Business ServicesNetworkbest network setup for remote work

June 9, 2024by Inlink Systems

In today’s rapidly evolving work environment, remote work has become a mainstay for many businesses. Allowing employees to work from home can lead to significant cost savings and increased flexibility. However, ensuring a secure and reliable network setup is paramount to protect sensitive data and maintain productivity. This article will guide you through the best network setup for remote work, ensuring that your home office is both safe and efficient.

Key Takeaways

  • A secure router is the foundation of a safe home network, providing essential protection against unauthorized access.
  • Using a VPN service ensures that data transmitted over the internet is encrypted and secure from potential eavesdroppers.
  • Implementing a firewall adds an extra layer of security, monitoring and controlling incoming and outgoing network traffic.
  • A mesh Wi-Fi system can improve connectivity and coverage throughout your home, eliminating dead zones.
  • Regularly updating antivirus software is crucial to protect your devices from malware and other cyber threats.

1. Secure Router

Your router is the most important gadget for internet use at home. It checks incoming and outgoing traffic, ensuring nothing dangerous comes in and nothing sensitive goes out. Routers also control access to a home Wi-Fi network occurring through itself, all phones, tablets, laptops, and more.

Suggested Secure Routers

When selecting a router, it’s crucial to choose one with robust security features. A high-end secure option is DrayTek. The company has a very good reputation. I have not used them. More below. pfSense should be secure, but the user interface can be complex for beginners.

Enable Encryption

Almost all wireless routers come with an encryption feature, but it may be turned off by default. Turning on your wireless router’s encryption setting can help further secure your network. The most recent and effective type of encryption is WPA2, which guards access to the router by requiring every new device to submit a password before it connects to the network.

Keep Firmware Updated

Routers operate using a low-level software called “firmware” which controls everything the router does and sets security standards for the network. Like any other software, firmware contains flaws that may become a vulnerability or weak spot for the network — unless it’s quickly fixed through updates from the manufacturer.

Use a Network Firewall

One of the best-known cybersecurity features – a firewall – is something that, in most routers, comes already built in. For enhanced security, be sure to activate and configure your router’s firewall settings to monitor and control incoming and outgoing traffic to add another hurdle for potential threat actors.

Many users, however, fail to recognize the importance of securing the router, leading to compromised home network security. When it’s not safeguarded, a network can be vulnerable to criminal activity and cause trouble with credit card details, child safety, bank accounts, and other concerns.

2. VPN Service

A Virtual Private Network (VPN for short) is an online security staple in remote access. It encrypts users’ connections, securing them from any potential external eavesdropping. This helps ensure that the data transmitted between the device and the company network remains secure. Data encryption stops criminals from capturing the data in transit as they don’t have the decryption key. It’s invaluable for remote employees working from public Wi-Fi or other unsecure networks.

Benefits of Using a VPN

  • Encrypts online communication
  • Secures data from prying outsiders
  • Allows connection to the company’s network from anywhere
  • Maintains privacy, integrity, and availability of data

Choosing the Right VPN Service

When selecting a VPN service, consider the following features:

  • Dedicated IP
  • 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication)
  • Cloud VPN
  • Business VPN
  • Remote access VPN

Popular VPN Services

Here are some of the best VPN services recommended by experts:

VPN Service Platforms Supported
ExpressVPN Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Edge
NordVPN Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Edge
Surfshark Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Edge
CyberGhost Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Edge
IPVanish Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Edge
Hotspot Shield Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Edge
Private Internet Access Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Edge

Using a VPN is essential for maintaining secure and private communication in a remote work environment. It ensures that sensitive data remains protected, even when accessed over public networks.

3. Firewall

home office with firewall security

A firewall is a critical line of defence designed to protect computers from harmful intrusions. Wireless routers generally contain a built-in firewall as well, but it may be turned off when activated for the first time. You can turn on the router firewall in the configuration settings if this is the case. However, if your router doesn’t come with this additional layer of protection, you can easily install a firewall solution to the system to protect it from malicious hacking attempts.

Types of Firewalls

There are several types of firewalls you can consider for your remote work setup:

  • Network Firewalls: These are often built into routers and monitor incoming and outgoing traffic.
  • Cloud Firewalls: Ideal for businesses using cloud services, these firewalls provide an additional layer of security.
  • Firewall as a Service (FWaaS): This is a cloud-based solution that offers scalable and flexible firewall protection.

Configuring Your Firewall

To ensure your firewall is effective, you need to configure it properly. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Activate the Firewall: Make sure the firewall is turned on in your router’s settings.
  2. Set Up Rules: Define rules to control the traffic that is allowed to enter and leave your network.
  3. Regular Updates: Keep your firewall software up to date to protect against the latest threats.

Best Practices

Implementing a firewall is just the first step. Here are some best practices to ensure maximum security:

  • Use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Adding an extra layer of security can help protect your network.
  • Monitor Traffic: Regularly check the traffic logs to identify any unusual activity.
  • Educate Users: Make sure everyone in your household or team understands the importance of network security.

In this article, we will delve into the role of firewalls in securing remote work environments, the challenges they face, and best practices for ensuring the highest level of protection.

4. Mesh Wi-Fi System

A Mesh Wi-Fi System is an excellent solution for ensuring robust and consistent Wi-Fi coverage throughout your home. Unlike traditional routers that radiate Wi-Fi from a single point, a mesh system uses multiple nodes to create a seamless wireless network. This is particularly useful for reaching far-flung areas of your home where the signal might otherwise be weak.

Benefits of Mesh Wi-Fi

  • Whole-home coverage: Mesh systems provide comprehensive coverage, eliminating dead zones.
  • Easy installation: These systems are user-friendly and can be set up without expert IT knowledge.
  • Scalability: You can easily add more nodes to extend coverage as needed.

Choosing the Right Mesh Wi-Fi System

When selecting a mesh Wi-Fi system, consider the following:

  1. Wi-Fi 6 compatibility: If you’re looking for the latest in speed and security, opt for a Wi-Fi 6 mesh system.
  2. Number of nodes: Ensure the system includes enough nodes to cover your entire home.
  3. Budget: While mesh systems can be more expensive, they offer significant performance improvements.

Performance Tips

  • Placement: Position the nodes strategically to maximise coverage and minimise interference.
  • Wired backhaul: If possible, use Ethernet cables to connect the nodes for better performance.
  • Regular updates: Keep the firmware updated to benefit from the latest features and security patches.

I’ve used two mesh networks. The first was the Google WiFi system (now called Nest WiFi). This worked great in our rental house. Not so much in the house we bought after that. For where I’m living now, the Synology router and mesh I discussed here have worked more reliably.

Budget Tips

  • Start small: Begin with a basic setup and add more nodes as needed.
  • Look for deals: Keep an eye out for discounts on popular systems like the Linksys Velop Micro 6 Mesh System.
  • DIY options: Consider using Home Plug devices as a cost-effective alternative to extend your network.

A mesh Wi-Fi system is a worthwhile investment for anyone working remotely. It ensures you have a strong, reliable connection no matter where you are in your home.

5. Network Switch

A network switch is an essential component for any remote work setup, especially if you have multiple devices that need a stable and fast internet connection. Unlike a router, a network switch does not assign IP addresses but rather expands the number of available Ethernet ports. This allows you to connect more devices directly to your network, ensuring a more reliable connection compared to Wi-Fi.

Benefits of Using a Network Switch

  • Increased Number of Ports: A network switch provides additional Ethernet ports, allowing you to connect more devices directly to your network.
  • Improved Network Performance: By connecting devices via Ethernet, you can achieve faster and more stable internet speeds.
  • Enhanced Security: Wired connections are generally more secure than wireless ones, reducing the risk of unauthorised access.

Types of Network Switches

  1. Unmanaged Switches: These are simple plug-and-play devices with no configuration options. They are ideal for small home networks.
  2. Managed Switches: These offer advanced features like VLANs, QoS, and network monitoring, making them suitable for more complex setups.
  3. PoE Switches: Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches can power devices like IP cameras and VoIP phones directly through the Ethernet cable, eliminating the need for separate power supplies.

How to Choose the Right Network Switch

When selecting a network switch, consider the following factors:

  • Number of Ports: Ensure the switch has enough ports to accommodate all your devices.
  • Speed: Look for switches that support Gigabit Ethernet for faster data transfer rates.
  • Features: Depending on your needs, you may require advanced features like VLAN support or PoE capabilities.

A network switch can significantly enhance your remote work experience by providing a more stable and secure connection for all your devices. Whether you opt for an unmanaged, managed, or PoE switch, make sure it meets your specific requirements.

6. Ethernet Cables

When setting up a remote work environment, Ethernet cables play a crucial role in ensuring a stable and fast internet connection. While Wi-Fi is convenient, a wired connection can significantly reduce latency and improve overall performance.

Types of Ethernet Cables

There are various types of Ethernet cables available, each suited for different needs. The most common types are Cat5e, Cat6, and Cat7. Cat5e is sufficient for most home setups, but if you’re looking for the best performance, consider Cat6 or Cat7 cables.

Installation Tips

Buying my home was a big change for me, in no small part because I could finally run Ethernet cables through the walls. But even if you’re renting, you might want to consider running wires from your router to your desks. For years, as a renter, I ran wires next to baseboards, and over and under doorways. It was ugly, but it worked.

Performance Tips

  • Even if you can’t afford a new router, cables, and lots of switches, most computers have an Ethernet port. Relatively short Ethernet cables can be super inexpensive (and come with many devices). Try directly connecting your computers to your router if it has available ports.
  • Be sure to turn off all automatic backups and auto-updates and run them after work hours.
  • Set YouTube to a lower resolution default. If you use Chrome, the plugin Automatic 4K/HD for YouTube will not only allow you to

Performance tip: If you need to optimize productivity, let your setup be a bit ugly if it’ll help you get the job done.

7. Wi-Fi Extender

When working remotely, having a strong and reliable Wi-Fi signal is crucial. Boosting your signal can make a significant difference, especially if you haven’t moved your router’s position in years. One effective way to amplify an existing signal is by installing a Wi-Fi extender.

Benefits of Using a Wi-Fi Extender

A Wi-Fi extender can help you achieve a stronger signal in areas of your home where the Wi-Fi is weak. This is particularly useful if you have a large home or if there are multiple walls and floors between your router and your workspace. By extending the range of your Wi-Fi network, you can ensure a more stable and reliable connection.

How to Set Up a Wi-Fi Extender

Setting up a Wi-Fi extender is relatively straightforward. Here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Choose the right location: Place the extender halfway between your router and the area where you need a stronger signal.
  2. Plug it in: Connect the extender to a power source and turn it on.
  3. Connect to your network: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to connect the extender to your existing Wi-Fi network.
  4. Test the connection: Once set up, test the connection to ensure that the signal strength has improved in the desired area.

Tips for Optimising Your Wi-Fi Network

  • Reboot your router: Sometimes, simply rebooting your router can improve your Wi-Fi signal.
  • Centralise your router: Place your router in a central location in your home to ensure even coverage.
  • Update firmware: Make sure your router’s firmware is up to date to benefit from the latest performance improvements.

Tweaking your existing Wi-Fi setup could make a big difference. Try to place the router on a desk or shelf in a central part of the house.

By following these tips and using a Wi-Fi extender, you can significantly improve your home network setup for remote work.

8. Network Attached Storage (NAS)

What is NAS?

Network Attached Storage (NAS) is a dedicated file storage system that enables multiple users and devices to retrieve data from centralised disk capacity. It is an essential component for remote work setups as it provides a reliable and efficient way to store and share files.

Benefits of NAS

  • Centralised Storage: All your data is stored in one place, making it easier to manage and access.
  • Data Redundancy: Many NAS devices offer RAID configurations, which provide data redundancy and protect against disk failures.
  • Remote Access: With NAS, you can access your files from anywhere, which is crucial for remote work.
  • Scalability: NAS systems can be easily expanded by adding more drives.

Setting Up NAS

  1. Choose the Right NAS Device: Consider factors like storage capacity, number of bays, and supported RAID levels.
  2. Connect to Your Network: Plug the NAS device into your router or switch using an Ethernet cable.
  3. Configure the NAS: Use the web-based interface to set up user accounts, shared folders, and other settings.
  4. Enable Remote Access: Configure remote access settings to allow secure access to your files from anywhere.

Security Considerations

  • User Authentication: Ensure that only authorised users can access the NAS by setting up strong passwords and user accounts.
  • Data Encryption: Use encryption to protect your data both at rest and in transit.
  • Regular Backups: Regularly back up your NAS to another location, such as an external hard drive or a cloud service.

A well-configured NAS can significantly enhance your remote work experience by providing a secure, centralised, and easily accessible storage solution.

Troubleshooting Tips

  • Check Network Connections: Ensure that the NAS is properly connected to your network and that all cables are secure.
  • Update Firmware: Keep the NAS firmware up to date to benefit from the latest features and security patches.
  • Monitor Performance: Use the NAS’s built-in tools to monitor performance and identify any potential issues.

By following these guidelines, you can set up a robust and efficient NAS system that will support your remote work needs effectively.

9. Cloud Backup Service

Importance of Cloud Backup

In today’s digital age, safeguarding your data is paramount. A reliable cloud backup service ensures that your important files are always protected and accessible, even in the event of hardware failures or cyber-attacks. This is especially crucial for remote work setups where data integrity and availability are vital.

Key Features to Look For

When selecting a cloud backup service, consider the following features:

  • User-friendly interface: The service should be easy to navigate and use.
  • Security measures: Look for advanced security features like encryption, multi-factor authentication, and IP whitelisting.
  • Bandwidth management: Some services allow you to set throttle limits to manage how much bandwidth your backup clients take.
  • Scalability: Ensure the service can grow with your needs, whether for personal or business use.

Recommended Services

Based on my experience and research, here are some of the best cloud backup services available:

Service Key Features
iDrive User-friendly, scalable, secure
Backblaze Bandwidth management, advanced security
Google Drive Integration with other Google services, easy to use

Best Practices

To make the most out of your cloud backup service, follow these best practices:

  1. Regularly update your backup settings to ensure all important files are included.
  2. Test your backups periodically to make sure they can be restored successfully.
  3. Use strong, unique passwords and enable multi-factor authentication for added security.
  4. Keep your backup software updated to benefit from the latest security features.

A good backup client is neither seen nor felt. It works seamlessly in the background, ensuring your data is always safe without interrupting your workflow.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your data remains secure and accessible, providing peace of mind in your remote work setup.

10. Antivirus Software

Ensuring that your devices are protected with robust antivirus software is crucial for maintaining a secure remote work environment. It’s not enough to rely on the basic PC-resident firewalls and antivirus software for protection. All devices in a home network, especially those used for work, should have the latest software updates as a basic requirement.

Regular Updates

Automatic updates can ensure that the latest security patches are applied as soon as they become available. Antivirus and anti-malware software should also be regularly updated. It’s worth arranging for this to become part of a regular update schedule.

Comprehensive Scans

The best antivirus software in 2024 for PC, such as Bitdefender, gets straight to work with a full scan when you start using it, and combs through your system in its entirety to look for threats and intruders. Regular comprehensive scans are essential to identify and eliminate potential threats.

Cybersecurity Assessment

Assessments involve evaluating remote systems and processes to ensure they meet the required security standards. Businesses should develop a policy that includes guidelines for remote work.

Keep your systems running smoothly by protecting your IT, data, and systems. Regular cybersecurity assessments can help identify vulnerabilities and ensure that your antivirus software is effectively safeguarding your network.


In conclusion, setting up an optimal network for remote work is not just about ensuring connectivity but also about prioritising security and efficiency. As businesses increasingly adopt remote work policies, it becomes imperative to create a robust and secure network environment. This involves using reliable internet connections, securing home Wi-Fi networks, and implementing stringent access control measures. By following the best practices outlined in this article, businesses can support their remote workforce effectively, ensuring productivity and safeguarding sensitive information. Ultimately, a well-structured network setup is key to successful and secure remote work.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the importance of a secure router in a remote work setup?

A secure router is crucial as it acts as the first line of defense against cyber threats. It helps protect your network from unauthorized access and ensures that data transmitted over the network is encrypted and secure.

Why should I use a VPN service for remote work?

Using a VPN service encrypts your internet connection, making it difficult for hackers to intercept your data. It provides a secure tunnel for your online activities, ensuring privacy and protection, especially when using public Wi-Fi networks.

How does a firewall enhance network security for remote workers?

A firewall monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules. It acts as a barrier between your internal network and external threats, helping to prevent unauthorized access and cyber attacks.

What are the benefits of a mesh Wi-Fi system for remote work?

A mesh Wi-Fi system provides seamless and reliable internet coverage throughout your home. It eliminates dead zones and ensures that all your devices have a strong and consistent connection, which is essential for uninterrupted remote work.

Why is it important to use Ethernet cables for remote work?

Ethernet cables provide a stable and high-speed internet connection, reducing latency and improving performance. They are less prone to interference compared to Wi-Fi, making them ideal for tasks that require a reliable connection, such as video conferencing and large file transfers.

How can a Network Attached Storage (NAS) benefit remote workers?

A NAS allows remote workers to store, access, and share files securely over the network. It provides a centralized storage solution that can be accessed from anywhere, facilitating collaboration and ensuring that important data is backed up and protected.

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Contact Inlink Systems today for a free site survey of your home, office, or workspace and we’ll create a custom quote that meets your requirements.

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    Inlink Systems

    Inlink Systems

    The nature of audio-visual requirements has changed for small businesses and residences thanks to the increased use of network-enabled devices. Inlink Systems provides industry-leading, robust network infrastructure to support contemporary IT and AV solutions that enhance your home and work-life. Flexible solutions tailored to your unique needs with ongoing IT support.

    The nature of audio-visual requirements has changed for small businesses and residences thanks to the increased use of network-enabled devices. Inlink Systems provides industry-leading, robust network infrastructure to support contemporary IT and AV solutions that enhance your home and work-life. Flexible solutions tailored to your unique needs with ongoing IT support.

    Contact Us
    0207 101 3432
    57 Rochester Place, London NW1 9JU, United Kingdom
    Contact Us
    0207 101 3432
    57 Rochester Place, London NW1 9JU, United Kingdom

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