If you are lucky enough to have a man cave, you want to make sure that you have the best connectivity possible. Especially now that so much of what you want to enjoy requires you to be connected to the web.
Whether you are planning to play massive online multiplayer games, chat with friends via video or VoIP, or stream shows and movies. Add in the fact that you may want to take advantage of connected-fitness sessions like those run by Peloton or Vitruvian and you can see why having access to stable broadband and Wi-Fi is so important. This guide explains what you need to consider when contracting a new provider.
Speed matters but don’t overpay
The first thing to say is that speed matters. In terms of future-proofing your man cave, faster is better. Now, that does not necessarily mean that you should go out and immediately sign a contract with the provider that promises the fastest speed.
There is a good chance that you do not need to pay for the fastest package. But may need that level of speed in the future, as games evolve, and require more bandwidth. Ideally, you don’t want to end up having to pay for bandwidth you will not use. Provided you do not lock yourself into too long a contract, you can avoid doing that.
Fibre optic is usually the best option
Having said that if fibre optic is available in your area opt for that or cable. Fibre optic broadband connectivity is stable and any technological advances will usually be rolled out on that type of network first. Plus, you are far more likely to get the advertised speed with a fiber-optic connection. That includes fast upload speeds, which is particularly important for gamers.
Currently, most games require around 1 Mbps of upload speed to function well. But, if you want to stream, for example using Twitch, you will need around 5 Mbps.
If you also use your man cave to work from home and use VoIP or video conferencing, having a fast connection reduces the chances of freezing during an important call or meeting. It also makes it easier to upload large files.
A wired connection is usually better than Wi-Fi
For gamers and people who use media players like Kodi boxes, it is worth setting up a wired connection in your man cave. You will experience less latency and speed loss if your devices are connected via an ethernet cable. If you do decide to do this it is worth considering creating a small home network. That way everyone in the house can benefit from faster speeds. This short guide explains how to go about doing that.
Creating a strong Wi-Fi signal
Sometimes it will not be possible to set up an ethernet connection which means that you will have no choice but to use Wi-Fi. This is not a big problem because it is relatively easy to boost a weak signal. Here are a few of the approaches you could use.
Update your router and antenna
If you are using an old router, there is a good chance that you are living with slower speeds than you need to. This article explains how to work out whether it is going to be worth your while to update your router. If you decide it is too expensive to do this, consider buying a stronger antenna.
Make sure the firmware is up to date
All hardware runs better if you keep the firmware up to date, which includes routers. There are plenty of YT videos that show you how to do it. Typically, it will take you less than 15 minutes to check for updates and install them.
Extend the range of your Wi-Fi
If your man cave is in a part of the house where the signal is weak, consider using repeaters, boosters, or extenders to solve this problem. Before you spend any money on this, just double-check that they will improve things for you. Do this by downloading and using a Wi-Fi booster app that will measure the strength of the signal in each room. If you discover that the signal is weak even in the room that has the router in it, you will likely need to upgrade the router.
Given the fact that you are likely to be spending a lot of time in your man cave, it is worth taking your time and doing plenty of research when choosing a broadband provider and hardware.