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Networking Buying Guide

Setting up the internet in your home can be as simple or as advanced as you choose it to be when you select the right devices.

Whether you require improved WiFi to accommodate your family’s variety of gadgets or want a fast connection in your bedroom for things such as online gaming, this detailed guide explains how to improve and get the best from your home network.

See the four sections below to learn about routers, powerline kits, range extenders and network switches, or even continue to scroll to receive answers to some our most frequently asked questions about networking.

 

ROUTERS

A router is the link between your network and the internet in your home. This allows you to connect a variation of online devices in your home to the web. Routers can be connected to the internet either wirelessly or with a cable.

Wired: Wired routers usually connect using an Ethernet cable. This is a universally compatible cable that works with an array of gadgets including computers, games consoles, TVs and much more. It provides a speedy internet connection with amazing stability.

Wireless: Smaller gadgets such as Smartphones, tablets, laptops and other portable devices connect using WiFi. This provides access to the internet without using wires or cables. To connect using WiFi you must remain within the reach of the router. If stay within reach you will receive a quick, stable web connection wherever you are in that area.

Router Ratings Wireless routers have different ratings. This determines how fast they work and their range. The rating can be found on the side or base of most routers and is definitely worth checking if you’re struggling with the connection in your home.

If you’re thinking of upgrading, make sure you take into account what your family likes to do online and look at routers with a rating that will make sure everyone get the best from the web.

 

ROUTER TYPES

N300

The router that is sent by your service provider is most likely to be rated N300. They work well in a household with 2 to 4 devices that use the internet and are excellent for everyday computing tasks such as social networking browsing the web and online shopping. However, routers with the rating N300 do not offer optimal performance for gaming and or high definition media streaming from your device.

N600+

N600 routers and above are suitable for large homes and households with a multiple web connected devices. They support online gaming as well as HD streaming and offer brilliant internet range.

Dual Band

Dual band routers provide two signals at the same time, which means it is essentially working as two routers in one. One of the signals is a normal broadband signal. This is suited to everyday browsing of the internet. While the second signal provides a faster connection and delivers high speed internet. This works extremely well for gaming, downloading or streaming. This means that aby normal internet use is not slowed down or affected by activities such as downloading or gaming

AC

AC routers offer the ultimate and best connection for internet users that have fibre optic broadband and require high-speed connections. They offer the highest speeds available. This is perfect for HD streaming, online gaming and quick downloads. AC routers are able to support over ten devices at once, making them perfect for well-connected homes.

They also use beamforming. This is a handy piece of technology that directs your wireless signal to specific devices within the household. Beamforming provides a much more stable WiFi connection for more portable devices like smartphones, tablets and laptops. Many of the new and upcoming devices support AC connectivity. This makes an AC router the best way to future-proof your home.

POWERLINE & WIRELESS POWERLINE

Powerline kits are perfect for connecting to wired devices or devices where a cabled connection is preferred, such as games consoles, smart televisions and desktop PCs. Powerline kits work by sending your internet signal through the main electrical ring-circuit of your home. This effectively turns any plug socket in your home into an internet access point.

Powerline kits are either sold as a double pack containing both a sender and receiver or they are sold separately. There is no limit to the amount of receivers you can have on a single network.

The sender unit has to be plugged directly into a mains plug with an Ethernet cable that connects it to the router. The receiver is then plugged into any free plug socket near the device you want to connect. Just connect an Ethernet cable between the receiver and the device for a stable and wired internet connection.

Which Powerline kit is best for you?

Powerline kit speeds vary from 200 to 650 megabits per second (Mbps). These are rated the same way as routers are rated. 200 Mbps works fine for basic internet use. 500 to 650 Mbps kits provide the speeds required for Smart TVs and game consoles (more advanced internet use).

For optimal speeds and stability match your powerline kit with your router rating.

Pass-Through

Some powerline kits support pass-through. This is a useful feature that lets you continue to use the plug socket despite it containing a powerline plug.

PLEASE NOTE: If you have more than one electrical ring circuit in your home, a powerline kit won’t work as the signal will not be able to pass between them.

Using a powerline kit alongside a surge protected multi-socket will massively reduce the speed of your connection However, this can be avoided by plugging the multi-socket into a powerline adapter with pass -through.

RANGE EXTENDERS

Range extenders, also known as signal boosters, provide a solution for homes or buildings that do not have complete internet coverage.

Placing a range extender in the direction of poor reception but also within the reach of your network, can relay the wireless signal a further distance which gives a better connection. This works well in homes with thick walls where your device can see the network but cannot connect to it.

A range extender (signal booster) can also be used to send your wireless signal into a more open space or outdoors - ideal for warm, summer afternoons in the garden.

Which Range Extender is best for you?

Range extenders are rated the same way that routers are. From N150 to AC, making it really easy to choose an extender that will match your router’s speed.

They require no network configuration. Range extenders are ideal for use with Sky routers and provide an instant solution to a WiFi signal that is quite weak.

The router rating can be found on the underneath of your router. If the router is rated N150 or less it is a good idea to consider an upgraded router. By doing this you’ll see faster internet speeds and a more stable connection as well as improved range.

NETWORK SWITCHES

Network switches provides a wired internet connection to multiple individual devices or networks over a one phone line.

Network switches lack the wireless capabilities and built-in security of a router. They often provide quicker connection and are perfect for a small to medium-sized business network.

Which Network Switch is best for you?

The first thing to consider when looking at network switches is how many individual devices you want to connect to it. If you only require a few for personal use or plan to add a router for your wireless devices, a four or five port switch will be ideal.

We offer network switches with up to 48 ports

This is plenty for getting a small to medium sized business going.

Network switches that support gigabit Ethernet offer speeds up to around 1000 Mpbs. It’s worth noting the speed will never exceed the maximum amount given to you by your network provider.

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