Project X – New home office setup
I recently decided to do a mini upgrade to my home office, and also to add in new equipment – this was a project I started two years ago and I’ve been fine-tuning it since then.
What You Will Learn
- Planning your home office
- Setting up the infrastructure of your home office
- What equipment to use
Planning your home office
The first thing to do before you set up your home office is to think of what you need for it in advance, including setting a budget while allowing for the possibility of adding in new equipment for the future. You might want to consider what your usage will be like as well.
For this setup, I kept in mind that I need a lot of bandwidth as I am a heavy user. As I am a web developer myself, I need to upload, download, test different functions of a website etc, so having a lot of bandwidth for me is important as I can upload and download things faster.
You might need to consider the following:-
Do you need to print, scan, fax, photocopy?
The total number of devices that will be connected to wifi
The objective of this home office is for me to do the following :-
- Business use
- Personal & Family use
- My day job (sometimes I work from home)
- Surveillance station
I started this project 2 years ago when I first got my house key. At that point of time my requirement was simple, however when time went by the requirements increased.
This is a normal 4 room HDB (Housing development board) flat and approx floor area is 92sqm.
I use bedroom 2 as my home office, together with my wife and daughter. Bedroom 3 is for my daughter’s playroom, but was recently converted for my helper to sleep there.
In the beginning I only used a simple setup like an ADSL connection and a desktop. As time went by, fiber got cheaper and I decided to upgrade it.
The internet service provider room connection point is at the main door and the wireless router had to be put there because of wiring constraints. The tricky part of this 4 room house setup is the wireless signal. The wireless signal over at the master’s bedroom is very weak, and if I put the wireless extender over at bedroom 2 the performance was very weak.
However the new type of HDB flat is good because all the internal cable to the rooms are on cat 6 wires. This allowed me to put 1 wireless access point (a wireless Access Point is a device that allows wireless devices to connect to a wired network using Wi-Fi) at bedroom 2 – take a look below:
A wifi extender will extend the wifi range, however the speed you get after the wifi signal extends is usually not that good. This is because over at bedroom 2, the signal is already 1 to 2 bar and if I extend the signal, over at Master bedroom the speed will be like 4 to 5 Mbps so it does not solve the issue.
A wireless AP is different because it extends the signal using a direct link from the router and the speed is usually guaranteed. Placing the AP is also a tricky issue, because if you place it wrongly the speed performance might not be that good.
Before you start planning where to put your wifi router and access point, you need to know how many wifi devices will be connected to the wifi.
The infrastructure of your home office
The second thing to think about before you setup your home office is what kind of internet speed you need. Before you decide this, you must think of what your usage is like and the number of devices that will need an internet connection.
Choosing your internet plan is the most important part of the whole office setup. You also need to know whether your devices can support the internet speed. For example, if the internet plan I am getting is 1000Mbps, but the devices I am using at home can only support up to 100mbps, the maximum speed it will run at is only 100mpbs. So getting 1000mbps is useless because I won’t be able to fully utilize it.
For example, my wife and daughter like to stream a lot of youtube videos. This will take up a lot of bandwidth if I am downloading files while they are streaming and will slow everyone down.
Here is another example: I usually back up my web hosting server files to my home desktop on a weekend. The file size is usually around 20GB and if I am on a slow network it will take 1 to 2 days to finish downloading. If while I am downloading, and my daughter is streaming video at the same time, it will slow everyone down.
So choosing an internet plan and knowing how many devices you are using will define your home office setup. For this task I decided to draw a network diagram to know what kind of devices that will be connecting to the internet.
- Mobile phones x 2
- Tablets x 2
- Laptop x 2
- IP camera x 3
- Desktop x 2
- Network attached storage x 1
- Multifunction printer x 1
As you can see I am quite a heavy user so having a fast internet and lots of bandwidth is important for me.
Here are some pictures of my home office setup:
This is my router; the telecom equipment and the internal cable are inside the box.
Router – Asus N66U
Wireless Access point – Asus RP-N53
Network Hub – Linksys SE2500 5-Port
Printer – Canon PIXMA MX722
Storage – Synology DS414j ( i used my NAS to backup all my stuffs )
This is just a reference setup for those who are interested in setting up their home office. I believe this setup can last me another 3 to 4 years before the next upgrade. Sometimes I also hold meetings at my home office with my partner.
Basically, that is my home office and I am considering putting some posters up in front of my desk!
What are some cool home office setups you have seen?
Is there anything I should consider putting in my home office?
Any questions regarding the setup? Let me know in the comments!