3 Things to Know About Home Network Design
There’s More Than You Think to a High-Performance Home Network
We all know we're very dependent on our network link to the outside world. So much of our communication, socialization, education, and entertainment have converged onto the internet and digital formats. So, when that link doesn't work well, sometimes more than frustration ensues. Moreover, the pandemic and all its ramifications have brought that point home emphatically.
More than ever, it's critical to have a robust home network that scales with your needs in your Town and Country, MO home. One that can smoothly run a Zoom videoconference, 4K video and classes for your school or college kids, video gaming, high-fidelity music streaming and more – all at the same time without a hiccup. If your network isn’t delivering the performance you need, here are a few tips about home network design you may want to know. Once you understand more about how it works, you may want to call us to get your network up to the level you need.
Upgrading the ISP Package
Many homes rely on equipment supplied by their internet service provider (ISP) for their home network management and the connection to the internet. Sometimes that comes in one piece of equipment, a combination of router and modem. Sometimes the router and modem are separate, which might make for increased reliability or performance depending on the equipment used. Regardless, these boxes are built to volume price points for an average level of performance in an average home. If you have a large home or one with different architecture, you may find that the Wi-Fi signal does not reach evenly everywhere.
One way to increase network performance and capacity is to upgrade your router and modem. Your ISP might install new equipment that's state of the art one year, but it is likely outdated in three years and not keeping up with your many connected devices. More modern routers have increased capacity from new standards like Wi-Fi 6 that allow for more and faster simultaneous connections. Newer routers also have faster processors, as routers are special-purpose computers with software optimized to run your network.
Wired vs. Wireless
Generally speaking, a wired connection will provide you a more reliable connection than a wireless one. Would it be better to have everything wired via ethernet? Theoretically, yes, but not every device has that capability these days! We highly recommend wired connections where feasible for high-capacity applications like desktop computers, smart TVs and video streamers, networked drives for backups and storage, and network video recorders for surveillance systems. However, we realize wired connections are not always feasible for cost, aesthetic, and sometimes architectural reasons.
The solution is to boost wireless signals throughout all the areas you need it. There are various ways, and strategically located wireless access points (WAP) may do the job, both indoors and out. Note that WAPs hard-wired to your router will work far better than those that rely on a wireless connection. Other solutions, like networks that incorporate mesh technology or adding subnetworks for larger properties with multiple structures may help to support a large number of devices around a property. There is no universal solution; instead there are several tools and technologies that work in different environments.
Network routers, like computers, are designed to manage resources. While applications and devices all give the illusion that they're all working simultaneously, the software within them is managing priorities. They all compete for memory, processing time, and access to connections to multitask. Of course, it all happens in nanoseconds. However, some applications – like voice calls – need very fast network access to work properly. Your equipment can't drop digital bits of a voice call and expect to have an intelligent conversation. When your cellular connection does that, you know how frustrating that is. Modern router software can assign priorities to specific devices and types of traffic so that the things that need the speed get it.
We’ve only scratched the surface here in network design. Security, remote monitoring, virtual private networks for increased privacy, and much more are other pieces of the equation to consider for a safer, more robust home network. To start on your path to higher network performance, call us today at (636) 939-4474 or reach out on our contact page. We look forward to working with you!