New hardware products arrive on the home networking scene frequently. Understanding what new capabilities they offer is essential to planning future upgrades. Your existing home network equipment can function and provide good enough support for many years, but maintaining the best home network setup requires frequent updating.

The best home networks use both wireless and wired networking methods. Broadband routers serve as the centrepiece of these home networks, supporting both Wi-Fi and Ethernet connections. These routers have gradually evolved in form and function over the years and continue to add new capabilities.

Broadband modems plug into these routers to enable the router and the home network for broadband internet service. Products that integrate a broadband router and modem into a single package — called internet gateways — offer similar functionality in a smaller physical footprint.

Some peripheral equipment on a home network (such as network printers) connect through Wi-Fi or Ethernet while others connect using Bluetooth wireless or USB. Each kind of home network device offers a slightly different user interface and setup procedure for making these connections, though most devices connect with Wi-Fi.

These all follow the same basic principles: the device must locate the router, have the right security settings to be eligible to join the network, and obtain a valid IP address.

For more information, please see the Habitech website. 

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