F4RN has built a fibre optic network that is capable of providing speeds of 1Gbps to the router installed in your property. To get the most out of this connection it's worth considering how to get best connection to each of your connected devices.
Here are a few points to consider:
- Where do you want the router to be located?
- What devices should be connected by Ethernet cables
- How are you going to get the best WiFI signal throughout the house?
1. Where do you want the router to be located?
Although it might be tempting to bring the fibre into your property in a place that minimises the amount of digging is this the best place for the router?
If you want to plug the TV, satellite receiver, Xbox, phone etc directly into the router then that means it needs to be close to the TV. However WiFi signals can get blocked by the TV and you will also need lots of plugs. Remember that if you use Vonage you will need three plugs for
- the F4RN outer
- the Vonage phone adapter
- the telephone
A better option might be to install Ethernet cables from the router to key items of equipment - this give you much more flexibility over where you place the router.
2. What devices should be connected by Ethernet cables
Some devices work better over a wired connection even if they have WiFi capability. In our experience it's worth using a wired Ethernet connection for
- Smart TV's and streaming devices
- Gaming consoles and PC's that are used for gaming
- maybe computers that are used a lot for video conferences / Skype -particularly if you have an office or one room that is set aside for a work PC
- and of course the Vonage phone adapter.
You don't have to run an Ethernet cable directly from each connected device to the F4RN router - instead you can run one cable to a "switch", perhaps behind the TV etc, and then plug the computer, TV etc into this (see the picture below)
3. How are you going to get the best WiFI signal throughout the house?
The F4RN router has built in WiFi but, like most routers, it's unlikely to cover the whole house, particularly if the house is large, has thick walls, metal girder or foil backed insulation. This animation shows how WiFi can be affected by the walls and other objects - fridges, baths, metal filing cabinets and TV's all block the signal too.
We have a separate FAQ on WiFI at http://f4rn.org.uk/faqs/faq-wifi/ which covers the following in more detail. In order of performance, but also potential cost:
- As a minimum consider a powerline plug in device which also acts as an access point such as a TP-Link TL-WPA4220.
- A better solution is to use a mesh WiFi system - these consist of two or three devices that you place around your home. Each one will need to be plugged into a mains socket and one unit has to be connected to an Ethernet port on the F4RN router. The units then form their own wireless network helping to improve the WiFI coverage.
- The ultimate solution is to install dedicated WiFi access points similar to the devices found in hotels and conference centres. We use the Ubiquiti Unifi access points. Depending on the size of the house, one or two of these units located in the loft (or better on the upstairs ceiling) can provide very good coverage throughout the property. Each unit needs to be connected to the F4RN router or a switch with an Ethernet cable. They also need power (using "Power of Ethernet" or "POE") and they need to be configured so you may need professional support. Please contact F4RN is you would like us to quote for this solution.
The "Future Proof" Solution?
This diagram shows how to connect up your property in a way that is reasonably future proof.
- The F4RN router can be located anywhere that is convenient - as long as there is a mains power socket available
- An Ethernet cable is then run into the loft where an eight port switch is located to feed Ethernet to key points around the house. This needs power so you will need a mains socket in the loft too
- Ethernet cables are then run to key locations
- For the phone (+ Vonage adapter)
- To the TV, satellite, etc
- For any Xbox's, Play Stations and computers that are used for gaming or extensive video conferencing
- and finally to the dedicated WiFi Access Points (via POE injector to provide the power the access point requires)
You only need to run one Ethernet cable to each location - if you have more devices to connect then a small 5 port switch will give you four more local Ethernet ports for all the extra devices.