Home internet connection
The speed of your home internet connection can dramatically influence your experience when working from home. While the NBN has been deployed to most of the country, various connection types exist to individual homes. Some homes are fortunate to have Fibre to the Home (FTTH), which is considered the best type of connection you can get. The default connection to most homes is Fibre to the Node (FTTN) though. This is often located at the end of your street or between several streets. From the node to your home the connection runs along traditional copper telephone line, which results in a drop in performance. The primary difference between FTTH and FTTN is that there may be a drop in speed due to several factors such as the quality of the copper wiring and distance from the node.
Other connection types exist including Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial (HFC), Wireless Broadband, Fixed Wireless and Satellite. HFC is considered better than FTTN, as it uses the existing Foxtel cable into your premise. This cable is insulated better than the copper telephone line as such better speeds can be obtained. Fixed Wireless and Satellite are used where existing cabling does not exist.
Listed below are the connection types, in order of what generally provides the fastest speeds:
- Wireless Broadband
- Fixed Wireless
These different types of connections influence Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and the broadband plans they offer for each connection type. You would have purchased a broadband plan based on the connection type into your home and what broadband plan fits your needs and budget.
Hint: If you don’t have a fixed line internet service into your home, consider “hot spotting” to your mobile phone as a gateway to the internet. Be mindful of your data plan though!
Your plan will talk about download and upload speeds. Download speed refers to the theoretical maximum speed you can download date from your ISP to your home router. Upload speed refers to the theoretical maximum speed you can transfer data from your home router to your ISP. It is rare the advertised speeds from your ISP will be obtained. That is why ISPs are careful to ensure it is a “theoretical maximum” being advised.
Upload and download speeds can be influenced by the time of day. Speeds can be slower in the evening when most people are ‘surfing’ the internet. With the current situation across the world, more importantly South Australia and the government mandate to work from home during the day, speeds throughout the day and night will probably be affected. ISPs are working to ensure speeds are maintained 24 hrs a day, but they will fluctuate for numerous reasons. Generally, speeds should not vary considerably.
Once your ISP has supplied your internet connection and associated plan your physical connection (cable) will be plugged into your home router. While other connection methods exist, most home environments will use a home router. You can provide your own home router, or your ISP will supply this as part of the broadband plan you purchased. Your home router connects you to the internet and to all your devices within your home. Your devices can connect to your home router using a network cable or wirelessly. Cabled connections are more reliable and provide the best speeds. But wireless provides the convenience of not needing to use a network cable but comes at having to share the wireless network with other wireless devices, which can affect performance (speed), in turn your user experience.
Home routers provide various capabilities to allow a home network to be created, secured and maintained. It is basically your gateway to the internet. The home router can be a ’choke point’ if it becomes overloaded with too many devices and or network traffic generated by the devices connected to the home router.
More and more technologies are being connected to home routers and this should be a consideration when troubleshooting any issues with your internet connection. Technology such as desktop computers, laptops, smartphones and tablet devices. Don’t forget smart fridges, irrigation systems, gaming consoles, Smart TVs, home alarm systems, the list goes on. Smart homes are becoming more prevalent. Generally, many devices connected to a home router do not cause problems, but if one device is generating large amounts of traffic throughout your home network or to the internet, either planned or unplanned, this could unintentionally affect your experience when working from home.
Hint: Accessing the internet wirelessly from within the home is convenient, but it can be unstable sometimes. Troubleshooting wi-fi connectivity issues can be difficult. Certain devices in the home operate on the same frequency as your wireless connection, your microwave oven is one. Don’t place your home router on top of your Microwave oven, you’re likely to lose your Wi-Fi, when heating your food!