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How to find the best Wi-Fi router for a home office

Paul Mah | Nov. 3, 2016
If the Wi-Fi in your home workspace or small office isn't as fast or reliable as it could be, your productivity will suffer. This guide to home office Wi-Fi covers everything you need to know to maximize your wireless experience.

A few more key considerations

Despite the relentless push towards an all wireless worlds, it still makes sense to connect certain devices to the web via wires, such as Network-Attached Storage (NAS) appliances and desktop PCs. Doing so reserves valuable wireless bandwidth for wireless-only devices, and it can reduce intermittent issues that stem from wireless interference. Wi-Fi routers with adequate switch ports can eliminate the need for a standalone network switch, as well.

Many of the latest Wi-Fi routers have a USB port or two, which can be used to connect USB-based printers or portable storage drives, among other things. It's unlikely that newer routers will use anything older than USB 3.0, but you might want to keep an eye out for and avoid any slower USB 2.0 devices.

You may also want to look into a router with dual-WAN support, which would let you use two WAN internet connections as a way to help ensure consistent network reliability. The Synology RT1900ac [ or find if on Amazon], for example, supports dual WAN in both active-passive and active-active mode. The former tech uses only one WAN port at a time, but can automatically switch to the second WAN port should a connection drop. The latter allows for simultaneous use of both WAN ports.

wifi dualwan 
The Synology RT1900ac lets users load balance between two Internet connections.

The placement of your Wi-Fi router is also crucial to good Wi-Fi coverage in your home workspace or small office. Your router should be positioned in an elevated, central location that's set apart from potentially RF-dampening barriers, such as thick concrete beams or walls, and metallic fixtures.

The drive toward ubiquitous wireless means Wi-Fi tech will continue to evolve in leaps and bounds, and device makers will release more powerful and full-featured routers in the months and years ahead. To take advantage of all the advances and evolutions, you need to stay up to date on the various Wi-Fi tech and related hardware featured here.

 

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