Typical setup for home office

I saw in an older forum post from 2015 a setup for a home office. I think with the corona pandemic, a new post with updated products (balance routers) and services (speedfusion cloud) with some discussion on trade-offs would be nice.
Currently I’m looking to setup a network for my new home. We are two home office “workers” and during the office hours kids might want to watch Netflix or other bandwidth heavy streaming services. At the same time you want to keep your Zoom or Teams meetings going smoothly.
From what I read a Balance20X router might be a good solution to start with. I could use 2 broadband connections with 2 different ISPs (one via the USB port) and use the SpeedFusion Cloud. I’m not at all a networking expert and I understand that peplink has solutions to increase bandwidth and/or reliability but I’m not sure what choices to make! Any general advice would be welcome!

Just $0.02 worth, and based on the information you provide, there seems to be three first-rank candidates:

  • Balance 20x
  • Balance One
  • Balance Two

And interpreting a bit:

  1. Router/WAN combined bandwidth: What do you need for the foreseeable future?
  • 600Mbps? They all work
  • 900Mbps? Balance One is out
  • 1Gbps? Balance 20X is out
  1. Do you have a use for (or need) an integrated cellular option?
  • Balance 20X is the only one
  1. Two ISPs in regular use and keeping it simple?
  • Balance 20X is out (I personally don’t care for the USB dongle WAN except as an emergency fall-back)
  1. Integrated Wi-Fi AP?
  • Balance Two is out
  • Balance One comes in two flavors, with and without an integrated access point
  1. Add access points an option?
  • All back in again
  1. Immediate investment cost dominates?
  • Balance Two is out (>twice the cost of the others)

There are other parameters to check among them. For a comparison table, see Balance Series Comparison Table - Peplink

Re. the use of SpeedFusion and SpeedFusion Cloud: Note that SpeedFusion Cloud is capped at 100Mbps, so depending on your ISP services, that may not provide any bandwidth benefit. For SpeedFusion you can set up your own SpeedFusion (Solo) Hub on a cheap server-farm (e.g. vultr or UpCloud, $5/month) for multi-WAN bonded internet access.

After all of that - what would I do? For my circumstances (1 Gbps WAN from one ISP and a slower (DSL) from another) and no need for cellular I would likely pick a Balance Two for its speed and integrated dual-WAN support), and then add APs as needed.

If the WAN speed was at 600Mbps or less I would (and did) select the Balance One (for a branch home office) - but that was before the introduction of the 20X.

For (conjectured) future-proofing I might pick the 20X, with its option to add network modules in the future, with the hope that those would include wired WAN options as well. But I would not really like to rely on the USB port for the second WAN if that is critical (and would ask a partner what speed the USB port would support as a WAN connection).

Just a few thoughts.

Cheers,

Z

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Hi Jules. @zegor_mjol gave you a ton of good advice. I’d only make the minor comment that we have used a lot of USB/ethernet converters with the USB ports and have had a 100% success rate. Having said that, we’d probably not use that port for our “best” connection. But again, that’s a minor point.

I’d hope you could engage your selling Partner with your [very good] questions. As I Partner, I can tell you we spent a lot of time answering such question prior to a sale – that’s part of the “deal” we have with Peplink as Partners.

Hi Rick. Please elaborate on USB/ethernet converters. What is this? Thank you.

Hi Joel. I think this was the first announcement of this capability – Can I Use Ethernet Adapters on the USB WAN?. Since that time the use has been expanded to other models.

Thanks Rick - I had no idea. Now, if we only could have one that worked the other way - using a WAN port to tether a USB device. I’ve researched this a lot but have not found anything that’ll work, even the little travel routers with USB tethering ports that say they can be set in bridge/passthru mode. Darn.

This’d be a very good invention for someone industrious.