As the pandemic has dragged on, the remote work situation has slowly shifted. Gone are the initial growing pains and discomfort that come with a sudden change in one’s workspace. Now work from home (WFH) employees are looking beyond the basics to improve their existing setups.
While comfy chairs and new devices may be high on the list of desired upgrades, there’s one item that should always come first: the internet. Without a solid internet connection, your entire WFH setup is bunk.
In most cases, a good internet plan and a dependable modem are left in the hands of your internet service provider (ISP). However, the responsibility of setting up a good Wi-Fi network tends to land squarely in the lap of you, the remote working customer.
If you’re going to be working from home for a while still, it’s wise to take steps to set up stable Wi-Fi. Here are a few suggestions to proactively do so.
Gauge Your Needs
Even if you’ve been working from home for a while now, you may have never stopped to consider one crucial question. How much internet do you need to operate from home in the first place?
Your current setup may have been enough so far, but will your needs ever change? As your work equipment is upgraded will your current internet be able to keep up?
Start your Wi-Fi issue prevention by gauging how much internet you need to function in your job. If you don’t need to do much more than a video chat call from time to time, 40 Mbps or is more than enough. If you need to download larger files, you may want a plan that goes up to 100 Mbps. If your family wants to simultaneously watch multiple 4K movies while you’re working, you may need to spring for the 500 Mbps package.
Understanding how much internet you require to keep working is a good starting point. It gives you a clear idea of what kind of Wi-Fi you need to help you thrive while working from home.
Check with Your ISP
Another good idea is to give your internet service provider (ISP) a quick call. Ask them to measure the speed of the internet that is coming to your home. They can test to see how fast the internet upload and download speeds are outside of your living space.
This can eliminate the slight possibility that the ISP cables could hamper your internet speed at some point in the future. If a problem arises, it’s helpful to know that the speed reaching your home is good. Then you can focus on your own equipment to find a solution.
Test Your In-Home Speed
Next up, take some time to measure your current internet speed in your network. There are numerous speed test apps for both mobile and desktop devices. Your ISP may even have one it officially recommends for its customers.
Check your current upload and download speeds. Then compare them to your internet plan. Are they roughly the same? Considering what speed you need and making sure that your current Wi-Fi is providing it are two crucial first steps.
If you find that you’re having Wi-Fi issues in spite of this, you can look for other problems without worrying about these basic items.
Get Adaptive Wi-Fi
If you want to ensure that you have a stable internet connection at all times, you may want to get mesh routers. These are multiple units that connect together and create a consistent “mesh” of internet across your home.
If you want to go even further, consider adaptive Wi-Fi solutions. These are some of the best all-inclusive internet solutions available. On top of creating a seamless connection, adaptive Wi-Fi systems also bring a “smart home” element to the table.
They adjust to your Wi-Fi needs over time. Then they make sure that the signal and bandwidth are focused on the areas, and devices, in your home that need it most.
Pick the Best Spot(s)
Whether you’re setting up a Wi-Fi network or a single powerful router, you still want to consider placement. If you put a router low down or you block it with certain materials, it can struggle to perform.
Suggestions for the best router placement include:
- Putting it high up on a shelf or even mounting it on a wall.
- Trying to avoid putting it somewhere where thick walls, such as those made of brick or concrete, are between it and your office.
- Giving your router its own space that isn’t crowded out with other electronics.
- Choosing a central location that can reach as many parts of your home as possible.
Give your router’s placement some thought. If you can put it in the best spot, it will reward you with a more consistent internet connection.
Work Those Antennas
If your router has antennas, don’t just write them off as meaningless decor. They can make a big difference in how dependable your Wi-Fi is. Some units have one or two antennas while others can have half a dozen or more. If you have two, make sure that they’re aimed perpendicularly. If you have more than that, ensure that they aim in multiple directions.
If you find that your office is far from your router, you can also consider a directional Wi-Fi antenna. This antenna extender can not only boost your signal. It can aim it in a specific direction. This can both increase the signal and reduce interference along the way.
There are many ways to ensure that your work from home setup remains online. The process should always start with basic research. Figure out how much bandwidth you need (both upload and download). Then check your current plan and speed.
From there, you can begin to make bigger changes as you see fit. Move your router until it’s in the best position. Adjust your antennas as needed.
Set up a mesh network or use adaptive Wi-Fi to create a wider, stronger area for your home internet signal. If you can be proactive about potential Wi-Fi issues, you’ll be able to keep your home office up and running in any and every situation.