Taming Your Smart Tech: Setting a Reliable Home Network for Your Devices

You want to have the most epic home network on the block. But, setting one up is easier said than done. Here’s how to do it without pulling your hair out.

Start With Good Hardware

At the end of the day, a lot of what makes a network stellar is in the service you get from your ISP and the hardware you use in your home. Buy the best that you can afford. If you skimp here, all the network tricks and hacks in the world won’t matter.

When setting up your network, you’ll be looking for throughput of data. This is the real-time network speed in action. A LAN Speed Test is a free utility for the Mac and PC that tests wired, as well as wireless, throughputs. It then reads and writes a file from two points on your network. It can measure the resulting speed from this data.

Wireless tools are also very useful for getting a better understanding of your network’s wireless signal strength and the interference from noise both in and outside the house. For example, let’s say you have multiple wireless devices in the house, transmitting a signal. If they’re all operating on the same frequency, you may not be able to get the speeds you think you should be getting because of interference.

A couple of free programs that can help you manage your wireless network are:

  • inSSIDer for PC
  • Netspot for Mac

Installing A Wired and Wireless Network

A connected smart home usually starts with premium cable, fiber, or standard phone line for a DSL connection. If you want a superior connection, start with a wired connection throughout the house. This may be the most difficult because, unless you’re willing to tear into the drywall, you’re not going to be able to wire the house for high-speed internet in a neat and “clean” way. You can still run wires through the home, but they’ll be visible, and probably not very visually appealing.

Many of the newer homes, like those sold by www.TalyorsEstateAgents.co.uk, are already wired up. But, if you live in an older home, you’ll need to think about how involved you want this project to be.

By running high-speed CAT 6 cables behind the walls, you can get strong wired connections for things like Roku, Apple T.V., and even some of your laptops (if you tend to work in one room all the time). Some electronics and appliances, would benefit from the wired connection even if they have wireless capabilities.

And, it lessens the load on the wireless network, which tends to get clogged when there are numerous devices accessing it at the same time.

The downside, of course, is the extra work it takes to properly run all the wires behind the walls.

A wireless network needs to be planned out such that the base station is located somewhere central in the home. If you place the router at one end of the house, then devices might find it difficult to access the connection at the other end of the home.

To solve this problem, what you can do is leave the modem where it is and just move the router to a different location in the home and connect it with high-speed cables.

If you have any devices that stream HD video, then you will want a wired connection for this. Usually, this means using either Cat 5e or Cat 6 cable.

If you have a lot of these kinds of devices or electronics, use an Ethernet Switch. An Ethernet Switch is a device that lets you connect multiple devices in the same area to your home’s network.

You will be able to pass traffic through without too much interference. The router connects to the switch, and the switch then routes the signals to various places around the home. And, devices connect to the switch indirectly through individual Ethernet outlets in each room.

How To Get Better Wi-Fi Coverage

Today’s standard Wi-Fi coverage is 802.11n, which has a maximum speed of 450Mbps. The newest standard (which isn’t yet common) is 802.11ac, which has a max speed of 1.7Gbps. The ac standard is backwards compatible, which means that it’ll work with older or slower devices.

And, Wi-Fi works on two different wireless radio frequencies. The most common one, by far, is the 2.4GHz band. The newer one is 5GHz. The benefit of the 2.4GHz band is that most devices operate on it, and so it’s very common. The disadvantage of this band is that, because there are so many devices on it, it’s rather crowded.

5GHz band is less crowded, but newer devices might not be able to operate on it.

But, even with the best router, you can’t always get good Wi-Fi coverage. This is why many people buy extenders to increase the range of the router. Range extenders boost the signal in your home, making it easier for your devices to “latch on” and send and receive data reliably over the network.

Chelsea Guzman is a geeky girl! She loves her tech and gadgets, and is often the person that her friends and family call when they experience internet issues.

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