Friday night topic: Home networks

As I sit here amid stacks of boxes in what will soon be the new Damage Labs, I have been contemplating how to arrange things around here—specifically, how to set up the network in our new house. The basement here has drop ceilings (miracle of miracles), so I have half a mind to install proper Ethernet outlets with Cat 5e or Cat 6 cabling. I'll also likely want a wireless access point so the kids can have their little Shuttle cube upstairs, and perhaps so I can put an HTPC in the living room. Of course, cable broadband and a router/firewall box will provide 'net access for everyone.

What I'm wondering is: what kind of networks have you all set up for yourselves at home? Are you using the ol' standard 10/100 Ethernet, or something more exotic? Do you have a central server, and if so, do you have a security domain? Is the latest wireless gear still fussy about getting signals from one end of the house to another, or has it improved? What about those power outlet-based networks or the home phoneline stuff—any good? Do you have any general or specific recommendations for getting a home network right, especially without breaking the bank?


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