It's the year 2018 and the internet has become an extremely important asset in any consumer's home. It is valued to many, especially those that work from home, as being just as important as having running water or electricity . As of recent, the idea of a "smart home" has also taken off. These devices connect to the internet to provide information or services to a user such as wireless voice assistance. With all these devices tied to the internet, home networking infrastructure may be under some heavy strain, leading to possible dropouts of connection or buffering. Many older homes are not equipped with the networking infrastructure needed to support all these devices because the internet didn’t exist when they were constructed. Today, many people are investing in rewiring their homes to provide solid wireless and wired connections while also increasing home value. In this article we will run through the top five things to do in order to upgrade any home network to 2018 standards.
1. What’s the budget?
The first thing that needs to be considered in your budget. Are you planning on spending tens,hundreds,or even thousands on an upgrade? Networking infrastructure can be expensive, especially if you have a contractor install cabling within your home. If you are having wired connections to each room of your home you can be looking at well over $1000 in cabling alone. Along with cabling, home owners will want to factor in other equipment such as network switches, access points, and firewalls which can also be quite expensive.
2. Wireless Coverage
Before you start tearing apart your home to rewire everything, it is smart to check your home for dead zones in your wireless coverage. Print off a floor plan of your home and mark the locations of access points in your home and draw circles around the range that they are intended to cover. Then once you have this mapped out, double check to see if those zones are actually accurate. The best way to do this is just to walk around your home with your phone or tablet and check how many bars of signal you have. If the signal does not drop, coverage is fine and you do not need to worry. If signal does drop, then you may want to install another access point somewhere in between the two routers to remove the dead zone within your home. This will require a Ethernet cable to be run from the central switch to the access point's location. Brick walls can contribute a major impact in terms of blocking wireless signal, but if your entire home is drywall than you will probably only need one or two access points.
3. Installation of a Network Switch
Now that you have hypothetically installed Ethernet cables and access points throughout your home, what are you going to do to connect them to the internet? This is what a network switch is for. It is basically a hub that takes a single connection coming from your broadband modem and splits it into multiple connections. When considering what switch to buy there are managed and unmanaged options. The managed switches are usually designed for business applications and generally are much more expensive. For a home network, an unmanaged gigabit switch is more than enough.
4. What internet package do I have?
The next thing to look into, since all the networking infrastructure in your home is now up to spec, is what internet package you are purchasing from your internet service provider (ISP). ISP's can have packages ranging from 5 mbps to upwards of 1000 mbps for those that want a fiber optic connection. Just because a home network is rated for 1000 mbps of bandwidth does not mean that this will ever get used unless the connection coming in can saturate it. This would be like setting up the plumbing in your home and then paying the water company for 1 gallon per hour. The pipes can handle much more water, but will never see it because the water coming in cannot saturate the capacity of the system. With new networking infrastructure, there may come the need to increase the bandwidth coming into the home.
5. Enjoy the Benefits
This last point is really not something to consider, more so a result. Having a strong home network not only makes things nicer for the homeowner, it also increases the value of that home. In the market today, people are looking for proper networking infrastructure to already be setup in a home and getting ahead of the curve is a great way to make a property shine for future buyers.