The Unforeseen Challenges of Remote Work: Hardening Your Home Network

by: Giulia Marcolina on Mar, 17, 2021 | 0 Comments
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When faced with a new work-from-home schedule, one of Align's Project Managers had to confront her unreliable home connectivity head-on.

Internet access in office is a concept that rarely crosses your mind. At home, however, where you might be forced to play the role of admin and tech support, it can take up a bit more brain space. And the pandemic has made even more clear how essential it is to have a home infrastructure that is reliable, secure and accessible.  

As the gateway to not only personal data, but to the expansive company data that remote workers now need access tothe router is critical piece of hardware that requires constant updates and regular technical support

Read how Giulia Marcolina, one of Align's Programme Managers in London found success in hardening her at-home setup.  

The Issue

My home was built in 1950 post WWII, with the structure made up of thick bricks walls, wooden flooring and single pane glass windows. The ISP I installed is Virgin 100M Fibre broadband with a Virgin 3.0 Hub. Even with two WiFi boosters, the range did not reach most of the house, the connectivity was poor, slow and 9/10 times did not connect my devices, which include the following:  

  • Toshiba TV 
  • Nest Doorbell 
  • 2 x Nest Cameras – external 
  • Nest Mini 
  • Alexa 
  • 3 x Nest WiFi nodes/hub 
  • 3 x iPhones 
  • 2 x Mac books 
  • 1 x HP work laptop 
  • iRobot vacuum 
  • Wireless Printer 

When I started working from home regularly due to COVID-19, I had to move my office into the dining room as the connectivity was so bad in my office. I knew something needed to be done.  

The Solution

As the need for full-time connectivity grew and numerous calls with my ISP provider did nothing to solve my problems, I then researched an alternative solution. Boosters were outtried, tested and useless—and upgrading my modem to Virgin 4.0 did not seem improve anything eitheras I was experiencing the same issues with range and connectivity.  

I then investigated the Wi-Fi Network Mesh. A wireless mesh network is made up of radio nodes organised in a mesh topology and can also setup a wireless ad hoc network, a mesh refers to a rich interconnection among devices or nodes. 

The Product 

Currently, there are a lot of products to choose from on the market. However, as many of my devices include the Google Nest, my choice was simple:  

I selected the Google Nest Wi-Fi and procured two of the points or nodes to be placed within the dead spots of my house.   

Installation 

The actual installation was relatively simple—a nice break from the prior complicated connectivity issues. All I had to do was plug into my ISP hub with a patch/data cable, open the Google Home app, attach the nest hub, enter in my ISP name and passwords, and then connect each node and name them. 

Advantages 

  • Better coverage 
  • Fewer dead zones 
  • More accommodating 
  • Easy configuration 
  • Less connection failure 

The Outcome

Since the installation, I have had no problems connecting to any of my products within my house.  

I’ll let the results speak for themselvesThe following screen shots show my current speeds around the house—much better than before the installation of the network mesh, which was approximately 5.30Mbps for downloads and 2.43Mbps for uploads.  

Performance Report - Pre Update Performance Report - Post Update
Figure 1: Without the network mesh Figure 2: With the network mesh installed
         

Align's Workplace Technology team specializes in developing the strategy and implementation of scalable network and Wi-Fi solutions for organizations of any size, as well as the expertise to help manage it all.

Learn more about Align's Network & Wi-Fi services here. 

Tags: Systems and Networks, Workplace Technology

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