Older homes often lack sufficient wiring for the burgeoning amount of electronic equipment available to consumers. According to the Leviton Institute, you should consider five categories when evaluating how "connected" a home is.
- Home entertainment: jacks throughout the home for video, high-speed Internet and computer networking; satellite television; multiroom in-wall wiring that drives in-wall or in-ceiling audio loudspeakers for home theater, music or paging/intercom functions.
- Communications: telephone jacks throughout the home; a multiline phone system that supports multiple extensions; an intercom system to page and speak with household members.
- Computer networking and Internet sharing: a home area network that lets the homeowner share information and peripherals with family members; a broadband Internet connection such as DSL, cable modem or direct broadcast satellite.
- Security: a security system that sounds an alarm and reports to a central station; a closed- circuit TV system that distributes video signals from surveillance cameras in and around the home.
- Comfort and convenience: a multiroom lighting control system that coordinates programmed lighting; a home automation system that controls lights, appliances, heating, cooling and security systems; energy-management controls integrated with the home automation system to maximize energy efficiency; remote controls for motorized window coverings.