We are getting increasingly reliant on the internet in our homes and offices. From streaming the latest films to uploading and downloading work documents to and from the cloud, we need connections that are as stable and as fast as possible. Many internet service providers are now offering gigabit connections and if we want to utilise these connections, we need to prepare our homes and offices for gigabit speeds.
Ensure Your Devices are Ready
Before you get in touch with an internet service provider (ISP) to connect you to a gigabit connection, it is important to ensure your devices can handle those speeds. Before choosing a router, read the user manual as well as the fine print. Not every router will support gigabit speeds, although this is not something you have to worry too much about when preparing your office because most commercial routers are gigabit-ready.
Your router should have an x86 CPU or an ARM CPU, as these can keep up with the amount of data passing through them. Although this is a problem for older routers, newer models come with CPUs that can keep up.
Next, check that the ports on your computer can support gigabit speeds. Newer desktop computers have ports that can but for older desktops, you can add a networking card. For older laptops, you might need to use a network adapter if you want to use a hardwired connection. Check that the adapter you are using can support gigabit speeds. When using an adapter, research widely because different adapters perform differently and add data overhead so you might see some losses when using one.
Do Proper Cabling
Getting the fastest speeds possible is often a factor of how well you do your cabling. A good starting point is using Cat 6 ethernet cables to connect networking equipment with devices. Although Cat 5e is a viable option, it has too much crosstalk, which might lead to data losses along the cabling.
Additionally, Cat 6 ensures your investment is future-proofed. Remember that Cat 5e supports up to 1,000 Mbps while Cat 6 can handle 10 times that speed, which ensures you are ready for 10-gigabit connections from the start. Also, ensure that you keep your ethernet cables away from power lines. If you run the data cabling near power cables, there will be a lot of interference with your hard-wired connections.
Go With Hardwired Connections
Although your router might allow wireless network connections, going with hardwired connections is always the better option. Yes, Wi-Fi speeds are catching up, but Cat 6 connections have been shown to have better speeds and stability. They also allow you to place your router where you have the strongest signal and have it connected to any part of the house or office using ethernet cables. Wi-Fi connections are limited in range and the speed falls the further you are from the router.
In an office setting, it is important to have an organised approach when installing your data cabling for hardwired connections. This allows for new computers and laptops to be easily added to the networking infrastructure you already have. Using this structured approach also makes it easier to know which devices are connected to what ports on the networking equipment.
Using Wi-Fi for Home Internet
Getting your home ready for gigabit connections is much more than buying the right equipment, especially if you use Wi-Fi a lot. The first thing to do is to keep your router as far away as things like baby monitors and fluorescent bulbs, as they can cause interference with the connections where you see the connection dropping and reconnecting all the time.
Additionally, go with the 2.4 GHz band over the 5GHz band because the 2.4Ghz band has less signal drop over the same distance as its 5GHz counterpart although it has slower speeds.
Keep Your Router Firmware up to Date
Routers receive constant updates that help improve stability, security, and performance and it is a good practice to stay up to date with these updates. There is one caveat though and that is that you should avoid installing these updates the day they are released. There may be issues or regressions that need to be worked out and you may have problems with your connection if they exist. The advice is to wait for a few days or weeks and check online to see if the latest updates have caused any issues for other users before applying them.
If you do not have a gigabit connection right now, you will likely have it very soon. To take advantage of the higher upload and download speeds, ensure your home or office is ready for the new connection by following the simple tips above.