Home Networking A Comparison of Modern Technologies

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Home Networking A Comparison of Modern Technologies

  1. 1. Home Networking A Comparison of Modern Technologies Kevin W. Spurling University of Maryland – European Division INSS 690 TERM I, 2001/2002 September 15, 2001
  2. 2. Table of Contents Abstract ........................................................................................................................................... 1 Introduction .................................................................................................................................... 2 Wired Home Network Technologies.............................................................................................. 4 Ethernet...................................................................................................................................... 4 What is Ethernet? .................................................................................................................... 4 How does Ethernet work? ....................................................................................................... 4 Components/Costs/Suppliers .................................................................................................. 4 How secure is Ethernet home networking?............................................................................. 5 What are the advantages and disadvantages of Ethernet?....................................................... 5 HomePNA .................................................................................................................................. 7 What is HomePNA? ................................................................................................................ 7 How does HomePNA work? ................................................................................................... 7 Components/Costs/Suppliers .................................................................................................. 7 How secure is HomePNA home networking?......................................................................... 8 What are the advantages and disadvantages to HomePNA?................................................... 8 HomePlug................................................................................................................................. 10 What is HomePlug?............................................................................................................... 10 How does HomePlug work?.................................................................................................. 10 Components/Costs/Suppliers ................................................................................................ 10 How secure is HomePlug home networking? ....................................................................... 11 What are the advantages and disadvantages to HomePlug? ................................................. 11 Wireless Home Network Technologies........................................................................................ 13 Wi-Fi (802.11b) ........................................................................................................................ 13 What is Wi-Fi? ...................................................................................................................... 13 How does Wi-Fi work? ......................................................................................................... 13 Components/Costs/Suppliers ................................................................................................ 13 How secure is Wi-Fi home networking?............................................................................... 14 What are the advantages and disadvantages of Wi-Fi?......................................................... 15 HomeRF ................................................................................................................................... 16 What is HomeRF? ................................................................................................................. 16 How does HomeRF work? .................................................................................................... 16 Components/Costs/Suppliers ................................................................................................ 16 How secure is HomeRF?....................................................................................................... 17 What are the advantages and disadvantages of HomeRF?.................................................... 18 Future of Home Networking........................................................................................................ 19 Acronyms ...................................................................................................................................... 21 Annotated Bibliography ............................................................................................................... 22 Contact Information..................................................................................................................... 25 i
  3. 3. Abstract The convergence of multi-computer homes, cheaper and easier to install components and broadband Internet access and services will be the driving factors in the growth of home networks. As of July 1999, 18 million homes contained more than one computer and 5% had some type of home network. A total of 17 million homes were interested in the idea of a home network. Home networking will grow in unison with the growth of broadband services like DSL, cable and satellite and as components become easier to install and less expensive. By 2002 there are estimated to be 7.5 million broadband connections and 5.9 million home networks in the U.S., cable and DSL modems are expected to reach 28 million by 2004 and the home networking industry expects 95% growth over next four years to 10 million homes by 2003. There are two primary methods for establishing a home network: wired and wireless. Wired technologies include Ethernet, HomePNA and HomePlug. Wireless technologies are Wi- Fi and HomeRF. Many recent periodicals argue HomePNA to be the ideal home networking technology, yet closer examination of each technology’s features, components, costs, security, suppliers, advantages and disadvantages indicates this may not be the case, especially with the expansion of broadband technology and the increasing number of multi-computer homes. 1
  4. 4. Introduction The broadest definition of home networking is any technology or service that makes it possible to connect home appliances to each other or automate them (Black, 2001). According to 2wire.com (2001), a more specific definition includes linking computers, peripherals and consumer electronic devices within your home to form a connected environment. Home networking has also been described as a collection of elements that process, manage, transport, and store information, enabling the connection and integration of multiple computing, control, monitoring, and communication devices in the home (“Home Networking: Definition and Overview”, 2001). No matter how you define it, home networking has only been around a few years. According to Forrester Research in May 1998, it was estimated that by 2002, 10% of all U.S. homes would have some form of home network. This would amount to approximately 10 million households today, but research indicates there are only 1.6 million (Yankee Group, 1999). Why the slow growth? Many users see home networks as too difficult to setup and too new a technology to learn and maintain. Also, home networking has been hurt by the relatively slow growth of broadband access and quality of service and installation in the home. However, industry leaders feel now the time is right for home networking to emerge. The convergence of multi-computer homes, cheaper and easier to install components and broadband Internet access and services will be the driving factors. As of July 1999, 5% of U.S. homes have some type of home network with a total of 17 million homes interested in the idea of a home network (Park Associates, 1999). Multi-Computer Homes Yankee Group, 1999 (“Home Networking: Definition and Overview”, 2001) Number of Personal Number of Households Percent of U.S. Homes Computers (Millions) (98 million households) One 43.1 44% Two 9.4 10% Three or more 3 3% As an indication that the convergence is beginning to have an effect, Cahner’s In-Stat group estimates the following sales projections for 2002 based on past sales. It is believed that home network sales will continue to climb exponentially as the market expands. ! 1999 Home Network Sales = $137M ! 2000 Home Network Sales = $281M ! 2002 Home Network Sales = >$1B Why have a home network? There are many reasons to justify implementing a home network. The list below contains a few: ! Ability to link multiple computers, printers, phones, TVs and other Internet appliances ! Sharing a broadband Internet connection ! Sharing content such as games and multimedia, plus other computer resources such as disk space ! One phone line, one modem and one printer means reduced costs ! People on different floors within a home may require Internet access ! Fast Internet access all the time on every appliance 2
  5. 5. ! Facilitate communications inside and outside the home ! Accessing more and better entertainment and information ! No waiting to use the Internet ! Connect laptops brought home from work or school to the Internet or other networks ! Distributed video ! Remote monitoring and security There are two primary methods for establishing a home network: wired and wireless. As most existing homeowners would favor no new cables versus installing new cables, wireless home networking tends to be the most preferred method among them. However, it is also the most expensive and can be unreliable at times. Wireless methods include Wi-Fi (802.11b) and HomeRF (802.11) technologies. On the other hand, wired home networking tends to be favored in newly constructed homes and is generally more reliable and has less expensive components. Wired methods include Ethernet, HomePNA and HomePlug technologies. Many recent periodicals argue HomePNA to be the ideal home networking technology, yet closer examination of each technology’s features, components, costs, security, suppliers, advantages and disadvantages indicates this may not be the case, especially with the expansion of broadband technology and the increasing number of multi-computer homes. 3
  6. 6. Wired Home Network Technologies There are three wired home network technologies in use today: Ethernet, HomePNA and HomePlug. Ethernet has been around the longest and offers some of the best support options. HomePNA and HomePlug are both relatively new, but are gaining in popularity due to the “no new wires” appeal. Each technology offers unique factors to consider for someone interested in establishing a wired home network. Ethernet What is Ethernet? Ethernet is the most popular home networking type today (Tyson, 2001). It involves transmission of data over special cabling called CAT5. This cabling is called CAT5 for its Category 5 speed rating. Ethernet networks operate at 10Mbps to 100Mbps within a range of 500 feet. They can be as simple as two computers with NICs connected with a cable or as complex as multiple routers, bridges and hubs connecting many diverse network appliances. A 1Mbps network is fine for sharing Internet connections and some printing. However, it is not preferred for large file transfers, multi-player gaming or multimedia. As demand for voice and data transmission increases, so does the bandwidth required to carry the signals. For example, DVD requires 3-8Mbps, HDTV requires 19Mbps. Ethernet uses the IEEE 802.3 and 802.5 networking standards. Some people choose to install an Ethernet network in preparation for the broadband Internet of the future. The more complex Ethernet home networks are usually installed during new home construction or remodeling projects because it is cheaper than installing cabling in an existing home. If you do not mind running cables, then Ethernet comes highly recommended. How does Ethernet work? An Ethernet network uses CAT5 cabling to carry signals between network components. It uses a protocol known as CSMA/CD. CSMA/CD allows for network devices to automatically sense the activity on the network line, transmit when the path is clear and resend a packet of data if a collision with another packet is detected (Stamper, 1999, p.201). There are components available that assist with routing data on the network. Network components are usually connected to a hub or switch that controls traffic on the network by passing along the signal. If you simply want to connect all devices on the network without regards to security or access, then you can use a peer-to-peer architecture with a hub. An Ethernet network is ideal for client/server architectures. To setup a client/server network you would need a server and a switch/router to route network traffic. Components/Costs/Suppliers Wired network products are generally less expensive than wireless home network components. Since Ethernet has been around the longest, the components tend to be the most varied and supported. To setup a home Ethernet network requires the some of the following components: Adapters Every network component will require a network adapter. Even a resource typically connected to a computer like a scanner or printer will need an adapter if it is to be used by other network 4
  7. 7. computers. The good news is that Ethernet NICs are fairly inexpensive. A 10Mbps NIC costs between $15-40 while a 10/100Mbps NIC costs between $25-50. Cabling Special cable, called CAT5, and connectors, called RJ-45, are required for routing data on along the network path. CAT5 cable is widely available and very inexpensive, costing about $0.10 per foot. Cable/DSL modem A high-speed Internet connection is preferred for implementing an Ethernet home network. Cable/DSL modems generally run about $30-50 off the shelf and some ISPs provide them free of charge with standard service contracts. Home Network Router/Hub/Firewall The home network router is required to control the routing of data between different network components (computers, printers, scanners, etc), plus components and the high-speed modem. Further, it provides a layer of protection between the Internet and a private home network. Many companies like Nexland and Linksys are developing new products that integrate a router, hub and firewall into one device. Generally, a home network router will cost between $100 and $200. An alternative to a route is the network hub. A hub contains ports for connecting components to the network. Many Cable/DSL routers come with a 4-port hub built-in. A hub purchased by itself costs between $30 and $100. Ethernet Component Cost Chart (Two Desktop Computers) Component Cost Cable/DSL Modem $30-50 CAT5 Cabling (1000 feet) $100 Router/Hub/Firewall $50-160 Ethernet Adapters (10/100Mbps) (2) $50-100 Total $230-410 How secure is Ethernet home networking? Since an Ethernet home network runs on special cabling and connectors (not via phone or electrical wiring or through the air), it is the most secure of the home network technologies. A router can be added between the high-speed modem and the network to “hide” it from the outside Internet. Many home network routers incorporate firewalls that can be configured for added security. Since the network is self-contained, a person would need to physically connect to it in order to get any information. Even with added protection from the Internet, virus software is recommended and an operating system that supports 128-bit encryption. What are the advantages and disadvantages of Ethernet? Ethernets contain many advantages since they are the most prevalent network type used today in the home. However, it also has its drawbacks. Some advantages include: ! Extremely reliable ! Been around the longest 5
  8. 8. ! Many suppliers of parts and support ! Best for home offices ! Fastest of the home networking technologies (100Mbps) ! Inexpensive, if PCs are close to one another ! Components least expensive ! Tried and proven technology ! Most economical ! Easy to maintain after installation ! Unlimited device connections Some disadvantages of Ethernet home networks include: ! If there are more than two components, then requires more equipment ! Cable clutter ! Installation may be difficult ! Generally linked to new home construction ! Can be expensive to run wires and install jacks ! Setup and configuration can be difficult ! Confusing technical terminology ! Too many options during manual configuration ! Required to open the PC to install network cards 6
  9. 9. HomePNA What is HomePNA? Home Phoneline Networking Alliance or HomePNA was established in late 1999. It involves using existing telephone wires to establish a home network. HomePNA networks can transfer at speeds between 1 and 10Mbps within a range of 500 feet in a 10,000 square foot home. HomePNA sets the standards for products that use telephone wiring. HomePNA 1.0 was the first standard and transferred data at 1Mbps. It was good for printing and sharing a dial-up connection, but inefficient for streaming video, large file transfers and sharing a broadband connection. The current version, HomePNA 2.0, transfers at 10Mbps. It supports real-time gaming, printing large files and sharing a high-speed Internet connection. The earlier versions supported only PCI/ISA cards, but newer versions support USB connections. The use of HomePNA requires a phone jack near each device that will be on the network. This may seem like a problem. Yet, according to a 2000 survey sponsored by Intel, 98% of most used and 87% of 2nd most used computers in the home have a phone jack available (Freed, 2000). According to 2wire.com (2001), HomePNA will work on over 99% of existing home phone wiring. HomePNA is one of the best solutions for those not wanting to add new wires with a cost comparable to Ethernet. As an indication of the growth and popularity of HomePNA it captured more than 50% of the home network retail market during the 2000 Christmas season (PC Data, 2001). How does HomePNA work? HomePNA uses existing home phone lines to route data to other network devices like PCs and printers. The HomePNA adapter connects a network device directly into a phone jack with an RJ-11 connector and uses the available bandwidth on the line. The RJ-11 connector looks similar to the RJ-45 connector used with Ethernet networks, but the components are not compatible. RJ-11 connectors are the connectors used on most phones in the U.S. HomePNA can support phone signals, networking signals and DSL broadband signals all on the same phone line. It accomplishes this by using a technology known as FDM. FDM puts data on separate frequencies within the same wire and allocates a “chunk” of bandwidth to that signal (Tyson, 2001). This is the same method radio stations use to transmit simultaneously. HomePNA network bandwidths: ! POTS uses 15Hz – 4KHz ! xDSL uses 25KHz – 1.1MHz ! HomePNA network uses 4MHz – 10MHz Components/Costs/Suppliers There are numerous suppliers of HomePNA network components. Diamond Multimedia, D-Link, Intel, Linksys, Netgear, 3COM and SMC are just a few. Adapters for HomePNA can be either PCI or USB and many vendors offer HomePNA networking kits. Here are some of the components required for a HomePNA network: Adapters HomePNA adapters usually cost less than $100. Most kits come with atleast two NICs, an installation CD and necessary cables for $90-110. A PCI card adapter generally costs $45-55 and USB adapters cost $75-85. Adapters for the laptop run about $50. Intel and Linksys are examples of two vendors that offer these adapters. 7
  10. 10. Cable/DSL modem A high-speed Internet connection is preferred for implementing HomePNA home network. Cable/DSL modems generally run about $30-50 off the shelf and some ISPs provide them with standard service contracts. Home Network Router/Hub/Firewall The home network router is required to route data between different network components (computers, printers, scanners, etc), plus other components and the high-speed modem. It provides a layer of protection between the Internet and your private home network. Many companies like Nexland and Linksys are developing new products that integrate a router, hub and firewall into one device. Generally, a home network router will cost between $100 and $200. A hub can also be used. It contains ports for connecting components to the network. Many Cable/DSL routers come with a 4-port hub built-in. A hub purchased by itself costs between $30 and $100. HomePNA Networking Kits HomePNA networking kits vary widely in price and components. A typical kit will contain two adapters, software, cabling, supports many operating systems and is relatively easy to install. D- Link and 3COM both offer a USB networking kit. These kits cost between $110 and $195. HomePNA Component Cost Chart (Two Desktop Computers) Component Cost Cable/DSL Modem $30-50 Router/Hub/Firewall $50-160 HomePNA Adapters (2) $200 Total $280-410 How secure is HomePNA home networking? Much like an Ethernet home network, HomePNA runs on internal cabling (home phone lines) and connectors (RJ-11). A router can be added between the high-speed modem and the network to “hide” it from the outside Internet. Many home network routers incorporate firewalls that can be configured for added security. Since the network is self-contained, a person would need to physically connect to it in order to get any information. Even with added protection from the Internet, virus software is recommended and a HomePNA adapter that supports 128-bit encryption for data transfers. What are the advantages and disadvantages to HomePNA? HomePNA offers some good advantages over traditional Ethernet networks and its benefits far outweigh the costs. The major disadvantage is the need for a phone jack near every network device. This may eventually limit the use of HomePNA to certain areas of the home. Some advantages of a HomePNA network include: ! Reliability ! Standards based ! Flexible 8
  11. 11. ! Easy to setup & easy to use ! Don’t need to open the PC ! Can be setup in 30 minutes or less ! No interference with phone calls ! Good for average home users ! No slow down with Cable or DSL connections ! No new wires required ! Relatively low cost ! Can integrate with an Ethernet or HomeRF network technologies ! No hubs, CAT5 cabling, filters or splitters required ! Works with Macs and older PCs Some disadvantages of a HomePNA network include: ! Decent, but not stellar performance ! Requires an available phone jack ! Only 10Mbps ! Adapters cost more than traditional NICs ! All network devices must use the same phone line if there are multiple lines in the house ! Not portable ! Can only connect 25 devices ! 500-foot limit of wiring between devices ! Only supports printers with parallel ports 9
  12. 12. HomePlug What is HomePlug? HomePlug Powerline Alliance (HomePlug) is the youngest of the home networking technologies. It involves running a network over standard powerlines. HomePlug networks transfer data at 8-14Mbps, so it is comparable to an Ethernet network. It has the longest range of any home networking technology. It can reach up to one half mile. HomePlug networks can connect up to 256 devices within a 5000 square foot home. A field test was recently completed in May 2001 in 500 U.S. homes to test how normal household electrical use interferes with the network. The results were encouraging as there was little to no interference (Sutherland, 2001). HomePlug technology is compatible with other wireless and HomePNA networks. It was designed to specifically work with cable modems. A new standard HomePlug v1.0 was finalized in June 2001. How does HomePlug work? HomePlug is networking over conventional home electrical wiring. It works by plugging a gateway adapter into a regular wall outlet. There are two major brands: Intellion and Intelogis. Intellion uses OFDM technology, which is similar to DSL technology. OFDM transmits between 4.3MHz and 20.9MHz frequencies. It splits the signal into 84 separate carriers and sends data simultaneously along several frequencies. This allows for increased speed and reliability. If there is noise or a surge on the powerline, the Intellion adapter senses it and switches frequencies, maintaining an Ethernet-class connection throughout the network (Tyson, 2001). The second brand is Intelogis. Intelogis uses FSK. FSK involves using one frequency for sending 1’s and one frequency for sending 0’s. The frequency band used is just above where noise normally occurs. This makes Intelogis somewhat fragile. Any disruptions on the line and the signal must be resent, affecting system performance and reliability (Tyson, 2001). Components/Costs/Suppliers For a relatively new technology, there are many competing suppliers within the HomePlug market. Intelogis, Phonex, Intellion and Enikia are just a few. Like the other wired network technologies, one would normally require an adapter, high-speed modem and preferably a router/firewall as standard components to a HomePlug network. Components are expected to be compatible with HomePNA network components and cost less than HomeRF wireless solutions. Adapters HomePlug adapters are usually USB or parallel connections. Intelogis, Phonex, and Intellion are a few vendors that offer adapters. A HomePlug adapter costs about $60. Cable/DSL modem A high-speed Internet connection is preferred for implementing a HomePlug home network. Cable/DSL modems generally run about $30-50 off the shelf and some ISPs provide them with standard service contracts. Home Network Router/Hub/Firewall Much like Ethernet home networks, a HomePNA network can take advantage of a network router/hub/firewall. It provides a layer of protection between the Internet and your private home 10
  13. 13. network. Many companies like Nexland and Linksys are developing new products that integrate a router, hub and firewall into one device. Generally, a home network router will cost between $100 and $200. A hub contains ports for connecting components to the network. Many Cable/DSL routers have a 4-port hub built-in. A hub purchased by itself costs between $30 and $100. HomePlug Component Cost Chart (Two Desktop Computers) Component Cost Cable/DSL Modem $30-50 Router/Hub/Firewall $50-160 HomePlug Adapters (2) $200 Total $280-410 How secure is HomePlug home networking? For multi-dwelling settings like apartments, condos and dormitories, HomePlug technology offers standard 56-bit DES encryption. The adapter encrypts the data before transmitting it over the powerlines. Another security benefit is that the signal attenuates very fast once it leaves the home. Thus, reducing the possibility of someone to “listen” in on the line. However, there is a possibility for neighbors to access the data if they share the same transformer. What are the advantages and disadvantages to HomePlug? There are many advantages and disadvantages to a HomePlug network. Most of the advantages come from the new Intellion devices, while many of the disadvantages come from the older Intelogis technology. Since Intellion devices are newer, more expensive and not as widely used, one needs to carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of the two types of HomePlug devices. Some general advantages include: ! More power outlets in every room and throughout the house ! Uses existing powerlines in the home ! No new wires ! Inexpensive ! Easy to install ! Printers, scanners, etc that do not require direct PC connection can be located anywhere on the network ! No cards installed in the computer Intellion specific advantages: ! Very fast – 14Mbps ! Avoids powerline disruption, maintains constant connections/speeds ! Does not limit features of printers ! Compatible with other OS ! Independent of line voltage/frequency ! Includes encryption ! No signal degradation due to older wiring 11
  14. 14. Some general disadvantages include: ! Devices susceptible to power surges ! No surge protectors/powerstrips allowed between device and outlet first Intelogis specific disadvantages: ! Rather slow connections – 50-350Kbps ! Performance may be affected by home power usage ! Can limit features of your printer ! Only works with Windows PCs ! Only used on 110v Standard lines ! Older wiring can affect performance ! All data must be encrypted for secure network 12
  15. 15. Wireless Home Network Technologies There are currently two wireless home network technologies in use today: Wi-Fi (802.11b) and HomeRF. Other wireless technologies include IrDA and Bluetooth. These technologies are ideal for dedicated purposes like device communication and control. However, IrDA requires line of sight and Bluetooth has a limit range of 33 feet or closer, which make them unfavorable for carrying a home network infrastructure (Tyson, 2001). As a result, this section will focus on Wi-Fi and HomeRF wireless technologies. Wi-Fi (802.11b) What is Wi-Fi? Wi-Fi means wireless fidelity just as Hi-Fi stands for high fidelity in stereo equipment. Wi-Fi is the ideal technology for someone that wishes not to install new wires in their home. It has a range of 250-400 feet in closed areas and 1000 feet in open areas. Wi-Fi is implemented as the IEEE 802.11b standard. 802.11b was born out of the IEEE 802.11 standard. WECA is responsible for development of the wireless standards. Depending on the chosen standard, wireless transmission speeds can vary: # 802.11 – 2Mbps # 802.11b – 11Mbps # 802.11a – 54Mbps Wi-Fi technology can be setup as peer-to-peer or client/server architecture. Peer-to-peer means all computers on the network can talk directly with each other and no access point is required. Client/Server involves an access point (server) that controls communication between devices (clients) on the network. Wi-Fi is the corporate and educational wireless standard and was developed for office use because it can reach Ethernet speeds (10Mbps) without the wires. How does Wi-Fi work? Wi-Fi uses a type of spread spectrum technology initially developed by the military. This technology transmits signals using the 2.4GHz frequency, the same frequency used by cell and cordless phones. It employs a frequency-shift key (FSK) technology known as DSSS. DSSS splits each byte of data and sends it concurrently along different frequencies within a broad bandwidth (22MHz). This means DSSS uses a lot of bandwidth, but is faster than other spread spectrum technologies like FHSS used by HomeRF. The downside is DSSS may be prone to interference from other DSSS type devices (like Bluetooth devices and Microware ovens). The DSSS technology starts at 11Mbps transmission speeds and drops to 5.5Mbps when it encounters interference. It then drops to 2 and 1Mbps as interference continues. This helps to maintain a consistent network connection and increases reliability (Tyson, 2001). Components/Costs/Suppliers Wireless products generally cost twice as much as other home network technology components. For those that do not want to run new wires and are willing to pay the price, wireless components offer the most benefits. To setup a home wireless network requires the some of the following components: 13
  16. 16. Adapters Wireless adapters come in two forms, PC cards for laptops and ISA/PCI cards for desktops. The newest technology implements a wireless adapter for the desktop using a USB connection. This means you don’t have to open your PC to setup your wireless home network! Wireless PC card NICs generally cost $130-150 for a laptop. Internal wireless ISA/PCI cards average $160-190 for desktops. For comparison, two years ago, 802.11 (2Mbps) wireless adapters were $500-700 each! Access Points Wireless access points can run between $250-1000, depending on the brand and functionality required. Linksys, Intel and Apple now offer wireless access points in the $250 - $300 range that plug directly into your home network router/high-speed modem. The cost of access points has dropped dramatically. Two years ago, 802.11 (2Mbps) access points were $1000-1500 each! Cable/DSL modem A high-speed Internet connection is preferred for implementing Wi-Fi home networking. Cable/DSL modems generally run about $30-50 off the shelf and some ISPs provide them with standard service contracts. Home Network Router/Hub/Firewall The home network router is required to route data between the wireless access point and the high-speed modem and to provide a layer of protection between the Internet and your private home network. Many companies like Nexland and Linksys are developing new products that integrate a router, hub and firewall into one device. The cost is usually $50 - $160. Wireless Network Kits If you prefer not to purchase each of the components separately, some vendors like D-Link offer wireless USB Kits for around $400. Most kits include 2 USB wireless adapters and an access point. You would still need to purchase high-speed Internet service, modem and router/hub separately. Wi-Fi Component Cost Chart (Two Desktop Computers) Component Cost Cable/DSL Modem $30-50 Router/Hub/Firewall $50-160 Wireless Adapters (2) $200-380 Wireless Access Point $250 - 1000 Total $530 - $1590 How secure is Wi-Fi home networking? With a maximum range of 1000 feet in open spaces, the possibility exists for someone near the home to “listen” in on your 802.11b network using a similarly configure wireless adapter and a laptop. Denial of service, sabotage, and eavesdropping and internal attacks are examples of threats to a wired network. These threats also exist in the wireless environment. Wi-Fi technology combats this by adding an additional layer of encryption to ensure that data 14
  17. 17. transmitted is secure. Wi-Fi uses a WEP encryption that includes a 40-bit secret key and 24-bit initialization vector (IV) for a total 64-bit encryption (Weatherspoon, 2001). What are the advantages and disadvantages of Wi-Fi? Overall the advantages of a Wi-Fi network outweigh the disadvantages. The freedom to move components freely and still be connected is the primary advantage of a Wi-Fi network, yet with that advantage comes a major drawback – cost. Wi-Fi home networks are relatively expensive to implement. With that, there are many advantages for implementing and using a Wi-Fi home network. Some of these include: ! No physical connections required between the computer and the access point ! It is the corporate/educational wireless network technology standard ! Freedom of movement of network devices ! Flexible ! Cable free ! Faster than HomeRF wireless technology (11Mbps vs. 1.6Mbps) ! Reliable ! Long range – up to 1000 feet in open spaces ! Does not require line of sight to other devices and access points ! Relatively easy to integrate into an existing Ethernet network ! Compatible with older technology (802.11 DSSS devices) Along with the good, comes the bad and Wi-Fi technology does have its disadvantages. The disadvantages of this networking technology include: ! You must be within range of an access point ! There can be no large metal objects, walls, ceiling or microwaves in path of signals ! It is the most expensive of the home networking technologies ! If networking more than two devices, requires an Access Point ! Can have interference from Bluetooth devices if near access points ! Access points usually required for transmitting/receiving network traffic ! May be difficult to set up for a computer novice ! Speed can fluctuate significantly 15
  18. 18. HomeRF What is HomeRF? HomeRF was the first practical wireless home networking technology and came out in mid-2000. HomeRF stands for Home Radio Frequency, as it uses radio frequencies to transmit data over ranges of 75 to 125 feet. HomeRF is the ideal technology for someone that cannot afford the costs of the more expensive Wi-Fi components, yet wishes to share files, print services and stream MP3 music within the home. HomeRF uses SWAP, which is a hybrid standard, developed from IEEE 802.11. SWAP can connect up to 127 network devices and transmits at speeds up to 2Mbps. HomeRF uses the same frequency and technology used by cell and cordless phones, yet there is little to no interference (Tyson, 2001). In the summer of 2000, the FCC approved more bandwidth for HomeRF technology that will allow it to increase speeds to 10Mbps. This will make HomeRF compatible with Ethernet and Wi-Fi technologies. Most HomeRF networks are peer-to-peer and usually do not use access points. How does HomeRF work? HomeRF uses a type of spread spectrum technology initially developed by the military. This technology transmits signals using the 2.4GHz frequency and is the same technology found in cell and cordless phones. It employs a frequency-shift key (FSK) technology known as frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS). FHSS sends short burst of data over a pre-agreed frequency to another network device, shift frequencies or “hops”, then sends another short burst. Because FHSS networks work with fewer frequencies (usually 2-4 and only 1MHz of bandwidth), many networks can co-exist in the same area. This technology was designed for sending voice signals and is thus ideal for transmitting voice between network components. The downside is that FHSS is slower than a DSSS type network (Tyson, 2001). Components/Costs/Suppliers HomeRF products generally cost less than Wi-Fi, but are still more expensive than most wired network solutions. HomeRF is a viable option for those that do not want to run new wires and are more cost conscious. Because HomeRF networks generally do not use access points, high-speed Internet connections must be shared through a PC and ICS. Some companies are beginning to develop HomeRF gateways as well. To establish a HomeRF wireless network requires some of the following components: Adapters HomeRF adapters come in two forms, USB and PC cards for desktops. If you purchase USB components, you don’t have to open your PC to setup your wireless home network! Adapters generally cost $80 - $120. Vendors include companies such as Intel and Proxim. Cable/DSL modem A high-speed Internet connection is preferred for implementing wireless home networking. Cable/DSL modems generally run about $30-50 off the shelf and some ISPs provide them with standard service contracts. 16
  19. 19. Access Point HomeRF networks can operate without an access point. However, some vendors like Proxim offer Cordless Gateways that connect directly to a Cable or DSL modem or another Ethernet network. The gateways come with a built-in firewall for added security and are compatible with other HomeRF (802.11) devices. Most gateways include ICS software, support up to 10 devices and cost about $200. Home Network Router/Hub/Firewall A router for a HomeRF network is optional, but adds to the flexibility of the network. The home network router is required to route data between the wireless access point and the high-speed modem and to provide a layer of protection between the Internet and your private home network. Many companies like Nexland and Linksys are developing new products that integrate a router, hub and firewall into one device. These cost $50 - $160. Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) Software ICS is built-in to Windows ME and 2000. If you don’t have these operating systems, the vendor usually provides ICS software as part of their standard package. Check the packaging details before making a purchase. HomeRF Networking Kits Some vendors like Web Gear offer HomeRF networking kits. These kits include two PC Cards for a notebook plus an ISA adapter for a desktop and cost about $200. Extra adapters are available for desktops for $40. HomeRF Component Cost Chart (Two Desktop Computers) Component Cost Cable/DSL Modem $30-50 Router/Hub/Firewall $50-160 Wireless Adapter (2) $160-240 Wireless Access Point $200 Total $440-650 How secure is HomeRF? HomeRF implements security in two ways. The first method of security is a 24-bit network ID that is specific to each PAN. This prevents devices outside of a user’s PAN from intercepting and using information. The second method of security involves the use of 56-bit encryption algorithms. The 56-bit encryption algorithm is more tamper proof than the 40-bit WEP encryption codes (“HomeRF Overview”, 2001). HomeRF SWAP protocol makes use of 128-bit encryption key technology when transmitting data, synchronization of “hopping” frequencies between network devices, and a “shared secret” network ID. Because the frequency hopping in HomeRF is not static as it is in 802.11b systems, it is essentially impossible to use commercially available equipment to eavesdrop on a HomeRF network (Szacik, 2001). 17
  20. 20. What are the advantages and disadvantages of HomeRF? Overall the major disadvantage to a HomeRF network is data transmission speed. Two Mbps is fine for sharing files and printing normal files. It is insufficient for streaming media and printing or transferring large graphic files. HomeRF still provides some advantages to those wanting a less expensive wired network solution. With that, there are many advantages for implementing and using a HomeRF home network. Some of these include: ! No wires ! Can network desktops and laptops ! Can use notebooks in different areas of house ! It is portable ! No access points required like 802.11b networks ! Good for transmitting voice signals ! No interference from Bluetooth devices ! Data transmission is less prone to interference ! Devices are easier and cheaper to produce Some disadvantages of HomeRF technology include: ! Relatively slow 2Mbps ! Slower than 802.11b networks ! Not compatible with 802.11b equipment ! Physical obstructions may interfere with communications ! Difficult to integrate into an existing wired network ! No access point, means ICS must be used 18
  21. 21. Future of Home Networking What will drive the home network market in the future? Simplicity and Reliability. It is presumed that we are still atleast 3 years from widespread use of home networks. As competition for small networking dollars heats up, companies are trying to capture market share. Their focus is on obtaining greater speeds and developing home networking backbones and services. As stated in the introduction, home networking will grow in unison with the growth of broadband services like DSL, cable and satellite. According to PC Data (2001), by 2002 there are estimated to be 7.5 million broadband connections and 5.9 million home networks, cable and DSL modems are currently at 2.95 million and expected to reach 28 million by 2004 (Yankee Group, 2000), and the home networking industry expects 95% growth over next four years to 10M homes by 2003 (Yankee Group, 2000). Of those 10 million homes, more than 4 million networks will be the more establish Ethernet, 4 million will be the relatively new HomePNA, 1.5 million will be the relatively new wireless technologies and three hundred thousand are expected to be the extremely new HomePlug technology. What does the future hold for many of these home-networking technologies? Ethernet is the current leader of the industry, but not by much. In the future many new homes will include home network wiring in their infrastructure. This will help expand the use of this technology, but also binds Ethernet to new home construction. A recession or lull in construction starts could hurt this growth of this technology. It is generally considered too expensive to rewire an existing home and not preferred by many home computer owners. HomePNA is quickly catching up to Ethernet as a home network solution. HomePNA has obtained permission from the FCC to increase its transmission rates to 32Mbps by the end of 2001. This will make HomePNA more competitive with wireless and Ethernet technologies while maintaining backward compatibility with older HomePNA versions. The major disadvantage is that a phone outlet is still required wherever a network device will be installed. HomePlug, the newest wired home networking technology, will be developing new and faster products this year. HomePlug expects to take market share from HomePNA networking with its increasing data transmission rates (Intellion believes it will eventually surpass 100Mbps) and readily available outlets in every room. With all due respect to wired technologies, the medium of the future is wireless! HomeRF will be releasing SWAP v2.0 in late 2001. 802.11a wireless technology or HiperLAN2 will be released in the near future which will allow for 54Mbps data transmission using 5GHz frequency, and supporting more access points than Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi or 802.11b wireless technology will be expanding to 20-22Mbps transmission speeds. The increase in speeds, no new wires and easy installation bodes well for wireless home networking. Any discussion of home computing without mentioning Microsoft is nearly impossible. Perhaps one of the biggest events on the immediate horizon is the standards fight between Microsoft and Sun Microsystems. They each have differing views on how home networks will grow and eventually be used. Microsoft believes home networks must be easy to install and link devices to stimulate growth. As a result, they are pushing for a Universal Plug and Play standard that will link devices in a home network to their operating systems. On the other hand, Sun believes the money is in providing services to home networks and that eventually home networks will be like cable and satellite TV services currently in the home. Sun is supporting its Jini networking technology and has combined that technology with Cisco Gateways and GTE Internet services. Scott McNealy fells that “software will soon be free” and is banking on the service industry (Berst, 2000). 19
  22. 22. Finally, major corporations are forming alliances to develop products and services for the connected home. The largest of which is the IHA, which includes Cisco, CompUSA, GM, Sears and Sun. The aim of IHA is to foster inter-industry cooperation. Retailers, device manufacturers and technology companies must work together to make home networking viable to the masses. 20
  23. 23. Acronyms CSMA/CD – Carrier Sense with Multiple Access and Collision Detection DES – Data Encryption Standard DSL – Digital Subscriber Line DSSS – Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum DVD – Digital Video Disk FCC – Federal Communications Commission FDM – Frequency Division Multiplexing FHSS – Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum FSK – Frequency-Shift Key GHz - Gigahertz HDTV – High Definition Television HomePNA – Home Phoneline Networking Alliance HomeRF – Home Radio Frequency Hz – Hertz ICS – Internet Connection Sharing IEEE – Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers IHA – Internet Home Alliance IrDA – Infrared Direct Access ISA – Industry Standard Architecture ISP – Internet Service Provider Kbps – Kilobits per Second KHz – Kilohertz Mbps – Megabits per Second MHz – Megahertz NIC – Network Interface Card OFDM – Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing PAN – Personal Area Network PC – Personal Computer PCI – Peripheral Component Interconnection POTS – Plain Old Telephone System SWAP – Shared Wireless Access Protocol USB – Universal Serial Bus WECA – Wireless Compatibility Alliance WEP – Wired Equivalent Privacy Wi-Fi – Wireless Fidelity 21
  24. 24. Annotated Bibliography Berst, J. (2000, February 7). Why Sun and Microsoft Won’t Let You Have a Wired Home. Retrieved August 7, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.zdnet.com/anchordesk/story/story_4376.html. Black, J. (2001, February 5). Still Waiting for the Networked Home. Retrieved August 5, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.businessweek.com:/print/bwdaily/dnflash/feb2001/nf2001025_467.htm?mainwindo w. Broadband and Home Networks Go Hand in Hand. (1999, November 3). Retrieved August 5, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.businessweek.com:/technology/content/9911/dm1103.htm?scriptFramed. Brown, B. (2001, June 20). Easy, Affordable Home Networking from D-Link. Retrieved August 5, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.pcmag.com/print_article/0,3408,a%253d5179,00.asp. Brown, B. (2001, March 6). A Flexible Network. Retrieved August 5, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.pcmag.com/print_article/0,3408,a%253d3851,00.asp. Brown, B. (2001, March 20). Wireless Home- and Small-Office Networking. Retrieved August 5, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.pcmag.com/print_article/0,3408,a%253d1982,00.asp. Building A Home Network. Retrieved August 7, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.metcorp.com/mcse/docs/home-network.html. Computerworld (1998, May 18). Retrieved August 5, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.computerworld.com/cwi/printer_friendly_version/0,1212,nav47_sto30950-,00.html. Deckmyn, D. (2000, January 7). Sun joins with Cisco, GTE from Home networking. Retrieved August 5, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.computerworld.com/cwi/printer_friendly_version/0,1212,nav47_sto40553-,00.html. Dvorak, J. (2001, July 9). Trends in Home Computing. Retrieved August 5, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.pcmag.com/print_article/0,3408,a%253d6964,00.asp. Freed, L. (2000, October 3). Home Network Improvement. Retrieved August 5, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.pcmag.com/print_article/0,3408,a%253d4585,00.asp. Get Connected: Home Networking Will Soar. (1999, November 24). Retrieved August 5, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.businessweek.com:/technology/content/9911/dm1124.htm?scriptFramed. Home Networking: Definition and Overview. Retrieved August 7, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.iec.org/online/tutorials/home_net/index.html. 22
  25. 25. Home Networking: A Detailed Overview. Retrieved August 6, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.2wire.com/lcenter/hn_tut.html. Home-Networking Growth: Two Views. (1999, July 27). Retrieved August 5, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.businessweek.com:/technology/content/9907/dm0727.htm?scriptFramed. Home Networking Resource Center. Retrieved August 6, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.2wire.com/lcenter/hn_faq.html. Home Networking: Wired or Wireless? (1999, June 28). Retrieved August 6, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.pcworld.com/resource/printable/article/0,aid,11600,00.asp. HomeRF Overview and Market Position. Retrieved September 15, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.palowireless.com/homerf/homerf6.asp. Niccolai, J. (1999, January 8). Cisco eyes consumer market. Retrieved August 5, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.computerworld.com/cwi/printer_friendly_version/0,1212,nav47_sto27014-,00.html. Niccolai, J. (1999, January 11). Vendors push home nets; users eye them warily. Retrieved August 5, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.computerworld.com/cwi/printer_friendly_version/0,1212,nav47_sto27031-,00.html. Pastore, M. (1999, November 4). Home Networking Set for Major Growth. Retrieved August 7, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://cyberatlas.internet.com/big_picture/hardware/print/0,,5921_221191,00.html. Rupley, S. (2000, December 19). Driving the Net Home. Retrieved August 5, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.pcmag.com/print_article/0,3408,a%253d5239,00.asp. Stamper, D. (1999). Business Data Communications, 5th Ed. New York, NY: Addison- Wesley. Strother, N. (2000, February 23). Home Networking Goes Mainstream. Retrieved August 7, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.zdnet.com/anchordesk/story/story_4496.html. Sutherland, E. (2001, June 26). New Home Networking Standard Finalized. Retrieved August 6, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.newsfactor.com/perl/printer/11540. Szacik, B. (2001, May 18). HomeRF: Wireless with Security, for the Rest of Us? Retrieved September 15, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.sans.org/infosecFAQ/wireless/homerf.htm. Tyson, J. How Home Networking Works. Retrieved August 6, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.howstuffworks.com/home-network.htm?printable=1. 23
  26. 26. Tyson, J. How Phone-line Networking Works. Retrieved August 12, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.howstuffworks.com/phone-network.htm?printable=1. Tyson, J. How Power-line Networking Works. Retrieved August 6, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.howstuffworks.com/power-network.htm?printable=1. Tyson, J. How Wireless Networking Works. Retrieved August 12, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.howstuffworks.com/wireless-network.htm?printable=1. Weatherspoon, S. (2000). Overview of IEEE 802.11b Security. Retrieved September 15, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.intel.com. 24
  27. 27. Contact Information For questions related to information contained within this research paper, please contact the author, Mr. Kevin Spurling, by email at kwspurs@topsurf.com. 25

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