Need Some Help Wiring Your Home?

Everybody is competing to sell you a broadband network. But who will make it easier to install?

Nikki O'Neill, a plant pathologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is no slouch when it comes to computers. Nor does she shy away from home-improvement projects, having handled the electrical work for an addition to the house she shares with her husband and two children in Silver Spring, Md. But when O'Neill, 54, tried to set up a home network so that her family's four computers could share printers and Internet access, she met her match.

O'Neill says she spent maybe 30 hours reading online tutorials, consulting sales clerks, buying and installing equipment and running new cables--but finally had...

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