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The Gigabit Home: The Parts Make a Whole

Data networks are the backbone of integration industry. Nearly everything that we install, control, or interact with depends on sending its signals over Category cable and utilizing TCP/IP protocols.

In only a relatively few short years the process and procedures have become both our greatest boon and the bane of our workdays. So-called convergence has opened up new markets, signal distribution and management options, remote service opportunities, and streamlined connectivity. This convenience, however, comes at the cost of complexity in the setup and tools to troubleshoot.

Integration involves more than audio visual technology, of course, but when we speak of the impact on a network and the feature that our clients notice the most, AV is usually at the top of the list.

It can seem that putting AV over a network is so ubiquitous, and many manufacturers marketing materials help foster the notion that many feel it is simply is a process of plug in, power up, and done. That is until problems start occurring, and technicians spend days rather than hours finding the issue and resolving it. If anything affects profit percentages, wasted labor time has to top the list.

Interstellar Speed

The bandwidth required to carry a 4K signal from source to destination is significant. In fact, the mind bogglingly high data throughput requirements can cause a sense of awe comparable to knowing Voyager 1’s actual distance from Earth (it’s 18.8 billion kilometers, just at the start of interstellar space, FYI.)

4K video has been adopted at a rate that HD could have only dreamed of, yet many home networks are ill prepared to handle it. UHD and 8K formats are just around the corner, and the requirements will only skyrocket up.

Just to deliver streaming 4K, providers like Netflix state a need for 25Mbps of spare inbound bandwidth. The average ISP package offers 150Mbps, and while this may seem satisfactory, when you start to add multiple devices and sources, that comfortable headroom evaporates quickly.

Keep in mind that nearly all streaming services provide compressed video, making delivery over existing infrastructure possible. The delivery of uncompressed content can require Gbps of bandwidth. How many of us are adept at the finer points of 1 or 10Gbps networks?

The Parts Make a Whole

As with a system of any type, the parts make the whole, and the limitation of misconfiguration of any one part can detrimentally affect the end product.

Equipment manufacturers look to provide the gear and processes to designing and installing a great high-speed AV Network. These references and quick start guides are fantastic resources, but to truly reduce frustration and that achingly long call to tech support, you need independent information.

From this newsletter we hope to enlighten, entertain, and learn ourselves about making high-speed networks hum. I like to think that the subhead of The Gigabit Home is, “Everything You Wanted to Know About Video Over Networks, but Did Not Have Time to Ask.”

Along with helpful links, anecdotes, and tips, we look to cover more in-depth items like:

Is an enterprise class network necessary in the home?

How do you utilize a segmented traffic techniques such as QoS (Quality of Service) settings?

What does the spec True Color at 4:4:4, 60Hz really mean?

Calculating the bandwidth you need.

Tools and techniques for testing and troubleshooting networks.

Gigabit networks: Is more bandwidth the panacea, what are the pitfalls?

HD video over wireless, what works and why

HDBaseT and SDVoE, just what do they do?

The topics should not just be limited to what we have decided to cover; your input and questions are very essential. What do you have a question about? Send us a note ([email protected]) or post a comment here, and we may use it in the next edition.

Thanks for reading.