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Here’s how to boost your Wi-Fi while working from home

These Wi-Fi mesh systems can boost signal, speed, and your sanity while you try to stay connected at home.

Here’s how to boost your Wi-Fi while working from home
[Photo: Andrew Neel/Unsplash]

Ah, the simple pleasures of working from home: no dress code, playing whatever music you fancy, snacking, and dealing with slow, glitchy internet. Most of our home routers aren’t equipped to deal with the demands of videoconferencing, uploading, downloading, and computing like the high-speed, broadband internet at the office. So how do you fix the buffering, slow madness? First off, make sure that your plan with your internet service provider has a large enough bandwidth to fit your work-from-home needs. Most major ISPs are currently lifting data caps and opening their Wi-Fi hotspots to even those who don’t subscribe to their service. Currently, all carriers have opened their mobile hotspots to the public for 60 days, per the FCC’s request. Additionally, some providers are increasing internet speeds for existing customers, free of charge. This may be the case for you—but you need to visit your provider’s website and check.

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If you’re noticing that you just aren’t getting the Wi-Fi connection that you need throughout your home after checking your network, your provider, and your router, our suggestion is to invest in a Wi-Fi mesh system.

This setup (which works with your modem from whichever ISP you use) is designed to replace your complicated router-and-extender setup with several identical units placed around your house, which create a blanket of Wi-Fi coverage. A Wi-Fi mesh system doesn’t just repeat a signal and suck up bandwidth, as a network extender does—it allows you to stay on the same network while connected to the strongest node signal, anywhere in your house. This improves the speed of connection in comparison to what you could get with a Wi-Fi extender. Long story short, a mesh system can easily fill the gaps in your home router’s performance, without requiring you to sign in to a slower extension network as you move from room to room. Here are 4 mesh systems that can solve your WFH Wi-Fi woes.

[Photo: courtesy of AmpliFi]
Ubiquiti AmpliFi HD Mesh System
Ubiquiti has had its name in the industrial wireless internet game for years, which is why it’s no surprise that their foray into home products knocks it out of the park. Reviewers with hard-to-cover properties and large homes tout this mesh system as one that handles the job without a glitch. Out of the box, it takes about 20 minutes to install, set up, and connect to the app—which can test your internet speed, display your usage, and disable anybody on your network with one touch. Starting at $340. Buy at B&H Photo.

[Photo: courtesy of eero]
Eero Dual-Band Mesh System
Tall ceilings, brick walls, split-levels, and thousands of square feet are no match for this mesh system from eero. As one reviewer writes: “Since I purchased new 4K equipment and Sonos Home Theater, I needed something that would help with the internet connection. These are easy to connect and make such a huge difference! I pay for 70mbs and was getting about 12-15mbs downstairs with an extender. Once these were hooked up, I get 70-plus everywhere in the house. The picture on the TV is better as well as all the computers are so much faster.” And a bonus with eero? If you do happen to have trouble with setup or product performance, its customer service is known for being world-class and reliable. Starting at $299. Buy at B&H Photo.

[Photo: courtesy of Google]
Google Nest Mesh System
The Google Nest mesh system works just as well, as speedily, and as efficiently as any other system on this list. But one edge that it has on the others is that it looks good in plain view. That’s because it’s designed to look good in your home, since it one-ups other nodes by doubling each “point” as a smart speaker with Google Assistant. Additionally, the Nest system is scalable, so you can add nodes as needed for whole-home coverage that boasts a consistently strong signal and impressive speeds. Starting at $199. Buy at B&H Photo.

[Photo: courtesy of Linksys]
Linksys Velop Mesh System
There is one quality that really sets the Linksys Velop system apart from the rest of the mesh systems on this list—and it’s that the Velop system features MU-MIMO technology (multiuser, multiple input, multiple output). MU-MIMO grants each device its own dedicated full-speed Wi-Fi connection, so multiple devices can connect at the same time without collectively slowing down the network. This comes in handy when you’re working from home and sharing your internet with speakers, security systems, cameras, TVs, a Roku, laptops, desktops, tablets, smart lights, and whatever other smart things you have in your home. This system is capable of connecting it all and speeding up the internet for everyone. Starting at $150. Buy at B&H Photo.

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