Bring your network bang up to date to boost its speed or range

Mac|Life - - FEATURE -

Once upon a time, you plugged your Mac in to a mo­dem and that was your in­ter­net con­nec­tion sorted. Th­ese days, your network con­sists of more than just a few com­put­ers and per­haps a prin­ter; now there are your mo­bile de­vices, smart TVs, HomePod, Ap­ple TV, In­ter­net of Things (IoT) gad­gets and other hard­ware be­sides to con­sider. If your network is strug­gling to cope with band­width de­mands or the places you need it to reach, now’s the time to look for the right up­grade to suit your needs and your wal­let.

Mesh network

This tech is de­signed to ex­tend Wi-Fi net­works through larger homes. Asus has even launched its own mesh sys­tem ( that works not just with brand new routers but its ex­ist­ing mod­els, too.

New Wi-Fi router

The 802.11ac Wi-Fi stan­dard gives you faster wire­less per­for­mance at greater range, cov­er­ing more of your home. A new router may have other ad­van­tages — ex­tra fea­tures, stronger se­cu­rity and so on. See what to look for on page 29.

Network switch

En­ables you to add ex­tra ports to your network for ca­bled de­vices. Ideally, use a switch with Gi­ga­bit ports for max­i­mum per­for­mance. Man­aged switches have ad­vanced fea­tures, such as link ag­gre­ga­tion for com­bined through­put — use­ful on Macs that have mul­ti­ple Eth­er­net ports.

Pow­er­line adapters

Ex­tend your network over your elec­tri­cal cir­cuit. You’ll need at least two (one goes near your router). Choose 1200AV or higher mod­els to max­imise per­for­mance, and passthrough mod­els if you need to keep the wall socket free. Some mod­els in­clude Wi-Fi con­nec­tiv­ity, too.

Range ex­ten­der

This re­lays your Wi-Fi sig­nal to a dead spot in your home. Prices start from around $15 for an 802.11n model that sup­ports a trans­mis­sion rate of 300Mbps, or save a lit­tle money by reusing an old router in bridge mode.

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