Particularly in today’s world when the majority of us work from home and have many connected devices, a dependable and robust home network is essential. It’s convenient to have a well-designed home network, and it’s annoying to lose the wifi connection when you move upstairs or have a printing issue from your dining table. Using the fundamental parts you require, such as a router, switch, and access point, we will demonstrate how to set up your home network from scratch in this article. Then, we’ll go through how to configure your network for optimum performance.
Get the right gear
It’s crucial to determine your needs and your goals for your home network before investing in network hardware. Query yourself on things like:
- Where do you require an internet connection and how is your home laid out? Is WiFi necessary in your garden?
- Which type of connection—wired or wireless—do you favor? Although most devices can connect through wifi, streaming and gaming work best with wired connections.
- How many devices must be connected to an Ethernet network?
- Are PoE (Power of Ethernet) devices like IP Cameras and Access Points something you intend to support?
You can make the best choice of equipment by using a home network gear planner. Plan a network architecture that will meet your demands for the next three to five years after you have a firm understanding of what you need. A solid wireless signal is essential for smart home items like the Philips Hue lighting, especially because more gadgets now demand an online connection.
When choosing a router, consider the following factors:
To maximize your return on investment when choosing a router, there are several important considerations to keep in mind. Start by looking for a router with a user-friendly web interface. Even for less tech-savvy individuals, this will make setup and management straightforward. Also, if you want to assure quick and dependable internet access, you should give top priority to routers with high processing and throughput rates.
If a router supports Quality of Service, it is a crucial feature to take into account while making your choice (QoS). To make sure that these apps have enough bandwidth and are not harmed by other network activity, this feature gives specific internet traffic categories, including streaming video and online gaming, a higher priority.
Choosing a fanless router is also advisable since dust and noise generated by fans can have a detrimental influence on the functionality and longevity of a device. Several businesses promote their wifi speed and Mbps when comparing router models, but it’s crucial to give the aforementioned considerations priority. While some wifi coverage can be provided by routers, it’s often not optimal; instead, it’s recommended to rely on specialized access points, which are built with wifi coverage in mind.
Best Home Network Router
How to Set Up Your Home Network
Connect the Router to the Modem
Most ISPs provide a modem and router in one device. However, we’ll need to “deactivate” the router feature of the ISP’s modem/router to configure the finest home network. First, you’ll need to know that every router you buy has a fixed IP address already set from the factory, which is usually 22.214.171.124. This can be a problem because if two devices in the network have the same IP address, they can’t communicate with each other.
To solve this, you’ll need to change the network settings in the ISP’s router. To do this: press the Windows Key + R and type “cmd” into the dialogue box that appears. In the Command Prompt, enter the following command: ipconfig
This will give you a result similar to the one below: Default IP address result
As you can see, the default address of the ISP’s router is also 126.96.36.199. When we connect our new router to the ISP’s router, we’ll get a conflict.
To fix this, you’ll need to log into the ISP’s router at http://188.8.131.52 and change the IP range in the DHCP settings to something like 184.108.40.206 – 220.127.116.11 and make the IP address of the router itself 18.104.22.168. You’ll find the DHCP settings somewhere under Network Settings, Local Network, Network Setup, or something similar.
You must configure the router provided by your ISP in bridge mode or DMZ mode if you want to deactivate the router feature. This setting, which is often located on the internet settings page, will depend on the manufacturer of your router.
While you’re logged into your router, you can also disable the Wi-Fi so that it won’t interfere with your new access point. However, make sure you’re connected to your router with a network cable before you do this, or you’ll lose the connection.
Connect Your New Router
You may securely connect your new router now that you’ve removed the built-in access point and the router feature on your ISP’s modem/router. Connect a cable from the WAN or Eth0 port of your new router to the LAN port on your computer, and then connect a cable from the LAN port of your new router to the router owned by your internet service provider (ISP). To configure the controller for an Unifi USG router, you’ll also need to connect the Cloud Key. All network devices may be customized in this manner. We won’t go into depth about this here, though.
Finding the Best Access Point Location
Choosing a good spot for your router is essential to ensure that your Wi-Fi signal reaches all areas of your home. The ideal spot for your router is in a central location in your home, away from other electronics and obstructions. Placing your router near metal objects or appliances such as microwaves, refrigerators, or cordless phones can interfere with your Wi-Fi signal and cause connection problems. Keep your router in a visible location, and make sure it’s not hidden away in a closet or cabinet.
Before starting the setup process, it’s important to change the default password of your router to something unique and strong. Default passwords are easily accessible on the internet, so it’s not safe to keep them. This simple step will ensure the security of your home network.
Configuring the DNS Server
Your computer may connect to the server hosting a website by using DNS servers, which convert domain names to IP addresses. While some are quick, other DNS servers are sluggish. Although you may choose the quickest DNS server for you, typically, 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199 are the fastest options.
Connecting the Switch
Connecting the switch is simple – just put a cable between the LAN port of your new router and the switch. If you have a managed switch, refer to the documentation on how to log in to the web interface. Some switches come with a fixed IP address, while others have a tool to find the device. Advanced IP Scanner is a free tool that can scan your network and list all connected devices and their IP addresses. Once you have logged in to the switch, give it a fixed IP address, so you won’t have to search for it again.
Setting Up Access Points
It’s crucial to think about the location and network connectivity while putting up access points. You will want a PoE adapter to connect the access point if your switch does not support Power over Ethernet (PoE). The access point can be powered through the Ethernet cable when the adapter is positioned between the switch and the access point.
By launching the Unifi Controller software, you can adopt an Unifi access point if you’re already utilizing one. This enables control of the access point from the controller for configuration and management. Along with other parameters like transmit power and channel selection, you may choose the wireless network name and security options.
Once the access point is configured, you can test it by connecting a wireless device to the network and verifying that you have a good signal and can access the internet. If you need to set up multiple access points, you can repeat the process for each one.
Why You Need a Network Switch
When you have multiple wired devices connected to your home network, a network switch is essential. You may connect a variety of devices to your network with the switch, including game consoles, desktop computers, and printers. The switch connects to the router and serves as a hub for all the connected devices, saving users the trouble of wiring separate Ethernet connections from each device to the router. We advise selecting a switch with enough ports to support all of your wired devices and PoE capability if needed.
How to Connect Computers Using a Network Switch
If you have multiple computers that you want to connect to share files and access the Internet, you will need a networking device. While routers are the most popular choice, a network switch is a more affordable alternative that can work just as well for small-scale networks in the home or office settings.
Installing the Switch
Start by placing the network switch next to your cable or broadband Internet modem. Connect the AC power adapter for the switch to a wall outlet, but do not yet connect it to the modem or any of your computers. Power on the computer that is closest to the modem and inserts the disc that came with the switch into the CD or DVD drive. Follow the on-screen instructions to install the software drivers for the network switch.
Connecting the Ethernet Cables
Take an Ethernet cable and connect either end to the outgoing port on your broadband or cable modem. Hook the other end of the Ethernet cable into the port on the switch that is marked as “WAN” or “Wide Area Network.” Next, plug another Ethernet cable into any of the other numbered ports on the networking switch and connect the other end to the Ethernet port on a computer.
Setting up the Network
To set up the network, bring up the Start menu on your computer and click on the “Control Panel” option. Scroll down through the Control Panel entries and double-click the “Network and Sharing Center” entry. Click on the text link at the left side of the screen labeled “Connect to a Network.”
Connecting to the Network
Click on the radio button marked as “Wired Network” and then click on the “Next” button. Scroll down through the list of networking devices that the computer has detected and locate the entry for your network switch. Click on the entry and then click on the “Connect” button.
Connecting Other Computers
Connect Ethernet cables to the other computers that you want to connect to the network. Plug the other end of the cables into any of the open numbered ports on the networking switch. On those computers, repeat the setup process of connecting to the switch by going through the “Network and Sharing Center” menu.
Adding More Switches
If you run out of ports on the original switch, you can add a second one. Install the switch software on the computer that the switch will be physically located closest to. Run an Ethernet cable from any of the numbered ports on the first switch to any of the numbered ports on the second switch. Do not connect the cable to the “WAN” port. Run Ethernet cables between the second switch and any additional computers in the same manner as you did with the first switch.
The best option for creating a reliable and effective home network is to interconnect your network equipment together. When you are watching your favorite Netflix shows or playing online games, interference on wireless networks can be a pain. To guarantee a trustworthy home network, it is advised to run cables to each place in your home.
How to Choose the Best Network Switch and Access Points for Your Home
If you’re setting up a home network, you need a switch to connect all your devices. Most routers come with four LAN ports, which is sufficient if you only use Wi-Fi in your home. However, if you have several wired devices, you should get at least an eight-port switch with Power over Ethernet (PoE) to connect everything. In this article, we’ll discuss how to choose the best network switch and access points for your home.
How Many Ports Do You Need?
An eight-port switch is a good starting point for most home networks. You need one port to connect the router, one for each access point (if they require PoE), one for the network-attached storage (NAS), one for the smart TV, one for the game console, and one for your office or computer. If you need more than eight ports, consider buying two switches.
If you plan to use access points that require PoE, make sure your switch supports it. This way, you can connect the access points with only an Ethernet cable and eliminate the need for a PoE adapter.
vLAN support allows you to separate your guest network from your own. You can create a separate network for guests, which will keep your network secure.
Gigabit Ethernet Speed
Verify the Gigabit Ethernet speed of your switch. All contemporary devices support it, and it is quicker than the outdated 10/100 Ethernet speed.
If you want to take full advantage of the Unifi products, choose an Unifi switch with PoE. The Unifi Switch allows you to manage your network with just one controller. It will make your life and network a lot easier.
Netgear ProSafe Series
The best option for homes and small companies is the Netgear ProSafe series. It has a lifetime guarantee, is beautifully wall mountable, and includes all the necessary networking functions. Even though it costs more than the Unifi, it has more ports, therefore only one is required.
Home Network Security: Protecting Your Family and Data from Cyber Threats
Without proper home network security, you’re leaving your family and data vulnerable to potential cyber-attacks. Hackers can gain access to your personal information, steal your financial data, and even take control of your devices. That’s why it’s essential to take steps to protect your home network and keep your family and data safe.
Understanding Home Network Security
Tips for Securing Your Home Network
- Change Default Password
When you purchase a new router, it comes with a default password. Many people make the mistake of leaving this password unchanged, which makes it easy for hackers to gain access to their network. To secure your home network, it’s important to change the default password to a strong and unique one. Use a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols, and avoid using easily guessable passwords such as “password” or “1234”.
- Use Strong Passwords for All Devices
Apart from changing your router’s default password, it’s also important to use strong passwords for all your devices that are connected to your home network. This includes your computers, smartphones, tablets, and other smart devices such as smart TVs and voice assistants. Each password should be unique and complex, and you should avoid using the same password for multiple devices.
- Keep Your Firmware Up to Date
Your router’s firmware is the software that runs on the device, and it’s important to keep it up to date. Manufacturers release updates to fix security vulnerabilities and improve performance. By keeping your firmware up to date, you can ensure that your router is protected against the latest threats.
- Use a VPN
The availability of user-friendly equipment and technological improvements make setting up a home network in 2023 simpler than ever. Having a steady and secure network is essential with the advent of smart homes and the growing number of gadgets that need internet connectivity. Anyone can simply set up a dependable and effective home network by following a few easy steps, such as picking the correct router, selecting the proper security settings, and configuring your network. Your house may be prepared to profit from the numerous advantages that come with being connected in the contemporary world by making sure that all of your equipment is linked.