Does your network reach all the desired areas in your home?

A network, whether physical or wireless has boundaries and limitations. Physical limitations include connection points, plug sockets, and length of the cable. Wireless limitations include the strength of your Wi-Fi signal and barriers to wireless waves.   Many people simply buy a router with little to no consideration of how it will be connected or how it will fit with your current setup. Do you have sufficient cabling to reach plug sockets and internet ports? Are there any rooms in your house that block Wi-Fi signals? Consider carefully the setup and layout of your network devices before making a purchase, to save problems in the future.

Is your router in a suitable position?

You may not think that the position of your router matters, and in a wired network it doesn’t – Providing all the devices can physically connect to the router there is no issue. When considering a wireless network setup, however, the router placement becomes important. Many people simply stick their router away in a corner or under their computer desk. This often hampers the signal and slows down your Wi-Fi speed. Find a suitable place that allows your router to give a strong coverage with no obstacles.

Have you configured your network or left the defaults intact?

A router or network device can be configured. It can also be left on its default settings. Many home users will simply switch on their network device, follow the plug and play instructions and never touch it again. While this certainly works, it is a less than ideal method to follow. Default settings on a route such as a password and Wi-Fi settings are areas that can be exploited by attackers. Ensure you change these default settings and create new unique passwords to stop any potential threat.

Do devices connected to your network have sharing enabled?

It is surprising how many people think that you can simply connect a printer for example to your network and for it to work automatically. Connecting a printer directly to a PC is an easy process and this will work automatically. However, if you want that printer to be shared on your home network, you must change the device settings and enable sharing or place it on the shared devices in your network settings.  Furthermore, any PC or tablet connected to your network must also have sharing enabled in order to connect to these devices.

Are you regularly checking your network for updates?

New software, bug fixes, and firmware are being released for routers and network devices regularly. Many people never bother to update their routers software and thus have an outdated network that could have potential security flaws.  Ensure that you regularly check for updates from the router manufacturer and install any patches and security fixes.

Have you actually considered your needs when creating a home network?

One of the recurring problems people encounter with home networks is to understand what they actually need. Consider, have you actually thought about what you require from your network, or are you blindly buying a router without understanding what it can do? How many devices need access to your network? How many floors are there in your house? Is a wired or Wi-Fi network more suitable for the layout of your home and devices? Plan your network! Understand the capabilities of a device before you purchase it! A little time spent planning can save you a great deal of work in the future.

Home networks can be created with relative ease, but taking the time to think about the process and what is involved will ensure that your network has the best setup, features and security possible.

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