Will your home network be a medal winner during the Olympics?

The Olympics are set to hit London next month and there’s never been a better time to catch all the action, but a home network that is slow out of the blocks could prove a hurdle to some people watching the games live and working while at home.

This year for the first time the Olympics will be available in full HD, and the BBC is streaming 24 HD channels live simultaneously. The majority of homes in the UK have internet access but full HD streaming means increased demands on the home network. With this in mind, consumers will need to make sure they are getting the most out of their network to ensure their online experience is a medal winner.

This is the first Olympics where we are likely to see people watching a lot of the action on their tablets and mobile phones. The upside is that if Dad wants to watch the boxing on the TV, Mum can still catch the tennis at the same time on her laptop, while Judy can watch gymnastics on her smartphone. However, all these devices streaming video at the same time could clearly put a strain on your home network.

Working from home during the Olympics will also present its own networking challenges. Checking a few e-mails might not place too many demands on bandwidth, but downloading multiple 10MB PowerPoint presentations, making VOIP/video calls and accessing the work network via a VPN at the same time as streaming the athletics could prove a challenge.

However, by using the latest home networking technology such as routers with the latest Wireless N technology and PowerLine, home users can significantly improve the performance and range of their home networks. With the right network in place there’s no reason why live streaming can’t go the distance.

Showing at an internet stream near you

If you had asked people five years ago, how they would watch their favourite films at home it is fair to say the majority would have said on DVD or even VHS (remember them?).  Fast forward to the present day and this picture its changing rapidly.  Recently Lovefilm revealed that its streaming business had overtaken its physical DVD, Blu-ray and game rentals for the first time.  This is a clear sign that media streaming is on the rise as consumers want to listen/watch what they want, when they want, from a number of different internet-connected devices.

Home networking technology has made rapid leaps forward in recent years. Devices such as the Boxee Box now allow consumers to view and share the very best of the web directly from their TV. At the same time it is easier than ever for consumers to listen to the latest album or watch a Hollywood blockbuster online using services such as Spotify or Netflix.

It isn’t just with films and music where we are seeing this change. Online gaming, in particular, continues to grow apace.  Titles such as Call of Duty or Battlefield 3 are increasingly being promoted on the strength of their online aspect, and also we are slowly seeing physical discs die out as publishers make their games available for download.

This streaming future is all well and good, but such streaming services are only as good as the network supporting them.  In today’s connected world consumers need to ensure that their home router is up to the job and that they can stream HD content throughout the home. Furthermore, consumers no longer want to have one room only internet access, so PowerLine technology especially, can be a great way to stream the latest online content without needing to re-wire your house!

Here at the WaxingDigital blog we’d love to hear if you are abandoning the disc and moving entirely online.

Caught on camera – avoiding the holiday blues

The holiday season is upon us, and soon we will all be locking up the house, leaving a note for the milkman and inevitably forgetting our toothbrushes. Some things never change, but thankfully with the latest camera technology, worries about your property and possessions while you are away could be a thing of the past.

According to recent research 63% of UK consumers were most worried about their neighbours when they were away from home.  But on a more serious note, 80% thought that the cost of home security was too expensive.  Fortunately, the latest home monitoring cameras, advances in mobile technology and the ubiquity of internet connectivity, has meant that home security is becoming more readily attainable for a lot of people.

Today’s IP cameras are extremely cost-effective and simple enough to use that anyone can set up CCTV security in their own home.  Better yet these cameras sit on your home network and can be viewed remotely from anywhere with an internet connection.  Indeed, 61% of consumers said they would feel less worried about their property and possessions if they were able to view them remotely over the internet or on their mobile phone.

So as we move further into the internet age hopefully more people can start to enjoy their holidays.  No longer should you need to worry about whether the TV is still in the living room, the car is still in the garage or whether the neighbour has remembered to feed the cat!