The work-from-home lifestyle may be on the rise, but it hasn’t come without notable downsides. Many of these involve the very technology that allows for this work setup in the first place. Home networks, while useful in an age of social distancing, are often slower and less secure than their office-based counterparts. Even seemingly small losses in productivity can add up quickly over time, especially if they are widespread across a company. Technical issues can go from merely annoying to downright catastrophic if your network goes down during a crucial video chat or when you’re handling sensitive data.
While your employer may be to blame for some of your current issues with working from home, improvements on your end can make all the difference. Try implementing these strategies to take your home network to the next level:
Upgrade Your Wi-Fi Router
If you’ve relied on the same Wi-Fi router for several years – or worse, if you use the router furnished by your internet provider – it’s time to move on. Upgrading to a recent, high-powered model could be the easiest and most effective step towards implementing a fast and reliable home network. Look for products that support 802.11ac at a minimum. If possible, opt for an 802.11ax router, which will become the new Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) standard in September 2020.
If you have a large home or a lot of connected smart devices, consider investing in a mesh network. This approach provides far broader coverage than a standard router can, making it a valuable option if you leave your desk frequently and tend to come across dead spots at inopportune times. Mesh networks won’t necessarily reach the top speeds offered by single-point routers, but they tend to be more effective for homes that are jam-packed with devices and users.
Not ready to implement a mesh network? You can still enjoy some of the benefits of this approach by investing in a Wi-Fi extender or repeater. Many devices plug directly into wall sockets, where they link to the connection provided by the router before extending it even further. This may be the easiest and fastest option for ditching dead zones.
Change Your Router’s Location
Even the best Wi-Fi router will provide limited value if it’s situated in an undesirable location. When possible, opt for a high, central location away from other electronic devices. Avoid the kitchen, which is home to the appliance most capable of interfering with your connection: the microwave. This device emits a signal in the 2.4GHz band that is also responsible for your Wi-Fi connection.
Consider mapping out your signal to determine where gaps may exist. This will help you determine the need for a Wi-Fi extender or mesh network.
Make the Most of Ethernet
We’re so accustomed to the wireless lifestyle that we’ve forgotten the value of a more permanent connection. Wi-Fi may be convenient, but wired connections remain the most reliable. Your router will have several Ethernet ports available, so you should have no trouble plugging in your desktop computer. If you’re worried about dealing with cords, invest in a bracket system to mount Ethernet cables to the wall.
Limit the Number of Device Connections
If every smartphone, tablet, and Internet of Things (IoT) device is linked to the same network, you’re likely to suffer a slow connection. Consider whether you and the other people in your household can get by with fewer connected devices. Take inventory of all connections and determine which can be switched to Ethernet.
Keep Data Safe with a VPN
As you address internet speed, don’t forget about security. While it will be difficult to match your office’s provisions, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) can provide a valuable start. This will essentially create a tunnel in which data can flow freely without interference from malicious parties. Keep in mind that not all VPNs are created equal. In fact, some free VPNs can actually prompt many of the security issues they claim to resolve. While a variety of reliable options are available for personal use, your best bet might be your company’s VPN.
If you work for a large company, you may enjoy access to a strategically designed remote-access VPN or a LAN-to-LAN system. Other businesses rely on outsourcing VPN solutions through enterprise service providers (ESP).
There’s no need to stick with the status quo if your home network is causing problems. The sooner you address your network’s weaknesses, the easier you’ll find it to adapt to your new work-from-home lifestyle.
How NerdsToGo Can Help You Work from Home
If you’d like to improve your home network to make your work more efficient and secure, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from the experts at NerdsToGo Charlotte. We’re committed to improving your home network so that you can enjoy a seamless experience every time you begin your workday. We offer a variety of study-from-home and work-from-home solutions, as well as numerous other business services. From explaining how to set up a home network to guiding you towards the perfect router, our team is here to ensure your connection is fast and reliable.