While under my desk at home plugging in another new piece of technology, I got thinking as to how much my home now relies on my home broadband router. Considering it is a cheap Netgear router connected to a not particularly fast ADSL line (3 Mb/s out in the countryside!), it has become as important as the electricity that runs it.
The latest piece of technology is the brilliant SONOS sound system which streams music from my hard drive to any stereo in my home, or as in my case, to their new dedicated sound box. The genius is in how you control it through your iPhone or iPad using their advance software to stream directly from the internet (such as the Radio or Spotify) or from your own collection and quickly build playlists. It is a thoroughly impressive piece of kit and one which I will be adding to (when I can afford it) so that I can departmentalise my home into different areas and listen to different music tune in each room.
But this system is nothing without my router wirelessly streaming music or providing a link to the internet for other music sources or software updates. With a hosted VoIP phone connected to the office phone system, my PC, iPhone, iPad, printer and laptop the unit is not only my link to the outside world but also between devices. The printer is one of the new HP models that accepts prints over email and even though I haven’t connected them up yet I have a Samsung TV and alarm system that could both benefit from being part of my digital home.
I am sure it is one of the reasons that BT have stopped advertising about the speed of their ADSL service in the home to concentrate more on their ‘New Home Hub’ and how much better it is at linking devices than the old model. In this day and age I am not so worried about speed as long as everything I have works and does what it is meant to.
I am a great believer that consumer broadband has been undervalued for a long time and that now with so much of the home relying on it, we will see a bigger shift as people move to premium products. I for one would find my weekend thoroughly disrupted if the cheap inadequate router decided not to work any longer.