Preparing a home office
One of the essential requirements for making a success of working from home is having somewhere suitable to work. This needs a comfortable workspace and needs to be free from family distractions. Your family needs to understand you are working and are not available.
This workspace could be in any number of places, an attic room, basement room, spare bedroom, conservatory, summer house or a converted garage.
Often the chosen space won’t have good Internet connectivity. There are several ways to get a reliable connection to your office. Assuming you already have a good Internet connection at home, running a cable from your existing router might work if there is an easy cable run. The cable is cheap, and there is nothing as reliable as a bit of wire. Using wireless might work but if the signal is weak from your existing router that needs to be improved. Even free routers generally have good wireless so if it is not working well; there are many possible causes. Distance from the router, too many or thick walls, things restricting the signal, interference from nearby routers or devices.
The answer might be adding another access point nearer to your office. Buying one with a built-in switch might be useful if you want to connect computers, VoIP phones or printers.
If you are preparing a home office in a summer house or other structure in your garden, then you might want to run a cable. If you do it needs to be at least outdoor grade or ideally armoured and you will have to make holes in the house and summer house which need to be weatherproof. A better option might be to use Ethernet over power adapters. These are cheap and work well. They are available in Plug-in form and ones which replace existing 13amp wall sockets. They can also offer multiple ports and even wireless access although these features increase the cost. If using these adapters, the house and summer house must be on the same electrical phase.
If you choose to work in your basement, remember you might not get a good mobile signal which might be a good or a bad thing. Your choice of mobile provider matters here. EE works over wireless and is reliable. Vodafone offers sure-signal which is a box you have to pay for, that uses your Internet connection to make calls. You are paying for an expensive box to make up for the inadequacy of the Vodafone service. Suresignal can be a hassle to get working and does not work well with load balanced Internet connections. For other providers check how their service works.
You might consider 4G cellular Internet, but make sure you can get a strong signal. Using 4G can use either a plug-in dongle or a router with a SIM card in it.
Atomik.biz will help you with every aspect of the technology, including running cables, setting up reliable wireless and VoIP telephony.
For further information read our other article Working from home.
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