Beefing-Up Your Home Network

The home network. It used to just be a simple luxury. Beeps and tones and hisses would communicate our home’s personal computer to the good ol’ folks over at AOL or Prodigy and we would wait for 5 minutes to hear that creepy “You’ve Got Mail” guy’s voice or watch a gif of a dancing baby. Now, we work from home, challenge every claim by “giving it a Google,” and stream the latest episode of Gossip Girl  The Walking Dead. It’s extremely important to have a beefed-up homenetwork these days, and network hardware manufacturers like Cisco offer up a bevvy of options for both corporate Goliaths and the Davids sitting on the toilet with their iPad. “So what are some ways to get my wifi network as fit and swol’ as Dwayne ‘The Rock Johnson?” you might ask. Read on, you bandwidth junkie!

No one ever seems satisfied with their ISP (internet service provider), and I’m not here to discuss the merits and downsides to each one, but even the most inept of internet services will benefit from a grade-A router. Your router is like a really good wingman–they’ve got your back and will help you look really ridiculously good, even in spite of an inadequate ISP.

A good router (with a wireless access point) will unlock the potential of your ISP. Let’s say your particular plan offers speeds of up to 30mbps. Any connection over 20mbps is going to benefit from a router with wireless-n capabilities. Wireless-n offers more speed, more security, more range and more overall reliability to your internet connection. It has the ability to reach speeds of up to 150mbps, rivaling the tried-n-true wired ethernet connection. planIT Hardware has a boatload of different models and styles of routers and AP’s ([wireless] access points) on offer.

Let’s say you’re happy with the speeds your router is producing, but your house is awkwardly designed. You walk into the kitchen, and suddenly, your connection cuts out. You’ve just hit what is affectionately known as a dead zone, friend, and it can be combated with what is known as a wireless repeater (or range extender). These handy helpers can be small and stylish, depending on which models you go with. Cisco offers some pretty sleek ones that planIT Hardware can offer at 60-90% off list price. The wireless repeater will grab the signal that your router is producing on the other side of the house, throw it out and spread it like lawn seed, creating a second network out of it in the process. Remember Play-Doh? It’s like taking a ball of that and ripping another piece out to make a second ball. More fun for everyone!

One other item you could include in your internet arsenal is a high-gain antenna for your wireless AP or router (if it has a built-in access point). The standard antenna that comes with your router/AP is likely going to be omnidirectional, meaning it shoots the signal out in all directions in equal proportions, all around the router in an “expanding circle,” so to speak. I personally have been very frustrated when I could receive a better signal at the bottom of my driveway than in my own living room. With a high-gain antenna, you can focus the bulk of the signal in a particular direction you’d like it to go in (in my case, getting it away from the outside and in to the other side of the house). Replacing the standard antenna on your access point with a high-gain one can make all the difference.

All of these items can easily be found at incredibly low prices from planIT Hardware. Get a quote today!

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