Audio/Video, Hardware

A Blurring of the Lines

When I first entered the IT world there was a huge gap between what you would see in an office environment and what you would see in a home. But then again this was the early to late 80s and the PC craze was not in full swing just yet.

Now we see something new and incredible in the IT world, we see a blurring of the lines that formerly divided the home and the office. What was once considered uniquely enterprise is finding its way to the home. While this is nothing new in itself, what is new is that nothing is being developed to take the place of the trickled down technology. Take Gigabit networking, it was not that long ago at all that to get 1000 Megabits of network speed you had to shell out hundreds of dollars on fiber, NICs [Network Interface Cards], Switches, and Lines. This was simply impractical in a home environment. Now we have Gigabit over Cat5e or Cat6 copper cabling. The same can be said for internet communications as home broadband speeds ramp up and get less expensive, we see home networks with bandwidths to rival some small and medium sized businesses.

But that is only the tip of the iceberg. While I was researching a review on a 24-Port Gigabit switch I noticed several places where the technology in the obviously enterprise piece of hardware would fit into a home today. IGMP [Internet Group Multicast Protocol] is a perfect example, this handy feature can improve performance to a network by keeping a routing table of multicast servers, such as media center servers [just like the one found in Windows Home Server] and make them available for people looking for those services. It clears up all the multicast traffic on the network. With all of the consoles that push out media extender and media information in Multicast packets, this would be great to see in the home product.

And that brings me to the next topic. Windows Home Server, a server for the average home: this new software was designed due to consumer demand. So many people stream movies, TV, pictures, music over their home networks that Microsoft decided to give them a familiar tool to house all of this. Additionally, it provides a multitude of other services such as scheduled backups.

Power over Ethernet is the next big one to move into the home. Looking around you can actually get an 8 port PoE [Power over Ethernet] 10/100 switch for under $100 this is a perfect tool for home security cameras, and other small network appliances that are becoming a staple of the modern “digital home”.

The future is looking to be less of an "Us and Them" type of IT environment and more of an US-IT world.
As this evolves we at BSN* will be keeping an eye out and letting you know about each new step into the new era of the total Digital Home.