Remote Work Network

A Remote Work Network at Home Lesson Learned: Remote Work Best Practices

This all started because I wanted to pay less for TV and it turned into quite a bit of lost time yesterday, leading to a lesson learned about a remote work network at home.

Recently, in an effort to cut costs, we decided to get rid of our AT&T Uverse cable package and move to a streaming channel for our TV. We already subscribe to too many streaming channels, but what’s one more, right? We did the free trial for a couple of different streaming services before choosing one as we wanted to make sure it met our needs first.

Once we did that, I called AT&T to cancel the cable package. They did so without any issue (especially since they own the streaming service we selected). Then, we discussed our current Internet package and whether we wanted to increase our bandwidth. The technician noticed that our gateway was the same one we got when we moved into this house a few years ago, so they offered for me to try an equipment swap as that could yield as much as a “50% bandwidth improvement” over the old equipment (for free, no less). So, I decided to try that first.

I should note that I work at home, so more than 95% of my work is performed over the remote work network at home. Then again, am I really a remote employee when there is no office other than the home office?

Anyway, I received the gateway on Tuesday and began swapping it in for the old one – a process that “could take up to 30 minutes”. After a variety of issues – a couple of them user error on my part, a couple of them issues on the AT&T side, I finally got the gateway up and running two hours later.

The fun was only beginning then as I proceeded to learn a lesson about a remote work network at home!

Because the new router was a new network (and couldn’t be changed), I then had to proceed to reconnect every device in the house to the new network. That included:

  • Three laptops, including current and old work laptop (which I sometimes use as a travel laptop)
  • One gaming computer which is our son’s computer
  • Four iPhones, one for each member of the family
  • Three iPads, one for each member of the family (except me, sadly)
  • One Amazon Echo (our main “Alexa”) and one Echo Dot (our daughter uses)
  • One Nest thermostat (good thing that I haven’t gotten around to installing the upstairs one yet!)
  • One Xbox and One PS4 (our son plays a lot of video games!)
  • Two Ring cameras (front door and back door), and
  • Three Amazon Fire Sticks (through which we now stream all our TV)

I’m sure that some of you have an easy way around the challenge here, may know of a way we could have kept the same network ID and credentials, etc. But (for me, anyway) the exercise was a lesson learned in what it takes to make changes in a household today, with several mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. It’s a lot to update.

BTW, the speed improvement so far? Negligible. Turned out my “old” equipment wasn’t so old after all. 😉

So, what do you think?  Have you made changes to your home network recently and do you use it for work as well? Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

P.S.: The person in the picture above isn’t me.

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9 comments

  1. I had a similar, although not nearly as extensive experience in my condo. Management provides the WiFi and their 3rd party provider installed new router services so I had to do the same…except with little instruction provided and no notice that I had to set everything up just as you mentioned, ultimately including having to get their service rep to assist – because although they installed their new equipment and sent an email saying so, they actually weren’t ready for people to sign on – I actually got an email a week later with notice and more instructions. Not very good project management, or 3rd party service! BTW, I ducked some of those agonizing steps you encountered, due to my strong privacy tendencies to never, ever have those e-devices that are gateways to privacy theft…but that’s just my soapbox talking! 😉

  2. I just went through exactly the same situation you did. Worse, i had to buy new smart devices to replace those which I could not reset. But for those who intend to change their gateway, i discovered a trick I wish I knew. I here share that trick: After setting up the new gateway, change the Network ID and password to the same one as the old gateway! Have fun!

    • Thanks, Redsurfer! I did try to change the NetworkID, but the AT&T Smart Home app wasn’t having it. I’m sure I could have done it some other way, but didn’t have time to figure it out. In the tradeoff of having to wade through a lengthy customer support call or manually plugging through resetting all the devices, I took the path less frustrating. 😉

  3. We are contemplating the same thing, but have not begun because I am afraid of what you describe. Especially the part about not much discernible improvement in speed.

    • I should have suspected something when the new gateway looked exactly like the old gateway, Susan. If I do decide to upgrade the bandwidth, I suspect I’ll get to do the whole thing all over again!

  4. Understood 👍 It is frustrating when providers do not give us details/FAQs at the outset, like letting us know that in their app, after changing the admin password, we should and can keep same Network ID and password. I am not that tech-savvy, I guess, and was too excited on getting a new gateway 😃 a new toy 😊

  5. We just cancelled our Verizon Fios cable subscription, added YouTube TV because it gives us the news channels we wanted plus some of the home improvement and other cable channels, very few of which I actually watch! We also upgraded our internet to their 1Gigabit service which required new routers and extenders, because like you, we have a heavy gaming son and many connected devices – husband and I work full time at home. Once a month my brother who has his own SEO business comes to visit for 10 days. We really were noticing lagging speed and the internet upgrade was worth it. At least you were provided the new equipment at no cost – Verizon insisted that our equipment was too old and we had to pay for the new routers. Surprise! The lady on the phone was wrong, but we didn’t discover that until everything had been swapped out. We did have to reset all the logins for all connected devices but the network ID did not change. Whew! The verdict is out on the YouTube TV but we have yet to find an acceptable streaming service that also includes the minimum cable channels. Hulu, Netflix, Disney+, Paramount, etc., so many that really provide so little! But cable packages are just ridiculously expensive 🤯

    • Agreed, Jen! I don’t know why anyone would subscribe to cable these days. Sounds like you dealt with some of the same considerations. We’re currently trying Directv Stream: so far, it’s working OK and has a pretty good selection of channels with their basic package (I think there’s only one or two channels we sometimes watch which aren’t included). Might try that if Youtube TV doesn’t work out.

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