Many people throughout the global workforce are adjusting to working from home, especially since it seems to be the new normal for the foreseeable future. As we all adapt and utilize tools, manage usage with others, and do our best to maintain security, many have encountered some issues.
These can include:
- Home Internet services are not typically built for the type of workload that may be needed.
- They also don’t have the security protocols that office work environments enjoy.
- Video streaming and conferencing is way up, and these are big taxes on bandwidth.
- Additionally, there may be many people doin
g these types of streams at the same time in one household now (both spouses working from home, plus kids at home doing educational or recreational activities online).
What are some best practices to ensure your remote workforce stays connected to the Internet and your business network? As the new normal continues to become our reality, here are some practical steps you can take to enhance your work-from-home arrangement.
Optimize Router Placement and Capabilities
Are you getting all the WiFi speed that was advertised for your home broadband plan? You can optimize your WiFi network for faster speeds by making some simple adjustments.
- First of all, any device that is close enough to your Internet router should use a wired connection. This guarantees a faster connection and saves WIFI capacity for other devices.
- Next, you can optimize the placement of your WIFI router so that the signal is equally dispersed throughout your home. Generally, any elevated central location should work better than placing the router in a cabinet beside a wall.
- You can also use a booster or repeater antenna to stretch your WIFI signal further, or even in a targeted direction if needed.
- If these solutions do not measurably increase your connection speed, update your modem, router, and other equipment. This can be a firmware upgrade or replacing older components.
Think of your home Internet network like a pie, and every device you use demands its own slice. Slices will be different in size, just like adults will consume more pie than children. Segregating your devices and selecting which of them requires the most bandwidth (wired connection) allows you to more evenly distribute the WIFI pie that remains.
To win the battle against computer viruses, make sure you regularly check for updates on your devices and use a reputable antivirus software. Most free versions do not have the capability of fully protecting your network and devices. If you are using devices provided by your employer, it’s worth investing in a paid subscription to a brand-name antivirus software suite.
Other routine practices that can protect you are rebooting your router to clear specific malware, such as VPNFilter – a malware that infects more than half a million routers in over 50 countries. If you haven’t already done so in an effort to gain more bandwidth, updating firmware or replacing outdated network components can also provide you with the most up-to-date protection.
Schedule Internet Usage
If you have children, they may be doing online education courses. If you have a spouse, they may also be having meetings or just binge-watching streaming content. More users on the network will slow your performance at critical times. To combat this, plan for work time and family usage.
Coordinate everyone’s usage with a Usage Calendar that is easily accessible and visible. Schedule work times, meetings (specify videoconferencing or chat) for either spouse’s work or kids’ educational needs, and free time for entertainment. This way you can eliminate streaming overlap and prevent lagging performance during important times.
Limit Video Camera Usage on Conference Calls
Not all calls require the use of video. If you know others will be on video calls or streaming necessary video at the same time, disable the camera. This can usually be done through the conferencing software you are using, and it will make a huge difference. Alternatively, you can open your computer’s settings and disable the camera feature with just a few clicks.
Turn Off Unused Internet-enabled Devices
Many devices around the modern home are always connected to the network, and can place a hidden drain on bandwidth even when they are not actively being used. Digital home assistants are always listening and staying updated with the latest information to serve your needs. Simply turn off these devices during peak usage times.
Another bandwidth sucker is home security cameras. Indoor, outdoor, even hidden in the doorbell, many security cameras are always streaming. Popular Nest Cameras allegedly auto-adjust to your home bandwidth usage, but they can also be manually set to use less. Instead of high clarity and always streaming, set the system to take and save periodic snapshots.
Keep in mind that reduced clarity on your camera shots can become an important factor if an incident occurs and you need to identify an intruder.
Do you have additional tips? We would love to hear what you have encountered so we can share them with a wider audience. Leave your comments below.