My home network, for a techie such as myself, was not very well designed. I take all of the blame. The two main mistakes are laughable:
- My home wireless router (Apple Time Capsule)? Effectively buried by being located in the basement, since I was having cable modem signal issues and wanted to limit how many splitters the cable modem was going through. It’s like I decided to artificially limit its range in and around the house by in some cases making signals go through concrete!
- My two AppleTVs both used wireless to connect to the Internet. In theory this isn’t a big problem right? Well, when you’re in a house with 10+ devices potentially on wifi at the same time, those AppleTVs have high bandwidth demands that can result in stuttering video and audio.
- This basement network “closet” effectively laid on the carpet in a basement room underneath a rarely used TV, with no shelves and cables everywhere.
Given I’m on vacation this week, one of my home projects ended up being running ethernet cable around the house to rectify these two main problems. The new network design:
- The home wireless router is now located on a shelf in the main living room on our first floor, effectively right in the middle of the house. In theory, there is no more centralized location for a wifi router to be. This should result in an impressive improvement in wireless range and performance.
- The cable modem remains in the basement, now mounted on a wall close to where its ethernet cable (Cat 6a) can run upstairs to the wireless router.
- Cat 6a cable now runs from the living room AppleTV into the basement and then back up to the living room in the spot where the wireless router is located. Now our main AppleTV has a direct, hard wire connection to the Internet and removes a major source of wifi congestion.
- Cat 6a cable also now runs from the basement AppleTV to the wireless router. While not used much, it removes one more device form the wifi and ensures optimal performance when it is used.
I’ve already greatly improved wifi performance now that the router is mere feet away from me in the living room. I haven’t tried to stream a HD movie yet on the AppleTV, but I’ve noticed that both iTunes Radio and iCloud Photo Stream seem more reliable already. I’m curious to see how far the wifi signal reaches outside…we were on the edge of its range previously when sitting on our patio.