Home Networking Done Right

High speed Internet connections are now common in today’s home. We are using a variety of wired and wireless devices to download, stream and share everything. Your network router, the main device managing the all these connections is more important than ever. When spending so much for your Internet connection, it simply makes sense to get the best network possible for your home. Lets look at some ways to improve things.

Wireless Signals
The first place to begin is with your wireless signal. Your wireless router should be placed in a common central area that has a wired connection point such as the family room with the TV. A home office might be another alternative. The basement power panel is simply one of the worst locations in the home. Some basic wireless settings can also improve things. If you have an older router, updating to the latest and strongest security WPA2 (AES) will not only be safer but also give you better speeds. Scanning and selecting for the channel with least traffic may help avoid competing with your neighbours’ wireless networks. There are some free apps such as inSSIDer which can help with this.

Wired connections
The second step would be to connect by wire as many stationary devices as possible to free up your wireless signal for portable devices. Most newly built homes now have “smart” wiring…usually blue or white cables marked cat5e/cat6. These wires may be used as phone lines and can be found behind phone jacks, cable jacks or blank wall plates. These “smart” wires will allow you to connect and share your network over a fast and stable wired connection to multiple rooms. If you have an unfinished basement, adding wiring to the main floor can be relatively inexpensive. With the addition of a few jacks and inexpensive network switches, you can enjoy a faster and more reliable connection.

Hardware

The third and most important step is to look at the hardware. Major Internet providers are typically providing all-in-one modem/routers to get you started. This of course boosts their revenues with higher rental fees but the problem with an all-in-one router is that they don’t fit everyone’s needs and often have limited capabilities. If you are streaming from the latest devices like an iPad or AppleTV, you may not have access to the faster wireless N or AC signals. If you have a larger home, you may experience weak wireless signals or dead spots in some areas. Consider replacing or adding a wireless router that has better signal strength and uses the latest technology. Better yet, expand your network with another wireless access point. If you have another wireless router, they can be updated and bridged together for this purpose.

With a solid home network, you start enjoying all your technology the way it was meant to be, fast and reliable. Consider a centralized media server or hard drive to share and backup all your photos, music and videos. Perhaps add some security cameras and smart home accessories. The possibilities are endless.