Speed Up Your Home Office: Optimizing Your Network for Remote Work
You probably know it all: Work from Home. For two years, we have adapted to the new normal state of remote work introduced by COVID-19. Even if many employees return to their offices and health indicators around the world begin to improve, it is unlikely that things will change anytime soon, given that they want to continue teleworking to some extent.
Home Wi-Fi networks are more important than ever, as more and more people are choosing to work from home these days. The last thing everyone wants to deal with is a patchy internet and the Wi-Fi signal that can’t stand snuffs. Luckily, you have an option. There are several easy steps to make sure that your speed is fast without changing much about your router settings.
Check if following these tips can accelerate things for you:
Run the Internet Speed Test
When you make changes to your home network, you want to do so from the position where it was fully established. The best way to get there is to run speed tests to get a good feel for the weak links in your Wi-Fi connection. There are many free services on the internet to help with that. We recommend starting with those. They have a wealth of servers around the world that allow you to choose from several nearby options to measure the speed of your connection. And like most speed tests, they are also easy to use. Simply head over to a website that checks internet speed and follow the instructions. From there, you can see the current upload and download speeds of the device running the speed test, and ping, which is a measure of the delay in the time it takes for data to be transferred to and from each other.
First, let’s focus on download and upload speeds. Run several tests at the same time in different parts of the house where you work and measure the average to see how your speed is maintained. If you see download speeds that are less than half the speeds your Internet plan allows, or if your upload speeds are significantly slower than your download speeds, there may be room for improvement. You don’t have to worry too much about the delay unless you have many devices on your network, or you are sharing bandwidth with your family and roommates. If so, running the test when your roommates are using FaceTime, or when your child is playing Fortnite, will give you a good idea of how their activity affects the speed. If that ping number appears to be spiked, you can perform some basic steps.
Move Your Workspace or Router
If you’re capable of moving in proximity to your router, then a wired ethernet connection for your PC is the first-rate approach to make sure that you are getting the quickest speeds. But if it is not an option, the only thing between you and fast internet is that you’re in a room where the Wi-Fi speed isn’t always as robust as required. That takes place when you are too distant from the router or when there are too many partitions or obstructions setting you apart from it.
Before you purchase anything, the primary component is repositioning your router to reinforce the connection. For the first-rate results, you’ll want to keep it out in the open—ideally as high up as possible. You may reposition the antennas, strive to experiment with that, too. Staggering them at one-of-a-kind angles is probably all it takes to reinforce your speeds. If the router is downstairs and you are seeking to enhance the sign upstairs, strive to shift one or more of the antennas to a horizontal position. Antennas generally tend to position their Wi-Fi sign at a perpendicular angle, so a horizontal antenna instead of a vertically orientated position is probably much more likely to make it upstairs.
Get a Wi-Fi Extender (Or Upgrade Your Router)
If none of this works, it may be time to upgrade your hardware. Plug-in Range Extenders should be considered with many less expensive options. It’s best to choose one from the same company that manufactures your router. It doesn’t have to be very fast. In most cases, if you keep your speed above 50Mbps, you should be able to use the Internet as you normally would, including video calls. This is the standard used at home generally. The TPLink RE505X performed best in a 1,300-square-foot home at sustained speeds of around 140Mbps and above. Currently available for $90, it’s easy to use, supports Wi-Fi 6, and works well. For cheaper ones, consider TPLink RE220. It doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6, but it maintains speeds above 70Mbps throughout the home and costs only $25. Another option is to completely upgrade your router. If the range is a concern, a multipoint mesh router with satellite devices that extend your range should be at the top of the list. Again, there are many options to choose from in the market.
Prioritize Work Traffic
Now let’s get back to the scenario where kids come back from school, stream Disney Plus, and play Fortnite while working. There are several things you can do to prevent their internet traffic from affecting you. The first and easiest thing to do is to make sure you are using different frequency bands. Most routers operate in both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, and many routers split these bands into two separate networks that can be connected. The 5GHz band is faster, but the 2.4GHz band offers a better range. Using either of these two bands only for work-related traffic gives you a much better experience than sharing a band with family and roommates.
Most routers also offer an optional guest network. You can use the maximum speed setting to prevent your child from using too much bandwidth. Some run the network on a schedule if you want to turn it off completely at a specific time. Similarly, a router may be able to schedule access to a particular device or group of devices. Another feature worth considering is the quality of service. This allows some routers to prioritize traffic to specific devices or specific purposes. For example, you can use the Netgear Nighthawk RAX120 to prioritize video calls over game traffic. If it’s a router option, it’s worth a try.
Do you want to hop on and learn more about the industry’s best practices? Get in touch with us today and we’ll help you with the guidance you need to upgrade your home network!