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How a mediocre router disrupted my smart home, particularly my Nest speakers

Router ports with Ethernet cables plugged in

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

If you’re a smart home enthusiast, you know how frustrating it can be when your devices don’t work as they should. Slow loading times, buffering videos, and connectivity issues can all be attributed to a poor router. In fact, a great router can save even the worst connection.

Did you ever have connectivity problems in your smart home?

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Lesson one: A great router can save the worst connection

NETGEAR Orbi Wifi 6 straight on

As a smart home enthusiast, I’ve experienced my fair share of connectivity problems. I blamed my devices, especially my Google Nest speakers, for the issues I was experiencing. However, I soon realized that the problem was actually my router. Despite having a fiber connection and getting 500-600Mbps speeds on my computers and phones, my smart home devices were still struggling to connect.

A couple of years ago, I lived in a big apartment in Lebanon with an abysmal ADSL connection, which reached 16Mbps at its peak, but often hovered around the 4-6Mbps range. Needless to say, browsing was painful, but I’d gotten used to endless website loading times and buffering 360p videos.

Knowing the slowness of my home network, I’d privileged devices with automations and fallback manual control, so I could set schedules and forget them, use physical buttons in a hurry, and only rarely do spur-of-the-moment changes via the app or my voice. Most of that worked, but the system began to falter in two distinct ways.

Hearing a cacophony of answers coming from my all Nest speakers got old really fast.

One, as the number of devices grew, the connection dramatically dropped in the bedroom, which was the furthest piece from the router; my phone would just switch to 4G when I was there. And two, my smart speakers were failing, miserably. If my husband or I issued a command, all of them would get triggered, listen, and try to answer at the same time. Hearing a cacophony of answers coming from my Nest and third-party Google Assistant speakers got old really fast.

Eventually, we decided to try a mesh setup and landed on the Netgear Orbi RBK50, a heavily praised mesh at the time, and lo and behold, all of our problems instantly disappeared. Of course, the Orbi didn’t speed up our snail-pace connection, but it stabilized it to a point where we barely noticed it anymore. My phone was getting a solid signal in the bedroom, all my smart devices were quickly executing their commands, and finally, my Google speakers were working in harmony. Even if all of them heard “OK Google,” they’d quickly figure out which speaker was closest to my voice, and only answer from that one. We noticed fewer errors and misunderstood questions too.

If you’re experiencing connectivity issues in your smart home, it may be time to invest in a great router. A mesh setup like the Netgear Orbi RBK50 can stabilize your connection and provide reliable performance for all your smart devices. Don’t let a poor router hold you back from enjoying the full potential of your smart home.

Why Your Smart Home Needs a Powerful Router

As a tech enthusiast, I thought I had everything figured out when it came to setting up my smart home. However, I quickly learned two valuable lessons that I want to share with you.

Lesson One: A Reliable Smart Home Requires a Stable Connection

Living in Lebanon, I struggled with a slow and unreliable internet connection. But when I moved to France and upgraded to a stable 500-600Mbps fiber connection, I thought I had it made. However, I soon discovered that even with a fast connection, my smart devices were still experiencing issues.

My Nest speakers and Lenovo smart display would hear the keyword, but then keep listening and answer at the same time, causing a jarring racket. Sometimes, one or two of them would fail and throw a “Sorry, I don’t know how to help with that” response. Answer latency was also terrible, taking several seconds before hearing anything back.

After trying everything from lowering the “OK Google” command sensitivity to whispering, I realized that a reliable smart home requires more than just a fast connection. I needed a proper, more powerful router to stabilize everything.

Lesson Two: An Average Router Can Ruin the Best Connection

Adding smart home devices only made matters worse. My Roborock S7 MaxV Ultra vacuum appeared offline once every couple of weeks, my smart TV took longer and longer to connect to Wi-Fi each time I turned it on, and my Nest speakers and displays were borderline useless for anything but music streaming.

Despite all of this, my husband’s and my phones, computers, and tablets were still getting top-tier speeds anywhere in the apartment. I blamed my smart home itself and never suspected the router.

But the truth is, no matter your connection speed and no matter the high specs on the box, you can’t rely on your internet service provider’s default router. You need a proper, more powerful router to stabilize everything and drop latency enough so that any Google speakers that get triggered simultaneously can immediately talk to each other.

For me, the solution came when I installed the mid-range Synology WRX560 router. The difference was night and day. Now, my smart home is reliable and responsive, and I can enjoy all the benefits of a truly smart home.

Don’t make the same mistakes I did. Invest in a powerful router for your smart home and enjoy a reliable and seamless experience.

In the world of smart homes, having a good router is essential to keep everything running smoothly. A bad router can cause frustration and make you regret investing in smart devices. So, what’s the best router for a smart home? It depends on your setup, but here are some key points to consider:

– Wi-Fi 6 is a must for multiple devices, and Wi-Fi 6E is even better for future-proofing.
– Mesh networks are essential for larger homes, and a tri-band router is better than a dual-band one.
– Look for a router with smart functions like network segmentation, VPN support, monitoring, parental controls, and smart prioritization.

Based on our tests, we recommend the Google Nest Wifi Pro or Amazon eero Pro 6E for user-friendly options, the Synology RT6600AX for more control and features, and the Ubiquiti router for a semi-professional option.

Google Assistant has improved its latency and can now control multiple Nest speakers and displays simultaneously. However, it still has some issues like talking too much and forgetting how to control lights. A good router can help ensure a smooth experience with smart devices. Don’t skimp on the router when building a smart home.

Synology RT6600AX Router: A Fast and Reliable Option for Your Home Network

If you’re looking for a router that can provide fast speeds and reliable connectivity, the Synology RT6600AX is definitely worth considering. With its mesh capability and solid Synology software, this router is a great option for anyone who wants to improve their home network.

Fast Speeds

One of the standout features of the Synology RT6600AX is its fast speeds. With support for Wi-Fi 6 and MU-MIMO technology, this router can deliver speeds of up to 3,000Mbps. This means you can stream 4K video, play online games, and download large files without any lag or buffering.

Mesh Capability

The Synology RT6600AX also has mesh capability, which means you can use multiple routers to create a seamless network throughout your home. This is especially useful if you have a large home or if there are areas where your Wi-Fi signal is weak.

Solid Synology Software

In addition to its hardware features, the Synology RT6600AX also has solid software. The Synology Router Manager (SRM) is easy to use and provides a range of features, including parental controls, network security, and VPN support.

Overall, the Synology RT6600AX is a great option for anyone who wants a fast and reliable router with mesh capability and solid software. If you’re in the market for a new router, be sure to check it out.

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