In an ever-growing digital world, having a well-functioning home network is becoming more and more necessary. With a trustworthy network, the world of online activities – from streaming your favorite movies to even working from home – is unlocked. Alongside this, with the number of devices in households at an all-time high, the need for a reliable and secure network with a smooth connection has never been greater.
In fact, the list of benefits goes on:
- Seamless connectivity between devices, as everyone can join and control the same printer, speaker, or other household electronics.
- Improves access to online streaming services, gaming, and other entertainment options.
- Ensures the safety of personal and financial data while staying protected from cyberthreats.
While setting up a home network may seem daunting, it’s actually an easy process with a little guidance. The days of tech enthusiasts being the only computer networkers are over, as advancements in technology have made networking accessible to everyone. So, to get you started on your networking journey, all you have to do is follow these five steps:
- Establish your network needs.
- Choose your network equipment.
- Setup your modem and router.
- Secure your network.
- Test your network.
Establish Your Network Needs
The first step is to establish your network needs. By carefully considering factors such as the number and types of devices you want to connect and the distance between them, you’ll be able to establish a home server that meets your requirements perfectly.
But before making any decisions, it’s important to do a little research. One of the first considerations to make is the different types of networks: do you need a wired or wireless network or a combination of both?
Wired vs Wireless Network
Wired networks are known for their speed and reliability. Offering a stable connection, they’re the ideal choice for activities that require high bandwidth, such as streaming or gaming. However, while wired networks are usually faster and more dependable, they’re not always practical and lack flexibility, as they don’t offer mobility.
On the other hand, wireless networks are more convenient and allow for increased flexibility, as they can be available anywhere in your space. Most common home networks are wireless, as the freedom is particularly beneficial if you have devices in different rooms, or if you need to move around while staying connected. What’s more, they’re cheaper and easier to install and maintain as they require considerably less equipment to set up.
- Wireless networks offer convenience and mobility, are affordable, and have an easy installation process.
- Wired networks are faster, more reliable, and generally more secure.
Choose Your Network Equipment
Once you’ve settled on your network needs, the next step is to select the right type of network hardware. This includes essential components like a router (that can even be a virtual one), modem, and potentially a switch or access point. You may feel tempted to use the default router provided by your ISP, but bear in mind that they’re not the safest option, as you end up sharing all of your information with your internet provider.
When choosing your hardware, there are a few key factors to consider. First, think about the size of your home. If you have a larger space or multiple floors, you’ll want hardware that can provide a strong signal throughout the whole space, so consider devices that support mesh networking.
The number of devices you plan to connect is also an important factor. With more devices, the need for hardware that can handle high traffic without compromising performance is more pressing. Besides this, keeping up with the latest equipment standards and technology is crucial to ensuring your network is future-proof and capable of dealing with modern devices.
It’s also important to make sure that your devices are compatible with one another before purchasing so that you won’t have problems setting them up. Lastly, If you work from home, double check that the equipment meets your working needs.
Here’s your final shopping list:
|A router compatible with your ISP||A router compatible with your ISP|
|A modem appropriate for the size of your home and the number of devices you’ll have connected||A modem|
|A switch or access point (optional)||A switch or access point bearing in mind|
the number of devices you’ll connect to
|Network adapters if you have older devices without|
Wi-Fi to enable connectivity (optional)
|Ethernet cables, enough to cover all|
|Wireless range extender to amplify the|
signal of your wireless network (optional)
|Cable tester for verifying the integrity of|
your Ethernet cables (optional)
|–||Cable management accessories to keep your Ethernet cables organized and avoid tangled wires (optional)|
Set Up Your Modem and Router
If you’re going for a wireless network, the first step is to establish the connection between your modem and internet service provider’s outlet. This typically involves connecting them to a coaxial or phone line, depending on your internet service. Once the modem is connected, you’ll need to connect your router to the modem using an Ethernet cable.
After the physical connections are in place, it’s time to configure your network settings. Just follow the instructions that come with your router, and you’re good to go! Also, don’t forget to set a strong password and enable encryption to secure your network, such as WPA2.
On the other hand, if you’re opting for a wired network, the process involves connecting your devices directly to the router via Ethernet cables:
- Ensure your router has enough ports to accommodate all your devices.
- Connect each device to the router using an Ethernet cable by simply plugging one end of the cable into the device and the other into the router.
Regardless of whether you choose a wireless or wired network, security should always be a top priority, which brings us to the next step.
Secure Your Network
Securing your network is essential for protecting your data and maintaining your privacy. First and foremost, it’s crucial to replace your router’s default password with a strong and unique one.
Enabling encryption is another vital step. The most used protocol is WPA2, which provides your wireless network with a high level of security.
It’s also worth setting up a guest network to restrict others from accessing your personal connection. Furthermore, take some time to explore the additional settings offered by your router. These may include port forwarding or even specific traffic control and Quality of Service (QoS), which help prioritize certain types of traffic for a smoother experience. Here’s what you need to do to access router configurations:
- Open a web browser.
- Type in your router’s address.
- Enter your default router, username, and password.
- Open the advanced wireless settings.
- Change every configuration you need to better suit your network needs, such as QoS, traffic prioritization, and even starting a guest network.
- Change the default username and password.
Securing a Home Network With a VPN
Another important measure is to start using a VPN. Solutions like IPVanish create a secure and encrypted connection, which reliably protects all your data from prying eyes. With affordable prices, IPVanish offers two options to secure your devices. The first is to install it on each of your devices individually, which offers mobility as your data will be encrypted everywhere you go.
Alternatively, it also provides compatibility with routers, an option that will encrypt all the traffic from your network at once, or even a possibility to buy a router with the VPN pre-installed. To configure it yourself, all you need to do is:
- See if the router is compatible with IPVanish.
- Make sure your router is compatible with either DD-WRT or Tomato firmware.
- Log in to the router’s control panel.
- Follow the setup instructions found on IPVanish’s website.
Either way, incorporating a VPN into your home network gives your online activities an extra layer of security, which you can see for yourself using IPVanish’s 30-day money-back guarantee. All you need to do is:
Test Your Network
Last but not least, it’s essential to test your setup to make sure everything is working correctly. Take a moment to go through each of your devices and check they’re connected, functioning, and running smoothly at the desired speed.
By following these steps, you can establish a reliable, efficient, and secure home network that will benefit you in many ways. Whether you choose a wired or wireless network, you’ll enjoy the convenience of a seamless, uninterrupted connection in your home.
Who knows, you might even have some fun in the process. Happy home networking!
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