How to work from home: top wireless routers, VPN, wi-fi extenders and more

Boost your wi-fi signal and beat network issues with the best kit for work

Laptop stand
(Image credit: Workperch on Unsplash)

Are you practicing social distancing yet? With half the world shelling up at home and panic-buying toilet paper, lots of office workers have been encouraged to work from home to limit the impact of the global health crisis. 

While high-speed broadband has made all this possible, you might need a VPN to bounce your signal around the globe, or to retain security while working at home. What’s more, there’s a problem with the wave of people suddenly clogging the net during off-peak times: wi-fi networks may begin to groan under the pressure of families all hogging the net simultaneously. 

TP-Link Archer AX11000 review

The TP-Link Archer AX1000 is one of the best wi-fi routers we've tested

(Image credit: TP-Link)

If children are off school and parents are working from home, expect work to be slower and conference calls to be consistently interrupted by poor connection. 

Fortunately, if you’re either working from home right now or anticipating working from home in the near future, you can shore up your wi-fi’s strength to get the most out of your broadband connection.  

While the black box that came with your connection may do the family at peak times, one of our best wireless routers can make a big difference to the sort of speeds you can see around the home, the features you've got access to, and connection reliability. The TP-Link Archer AX11000 (the TP doesn’t stand for “toilet paper”, sorry) was rated the best high-performance router for most people with its triple-band system. 

Netgear WN3000RP

The Netgear WN3000RP is a great budget solution

(Image credit: Netgear)

Other ways you can boost your signal include wi-fi extenders. If distance from the router is an issue, these act as add-ons to your existing wi-fi network, and are much more affordable than replacing your router entirely. Our best budget wi-fi extender, the Netgear WN300RP, plugs straight into any free plug socket and acts as a powerful signal boost, beaming your wifi over greater distances. Perfect for self-isolating families or people after top-performing wi-fi speeds. 

Mesh networks work like a combination of the two, often replacing your router completely with an upgraded model to help you get the best speeds possible. Mesh networks also have at least one “satellite” broadcaster to bounce the signal everywhere in your flat or house, ensuring you get both full coverage and top speeds. 


ExpressVPN tops our best-of VPN list

(Image credit: Future)

 You’ll also need a VPN, or virtual private network. VPNs keep your workplace data safe and secure, and might even be necessary depending on where in the world you’re working from. Check out our Best VPN guide to find the right provider for you, but ExpressVPN is a favourite for both workplace security and personal use.

If you’re really unhappy with your current provider, this might be a great opportunity to switch. You could likely save some money in addition to getting better broadband speeds. For more information, use the price comparison tool below.