Working from home has been the norm since the pandemic began so having a fast and reliable internet connection has become as important as electricity and running water. Part of improving the home office setup is upgrading the home network in three metrics: redundancy, stability, and improved performance.
For redundancy, I’ve signed up for Converge’s FiberX service as a backup for the primary connection from PLDT. For much of the latter half of 2020, PLDT’s uptime had been really problematic – the connection would go down at least once a month, and worse, it takes more than a week for it to be fixed. Mobile internet wasn’t just enough for our connectivity needs and using a prepaid data connection was too costly.
Having two separate internet connections meant it was time for a load balancer, so I bought a TP-Link TL-R605 SafeStream Gigabit Router. It would also save us from the trouble of manually switching networks whenever either one goes down. It allowed for a near-seamless switch from the 600Mbps PLDT connection to the 300Mbps connection from Converge.
Sometime around October last year, I replaced the TP-Link Archer A6 AC1200 with the Mercusys Halo H50G WiFi mesh kit to eliminate dead spots around the house and for better network stability. To complete the upgrade, the existing wired connections were replaced with CAT6 ethernet cables to take full advantage of the Gigabit ports on the load balancer and the WiFi mesh units.
What’s wrong with the existing CAT5 cables that usually come with commercial routers? These cables aren’t really designed to handle network speeds faster than 100Mbps. ISPs today provide modems or routers or a combo box that is future-proof – equipped with Gigabit ports so that they can offer subscription speeds faster than 100Mbps should a customer decides to get an upgrade or give it out sheer generosity.
Switching to CAT6 cables would fix that and allow you to maximize the bandwidth of your subscription especially if it’s above 100Mbps as in my case because the combined speeds of my two connections are above 100Mbps.
The upgrades have been worth the investment as our home network has been more stable and able to let us work, study and stream HD content on multiple devices without worries.