So we’re all working from home now! Big change for some of us – for others, not so much. Your home office is suddenly a major part of your life and you’d like to upgrade from sitting on the couch using your laptop while simultaneously petting your dog, eating a bowl of Cheetos, crying uncontrollably, and watching that wacky TV reality show known as the White House Press Conference. Or is it just me?
Today, we’ll take a look at the home office from the ground up, including how to supercharge it using SD-WAN with broadband bonding. Let’s get started.
Let’s start with the bare minimum office setup and enhance and upgrade from there.
Laptops have become extremely capable and powerful. New laptops usually come with decent webcams, and built-in mics, speakers and WiFi, while many desktops may not.
A Few More Items
These following items may be essential for some home offices, but for many people, these may not be needed:
There are many sites that go through the above hardware items, plus many more, and provide short reviews and specific recommendations for various budgets. Here are a few I found to be useful and recently updated:
More Apps Please
So, we’ve now got a state-of-the-art home office all set up. Are we all ready to jump into working from home fulltime? Not quite yet as we still have to load up on the apps we will need to teleconference, access your work computers from home, maintain high levels of network security, and interact routinely with cloud-based data and communications.
Web/Video Meeting Apps
Web-meeting software has really taken off over the last year or two and is now fully integrated into simple-to-use apps. If your company already uses Google Gmail, then it is very easy to use their web-meeting app, Google Meet. Google Meet is the upgraded enterprise version of the single-user, more limited capabilities Google Hangouts. And nearly everyone has now heard of Zoom and many people have jumped on the bandwagon as it is fully enterprise ready and installs and is ready-to-go in a few minutes. The free version may be fine for small companies but it is limited to 100 participants and 40 minutes maximum meeting length. Another huge player is of course Cisco’s WebEx video conferencing service, which is rich with features and designed for large enterprises.
Owl Labs has a nice summary of The 10 Best Video Meeting Apps, where they discuss the above 3 along with 7 others.
VPN, Remote Desktop, Unified Communications
All remote workers will also probably want to use a VPN, Virtual Private Network, to maintain a high-security, encrypted connection to the office network and the Internet in general. Remote Desktop software enables you to access and use your work computer from home, and UC, Unified Communications, refer to services that integrate much of normal business workflow (phones, calendars, meetings, text messaging, and others).
One of our recent blogs looked at these and other related issues: Remote Workers – Technology, Applications, and the Demands on IT
For most home offices, the reliance on a single Internet connection, from a single ISP, also means a “single point of failure” where any outage or degradation/fluctuation of the Internet connectivity will result in poor overall performance of your system. In particular, on-going internet sessions may fail (a pain if downloading very large files or interacting with an important customer), VoIP phone calls will deteriorate with dropouts and lags, and video/teleconference sessions will freeze, stutter, and sometimes, lock up all together. All of this the result of insufficient bandwidth or higher-than-normal latency/lag time with the Internet connectivity.
If only there was some way to combine your cell phone Internet connection with your home wired Internet for higher throughput and better performance. Good news! Mushroom Networks has done precisely that! Introducing Truffle-Home – the SD-WAN broadband bonding device for home office use.
SD-WAN with broadband bonding has seen tremendous growth over the last couple of years as companies both big and small have reaped the benefits of aggregating all of their disparate WAN connections into a single, high bandwidth, low latency internet pipe. Until now, there was not an affordable, simple, drop-in solution that could allow home offices to share some of the important benefits of using SD-WAN with broadband bonding for their home office. With the new Mushroom Networks’ Truffle-Home device, simply connect your wired ISP modem into Truffle-Home, set your cell phone in “hotspot” mode so that Truffle-Home can connect to it via WiFi. Truffle-Home can now aggregate your cellular LTE data or 5G data Internet connection with your fiber, DSL or cable Internet for better performance and higher reliability.
What this means for you is that your internet connectivity will become supercharged and your system performance will be optimized. When your video feed needs a bit more bandwidth, the Truffle-Home can mix and match between your wired internet connection and your cell phone’s internet connection to ensure you have that extra bandwidth. And your VoIP calls are ensured to always use the lowest-latency path, keeping your calls crystal clear.
Hopefully, this blog has given you some useful information about what you need to set up your home office, along with some useful links to many product reviews. And to make sure your home office is getting every byte of performance out of your internet connections, also consider an SD-WAN with broadband bonding solution to aggregate your wired internet connection with your cell phone internet connection for higher throughput and better application performance.
Rob Stone, Mushroom Networks, Inc.
Mushroom Networks is the provider of Broadband Bonding appliances that put your networks on auto-pilot. Application flows are intelligently routed around network problems such as latency, jitter and packet loss. Network problems are solved even before you can notice.
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