Times have certainly changed since the beginning of COVID. In a recent networking service call in Urbandale, IA, we came across a small area that had only one solution for their internet service provider. This triggered us to reach out and want to explain what needs to be done to have a solid network. More people than ever are working from home and having multiple wireless gadgets are more common. We have some tips to keep in mind when considering your network.

What ISP (Internet Service Provider) do you recommend?

That’s a tough question and sometimes you don’t have much of an option. We find most are with either Mediacom or CenturyLink. Both are good but sometimes you need a boost in wireless for coverage. Watch for some up-and-coming competitors as in T-Mobile 5G and Starlink. Our Urbandale customer was a new build and at that time, HughesNet was the only option as they needed satellite internet. It’s nice we are now seeing competition in those hard-to-reach areas.

What internet speed do I need for working from home?

We would suggest a minimum of 50 to 100 Mbps for a download speed and at least 15 Mbps for an upload speed. You are only as good as your weakest link so make sure your ISP has enough bandwidth. Also, make sure your modem is up to date.

Should I rent or buy my equipment?

We suggest renting your equipment. Sometimes your ISP will require you to rent and that’s mainly fiber and DSL. Most often you want to be up to date with technology and that means a different modem and router every few years. If renting, call and request a new one every few years to stay up to date. Your ISP normally will have the modem and router as one unit. If you have any issues and renting, your ISP will take care of you.

What equipment do I need for a good network?

The first thing you will need is a modem. The modem is mainly the bridge between your equipment to your ISP. Once again, we suggest renting. The next piece of equipment is your router. This piece of equipment will route the traffic coming in and going out. We have used Luxul for many years and it’s a solid brand. If your home exceeds 2,000 square feet, you most likely will need one or more access points. An access point helps spread out your wifi, not increase the Mbps. We use Luxul as well when adding access points. We stay away from mesh networks as they are expensive to build upon. Plus, each node in a mesh network will decrease your bandwidth in half when hopping from one to the next.

We hope you have found this information helpful!