Debugger

How to Build the Speedy Home Wi-Fi Network of Your Dreams

You might even have some fun while you’re at it

Owen Williams
OneZero
Published in
8 min readMar 11, 2020

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Photos courtesy of the author

EEven if you’re paying for decent internet, there’s always that one corner of the house where Netflix stutters and buffers. Solving this problem and getting the absolute best speeds throughout your home can’t be done with standard hardware. It requires building a custom network.

I came to this realization last year when I upgraded to a 1.5Gbps fiber connection. Fed up with the dead spots, I went down a rabbit hole in pursuit of the fastest, most reliable network I could build. Consumer-focused hardware such as Google Wifi and Eero don’t provide much control. Home mesh tools like Nest Wifi are designed to help plug holes in your Wi-Fi but aren’t generally focused on maximum speed and coverage. The best solution I found was Ubiquiti’s UniFi devices — business-grade network hardware that can be used at home.

I first heard about UniFi devices through Twitter, but what hooked me were the communities of passionate fans in places like Reddit’s /r/ubiquiti who post pictures of the fancy dashboards and elaborate home Wi-Fi setups they’ve built with the products. It wasn’t long after I started following these communities that I started plotting my own dream network. While there are other options, like MikroTik or Linksys, Ubiquiti offers an end-to-end ecosystem that’s much more user friendly.

With my home network makeover, I’m now able to get a solid 700Mbps-plus of wireless internet speeds, reliably, without any dead zones, whether I’m in bed watching Netflix, downstairs in the kitchen, or anywhere else in my house. (That’s still not quite the 1.5Gbps I’m paying for, but it’s a huge improvement considering my ISP provides a router with wired ports capped at 1Gbps.) My custom network is reliable, and I can make infinite Wi-Fi networks—a separate network for guests, for instance—and control them remotely.

Building a network like this isn’t for the faint of heart. It takes a bit of learning and a willingness to spend some money on hardware. It also requires a shift in thinking: You’re building a network made up of multiple pieces, rather than plugging in a single device. But if you’re willing to make the investment in…

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Owen Williams
OneZero

Fascinated by how code and design is shaping the world. I write about the why behind tech news. Design Manager in Tech. https://twitter.com/ow