How to set up the perfect home network

02 March 2023


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Imagine a home with no internet connection. Better yet, imagine having to take turns with your family to use it. It may sound like an absurdity, but there was a time when this was a reality. And while the time and place where households used to have one computer or just didn’t need one has come and gone, in today’s households where multiple devices need to be connected at the same time, a home network has become a necessity.

From understanding the hardware components needed, to managing your network’s performance and security, here we dig deeper into a home network and what it takes to set it up.

What is a home network?

Essential in today’s increasingly connected world, a home network is the gateway to accessing the internet, downloading and streaming all sorts of media and doing all the typical things you enjoy doing while using the internet. What’s more, it allows you to share the same internet connection with multiple people and devices. This means that you could be streaming your favourite show on your mobile in your kitchen, while your child is using a laptop in the bedroom.

A home network can also connect all your devices and gadgets in a single network so that you can communicate with them, access files from any device connected to the network and print on a single printer from multiple computers. In addition, it can help you keep your home secure when used in conjunction with home security products, like doorbell monitors and smart home products, such as voice-controlled thermostats.

How to set up your home network

1. Determine your needs

Your home network can be either wireless or wired. With a wireless connection radio waves connect your devices to the router, while with a wired one, your devices are connected with an ethernet cable. While each has its pros and cons, a wired connection is an easy and reliable way to make sure that your devices have a strong internet connection, however, it works well when devices are near each other, ideally in the same room – unless you don’t mind wiring running all along your home. If this doesn’t sound appealing, a wi-fi home network may be the better option.
Here are some further pros and cons of each one:

Wired network advantages

  • Fast and reliable internet connection: a wired connection is less prone to radio interference so it stops data from being retransmitted behind the scenes. It is also great for faster transfers of large files, while each device is wired directly into the router with its own cable, which means that it operates at the same speed
  • Increased security: with no physical access to the wire, it is virtually impossible for a hacker to tamper with your network and data

Wired network disadvantages

  • Lack of mobility: it goes without saying that by having to plug your devices directly to the router, you’re physically constrained to the length of your cable
  • Connectivity issues: newer devices, particularly handheld ones like iPads and Kindles don’t have ethernet ports to plug cables into

Wi-fi in the home

Wireless network advantages

  • Increased efficiency: one of the greatest traits of a wireless network is its increased mobility, which allows you to easily share data between devices from anywhere in the house, without having to wire your device to the router to get connected
  • Non-disruptive: with no cabling to worry about, you can get connected from anywhere in the home. And if you opt for a wireless router with a web-based interface, you can control the devices that can connect to your network

Wireless network disadvantages

  • Potentially slower: because a wireless connection can be prone to interference, such as thick walls in a local house of character, wi-fi hotspots nearby, cordless devices and even your microwave, you may experience a slower connection. Take a look at how you can boost your signal
  • Less secure: since wireless data is transmitted through the air, it is easier for attackers to intercept your communications

Debating whether to wire or not to wire? Remember that it all depends on your needs. What devices do you have that need internet access? Do you work from home and require a fast connection? Are there multiple people in your household who will be using the network at the same time? Answering these questions will help you determine what kind of setup is best for you.

And of course, you can always opt for a hybrid environment with a combination of wired and wireless devices. You can hardwire devices that call for higher speeds or extra security and enjoy wireless coverage for the rest. Consider, for instance, a wired connection in your home office for when you work remotely and a set up where a router is combined with an Access Point to extend a wi-fi signal so that you can stay connected while out on your terrace or garden.

2. Gather your equipment

Regardless of whether you’re going for a wired or a wireless home network, you’ll need the following:

  • An internet service subscription. Take a look at our home internet options.
  • A modem which connects to the internet and a router, which connects your devices to each other and to the internet
  • through the modem. You can also get a gateway which functions as both a modem and a router.
  • Access point(s), which add another network connection point in the house for wireless devices
    Ethernet cables to wire in devices to the router

3. Set up your rooter or modem

Ideally, you should install your router in a central location in your house since the closer your device is to the router, the stronger the wi-fi signal. In contrast, for wired networks, you’ll need to plug a switch or ethernet hub into an electrical socket with an ethernet cable. Switches typically allow you to wire in several devices that have ethernet ports.

4. Secure your network

Security is crucial to any home network. To keep your personal information safe, make sure to change the default password on your router, while you can also set up user passwords on devices. Make sure that the firewall is active on the router and check that remote access to the cable modem and router is disabled unless you truly need to access resources from outside the network.

Is online safety a topic you would like to find out more about? Take a look at what phishing, malware and viruses are and how to avoid them and here as some tips on how to keep your data safe.

5. Connect your devices

Once you have your router set up, it’s time to connect your devices. This includes computers, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and any other device that requires an internet connection. If you have a wired network, simply plug an ethernet cable into each device and then into an available port on the router. For a wireless network, follow the instructions that came with your router to connect it to your devices.

6. Test and troubleshoot your connection

To do so, just open a web browser on one of your devices and try loading a few different websites. If everything is working properly and all websites load without any issues, then you’ve successfully set up your home network. Having said that, performance is measured in several different ways such as:

Bandwidth – typically measured in megabits per second
Latency – measured in milliseconds, it assesses the amount of variance in latency

A man touching a wi-fi mesh pod

How to extend your wireless home network

If like most households you’ve opted for a wireless home network or a hybrid environment so that you can enjoy the best of both worlds, chances are that your wi-fi connection may be weak if you live in a large apartment or a typical Maltese home that has thick walls. On the other hand, if your household is made up of several individuals, your connection may be slow or spotty. The solution? Enter the Smart Wi-Fi pods.

With the ability to offer an extended and uninterrupted wi-fi signal wherever you need it in your home, the intuitive pods feature an intelligent handover technology that helps them maintain a consistent signal, while this is adjusted automatically without having to change network every time you move to another room. What’s more, thanks to its dedicated app, you can monitor and manage your network’s health right in the palm of your hand, while you can see who is using the internet and implement access schedules so you’ll know exactly what the kids are up to and when.

Take a look at how Smart Wi-Fi pods differ from home plugs and how they are superior to wi-fi extenders. Discover more about our Smart Wi-Fi pods.