Working from home: how to improve your WiFi network

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How to improve your WiFi network to boost your Internet connection to work from home in the best conditions The second lockdown that we are currently experiencing is leading many people to work from home. The home WiFi network is not always as efficient as the network at work. However, solutions exist to boost the Internet connection and increase WiFi speed without necessarily having to invest huge amounts of money in professional equipment.

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When working from home, it is essential to be able to maximize the performance of your WiFi connection.

Improve your WiFi network for remote working

1 / Correctly placing your Internet router

All boxes from Internet providers act as a Wi-Fi router. The further away you are from the router, the more the signal strength decreases and certain elements can obstruct the transmission of WiFi waves (thick brick or concrete walls, the metal walls of a refrigerator, water from an aquarium, etc.) . Therefore, if you are working in a room far from the router, the WiFi signal will be less powerful. Ideally, the router should be placed at the center of the home so that every room has a powerful WiFi connection. If the router is at one end of your home, you will need to move closer to it to work in good conditions and boost your WiFi connection.

2 / Use WiFi repeaters

When it is not possible to place the Internet box in the center of the home or to move closer to it while working, the use of one or more WiFi repeaters makes it easy to extend the range of the network. Placed at the edge of the router’s WiFi coverage area, the WiFi repeater captures the signal and deploys a new coverage area that radiates all around it.

WiFi repeater scenario diagram
This diagram shows how to extend the range of a WiFi network with a WiFi repeater.

This expansion is transparent for all devices, which automatically connect to it with the same network key as that of the main network. With one or more WiFi repeaters, you can work in any room of your home with a good WiFi connection.

3 / Create a mesh network

It is the ideal solution for covering a large area or creating a WiFi network in a multi-storey dwelling. Rather than using a single WiFi transmitter, a mesh WiFi network adopts several WiFi modules called nodes or satellites. These can be placed in several rooms of the home and on every floor to increase the WiFi speed of all residents and optimize remote working.

The Netgear Orbi RBK50 pack includes a router and a satellite and can cover up to 350 m².

First, connect the Internet router to the main satellite with a network cable then position the other satellites throughout the house and connect them to the mains. The satellites are then all interconnected and relay the WiFi connection, creating a unique wireless network that is both stable and robust.

Once the Netgear Orbi base is connected to the Internet router (cable or ADSL), it and the satellite generate a powerful tri-band WiFi network capable of covering an area of up to 350 m². The signal passes through walls and floors to deliver optimized bandwidth, wherever you are in the house.

This solution is more efficient than using one or more WiFi repeaters and has many advantages for working from home:

  • better speed
  • greater stability
  • suitable for multi-storey dwellings (as the signal has to pass through the ceiling and the floor).

The market leader in WiFi routers and repeaters, Netgear also offers efficient mesh network solutions with the Netgear Orbi range (read the review of the Netgear Orbi RBK50 pack).

4 / Prioritize traffic with a WiFi router

Most boxes from Internet providers offer limited settings for the various devices connected to them. Using an separate WiFi router to establish and manage the home WiFi network can be very useful when working from home if you do not want your Internet speed to be impacted by your children’s online games or video streaming while you are in the middle of a meeting.

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A WiFi router like the Netgear XR700-100EUS allows you to manage Internet traffic and boost the WiFi connection of one or more computers for remote working.

WiFi routers make it possible to prioritize the traffic on the network and to allocate more or less speed according to the devices, with the possibility of very precise management using time slots. It is then very easy prioritize a connection with a high WiFi speed for the work computer during office hours and to give the kids more bandwidth after work.

Via a dedicated interface, you can configure the bandwidth allocation for each device connected to the WiFi router. A simple way to optimize the WiFi speed of the computer used for remote working.

Alternatives to WiFi when working from home

1 / Use PLC (power-line carrier)

Power-line technology uses the home’s electrical cable network to create or extend a local network. This alternative to a WiFi wireless network is very easy to use (no password required to connect) and secure since the data does not leave the home’s electrical network, while WiFi can reach neighbors.

The Netgear PLP2000 Power-line Adapter Pack allows you to extend a home network through the electrical installation of your home, with a maximum speed of 2 Gbits / sec. Each adapter is equipped with two Gigabit Ethernet ports.

However, PLC imposes a wired link between the PLC box and the computer or the device to be connected, except with certain PLC boxes that also act as WiFi repeaters.

To learn more, you can read the article: PLC, an alternative to WiFi and Ethernet networks

2 / Ethernet network cable

If you are electrosensitive or if you simply do not want to be exposed to WiFi waves, you can turn to the wired Ethernet link. All you have to do is connect the computer you use for working to your Internet box using a network cable with RJ45 connectors.

A network cable is sometimes the only solution to enjoy a stable and fast Internet connection.

Advantages:

  • No configuration, no password to enter.
  • Very stable connection (no or very little interference).
  • Little or no attenuation of bandwidth with distance.
  • High speed, no latency: the connection speed can reach 1 Gbps on the local network provided you use category 6 cables or higher. The speed of the Internet connection depends on the speed offered by the service provider.

Disadvantages:

  • Having to run a cable between the computer and the Internet box (or the router) if you live in older building.
  • An Ethernet switch may be necessary to connect several devices located in the same room (computer, TV, AV network player, video game consoles, etc.).

To learn more, you can read the article: Streaming: should you choose an Ethernet connection?

How to enjoy wireless streaming using WiFi

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