5 network tools for work from home and small business

In the last one year, we have seen a mass exodus from Office To home Office, It continues to increase requirements for better network security, greater capacity, and additional capabilities. Small business and work-from-home networks should be more performant, reliable, accountable and easier to manage. As such, network equipment designed for consumers and small business customers is more important than ever!

In early 2020, I published a Home Lab Beginner’s Guide to Hardware article, where I briefly talked about some of the options available for network equipment like routers, firewalls, switches, etc. when building a home lab. I have learned a lot in the past year. For one thing, the choice of router and firewall combo is arguably one of the most important decisions to make for your small business or home office network.

Work from home and small business network devices

Recently, I hit a limit with my Edge router 10x. This has caused me to rethink my choice a bit, and now I’m in the middle of choosing an add-on or even a replacement network device. This article will not go into detail about my decisions yet. However, in the meantime, I wanted to share some tools we all should consider when building a small business or home office network.

The network devices below include entry-level models; You can determine whether you will need more processing power, memory, network ports and features.

As always, I do not link to or recommend tools or services that I have not personally used or spent extensive time researching. As such, I have included affiliate links for the tools I trust. If you find better deals, please add the link in the comments section, as well as any feedback about equipment you’re using, planning to order, or are currently researching. ?!

5 Network Devices for Work from Home and Small Business:

  1. Mikrotik Hex S – Network Router,
  2. Netgate SG-1100 – Network Firewall Device,
  3. Firewalla Blue Plus – Cyber ​​Security Tools,
  4. Broome (GL-MV1000) – Edge Gateway + VPN,
  5. Netgear Nighthawk M1 – 4G LTE Modem + Hotspot,

Mikrotik Hex S – Network Router


WARNING: The object in the above photo may appear larger than the actual size.

outside the gate, Mikrotik Hex S A five port Gigabit Ethernet router is probably one of the few purchases where you’re not likely to experience buyer’s remorse. you can pick them up Around $70. For, With the Hex S, you can connect fiber directly to the router from your ISP. The router is also capable of up and down full Gigabit Ethernet.

Pros:

  • Cheap.
  • 1.2Gb SFP port.
  • Gigabit speed (with basic setup).
  • PoE enabled.
  • Supports microSD storage.
  • low power consumption. Starting from @ 6 watts.
  • It can be fully configured using a web browser (192.168.88.1).

Shortcoming:

  • RouterOS There is little restriction on learning.
  • PoE requires a more powerful power supply.
  • There is a lack of documentation.
  • They have limited free support. check support forums,

to think:

More Powerful Alternatives from MikroTiko and compare them Ubiquiti’s EdgeMax linefor example, ER-X-SFP or his elder brother, ER-12,

Netgate SG-1100 – Network Firewall Device

Netgate SG-1100 - Network Firewall Device
The Netgate SG-1100’s wall/rack mounting accessories are sold separately.

SG-1100 is netgate Replacement for the most successful SG-1000 At 5X speed and 2X RAM. That said, you won’t be impressed by its speed. It gets the job done!

Get throughput up to 500 Mbps when used as a firewall and up to 1 Gbps when used as a router. It has firewall packet filtering performance, load balancing, pfSense software, Intrusion Detection System (IDS), Intrusion Prevention System (IPS), VPN, and more.

Pros:

  • Excellent entry-level value for getting access to a ton of features.
  • helpful documentation,
  • Easy GUI Management.
  • Heavy on Features: Firewall, DNS Resolver, NetFlow Collector, Router, VPN Endpoint, Logging, etc.
  • pre-loaded with pfsense plus Software.
  • <4 watts stating low power consumption.

Shortcoming:

to think:

  • Unifi Security GatewaySlightly cheaper but best chosen when buying other Unifi hardware for your wired and wireless networks.

Firewalla Blue Plus – Cyber ​​Security Tools

Firewalla Blue Plus - Network Cyber ​​Security Tool
This is not Firewall Blue. It’s Firewall Blue Plus! not to be confused firewall,

Firewall Blue Plus makes this list Firewallah Gold because of its value. At $199, Firewalla Blue Plus is a very capable plug-and-play cyber security tool. It has simple enterprise-like security features for your small business or home network.

more expensive firewall Sleep Can be used as a whole house router with very fast throughput capability and supports virtual and segmented networks,

Pros:

Shortcoming:

  • Young and not yet time-tested startup company.
  • Speeds from 300 to 400 Mbps, suitable only for ISPs.
  • Some features like ad-blocking are too simple and lack fine-grained controls.
  • A little expensive (although there is no annual license fee).

to think:

Broome (GL-MV1000) – Edge Gateway + VPN

Mist Age Gateway
Poll: Lilac or Lavender?

Broom (GL-MV1000) is the non-wifi cousin of broom-wa (2.4GHz WiFi capability). only broom price $120 + intl. GL. shipping from either $160 from Amazon, If you are looking for a cheap WireGuard or OpenVPN client to cover your office or home network, Broom is a very practical solution.

Pros:

  • Great bang for the buck.
  • Good WireGuard and OpenVPN performance.
  • Compatible with 30+ VPN providers. easy setup!
  • pre-installed with OpenWrt, also compatible with Ubuntu,
  • Supports microSD storage. (up to 256GB)
  • Connect external SSD via USB for network file sharing.
  • Functional and straightforward GUI.
  • Easy first time setup,

Shortcoming:

  • Available in only one colour. purple? (Wife says lilac, sister says lavender, I say I’ll paint it black.)
  • IPv6 is not compatible.
  • WireGuard is limited to just under 300 Mbps.
  • No auto-reconnect to VPN connection.

to think:

Netgear Nighthawk M1 – 4G LTE Modem + Hotspot

Netgear Nighthawk M1 4G LTE - Modem/Hotspot
Battery is included. Antennas are sold separately. They can be all.

If your office or home office is located in or near a city, you may not need it. However, if you are located in a rural area with limited or unreliable ISP options, Netgear Nighthawk M1 4G LTE Router may be of interest to you.

It can be easily set up as an auto-failover or even paired with your main ISP for seamless dual WAN (when used with a dual WAN enabled router) Is.

Pros:

  • Capable of delivering speeds up to 1 Gbps.
  • Can plug directly into your router’s WAN port.
  • A removable 5040mAh battery is included.
  • Simple GUI for easy setup.
  • Can attach a USB NAS or add a microSD card.

Shortcoming:

  • expensive. (You can find a used one on eBay for cheap at $150).
  • Weak internal antenna. You may need to buy an external antenna. i use it,

to think:

i am using Netgear LB1120 4G LTE Modem, which meets my speed requirements. If you want faster 4G or 5G speed, See Netgear’s full lineup, compare with GL K 4G Smart Router,

Additional network equipment and services for work from home and small business

  • bitdefender box – IoT security for all your devices.
  • cisco – Solutions designed for small business.
  • whose AI – Network intelligence software.
  • Fortinet Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) – Filter network traffic to protect against internal and external threats.
  • ipfire – Firewall.
  • Linksys – Professional network equipment and accessories.
  • netgear – Work-at-home network device.
  • Protectly Tools built for open-source software.
  • sonicwall – Next-gen firewall and cyber security solutions.
  • sophos – Fully synchronized, cloud-native data protection.
  • tp-link – Networking equipment for home and business.
  • omnipresent – Network devices and technologies.
  • patch up – Firewall software and equipment.
  • watchman – Enable remote work protection.
  • zyxel – Network devices and software.
  • Add any suggestions in the comment section, I will add them here.

conclusion

In this article, we have considered five different consumer and small business networking tools. Hope you have considered your options. There are many. For example, see also OPNSense custom build, sonicwall ,TZ350, zyxel ,USG60), and others.

As discussed, there continues to be a rapid exodus from Office To home Office, Making small business, home office, and work-from-home network device decisions more important. What network adjustments have you made? Which network devices do you recommend?

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