Looking For Advice on Optimizing Network Performance for Home Office Setup

Hi Everyone,

I am searching for some guidance on optimizing my home office network setup for better performance. At present, I have a typical setup with a router, several wired devices including my workstation and NAS, and a mix of wireless devices like laptops, smartphones, and smart home gadgets.

I have noticed occasional slowdowns, particularly when various devices are being used all the while. I am considering upgrading my router or adding access points to improve coverage and speed, but I am not sure where to start or what solutions would be the most effective.

Might anybody recommend specific router models, mesh systems, or networking strategies that have worked well for home offices with multiple devices and high bandwidth needs? Any tips or best practices for improving network performance in a home office environment would be greatly appreciated. I gone through this forum Suggestion for "home" network setup but couldn’t find the solution of my problem.

Much thanks to you for your bits of knowledge.

With Regards,

Wired will always be the best for network performance. In order to size up the router we will need to know the max bandwidth provided by your ISP and services you want to run on it (DNS blocker, haproxy, snort etc). If you are running wireless it’s best to run Ethernet to each access point back to a switch that is connected to your router. Meshing access points will give the worst performance.

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What kind of router do you have? Is it an all-in-one router/firewall/wifi type of consumer device? Do you use a separate switch? How fast is your internet? Is all your wired networking gigabit ethernet? How much of a homlab/DIY kind of person are you?

Here’s what I have, and it may not be right for you, but it works flawlessly for me. It does take some maintenance but I am OK with that.

  1. I have dual internet, because I work at home and charge by the hour. I can’t afford to be without internet. One is cable and the other is T-mobile 5G home internet. The only two options where I live, although there may be fiber soon

  2. I use a mini pc and pfSense as my firewall/router. It is connected to my switch via two network links (LACP). you may not need two links for your uses

  3. I have a managed switch that is the backbone of my network

  4. My NAS devices (2 of them), and my Proxmox servers (three of them) are all connected to the switch with two network links (LACP)…again, dual links may be overkill for your needs

  5. My wireless access point connects to the switch as well, and has up to 8 different SSIDs, each tied to a different VLAN

  6. My network is segregated into VLANs. I have a VLAN for my trusted computers, one for my kids/guests, one for the TVs, one for all the Ring cameras and Ring alarm, and one for my self hosted web servers.

The firewall rules for the VLANs are set up in pfSense. Essentially, all of the VLANs are isolated and cannot communicate with any of the other VLANs, and can only communicate with the internet. The exception being my trusted computers VLAN can reach all the other VLANs

There are many benefits to this setup:
-I can do content filtering and DNS ad blocking through pfSense
-Inter VLAN traffic routing is handled by the switch and is much faster
-I can route specific VLANs out over a VPN
-I can create firewall rules specific to each VLAN to prevent devices from “phoning home”
-I get added security by not letting devices on one VLAN see devices on the others.

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It all depends on how much faffing around you want to do !

I’d suggest running ethernet cable to all your rooms, I have two runs between each room and a main managed switch. The cost of doing this with two runs is marginal, one might be sufficient but you can have a LACP LAGG with the right switches.

PfSense on your router will give you a lot of options. Mine is running on a chinese no name box for a couple of years now, (if you go down this route - buy two identical boxes for backup!). You can also buy a netgate box.

Then get a access point that can handle vlans, I’m using a TP-Link EAP 245, I don’t have any complaints.

After that it’s down to you to roll your sleeves up !!

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Hello @xMAXIMUSx,

I can understand that wired connection is always best but I would like to connect my devices wirelessly because I can access the internet wirelessly from anywhere in my home offices. So there will be no need to get stuck at one place.

Hey @Louie1961,

Your setup is impressive…especially with dual internet for work reliability. I use an all-in-one router but admire your use of pfSense and VLANs for security and control.
My network is simpler, mainly gigabit Ethernet with no separate switch.

Thanks mate, for sharing this insights.

Thanks. Its not that hard. I am not a network expert by any means, I am actually an accountant by training! LOL. I am completely self taught, mostly by reading forums and watching youtube videos. I would encourage you to give it a try. Just omit the link aggregation stuff to start with. The whole setup can be had very inexpensively. You can get a Netgate appliance with pfSense plus included for $210, the WAP I use is $79, and an 8 port managed switch can be had for $26