How Does a Home Network Look Like?

Back in March, we've started a survey in which we asked our readers to tell us more about their home networks. The aim was to understand how complex home networks are, what are the problems people face and what we could do to help our readers. We've ran this survey on our site and also on Tiny Hacker. We have received 454 responses and now it is time to present some of the results.

How many computers do people have in their home network?

First question we wanted to answer is: how many computers do people have in their home networks?

We were very surprised by the numbers and we really did not expect to see such diversity. It seems that most people (26% of responses) have home networks with 3 computers. Most probably a desktop or two combined with work laptops brought home.

The second category (with 22% of responses) of home networks is that of more than 5 computers. This percentage is unexpectedly high. Personally, I have a home network with 2 computers (desktop + laptop) per person, which means a total of six. However, our house is an exception and I don't know anybody else (either at work or within my friends) having so many computers in the house. Looking at the comments made in our survey, this is a niche of very tech savvy people with complex setups for their home networks. Most of these people also have a very diverse combination of operating systems that they use in their homes.

A very close third place (with 21% of responses) is taken up by people with 4 computers in their home networks.

Fourth and fifth place go to networks with 2 (18% of responses) and 5 computers (13% of responses). Actually we were expecting a bigger percentage of them.

Which operating system people use in their home network?

The second question and most interesting to us, was: which operating system are people using in their home networks?

The answers were no surprise. Windows 7 and Windows XP are very popular with 79% and 68% respectively. What is surprising though, is the fact that Linux distributions (29%) are more popular than MAC OS X (11%).

For those of you working with Windows 7, Windows XP and Windows Vista in their home networks, don't hesitate to check out our Network and Internet section. There we have lots of tutorials about how to make these three operating systems play nice in the same network.

Also, if you are using Windows Home Server, don't hesitate to visit How-To Geek's series on Setting up my Windows Home Server. They have a very good series of tutorials on setting up your network with this operating system.

Which devices do people share on their home network?

The third question we've asked is about the devices people share via their home network. As expected, printers are very common devices in people's homes (with 77% of responses), followed by external hard disks (43%) used to backup data from various computers. Last, but with an interestingly high percentage are scanners (31%).


There is one last part of the survey where we've asked people to share with us their home networking problems. Since we've received so many answers and so diverse, we will spend some time to analyze them and will come back soon to share the results. Bear with us for a few days...

We are very happy to see that so many people responded to our survey. Thank you very much. We really appreciate it. Based on this survey we will update our editorial strategy and we hope to provide our readers with truly helpful tutorials which solve at least some of your problems. Until then, don't hesitate to look on the articles we recommend below and on the Network and Internet section of our website.