With the growing number of Internet-enabled devices in our homes, the importance of a strong, reliable home network is only growing. But as you’ve brought more and more of these devices into your home, you’ve likely noticed that your network performance is dipping.
What’s the answer? A professional home network installer like First Priority Audio Video can give you the performance you’re looking for with a total network overhaul. Today’s blog will break down the key components of a home network and what Coral Springs families can do to make sure everything runs smoothly in their Florida homes.
Three components form the backbone of your home wireless network. These are your modem, your router and the cabling that links everything.
Your modem is what use you use to connect your home to the Internet via your Internet service provider (ISP). If you remember the days of dial-up Internet service, the modem is what you heard making that obnoxious dial tone. Many ISPs will let you rent a modem, but a new modem isn’t terribly expensive. You’ll save money in the long run when you own rather than rent a modem.
Once you have a connection to the Internet, the next crucial component is a wireless router. A typical router connects to your modem and typically comes with four ports for wired connections. Routers also generate a Wi-Fi signal that you can use to connect your phone, tablet, or other devices to the Internet.
Finally, the cables you use in your network are crucial. We’ll get to the different types of cables later on, but for now, it’s important to know that there are two main categories of network cables. There are the cables that connect your devices to each other, and the ones that link your network to the Internet.
When it comes to modems, the key factor is that your modem can handle the max speed your ISP offers under your plan. If you’re paying for 500 megabits per second (Mbps) download speeds, for example, your modem needs to be rated for that speed. You can buy a modem that handles faster speeds than what you get under your service plan (i.e., a 500 Mbps modem when you only have a 250 Mbps plan) but doing so won’t improve your network performance. Buying a faster router will help you prepare for future upgrades, though.
As with your modem, it’s crucial that your router can handle the maximum speeds from your ISP. You also want a router that uses the latest wireless communication protocols. The fastest Wi-Fi standard is 802.11ac (you’ll likely see it listed as wireless AC on the box), so be sure your router is up to date.
Once you have a modem and router in place, you can boost coverage around your home with additional components. Wireless extenders amplify your network’s range by broadcasting the signal they receive from the router to other areas of the house. Network switches help you manage the flow of your data more effectively by prioritizing certain devices or functions. For example, if you’re streaming 4K video to your home theater, a network switch can make sure the appropriate bandwidth is allocated to that service.
Picking the best cables for your network is pretty straightforward. Ethernet cables, the most common cabling used to create a wired network connection, are rated by category. A higher number indicates the cable can handle higher network speeds. Any cable with a rating of Cat5e, Cat6 or higher has a maximum speed of 1 gigabyte per second or more, which is more than enough for most homes. Making the switch to Cat5e or Cat6 cables is a quick upgrade if you haven’t looked at your network components in a while.
What really makes a difference in terms of network performance, though, is the cables that connect your home to the broader Internet. The best option is fiber-optic cabling, which transmits data as light instead of electricity. This allows for much larger amounts of data to be distributed much more quickly. However, fiber-optic Internet service is only available in certain areas, which renders fiber-optic cables useless if you aren’t getting fiber speeds from your ISP.
If fiber-optic cabling isn’t available, coaxial cable is the next best option. Coaxial cable is often used to connect your TV to your cable provider, making it easy to run both signals across the same cable.
Ultimately, the best way to get your network up to par is to call a home network installer like First Priority Audio Video. To learn more about our network services, call (954) 650-3074 or visit our contact page. You can also speak with a customer service associate using the chat box in the corner of your browser.