Microsoft: Losing the Battle for the Home Network?

I’ve been redoing some of the Ethernet layout in my home office lately.  As a bit of a kick, I fired up Visio to document what my little home network looked like.

Overall Network

From that graphic, I broke down the components into the following categories

  • Windows PCs or Servers: 7
  • Apple devices: 2
  • Smartphones: up to 4, sometimes more
  • Network devices: 8
  • Peripheral components: 5
  • Entertainment devices: 2
  • Non-PC Media devices: 2

I am not including the TV in the above list.

I was kind of surprised at what had I found, and two thoughts emerged from this task.

  • The number of Wi-Fi devices on the network
  • The number of PC vs. non-PC devices

For the first bullet, you will find 11 devices are Wi-Fi, 8 devices are wired.  When more family members come over, the number of Wi-Fi devices will increase as it seems everyone has a smartphone these days, and it is best to limit your “data plan” usage by using Wi-Fi.  What I find interesting is the quality of most routers these days that can handle the kind of bandwidth necessary for that number of devices.  Granted, not all of those devices are active at the same time, but many are.  With the particular components I have at this time, I have not heard any complaints regarding a slow network connection.

Taking the second bullet and the above breakout, I threw out the network devices as a necessary part of any LAN.  I also threw out peripheral components as common components (i.e. printers) for most PC and non-PC devices.  This leaves just the items that have direct user input.  The result?

  • 7 PC/Windows items to 10 non-PC items

A closer look at the various devices and you will see that I am rather brand agnostic with quite a mixture of Windows, Linux, iOS and Android devices.

What I find interesting is that it was really not that long ago that this number would have been almost 100% PC devices.  While Macs are still a small percentage of the number of computers in the world, iPads and smartphones are in the hands of a great number of consumers these days.  HTPCs have been left behind by various media players in many homes that actually have such a item.  In another growing trend, smart TVs are replacing those media devices, including DVD/BD players as services such as Netflix and Hulu become ever more popular.

I am sure the media content creators/distributors love that last trend as it provides them more control over the distribution of media.  Ya just gotta love that monthly subscription concept that is beginning to permeate just about everything digital these days.

Finally, one item to take note of is that if all those iOS and Android devices did not exist, the number of PCs would *not* have been higher.  This is simply a case of there are simply more choices out there today than there were just a few years ago.  One simply chooses a particular product based upon need, desire, and cost, not by being “the only game in town”.

Choice is good, and choice brings change to the prior status quo.



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