A miserable day across the UK as Storm Dennis hits, so what better way to spend it than tidying up our home network a little?
We were fortunate enough to get a Fibre To The Premises broadband connection installed recently when it was surprisingly rolled out to our village. It's brilliant - a rock-solid fast connection at all times - but having a decent WAN connection has served to highlight how flaky some aspects of our internal LAN have been.
Since 2014 I've made use of a few Powerline Adapters for connecting our TVs and the various peripherals in my office to our network, but they have been increasingly irritating me with their flakiness - too much turning them off and on again to get Netflix working again. The final straw was when I noticed several of the next door neighbour's devices on our network, due to both of us using unsecured Adapters.
So, I've unplugged them for the final time and listed them on eBay. For the most part, WiFi will now suffice for all our connectivity needs - almost all our internet connected devices support it, and the standards have improved in recent years - 802.11ac on my laptop is almost indistinguishable from a wired connection for all practical purposes.
The only exception is our beloved Synology DS218+ NAS, which understandably only has a wired connection, and can actually make use of the full speed of our FTTP connection for downloading software and performing backups to Azure blob storage. So, today I have moved this out of my office and onto a Billy bookcase in the children's playroom (as it's closer to the router). I ran 10m of flat white Cat 6 cable from router to a switch, sticking it to the skirting board with a bunch of handy wee self-adhesive cable clips. The NAS then connected into the switch, as did Ben's XBox (it was close by and I figured he might appreciate the slightly improved ping and better download speeds).
Not only does the NAS now have a much-improved download speed compared to my previous experiences with the bulky Powerline Adapters, but its new location away from my workspace means that I am no longer disturbed by its noise. It's not that it is particularly loud, but whenever I heard the hard disks being written to I got distracted wondering what processes were running at the time. I'm sure this won't trouble the kids in the playroom.