Choosing Suppliers

Broadband solutions for a home office

5 min read

29 March 2018

An increasing amount of people are working outside the office on a regular or permanent basis. Alex Tofts, from UK broadband comparison and advice site Broadband Genie, unveils tips for setting up your home office broadband connection.

When it comes to picking your home office broadband it all depends what you are going to be using the connection for. If you only need to browse the web and answer emails (mostly without photos or large attachments), speeds up to 17Mb will be more than enough. This connection can also manage most video conferencing tools such as Skype. However, for larger calls with multiple people, fibre broadband should be considered.

For heavy internet users, such as if your job requires you to regularly download large files or if you are sharing a connection during working hours, a Fibre connection is best. A large file size would be anything from 1GB, this would take about 15 minutes to download with a standard ADSL connection and about eight hours to upload.

The rural home office

When setting up a home office in a rural location, you may find broadband options limited. Fibre optic may not be available and ADSL may be very slow, but luckily there are some alternatives.

Mobile: 3G and 4G mobile networks can provide high internet speeds and offer the advantage of being portable – handy if you regularly travel for work. All you need to do is get a device that can access the mobile network, such as a tablet or dongle equipped with a SIM card. However, there are a few drawbacks.

This technology is heavily reliant on a strong signal, without this you will be left with an unreliable connection (you can check signal strength through mobile broadband providers). Also data usage caps can be restrictive and you can be left with hefty fines for exceeding them, so it’s be to avoid large file transfers outside of WiFi coverage.

Satellite: Satellite broadband delivers internet access via satellite signals communicated between an orbital relay and a dish on the ground. You can expect it to reach a maximum of 30Mb; a bit behind the speeds of fibre, but it exceeds the maximum of 17Mb you can get from ADSL. The upfront or setup cost is quite steep, the equipment in total will cost around £200-£300 and you will need an engineer to install it.

Another drawback is the high latency (lag time) – a big problem if you plan to use video conferencing tools. However it’s available in any location within the UK. If you run out of broadband options, satellite may be the way to go.

Extra hardware

Routers: Almost every broadband package will include a router, which will be sufficient for the average user. If you need some advanced features, improved speed and range it’s best to check with some ISPs as you may be allowed to choose your hardware. Whatever router you get, make sure to update firmware and change any default passwords for security reasons.

Powerline adaptors: Powerline networking basically turns your home’s electrical circuits into a network (I know right, very clever tech). This can be a cost effective way to use wired networks in some hard to reach areas where WiFi doesn’t cut it (it can struggle getting through thick walls, for example). To get started, plug in one adaptor next to your router and add other adaptors anywhere on the same electrical circuit where you would like an internet connection.

WiFi boosters: A weak WiFi signal can harm the speed and reliability of your connection. This technology will pick up and amplify your WiFi signal, reaching new areas of your home and strengthening weak areas. But the performance of going through a booster is unlikely to match a direct connection with your router. Therefore, looking into upgrading your router might be your first action. Any mid to high end routers with multiple antenna will do the trick.

For more information, use Broadband Genie’s guide to broadband and working from home.

Alex Tofts is marketing executive of UK broadband comparison and advice site Broadband Genie