIFI – Wireless connection

  • 802.11: Supporting a maximum bandwidth of only 2Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band. Due to the unregulated frequency, equipment using this standard can incur a lot of interference from household appliances such as microwaves, and cordless phones.
  • 802.11b: Utilising the same 2.4Ghz frequency but hitting a much higher bandwidth of 11Mbps. Devices using this standard are general low cost and not designed for performance use due to the relatively slow speeds and potential interference. The upside to the frequency is the great range and the signal is not easily obstructed.
  • 802.11a: Created at the same time as the 802.11b variant but due to its higher cost and shorter signal range it was generally utilised on business grade equipment. Supporting bandwidth upto 54Mbps and operating around the 5GHz regulated band meaning much less interference but poor penetrating performance. Due to the different bands utilised 802.11a/b are incompatible. To overcome this some manufacturer’s offer a hybrid allowing the use of one or the other depending on what devices were connected.
  • 802.11g: Very similar to the 802.11b standard and additionally backwards compatible with it but operating at a much faster 54Mbps. This means 802.11g has a great signal range, it’s not easily obstructed and performs well. The downside - Appliances may interfere due to its operation on the 2.4 GHz band.
  • 802.11n: Known as Wireless N, 802.11n was designed to improve on 802.11g standard. Utilising multiple antennas (MIMO) instead of one and providing upto 300Mbps of network bandwidth. It offers amazing speed, great signal range and is resistant to external interference. The only downside is that it may interfere with nearby 802.11b/g networks due to its use of multiple antennas.
  • 802.11ac: Backwards compatible with 802.11b/g/n and utilising dual band technologies, allowing simultaneous connections to both 2.4GHz and 5 GHz bands. This is the current best wireless standard and offers a bandwidth of upto 1300Mbps on the 5Ghz band and upto 450 Mbps on the 2.4Ghz.

Ethernet – Wired connection

Ethernet Cable

Many people ask us what Ethernet cable do I need? The answer is – It depends on what you plan to do with your network. We would generally recommend a Cat 5e which gives you lots of headroom without breaking the bank but ideally buy what you can afford. Take a look at the table below for an idea of what speeds you can expect from each type of cable.

Ethernet cable standards

 Cable TypeMax Data Transmission SpeedMaximum Bandwidth
Cat 3 UTP 10 Mbps 16MHz
Cat 5 UTP 10/100 Mbps 100MHz
Cat5 e UTP 1000 Mbps 100MHz
Cat 6 UTP or STP 1000 Mbps 250MHz
Cat 6a STP 10,000 Mbps 500MHz
Cat 7 SSTP 10,000 Mbps 600MHz

 

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