What you need for a killer home Wi-Fi network
Setting up a decent wireless network in your house does not have to be difficult, even if you are not a techie. Users may encounter problems when setting up a network, including interference, and a lack of range or penetration through walls. However, with the right hardware, your home Wi-Fi network can be nearly as fast as a direct Ethernet connection to your modem.
The hardware which you can use to make your home Wi-Fi go the extra mile is listed below.
All-in-One Wireless Router
An all-in-one modem and router is the only component for most home Wi-Fi networks. The devices are generally easy to set up and handle both routing and the Internet connection. Routers with built-in modems are generally compatible with DSL or fibre lines, and some support both.
When purchasing an all-in-one wireless router, it is important to select a fast device with support for multiple devices over 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. An inexpensive all-in-one router like the ASUS DSL-AC52U supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi over the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands and is compatible with both fibre and ADSL/VDSL connections.
Modem and Wireless Router
If you want more control over your local network and higher concurrent bandwidth on your connection, you may be better off using a dedicated router.
Dedicated routers connect to the Internet via an Ethernet connection which is connected to a modem, and include more features, greater speeds, and better ranges. Dedicated routers like the Netgear Nighthawk X10 sport 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 60GHz Wi-Fi bands, catering for a variety of devices and coverage situations. The Nighthawk boasts a 7,200Mbps maximum transfer rate over Wi-Fi with MU-MIMO (Multiple User Multi-Input Multi-Output).
If you need to stretch your Internet connection over several rooms, powerline adapters are a solid choice. The devices connect to your router via an Ethernet connection and carry your Internet connection over the power lines in your house, allowing you to connect via Ethernet or Wi-Fi in another room.
One unit is connected to your modem/router via an Ethernet cable, and sends connectivity to paired units in other rooms – as long as they are in a plug socket. Users can then connect a device to the powerline adapter and access the Internet. Powerline adapters are relatively cheap and simple to install.
An access point can extend the range of a wireless network from the router to far reaches of a home. If your smart devices have poor connectivity to your wireless network when outside, you can connect an access point to a wired router or powerline to adapter to improve wireless coverage. This can be used to improve wireless signal in dead spots in your home as well as around your property – like a garden or pool area.
Many routers can also be used as access points, and a router with support for 802.11ac or 802.11ad Wi-Fi is a good choice. If you prefer a less-expensive option, access points using 802.11n Wi-Fi can be set up quickly and easily – although their maximum total bandwidth is capped at 300Mbps.
If you want to extend the coverage of your network throughout your house, but don’t want to install powerline adapters or wired access points, you can set up a router as a wireless repeater.
Wireless repeaters only require a power connection to work and connect to your primary wireless router to amplify your Wi-Fi network. The devices are set up to repeat the original Wi-Fi signal, extending the range of the original network. Wireless repeaters can also be set up under a new SSID, allowing you to connect a device to certain connection points – depending on where you are in your house.
Many wireless routers can function as repeaters, and have built-in functionality which allows for easy setup. High-end routers like the Netgear WNDR3800 can act as dual-band wireless repeaters. Users can also flash the DD-WRT firmware onto most wireless routers to set them up as wireless repeaters.
Mesh Wi-Fi is a great way to cover your entire house with wireless connectivity. The systems comprise a central router which connects directly to a series of wireless modules via a dedicated wireless channel, and can be placed throughout your house. These modules connect to the main router via wireless mesh technology and share the same SSID and password throughout the network.
This means that no matter which node you connect to, you will be connected to the same SSID and local network. This type of home network has become popular due to its easy setup. The ASUS Lyra is one of the most recent home mesh systems to launch.
While Wi-Fi connections are getting faster and more effective, sometimes you can’t beat an old-fashioned Ethernet cable. A direct wired connection will grant you the most stable connection with the best speed possible, unmatched by wireless connections. However, cables can be impractical, especially if you have a large area to cover or need to have connectivity across multiple storeys.
Wireless connections are superior in terms of accessibility, but a LAN cable will always deliver a better connection to the Internet.
- ^ ASUS DSL-AC52U (www.takealot.com)
- ^ Netgear Nighthawk X10 (www.weable.co.za)
- ^ relatively cheap (www.takealot.com)
- ^ access points using 802.11n Wi-Fi (www.takealot.com)
- ^ Netgear WNDR3800 (www.wantitall.co.za)
- ^ DD-WRT (www.dd-wrt.com)
- ^ ASUS Lyra (mybroadband.co.za)
- ^ Get yourself a great Wi-Fi router – It is worth it (mybroadband.co.za)