Archive for August 16th, 2013

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Upgrading Your Rural Home Technology

3656734759_8507e609 You enjoy an uncomplicated life in a place far removed from most people. Now you’ve decided to upgrade your home with a few high-tech capabilities. You immediately run into obstacles, because rural America lacks the infrastructure that larger communities already have. Sixty percent of households in rural areas still do not have access to the Internet. It’s time to upgrade, but you’ll need to start with getting reliable network access.

The Internet Access Puzzle

Start by checking with your local telephone companies to see if they have any network options available to you. They may have DSL available, but it is very dependent on your location. Dial-up may be available, but there are so many things you can’t do with a dial-up connection.

You can also research local satellite Internet providers for options. Two-way communication via a satellite dish is available and doesn’t require additional cabling. The upload speed on this set-up is much slower than the download speed, but it is still an improvement over dial-up.

Tied to Your Phone

Some carriers have put their expansion dollars into building cell towers instead of overall network access. If you live in an area with limited Internet options, but have reliable cell phone service, you might look at tethering as an option. Tethering gives your computer the ability to connect to your cell phone and access the Internet through that connection.

Mashable reviews several tethering apps that run on the cell phone. Normally, all that is required is a cable from your computer’s USB port to the phone. Run the app on the phone, and your computer will now have Internet access. Because apps and phones vary, you’ll want to research how this might affect your cell phone bill. In some cases, you will have access to the Internet for free. Other carriers may require changes to your data plan and a monthly fee.

Secure Your Home

More home security options become available to you with a network connection. Home automation is now available and affordable to the homeowner and will let you do things remotely, such as:

  • Turn lights on and off
  • Lock and unlock doors and windows
  • Turn alarm systems on and off
  • Watch or record activity in your home with video cameras

Various devices can be connected to your home network. When you are away, you can use a computer or smartphone to access your home network to control these devices. You gain peace of mind when you are away from home and wonder if you turned your alarm system on before you left.

Make Your Home Wireless

Installing cables throughout the home for network access in each room can be replaced with affordable and easy-to-install wireless devices like a wireless router. If you have a large home with many rooms, or more than one story, you may need a device called a wireless repeater, which captures your home network signal, and amplifies it so there are no weak signal areas in your house.

You can purchase wireless printers that connect to your network and network attached storage (NAS) devices that act like wireless disk drives. With a total home wireless system, you can access printers, disks and other computers from anywhere in the house, with no wiring required.

Have your own tips? Share them in the comments.

Creative Commons image by paul_irish

Posted in: Editorial