evolution of home networking

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by jpyc7, Mar 10, 2010.

  1. jpyc7 macrumors 6502

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    #1
    Do you think we'll get products that will be "easy enough" for people to have more complicated home networks?

    I think it's typical to have one machine connected to the Internet which is a modem of some sort (DSL, cable). That modem typically is itself a router or is connected to a single router. Yet I was reading a thread in the Peripherals forum about someone who wanted to connect a second router. I think the rationale was to provide some sort of better wireless access. It was recommended that the second router be put into a bridging mode.

    With non-consumer routers, the solution could have been the use of a routing protocol (e.g. IS-IS, OSPF, RIPv2). This is not an "easy enough" solution and most people are therefore limited to only one TCP/IP subnet inside their house. One hears about IPv6 and how more home machines (like refrigerators or washing machines) will have IP connectivity. I don't know much about IPv6, but it seems like network equipment vendors have got to figure out how to make this sort of networking "easy enough" for non-technical people.

    What do you think that evolution will be like or are there current industry efforts that I could learn about?

    Thanks.
     
  2. pdjudd macrumors 601

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    #2
    Thats a really complicated question. Networking works now because we have standards that people agree upon. That creates a lot of entropy and the trickle down affect can take alot of time. Right now lots of network technologies are difficult to understand because of the inherent complexities of networking in general.

    Most routers nowadays come with Installation discs that pretty much covers most of what people need in a household environments. It’s the advanced tools that are tricky. Apple’s routers are really easy to do things, but manufactures only agree on the underlying technology. Making things easy on a large scale is not easy when you have people that depend on their own front end interfaces.

    Another problem is that networking is not a “one size fits all” type of approach. People’s requirements and needs are going to vary greatly and require different solutions - solutions that are based on scenarios that we don’t have predictability. Not to mention that all home networks are going to be hampered by ISP’s who are very resistive to anything beyond simple networks.

    Networking is very much of an infrastructure problem - changes are hard to come by and they are never simple. It isn’t like computers that can be readily replaced. Most networks do not get overhauled on the home front unless you are prepared for a lot of work.
     
  3. belvdr macrumors 603

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    #3
    If the thread you are referring to is discussing extending the wireless signal, then routing has nothing to do with it. In the enterprise, if someone asks for a better wireless signal, we deploy access points, not routers. Routers are meant to route, not provide wireless. The consumer models build this into one unit, so the consumer buys the product and has everything at their disposal.

    IPv6 isn't going to help matters for most private subnets. Subnetting down a 10.x.y.z address space can get you over 16 million addresses, which is likely enough for most organizations. If you need more, then use some of the other RFC 1918 addresses.
     
  4. jpyc7 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #4
    My point isn't so much that the particular example should or can use routing, as much as that routing and subnets is too complex to setup without studying its concepts. People don't generally know if they should even have subnets. I only have a vague understanding of VLANs (layer 2 segregation) vs. IP subnets (layer 3 segregation).

    Non-tech people might not be able to articulate what they need in their network but will say that they want to stream video in their home. A tech person ought to set up some sort of reserved bandwidth dynamic connection for that purpose. Then if someone in the house is doing VOIP, he/she might need to get higher priority for that, etc. All these things seem tough to do correctly without a lot of technical knowledge.

    So will the network equipment vendors find a way to simplify network configuration or will non-tech people have to hire "network installers"? Are there other alternatives I'm missing?
     
  5. pdjudd macrumors 601

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    #5
    I think that is only going to be a problem if people are going to effectively run small networks like corporations do in their houses - most ISP's don't allow for that sort of things on consumer internet plans. Thats a big limitation on how sophisticated home networking gets.

    Most people do not require sophisticated networking solutions like corporations do. The necessity for complexity is not required. I don't see a case for it needing to be at home unless your requirements are somewhat out of the norm.

    Most networking is infrastructure based. That doesn't change much for most people. Things don't need to be complex for most people if you start from the right needs in mind.
     
  6. belvdr macrumors 603

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    #6
    Everyone has a subnet defined, usually the default on the equipment. I find it very rare (maybe even nonexistent) where an average consumer who needs to stream and utilize VoIP needs to do anything on their home network.

    As pdjudd so eloquently stated, there are restrictions at the ISP level, and likely restrictions on how fast your Internet service is.

    I still don't see why they need to implement this. Setting up VLANs, routing protocols, and QoS is not something generally needed by the public at this time.
     
  7. pdjudd macrumors 601

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    #7
    Just to add to this, if you have those needs, chances are hiring out the support is not going to be a problem for you anyway. It's not meant to be plug and play simple.

    Even if they do, that still doesn't imply that home networks need to get to the kind complexity that the OP worries about. Complex networks get that way the more specialized things get. Most consumer hardware makers are not going to sell products that way - they are going to adapt to models that consumers already have.

    You don't rip up the roads every time new cars come out - the cars that we have today and tomorrow are designed to operate with what we have now that works. We only re-invent the wheel when the current solutions are impractical.
     
  8. pilotError macrumors 68020

    pilotError

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    #8
    There's a bunch of really cool solutions coming out.

    Things like this Power Line Extender are simple enough for most.
     
  9. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    #9
    The technology certainly exists, although in bits and pieces. Home networks have certainly come a LONG way since I first started. I remember buying network cards for my PCs, installing them, setting up the appropriate IRQs, installing device drivers, then wiring up BNC cable in a daisy-chain (10Base2 ethernet). You couldn't forget to install terminators on the ends of the cable, or the network wouldn't work. Much headache and frustration!

    Bonjour (formerly Rendezvous, known by a few other names) is also very nice. I installed a networked laser printer once and it was the easiest thing in the world (well, at least on the Mac side!) The Mac literally knew all about the printer as soon as I plugged it in.

    I've been playing with a networked audio player system called Sonos, which uses its own proprietary Wifi mesh network. You plug your first unit into the network, and then you add more units as needed around your house and the rest talk to each other over the wireless network. They pretty much configure themselves. Plus, each unit is a repeater, so the more units you have, the better the signal is everywhere. Now, theirs is proprietary, but I believe WDS is similar, and all it would take is for someone to popularize devices that are "plug it in and go".
     
  10. Bossone macrumors member

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    #10
    Are you happy with your Sonos?
     
  11. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    #11
    At the risk of taking this thread a bit off topic: yes, but I only have one box so far so I haven't had the pleasure of trying the Wifi mesh network or for that matter the cute touch screen controller.
     
  12. MTI macrumors 65816

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    #12
    Perhaps one day, it will be as easy as it was with AppleTalk . . . :D
     

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