In the 1940s, radio broadcasts were an exciting form of home entertainment. A few decades later, the television craze hit the airwaves. Today, the home is digitally driven and powered by home network software. It usually consists of two or more computers that are used for enjoyment and a variety of other purposes.
The home computer user needs easy access to files, printers and internet connections. When game consoles, music files, pictures, streaming online video, phones, cameras and even the entertainment center in the family room are factored in, easy home-wide access becomes a nerve-wracking task for the technical novice. Further, predictions are that within five years all household communications, from the home security system to the washer and dryer, will be controlled through the home network.
In order for home network software to work properly, certain computer hardware is needed. To learn what is required, be sure to read our articles on home network software in the learning center.
In this review site, you will find side-by-side comparisons and reviews of the best home network software available. We'll provide details and guidance about what features are needed to set up a safe, secure and easily-managed home network because At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don't have To™.
Below are the criteria TopTenREVIEWS used to evaluate home network software.
Ease of Use
Home networking software must be easy to use. Gone are the days that many different applications must be loaded to accomplish a single job. With a centralized home network interface, the user is able to oversee and manage the entire home network with just a few clicks of the mouse. Multiple task wizards designed to guide the novice through the process of sharing printers, Internet connections and files are necessary for all home network products. Graphical maps displaying the network topology of currently connected and recently disconnected devices are further expected attributes of any high-end home network software.
Network Device Connectivity
Wireless router configuration should be easy and seamless via the centralized network management interface. The software should allow the traveling user to choose from multiple Wi-Fi networks while still protecting their personal information and files from the eyes of intruders.
Sharing of Network Assets
Device connectivity from Network Attached Storage (NAS), phones, cameras, and other gadgets, as well as printer and file sharing must be easily achieved and maintained.
Network Control and Monitoring
The ability to control and monitor the home network is often as important to the home user as it is to the office manager. While businesses need to protect their company's assets, the home user often desires to protect children and other family members from external threats.
Network control features include the ability to limit the internet access of individual computers, block internet threats and to restrict questionable content.
Parents will appreciate the ability to capture screen shots of a computer's activity and tracking visited websites. Monitoring network storage capacity and application usage are other features to look for.
Security measures that keep out unwanted users must be present. These measures include encryption support for Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) and/or Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA).
Network Repair and Maintenance
Maintaining and repairing a home network does not require expensive house calls from the local computer guru. Home network software empowers the tech novice with the ability to test their internet speed, repair internet connections, troubleshoot problems, receive network alerts, backup and restore system settings.
Supported Operating Systems
Networks are evolving. Often the home is running several devices, gadgets as well as computers with different operating systems such as MacOS and Windows. A software solution needs to be robust enough to integrate a variety of platforms on the network.
Free trials, product upgrades and technical support availability from the manufacturer are all things that need to be taken into account when selecting a home network software solution.
Home network software makes establishing and maintaining a home network an easy task. Our highest ranked home network software provides the user with functionality, security and more.