So, working from home and the web meeting crashes, eh?
There’s an easy formula:
AVAILABLE BANDWIDTH = Actual Bandwidth / (Gaming console + Netflix + Spotify + IoT Phone Home + Zoom/Webex/Teams + Aquarium livestream for the cat)
If that’s a negative outcome, poor you. But don’t give up yet! You can always ask your ISP for a bigger package. Tell them I’ve sent you.
But no, really, I’m sure most folks here on THWACK already use the fastest connection possible, and for most of us it’s usually fine. But still, there are a few things that can be optimized.
Let’s talk Wi-Fi for a sec.
We all know there are 11 or 13 channels depending on your location, and wavelengths are usually defined but also limited by actual physics.
But we also know that at home, there are different rules!
Let me introduce you to a real world value: DTF;YZMCN
(Distance too far; your Zoom meeting corrupts now)
Unfortunately, it’s a value difficult to calculate, but easy to identify as it’s always a bit shorter than the distance between your access point and the best possible place for your work laptop, like here:
(Blue line = DTF;YZMCN, Brown cloud = laptop)
First the obvious one: Get an additional AP.
In my example, it changed to this:
Doesn’t cost a fortune and results in a stable and fast connection.
Bonus: During summer, I can join virtual meetings from the beach chair outside, and all year from the second bathroom.
But wait, there’s more!
If you live in an apartment building like I do, you know the Wi-Fi is pretty busy.
More APs obviously mean better 5gig coverage which is less crowded and favorable, but not every device is compatible. To lower the stress on the Wi-Fi, I put as many devices as possible on a leash.
The general rule: If it doesn’t move, it’s dead a candidate for a wired connection.
So, I bought little switches and connected TVs, consoles, AV receiver, etc. with a cable.
That further improved stability for virtual meetings, but also lowered the latency while killing zombies. It’s all about the priorities, you know!
Now, Leon wrote a bit about Pi-Hole already (you can find it here and here), and it’s one of the best additions for a home network. It’s cheap, deployed within a few minutes, and shows significant improvement and instant results. And it comes with nice charts. Look how pretty!
The stats are really interesting.
Apparently, my network is very concerned with the well-being of my employer’s website:
I was a bit surprised until I remembered I use the website as a destination for both a NetPath as well as an external node connection from my home lab.
But I discovered that my robot vacuum is quite chatty:
Accessing funny domains:
Anyway, a Pi-Hole was a big win for my network, and it shows really interesting information which helps with further optimization.
I just discovered I’m at 500 words already which is more than I wanted to write.
Folks, 2020 surely wasn’t the best year in history, but here we are now in December.
Don’t get stressed out, make the last remaining weeks good ones.
Eat cookies, drink wine. Mind yourself and your families.