Wired and wireless

From Mossberg’s Mailbox

Q: If you were to build a new house today, would you have the house prewired for a home broadband network, for a security system or a home stereo system? Or would you utilize wireless devices for any or all of these features?

A: I wouldn’t bother with a wired home network for linking my computers and sharing a broadband Internet connection. The Wi-Fi wireless networks can do those jobs without tethering you to a network wall socket. You might consider a few wired connections in rooms where tests showed the wireless signal didn’t penetrate. But, even in those cases, there are ways around the problem short of in-wall network wiring.

However, the wireless systems for carrying high-quality audio and video around a home, while heavily touted, are much less mature and refined. If you just want to route music and video from your PC to your audio system or TV, then wireless might work. But, if you want a fully distributed multimedia system, I’d be inclined to hard-wire it today. This is a tough call, though, because the technology for this is moving fast. I might answer differently next year.

On the security system, where confidence and reliability matter hugely, I’d use hard wiring, not wireless.