Building a Strong Home Network

In our last blog, we talked about knowing how much bandwidth you need. Having the right bandwidth is only part of the solution – you also need to make sure you have the right hardware in place so that you get the optimal experiences you need and that downloads and unexpected network traffic don’t cause you to experience video lag. It may sound challenging, but it is pretty simple to get this set up correctly. Here are some tips:

1)     Pay attention to your devices:

Here are some tips when buying electronics that will use your home’s WiFi:

1)    Pay attention to how many antennas the devices have. Unfortunately, many people don’t pay attention to what is in their computers. Inexpensive computers often have single antenna networking products, often referred to as a 1x1 (pronounced 1 by 1) product.  1x1 solutions should be avoided because they only have one antenna to send and receive traffic. Having two antennas ensures that WiFi traffic has a better chance of being received and you can send/receive twice as much data. This will make a big difference in improving your experience.

2)    Look for Killer Networking hardware when buying your next computer. Lets face it, games and video’s don’t lag because of your CPU and GPU – they lag because of your networking. Killer Networking products are the best hardware in the market, and have cutting edge software features like the Killer Control Center that lets you prioritize your traffic so that your videos and games are never being slowed down because of downloads going on in your system.

2)     Buy a Good Router:

We always advise people to buy their own router, and not rely on the cheap one that often comes from your internet service provider. A great router can solve all sorts of problems. Buying a router can be challenging if you don’t know the lingo.  Router vendors market them such as AC1900, AC3200, etc… These numbers are designed to reflect how much network traffic can be passed by the router. Unfortunately, these numbers are often misleading, because many people can’t actually use all the bandwidth the routers can theoretically provide. These simple tips can help you pick a good solid router:

1)    Buy a router that is at least AC1900 in speed. This is plenty of speed for the vast majority of homes.

2)    Make sure your router supports MU-MIMO. It is a daunting acronym, but MU-MIMO is a great feature. Routers that have this feature can talk to multiple devices (computers, phones, tablets, etc…) at the same time… routers that don’t have MU-MIMO need to talk to one device at a time in a round-robin style. The routers without MU-MIMO can introduce lag and latency when a lot of devices are on the network.

3)    Ensure your router has a solid Quality of Service” (QoS) solution in it. Routers with advanced QoS solutions can prioritize important network traffic like games and videos over less important traffic such as downloads.  

A great router that meets all this criteria is the WRT32X. It features the Killer Prioritization Engine and has all the advanced features you need such as MU-MIMO.

Creating a solid plan to build out your home network with quality devices is a smart idea. Take the time when buying your next router and computer to ensure you are building the network you need for maximum productivity and maximum enjoyment!