Home, Sweet (Networked) Home

Whether you're a tech pro or just a beginner, connecting your home pcs is an easy way to achieve domestic tranquility

“I am always connected to my office from home. That’s why I built my own network there. I am on a dial-up connection right now because the higher-speed connection is not available yet in my neighborhood. [But when it is], we’ll go wireless.”

Edwards built each server with remote-access capabilities so he could reach the office network at any time. If something goes wrong in the middle of the day, his clients can call him at home, where he can then simply access their server. “I don’t have to say, ‘Give me two hours and I’ll be in to fix it.’ I just do it right from [home],” he says.

Harris, a senior account executive at Infotech Strategies in Washington, D.C., can also access all her files from work. “It’s been great because I can dial in at home. I am also a student, so I take classes at home online,” says Harris. “I have the Internet connection, fax, and printer, just as I would at the office. I can also capitalize on the equipment we have to stay home more often, which gives me more flexibility. And when those late-night client calls come in, I can dial in to the office easily and fax and receive information just as I would at the office.”

Home networking has allowed both Edwards and Harris to telecommute when necessary. The one drawback? Edwards laughs, “There’s no guarantee that I will ever get a vacation. I can take a day off, but I’ll still get a call. If a customer calls, a customer calls. As long as I don’t have to get dressed and leave the house, it’s OK. It’s only bad when someone calls and says, ‘Hey, this thing is on fire.'”

Dr. Thomas A. Jones, 60, and his companion, Lesia Hegeman, 43, found that much of their after-work hours of Internet usage were being dominated by Lesia’s two sons, Michael, 15, and Malcolm, 11. It seemed that the ninth and sixth graders, respectively, were logging more time surfing the Web and e-mailing friends than he and Lesia were. Jones, an assistant professor at the University of Missouri at the Kansas City Dental School, needed to find a solution that suited everyone’s productivity needs. “I do a lot of work from my home, especially, bookkeeping, PowerPoint presentations, and university reports, and [keep] data on my dental outreach program in South America,” says the Shawnee, Kansas, resident.

Lesia is an accountant for the Leavenworth Water District and often brings work home with her as well. The couple found themselves constantly connecting and disconnecting one PC to accommodate a print job and reconnecting another one so the boys could surf.

Weary of the cables and wires that were plaguing the house, Jones decided to visit his university bookstore to research networking. A store clerk recommended Netgear products. Jones decided to continue the research on his own, but still chose the Netgear wireless solution because he already had a DSL connection at home. Besides, he says,

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