How to Get the Most out of Your WiFi While Working from Home
We all use our home Wi-Fi networks every single day – sometimes all day, every day. Depending on our situation.
However, many of us are not used to relying on our home Wi-Fi for working conditions. Especially, when we are not used to being home with our whole family or all of our roommates trying to connect to the Wi-Fi at the same time. And of course, all trying to connect for something that is important and needs to get done, like online classes or work.
Here are a few ways you can make sure that your Wi-Fi is ready for working from home.
It’s time to enable Quality of Service (QoS) for your work devices
Quality of Service, or QoS, is a feature in your router’s setting. When you enable this feature, your router prioritizes which content and which devices should get through your Wi-Fi line ahead of others.
For example, you could give your work laptop QoS priority over your children’s iPad. This way, your video conference calls are uninterrupted and buffer-free while your child streams more videos to watch.
Dedicate a separate network to your critical work devices
In other posts we talk about how you can set up a guest network to secure your personal Wi-Fi. Or, how to set up a separate network for your IoT smart devices.
Well, you can create separate networks for different online activities as well.
Dedicated networks share the same concept as QoS. For example, you can set up one network for your work laptop or your laptop you use for school. Then, have an additional network for your kids or your roommates to stream their favorite shows or for online gaming. This way, you can prioritize proper bandwidth for working from home.
Most routers are equipped with two frequency bands: 2.4GHz and 5GHz. In other words, the ability to create two separate Wi-Fi networks.
You can alleviate any concerns by putting the critical devices like work and school laptops on the 5GHz band. This band is fast enough to push past congestion.
The “slower” 2.4GHz band can house other devices, like your other household member’s gaming console, tablet or smartphones.
Switch your router to an uncrowded channel
This tip sounds similar to the last one, and in a way it is. But getting your router on an uncrowded channel is a tip for city living or those living in apartments, more so than for those living in a home in the suburbs.
Like with most Wi-Fi issues, sometimes all it takes is rebooting your router. So make sure to do that first. This will help put your router back onto the default channel.
Then, use your smartphone or other Wi-Fi analyzer apps to find which channels others surrounding you are using. Once you know, you can switch your router to a less populated channel. This should optimize your internet connection.
Once you switch your router’s channel, you may have to reboot again to make the successful switch. That’s normal.
Consider ignoring Wi-Fi and try a wired connection
When your Wi-Fi channels are clogged with a ton of traffic, the one reliable source of internet is going to be with a wired connection. Don’t think about the “old days” with cables running every which way and cluttering your home. Today, there are better ways that you can wire up for reliable internet.
Here’s how each works and what they can do to optimize your Wi-Fi:
Powerline adapters and MoCA adapters each work in pairs. They are both extremely easy to set up. All you have to do is take one of the adapters and plug it into an outlet near your router, and the other in an outlet near the device you are using. Then, use an Ethernet cable to your device for a high-speed, reliable connection.
The difference between the two types of adapters is the wiring that they use in your home. Powerline network adapters use the legacy, or powerline, wiring that already exists in your home. Whereas MoCA adapters rely on the coaxial wiring that already exists in your home.
Neither adapter requires additional, expensive wiring installation. And both types ensure solid internet by working with your Wi-Fi to turn your home into an internet powerhouse.
If your home doesn’t have a coax outlet in any room near to where you are working, go with powerline adapters.
Cellular data could help – if only temporarily
This one is almost self-explanatory, but we will expand on who should use your cellular data and when it’s appropriate.
If you have an unlimited cellular data plan, it is appropriate to put less critical devices on that data to free up your Wi-Fi. If you do not have an unlimited plan, this will get very pricey, very quickly.
But say you do have unlimited data. Turn off Wi-Fi access to your kids’ devices or other household members for a limited time while you are getting work done. This way, the other members can scroll social media or watch YouTube videos on data while you have interruption-free Wi-Fi for work or class.
Time for a (temporary) broadband upgrade?
After reading through all of these tips, the answer might simply be that you do not have enough broadband internet speed and bandwidth to support everyone person and device living under one roof.
The first thing you should is how much bandwidth you need for the work you need to get done, and what your Wi-Fi speed is currently at. You can run a Wi-Fi speed test to get a better idea of where you are at and where you need your speed to be.
See this article for the breakdown of the amount of bandwidth you need to successfully work from home.
Spoiler alert: if you are running on 10-12 Mbps, that might not be reliable enough for your Work From Home needs.
- Enable QoS to prioritize Wi-Fi per devices
- Dedicate a separate network to your work devices
- Switch your router to a different channel
- Consider a wired connection for reliable internet every time
- Consider switching non-essential devices to cellular data temporarily
- Lastly, upgrade your broadband, if only for a short time.
By following these tips, you will be better prepared and get the most out of your Wi-Fi for working from home or completely your school work.
We know that being stuck at home isn’t all about the work. So, if you want more tips, check out some of our other content for boosting your Wi-Fi for gaming or for streaming your favorite show. Or, if you want more on how to get the most out of your home network, check out Actiontec’s blog.