If you work full time from home or split work between the office and your home, you no doubt have WiFi for your home office. WiFi in your home office can help boost productivity, save time, and offer convenience for the entire family.
Even if you have a WiFi in place, the performance might leave much to be desired. In that case, take a look at some of the issues in the article to solve your problem. If on the other hand, you don’t have one in place here are some pointers you can use to get the best out of your WiFi installation.
WiFi for Your Home Office
WiFi is a wireless networking technology. It uses radio waves (2.4Ghz or 5Ghz) to provide high-speed network and Internet connections. The 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz ensure they don’t interfere with cellphones, TV antenna, broadcast radio and two-way radio when transmitting.
A home office WiFi connection helps you connect to the internet without the need to plug in your PC using a cord. With WiFi ranges being able to go up to 2,500 square feet, it provides great flexibility. Despite the perks, challenges can crop up when it comes to using home WiFi. You might see fluctuations in network speeds and of course the security risks that come with people piggybacking off your network.
We all have experienced a temperamental WiFi connection. One moment it works great and then it becomes ridiculously slow. Whether it takes a long time to upload a document or send an email, simply staring at the progress bar can drive you crazy. This is especially true if you don’t know what is causing the problem.
Narrowing down the WiFi problem
The first thing you should do is to make sure that you have good equipment. if you are using an old PC or router you can’t expect the best performance. If you happen to have a laptop that for some sentimental reason don’t want to part with, you can invest in an 802.11ac adapter that plugs into your laptop’s USB port.
Check Your Service
Before going through a barrage of troubleshooting tests, start with a simple speed test. A Speed test will let you know your download speed so you can then compare to the internet plan you bought. If your speed test confirms your internet is slow, you should try connecting to multiple websites and using multiple devices in your home.
This helps you see if any signal is being leeched. If you pay for a very slow internet plan you might want to call your internet provider and pay more to upgrade your service.
Check for Issues on Your PC
If your service is adequate, then check if there are other devices competing for bandwidth. Having multiple devices can saturate your connection. Make sure your other devices are not unnecessarily eating into your bandwidth. For example, if two people are streaming movies and another is trying to download a heavy file, everyone’s experience will naturally slow down. Stop or slow down some of those other downloads to speed things up.
If it’s just your laptop then a reboot might be enough. If the problem persists, run a malware scan to check that everything is fine. Also, look for WiFi activities that could also be the cause such as the use of multiple applications running on a single device. Check to see applications are not all trying to download updates at the same time. You can solve this particular problem by setting the download times when you are not working or on your PC.
Check your Router
If the slow connection occurs on multiple devices despite no heavy traffic usage, then it’s almost certain to be a network problem. Restart your router and make sure you have configured your router for optimum performance. If you have a dual-band router, you’ll likely get better throughput by switching to the 5GHz band instead of using the more common 2.4 GHz band.
If that does not work, your router might just need an update. Router manufacturers are always tweaking software to enhance performance. Go to the brand’s site and see if there is an update available for your router. These usually come as firmware as part of the service from your provider and you might not have to pay additional charges. Third-party firmware like openWrt can help boost your router’s transmitting power.
Antennas and Location
If your router uses an internal antenna, adding an external antenna is a good idea because it will boost the signal. Your router may have come with antennas you can add on yourself.
Externally, the location of your router can also play a role in the network’s speed as well. Signal interference and the occasional router malfunction can reduce WiFi speeds or drop your connection entirely. Rather than locating your router in the far end of your home, placing it in the center of your house distributes the signal across the whole house evenly. Remember thick walls also inhibit WiFi connection so keep this in mind when installing your router.
If you live in a big house you can extend your signal by investing in a range extender. Range extenders pick up the existing WiFi signal from your wireless router and simply rebroadcast it. A Mesh WiFi or Whole Home WiFi system can help here as well.
A mesh WiFi consists of a main router that connects directly to your modem, and a series of satellite modules, or nodes, you place around your house for full WiFi coverage. They are all part of a single wireless network and share the same SSID and password, unlike traditional WiFi routers.
Last but certainly not least make sure to create a strong password with a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers. Follow this recommendation with regular password changes. You can use password tools to help you create and remember your passwords.
Choose a Reliable Internet Provider
If your equipment is all fine perhaps the problem lies with your internet plan or provider. Depending on where you live internet service providers (ISP) offer a variety of internet packages based on speed and prices.
Find out the different options your current provider has and see if you can upgrade to a better service. If the company doesn’t have a plan you are happy with, look for another provider in your area.
Internet Service Providers
Xfinity provides its services in more than 41 states across the nation. Its speeds can reach as fast as 2 gigabytes per second and has packages ranging from as low as $39.99 to $299.95. Comcast Xfinity contracts come in one-year, two-year, or even no-term options.
CenturyLink offers DSL internet service that starts at 20 Mbps and goes up to 100 Mbps for $49 a month. This is a good compromise between fast speeds and low prices. If you are looking for fast fiber speeds at a reasonable cost, you can get it for $65 a month.
AT&T Internet offers high-speed Internet service to 22 states. In addition to DSL broadband, AT&T Internet also offers fiber and fixed wireless Internet service. Internet plans start at $50 per month for speeds up to 100 Mbps. An unlimited data allowance may be purchased separately. With AT&T you can have one bill for TV, internet, wireless, and home phones.
This satellite internet provider provides speeds up to 100 Mbps, which is competitive even against cable speeds. This comes in handy if you live in an area not well serviced by other ISPs. With an extra $5 per month, you’ll be able to get the Viasat WiFi Modem. Make sure that Viasat serves your area.
Verizon is ranked among the top broadband internet providers. And while it’s not available to everyone, it’s one of the best internet options if you want speed. Verizon Fios provides some of the fastest speeds out there, with symmetrical upload and download speeds.
Depending on where you live, Verizon offers can vary quite a bit. Fortunately for those who have access to it, the Fios Gigabit Connection plan starts at $79.99 a month. And it is about the lowest-priced near-gigabit plan in the market. Verizon has starter price of $39.99 a month from 100 Mbps.
WiFi for your home office can help ease the stress of juggling your personal and work connectivity needs. At the same time, a bad or intermittent WiFi connection in your home can add yet another layer of stress. Before investing in a new WiFi for your home office make sure you have the right equipment to do the job. And make sure that your WiFi router is installed in the best possible location to maximize productivity.
It also goes without saying, check whether your local internet service provider offers the best possible solution for your needs.
After you’ve checked all the boxes, educate yourself and your family on how to best use your WiFi to keep everyone safe.
More in: Hardware and Gadgets, Small Business Essentials
You need to look at your wifi needs to begin with. You should also explore tons of wifi options.