Home-based entrepreneurs lead the way
in finding networking solutions

February 2001

Faster Internet access and cheaper
equipement fuel the boom.

By Chris Sandlund

Networking your technology is fast becoming a necessity if you manage a business from home - easy to say but not always easy to do. Are you building a new home or retrofitting an old one? Should you choose Ethernet, wireless, or phone line connections?

The tale of two houses

Call it the tale of two houses. Harriet Donnelly runs Technovative Marketing Inc. from her home in Berkeley Heights, N.J. - and from her vacation beach house in Mantoloking on the Jersey Shore.

"Five years ago it was hard to run a virtual business, " says Donnelly, who has 24 employees across the country, all of whom work in home offices servicing such clients as Sony, Toshiba, and the Web-business Wireless Knowledge. Technovative, which Donnelly has built to "a couple of million dollars" in revenue, specializes in company branding, marketing, public relations, and media training.

"It doesn't matter where we are, " Donnelly adds. "Technology in homes has really changed the way we do business."

Not that Donnelly wouldn't like to see a few more technological changes. In her Berkeley Heights home workspace, wires run from one computer to the next in her setup, but stop at the office door. Practically speaking, it means she can't read e-mail over lunch in the kitchen, and her husband and son must use a computer in another part of the house with its own phone line to dial in to the Internet via a standard modem.

But when Donnelly decamps to her vacation home, she actually goes to a house that's better suited to running her business. That's because her second home is strung with wiring that lets her plug a notebook computer into the house's network from any room. On rainy days, her husband and son use the same wires to surf the Net instead of body surfing in the waves.

Harriet Donnelly has 24 virtual employess and two home offices - one with structured wiring.
The way Donnelly does business in her two homes differs because one is old and one is new. When she and her husband built the beach house two years ago, they had it wired with Avaya's Home Star system. It's a combination of computer network wiring known as Category 5 - the basis for most industry standard Ethernet networks - and coaxial cable for distributing entertainment. Both sets of wires come together at a central terminal that distributes video, data, and phone service.

"We'd hoped to do what we've got in the beach house [in the Berkeley Heights home], " says Donnelly, "but I don't want to rip the walls apart."

Copyright 2001 House Of Business