Headaches eliminated, productivity increased: New Router, Modem, ISP
Because I’m a freelancer, I’m pretty obsessed with personal productivity. Every tweak I make to improve productivity boosts my bottom line. For that reason I’m always on the hunt for the latest and greatest apps that will give me an edge.
Recently, utter frustration with AT&T and my home network, along with a desire to lower our household overhead, motivated me to change providers – I moved to Xfinity – and upgraded my network hardware.
I’m thrilled with the outcome. Here’s a screen capture of a speed test I just ran. Compared to the less than five megabits per second I was getting with AT&T’s U-verse (at a cost of nearly 50 bucks a month) this is heaven on earth. Further, the router I got with the U-verse system was terrible, and honestly that was one of the biggest motivators to switch things up. The airwaves are crowded with wi-fi signals where I live, and our laptops found virtually every other network before they found ours, even after I experimented with switching channels on the router.
I’ll cut to the chase: I dropped Directv, dropped U-verse Internet and my AT&T landline (another story) and signed on with Xfinity. I have always avoided cable companies, but when a 2-year offer for $98 Internet and TV arrived in the mail, I decided to cave in and try it.
The Xfinity customer service woman recommended the ARRIS/Motorola SurfBoard SB6121 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem as the best modem to save the monthly charge and I went for it. I did some online research and settled on the ASUS RT-AC87U Wireless-AC2400 Dual Band Gigabit Router as a possible candidate for the best router.
As any network cognoscente certainly knows by now, I’m not an expert by any means so I was a little intimidated by the prospect of setting up a dual-band router. However, it wasn’t difficult at all. I soon had everything running. I hooked up a Synology back up and storage system, another extra storage drive and created a guest logon. More on backup in a moment.
Operating on both 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz bands, I get network speeds of as much as 1,732 Mbps and 600 Mbps respectively. Because I’m on newer computers, I’m able to take advantage of the 5 GHz band and it’s made a noticeable difference in my workday and throughput. It’s not must me that thinks the Asus is one of the best routers for a home or small business network. It get excellent ratings from a wide range of sources.
But even better than that, our computers have no problem finding our network today. When we open our laptops downstairs, we’re instantly up and running on the correct network. With our old 2Wire modem, we had to sit and wait for our laptops to find our home network and sometimes we even had to mess with our laptop wi-fi to coax it into finding our network.
My wife and I were using an Apple Time Capsule for backup, but it was always flaky. I’m not sure why, but on virtually all of our computers it stopped working. I reset things, restarted things and sometimes that would seem to fix the problem, but before long we would get messages that Time Machine couldn’t complete a backup due to one mysterious problem or another.
This hassle went away when I connected the Synology DiskStation 2-Bay Diskless Network Attached Storage via USB to the ASUS router. I’m still using the Time Machine software, but now it points to the Synology device. Even the initial full backups of all our computers went quickly and flawlessly.
Full disclosure: Although I’ve been officially enrolled in the Amazon Associate program for years, I’ve never made a dime from it. I didn’t write this post to drum up sales. I’m just freakin’ overjoyed to be working on a fast and dependable network and Internet connection…plus I’ve lowered my monthly overhead by $50 or more. Anyway, if you purchase using any of the links I’ve provided, I will get a commission.
Do any of these problems sound familiar? If they do, I urge you to take action. I don’t like messing with Internet providers or hardware, so I kept putting it off. By the way, the main reason I had a landline was for my home alarm system. However, I discovered that my alarm monitor here in Nashville, NCA, has a cell-phone based program that costs only $20 per month. I was paying more than $50 for my landline, so I’m saving there too, and not having to deal with a constant barrage of telemarketers.
Life is good.