How to Easily Improve Your Internet Speed When Working from Home
Your home internet connection is probably the biggest bottleneck when working from home. Let’s remember, the service providers designed their networks to optimize download speeds for streaming, and not upload speeds that allow you to share, video conference, and better work from home. Furthermore, most of the home internet services from AT&T and Comcast are what is called “shared”. This is when everyone in your neighborhood shares a portion of the connection to the central router a few miles away. With everyone working from home, you may notice that at certain peak times your internet connection becomes unstable and unbearable to use.
That being said, there are a few things you can do:
Restart your router and modem (if they are separate) often.
Your router is working very hard in trying to accommodate you in the new normal. Just like your internet circuit, it is now asked to do things it wasn’t necessarily optimized to do (upload vs download). The harder it works, the more heat is dissipated and the internal components can start bogging down with errors. All this can cause a degradation in the performance of your internet circuit and your wireless connectivity. Rebooting the device(s) every 2-3 days will help ensure better internet performance for you and your family.
To do that, simply unplug the device from the power source, wait for one minute and plug the device back in. Once it goes through the start-up routine you will notice an improvement in your connectivity.
Upgrade your router and modem to the latest hardware from your provider.
Most people lease their devices from the internet provider’s, paying $8-$12 per month for the device. However, the internet providers do not do a good job of upgrading the devices they technically own. I know people that have 4-5-year-old routers in their homes. The older your equipment is, the bigger the chance that it is no longer performing at its best, and not providing you the kind of service you are paying for.
You can contact your internet provider and request to get the equipment upgraded. Technically, they are on the hook to provide you a new device every two years, but they will not do it until you ask. Installing the new router/modem will improve the performance of your internet, and allow you to get a better more robust service, should you choose to upgrade.
Some people chose to purchase their equipment on their own. It makes more sense to them financially. It’s a very good strategy, although you have to remember that you are now liable for the equipment. Should your provider come out to your house, and determine the issue is with your equipment, they may charge you for the visit. This is where I feel the lease option although more expensive has more upside and less risk.
Disable Wireless on your ISP provided router and purchase your own wireless access point
Ever wonder how AT&T and Comcast can provide free public WiFi to their customers anywhere? They use your modem and your internet connection to broadcast the public WiFi signal to the neighborhood. What this means to you that anyone who has an account from your provider, can connect to your internet connection and use up your bandwidth. Now, they will not be connecting to your home network, so your privacy is safe, but they will connect to your internet pipe and use your bandwidth.
Again this wasn’t a big deal when all you were doing was streaming and downloading content. However, what if they decide to upload a big file to their workplace. You can bet that will affect your work as well.
This one is much trickier to disable, as the customer service people will tell you they are not doing it or that it’s already disabled. So you have to log-in to your router yourself and do it. Also, you will need to purchase a separate wireless access point for your home, as you will disable your home wireless network as well. So think about this first and plan accordingly.
Upgrade your circuit and bandwidth
Upgrading your circuit for higher bandwidth is probably the best thing you can do to improve your work from home experience. It is also the most expensive. You will increase your monthly service bill, and the provider may require a new contract from you. So make sure you are getting the most bang for your buck.
When upgrading your bandwidth pay attention to upload speeds. Try to get a circuit where that speed is at least 5Mbps, anything else may not be worth the upgrade price. If you are looking to change a provider or a circuit type, make sure you are going to a medium that has similar or less latency, which also affects performance. For example, going from DSL to cable or fiber is good. Going from cable to DSL is bad. Fiber circuits will provide you with the best performance and the best experience when working from home. Just make sure you don’t fall for the marketing speak and the provider actually brings fiber to your house and doesn’t just say your DSL is part of the larges fiber network in the country (AT&T)
Improving your home internet connection will go a long way in keeping you productive when working from home. Stay tuned for more helpful articles on improving your remote work experience, keeping your business running, and keeping your team happy.
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