Router Considerations While Working from Home

While working from home, you may have noticed some things about your internet connectivity. It may even bother you so much that you’ve become curious to how you can improve it.  Here are some things to consider:

  1. Security – password
  2. The Upload and Download Speed
  3. Signal Strength

Before we begin any improvement discussion, it may seem odd to begin with security. We want to make sure attackers don’t impact the administration of your router or your home network.

Security: Change the default password

Your router is sent from your ISP with a “default” username/password. This information is usually labeled on the router, but this can also be easily looked up by googling “default router password for <Your Internet Provider Here>”.  Hackers rely on this unintended slip in securing your home network. For this reason, we always recommend changing the default administrator password to something unique. Instructions can be found online or contact your internet service provider for help.

Upload and download speed

If you’re a family of 4, each with 3 or more devices connected to WiFi your bandwidth could be impacted.  So, the question to ask yourself is “Am I getting the needed upload and download speed?” First, let’s define them.

The upload speed refers to how many megabits of data per second of information you can send to another device or server on the internet. This impacts how well you can send big files via email or use video-chat (since you send your video feed to them).   Download speed refers to how many megabits of data per second it takes to download data from a server in the form of images, videos, text, and more. Activities such as streaming music and movies or downloading large files all require you to download data.  Are you curious about what your internet speed is, speedtest.net will give you the answer?

So, what are the right upload and download speed for you? It depends on so many factors (i.e. number of connected devices in your home, your use of the internet). Here is a suggestion in a chart from TomsGuide.com.

How many Mbps do you really need?

 

Number of devices

Use Cases

Recommended Download Speed

1-2

 

Web surfing, email, social networking, moderate video

 

Up to 25 Mbps

 

3-5

 

Online multiplayer gaming, 4K streaming

 

50 - 100 Mbps

 

More than 5

 

All of the above plus sharing large files and live streaming video

 

150 to 200 Mbps

 

 

Boosting signal strength

If your signal regularly drops or appears to have only a few WiFi strength bars, then it may be time to consider a WiFi repeater/extender.

A WiFi Extender is a device that repeats the wireless signal from your router to expand its coverage. It functions as a bridge, capturing the WiFi from your router and rebroadcasting it to areas where the WiFi is weak or nonexistent, improving the performance of your home WiFi. You can find different brands (Netgear, Lynksys, D-Link) on Amazon. Read the reviews before purchasing, it is important.

by John Henry McDonald