Optimising your internet experience in the office
Make the most of your internet connection with these tips for your home office or small business.
Your choice of Wi-Fi router/modem
Choosing the right Wi-Fi router/modem can help improve your business’s online experience. For offices with multiple users online at the same time, it could be worth considering a business grade Wi-Fi router/modem.
WAN and Ethernet ports
ADSL2 versus VDSL2
2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi signals
Many Wi-Fi routers/modems and Wi-Fi enabled devices in your home or business will operate on the 2.4 GHz spectrum. This offers the greatest range and is capable of reaching through a variety of wall thicknesses. However, this range coupled with the ability to go through walls also limits its speed potential.
5GHz generally provides higher data rates compared with 2.4GHz, its one potential weakness is that 5GHz signals do not generally travel as far as 2.4GHz signals. For optimum performance, you need to ensure that your devices are located relatively close to your Wi-Fi router/modem, without too many interfering objects between the device and the unit itself.
If you’re unsure which frequency will work best for you, speak to your phone and internet provider, or IT professional/ICT partner, about your office set-up and specific needs.
Objects that interfere with your Wi-Fi signal
The positioning of your Wi-Fi router/modem can change your experience.
Certain objects in your office like microwave ovens, televisions, hot water systems, fridges and fish tanks will interfere with your Wi-Fi signal strength. Thick walls will likely impact the quality of your signal, but keep in mind that not all walls are the same. Walls containing water pipes, air-conditioning ducts and insulation will interfere with the Wi-Fi signal strength more than simple room partitions like Gyprock. You’ll also find that brick, stone, ceramic, concrete, metal, and mirrors will greatly reduce your signal strength.
Try and position your Wi-Fi router/modem in the centre of the office, considering the layout of your space and where the internet enabled devices are located.
Consider if the router/modem offered by your internet provider has a strong enough Wi-Fi signal to reach other rooms where you would want to use your internet connected devices. You may need to install additional Wi-Fi access points or a Wi-Fi repeater to help amplify your signal and extend your coverage. If you’re still having issues, consider using a fixed connection like an Ethernet cable.
Multiple users and devices connected at the same time
Offices with many internet connected devices and applications need dedicated Ethernet cabling or a stronger Wi-Fi signal. It’s also worth considering business grade nbn™ products that offer a committed information rate, or symmetrical upload/download speeds.
The amount of connected devices running through your Wi-Fi router/modem at the same time can have an impact on the maximum speeds that can be experienced. Basic Wi-Fi routers/modems start to experience connectivity issues with more than eight Wi-Fi connected devices.
Offices that rely on video conferencing and cloud based applications should use a business grade Wi-Fi router/modem on a business grade nbn™ powered plan. Speak to your provider or an IT professional/ICT partner about whether your Wi-Fi router/modem and plan suits your specific business needs.
Landline phones and fax machines
Australia is currently undergoing a digital transformation from a copper backbone network, to a fibre backbone network. This will affect the way you currently use your landline or fax machine.
As we roll out the nbn™ broadband access network in your area, you may be required to plug your landline phone into your Wi-Fi router/modem. This may be directly, or via a network switch or adapter (e.g. VoiP or PBX) depending on your particular configuration and office set up. This means the existing phone cabling in your office may no longer be used. Consider contacting a licenced professional to assess your in-office cabling options if you need to change your phone’s location.
Please check with your phone company whether they support fax transmission and/or teletypewriter devices on their phone service over the nbn™ access network at your address.
The quality of the cabling throughout your building and inside your office will have an effect on the speeds you will experience. Network/Ethernet cabling, where possible, will provide a more consistent internet experience for your business.
Consider contacting a registered cabler or contact an IT professional/ICT partner to install Ethernet cable throughout your office, so that fixed line connections are available for internet connected devices. Using an Ethernet cable/fixed line connection will provide a more reliable connection to the internet than Wi-Fi.
If your speeds are limited, it could be a good idea to talk to your landlord or body corporate about having the quality of the cabling/wiring inside your building walls checked. For example, if your office is in an older building and there's evidence of many different unused phone or TV sockets, or evidence of older phone installations, it may be worth having your network assessed by a registered cabler – they can help to isolate and clean up your office network.
When the nbn™ technician arrives to install your nbn™ connection box, make sure you request that they physically install it in your office or wherever is most convenient. Talk to your internet provider about arranging this for you.
Device and software compatibility
The rollout of the nbn™ access network involves new technologies which some existing or older devices may not be compatible with.
It’s important to talk to your device provider or IT professional/ICT partner to find out if it will work on the nbn™ access network, or what alternatives may be available. It’s also important to register safety-critical equipment with nbn by calling 1800 227 300 or visiting nbn.com.au/compatibility.
Devices to consider:
- Medical alarms, autodiallers or emergency call buttons
- Monitored fire alarms
- Security monitoring systems
- Fax and teletypewriter devices
- EFTPOS terminals
- Lift emergency phones
- Video conferencing equipment
- Existing landline phone services (The copper network within nbn™ Fixed Wireless and Sky Muster™ satellite areas will not be switched off)