Why Quality Components Are Crucial for Your Home Network
Using Better Parts Means Better Performance across Your Home’s Entire Automation System
There’s an old saying that you get what you pay for, and it’s an adage that certainly applies to your home’s computer network.
While many homeowners are content to buy a modem, router and cables from their local Best Buy or other big box store, you won’t get maximum performance from your network that way. The best way to ensure you’re enjoying the fastest, strongest signal you can get in your home is to invest in quality network components. Here’s our guide to high-quality parts and how One Touch Living’s network services can benefit your La Jolla, CA home.
SEE ALSO: Can Your Network Handle a Smart Home?
NETWORK COMPONENTS PRIMER
There are three key devices that form the backbone of your home’s network: Your modem, your router and the cabling used to link your devices together.
Your modem is what links your network to your internet service provider (ISP). In the early days of the internet, the modem is what you heard making that awful dial tone when you tried to get online. Most ISPs will let you rent a modem, but they’re not terribly expensive, so you may be better off just buying one yourself to save money in the long run.
Most modems only allow for one connection, so how do you expand your network? With a router. The router connects to your modem and allows you to create additional connections to your network. Most routers come with four ports in the back for wired connections, and they create a wi-fi signal to allow for wireless connections to your network.
The other crucial component in your network is the cables that link everything together. There are two broad categories of cables that will impact your network performance: The cables that link the devices on your network, and those that connect your network to the broader internet.
MODEMS AND ROUTERS
When it comes to modems, the only factor that really matters is if your modem can handle the maximum speed on your ISP service plan. For example, if you’re paying for 500 megabits per second (Mbps), you want to be sure your modem is rated for that speed. Getting a modem that’s faster than your network speed (i.e., a 500 Mbps modem when you only have a 250 Mbps plan) won’t boost your performance at all, but it’s a nice way to prepare for future upgrades if you can afford the faster, more expensive model.
These same principles are largely true of wireless routers. Again, make sure your router can handle the maximum speed you can achieve through your ISP. In addition to raw speed, you want your router to use the latest communication standards. This will ensure you get the best wi-fi signal speed and range. The fastest wi-fi standard is 802.11ac (usually listed simply as wireless ac), so be sure to check if the router you’re looking at is up to date.
It’s a fairly straightforward task to pick the best cables to link the devices within your home. Ethernet cables are rated by category, with a higher number after the rating indicating higher speed thresholds. Cables with a Cat5e, Cat6 or higher rating all have a maximum speed of 1 gigabyte per second or more, which should be plenty for most homes. If you haven’t replaced your Ethernet cables in a while, making the switch to Cat5e or Cat6 is an easy upgrade.
The more important cabling in your home, however, is whatever runs from your home network to your ISP. The best option is fiber optic cabling, which transmits data as light instead of electricity, allowing for much higher speeds. However, fiber optic internet is only available in certain areas, so there’s no point in using fiber optic cables in your home if you can’t get fiber speeds from your ISP.
If you can’t go with fiber, coaxial cable is your next-best bet. This is the same type of cable typically used to connect to cable TV services, which is why both signals are often run across the same cable.
TALK TO A PRO
Ultimately, the best way to make sure your home network meets your needs is with a professional installation. Our experienced technicians use the latest equipment to maximize your network performance. To learn more about One Touch Living’s network services, call (858) 798-9130 or visit our website.