The closest point and the furthest point. Between the two of them there is the concept of distance and the reality of connection. Connecting the two points together becomes the answer to the question why do we have the two points. It also becomes the quest for the best way to connect devices.
For years’ people have been pushing Wi-Fi further and further. Get wireless devices we have been told. To a degree that is one of the key components of connection. But there are limits to the amount of data and the speed of which you can move that data between two points wirelessly.
A mix of Wireless and Wired connections is optimal. Most businesses have server rooms where they hard wire their servers connections to the world beyond. They tend to terminate the company connection to the Internet in a single place. That to reduce cost and reduce the security risk of the outside connection. The mix of wired and wireless connections is then spread throughout the building, buildings or campus.
I have advocated for many years the distribution of traffic across multiple segments even at home. Even lower end routers provided by Internet service Providers, can handle creating a netted network. (NAT or Network Address Translation is where the IP addresses on the other side of your router (home) are different than the addresses provided by your ISP). The number of devices that seek, request and utilize IP addresses continues to increase. From tablets, cellular phones, Televisions and many other smart appliances the ask for bandwidth is growing.
First off, the term “Smart” appliances are really a misnomer. They aren’t smart by any means. A smart appliance would do more than stop consuming power when it wasn’t on. A smart appliance would learn the pattern of your day and be available when the time for it to be consumed arrived. Smart appliances are simply at this point a marketing term. Really smart appliances would look at your network and look at your other devices and prioritize information flow. They would be aware of unusual activity and either band together to repel the invader or notify the devices that repel invaders of the invader. Smart appliances, like the information age, today are more Hype than substance. The potential is there, the possible near future is on the horizon but for now neither is real.
So you break your home network or your small business network up. Provide segments that are managed and routed within the location. The connections within your small business or home then become more flexible. As these devices actually move from being named smart to actually being smart you will find value in the segmentation.
There will be a growing number of devices deployed over the next five years. Depending on your personal preferences and interests you may have a weather station. The weather station would bring together data from sensors such as wind speed and direction, temperature inside and outside your home and rain gauge. You may even add things such as air quality. You can then present that information on a mobile device or via your computer and a web page.
You may add devices that offer home security and video feeds. Or you can log in and watch your dogs sleep (mine only wake up when there is someone on or near our front porch). Or perhaps you will have a system that automates your lights (no it is NOT SMART LIGHTING).
The pre- Internet of Things (IoT) network management will benefit you greatly when the Smart Devices actually do arrive. You can have devices with the name Smart on one segment of your network and actually smart devices on another. That way the smart devices won’t make fun of the devices just marketing named smart. The reduced taunting chatter will benefit your network.
Two wireless routers and as many wired network devices as you can make logical sense. The IoT is generating a lot of information, a lot of network traffic and the sooner you prepare for the eventual onslaught the better you will be able to handle all those cool new devices!
(PS, a weather gauge that is outdoors and buried in snow will register 32 degrees as the temperature until the snow melts. I’ve tested that!)