Getting serious about online gaming

Halo 4 sold $220 million in its first week, exceeding revenues of most box-office movies and this was driven significantly by the game’s massive online community using multi-player mode all around the world. It used to be that plumbers jumping on mushrooms and monkeys throwing barrels were the most technologically advanced pastimes that we could manage in our own homes. These games, in all their 16-bit glory, could easily consume the evening of any 6 year old and have parents with PhDs hanging their heads in frustration they could never seem to get past the first level.

As consoles have developed and broadband internet has become commonplace in people’s homes, gaming has broadened out to include a wider age group of users and whole communities that are connected over the internet. Games like this create a whole online world in which some games carry on indefinitely as different gamers continually log in from locations all around the world. These games, with their fast-moving sequences, increasingly in full HD, rely on a strong internet connection to make the gaming experience as immersive and close to real life as possible.

On the other hand, broadband is a fixed resource in any home and the demands of the online gamers need to be balanced with the rest of the household. Flat mates and family members will not be best pleased that internet experience has ground to a halt because the online gamer is busy “bringing the pain” to all and sundry over the internet.

Fortunately, smarter technology now means that home internet services can be resilient enough to cope. Online gaming may not be the best way to stay social with others in the home, but at least gamers can now avoid annoying others unnecessarily. The latest wireless standards such as wireless N and now 802.11ac  mean that wireless internet can deliver greater speeds and performance for gaming than ever before.  Being tucked away in abedroom far away from the home router is less of a problem these days as PowerLine technology can help extend the internet connection over the house’s existing electric wiring. No longer do gamers don’t need to worry about their connection cutting off just before they are about to capture the flag and revel in eternal online glory with their teammates.

When it comes to online gaming, it seems getting a decent internet connection in the home really can be all fun and games.

Living in an interconnected world

Undoubtedly technology is closing the gap between our home and work lives.  The below infographic (based on the findings of recent research commissioned by D-Link) highlights some of the main trends in today’s increasingly interconnected world.

Working from home: you’ve come a long way

A recent study from the University of Illinois has found that home working is becoming even more important to people’s lives. It is definitely good news in that case that home working has come a long way from the way it used to be. Those familiar with home working in “the good old days” will remember the dial-up connection sounding like R2D2 having a coughing fit, the dot-matrix printer that took four hours to print a shopping list line by line and not forgetting having to hang up your online session if you needed to make an outcall, or a browser that crashed if you looked at it the wrong way.

The truth is working from home is a much easier and bearable process now than ever before. High-speed broadband connectivity to the home, secure firewalls, private business networks and improvements in wireless technology all help to make home working on a par (if not preferable) to working in the office. For the most part, home workers can now achieve everything they can in the office and can now even route their office calls to their home network using the same business number. This has allowed working to be more flexible and helped workers get their work done when getting to the office is no longer an easy option or recommended like recently back in the summer with the London 2012 Olympics.

The key that has enabled all this to happen is the network. A reliable internet connection is the backbone of home working and, according to some recent research by Ofcom, one in five homebuyers actively checked broadband speeds when buying their property for this reason, as well as home entertainment, video chatting and other such purposes.

Home working, while perhaps never a joy, is a lot more pleasurable than it used to be and becoming a more attractive option for many people.  So is your home network up to scratch for both work and play?