Is working from home now the new normal?

July 2020

For many of us, our homes have become our workplaces over the past few months and, despite the government now urging people to start thinking about getting back to work, a full return to the office still appears a remote prospect.  Covid-19 has made employers move away from traditional thinking that productivity is contingent upon set hours within an office environment.

 

Getting the most out of your broadband

 

Over the past few months our home broadband connection has never been so important.  Home broadband usage has now gone up to an average 41 hours a week — a rise of almost a third (29%) since lockdown, according to comparison site Uswitch. And one in five households experienced problems with their internet last month.

 

Slow speeds and a poor connection were the most common problems reported, with just under half of those affected saying their internet has cut out at times. A third say they were often unable to get online at all.  The average UK household has up to five devices – iPads, laptops or smartphones – connected to the internet at the same time. 

 

Run a speed test

If you’re not 100% sure what broadband speed you’re actually getting, then run a quick speed test in order to get a clearer idea  www.speedtest.net.  This will help you decide if you need to ‘ration’ your bandwidth.

You might find that a slow broadband package isn’t enough when shared between everyone working and streaming at home all at the same time. It’s not just the download speed either as work video conferencing, file transfers and so on can be demanding on the often significantly slower upload speeds.  You may need to pay for a faster package. 

 

Are you getting the broadband speed you’re paying for?

If you’re experiencing slow internet, it may be your Internet Service Provider.  Check your broadband contract to see what speed you should be getting, then use the speed test to check how it’s performing.

 

Maybe you need a new router?

Your router is a tiny, cheap computer and it gets old like anything else. If you haven’t replaced it in the last six years, you could probably do with a new one, which will help with Wi-Fi speed and also range. It is important to pick a decent router, preferably a business-grade one, that is up to the task – we can advise on the best for your budget.

 

Make sure your Wi-Fi router is set up properly

In order to make the most of your broadband connection, you’ll need to make sure you’re getting the best Wi-Fi signal in your home.  Firstly, make sure it is plugged in to your master socket and not an extension.  Secondly, make sure you’ve got the right cables.  If you’re using a wired connection, always be sure to use an ethernet cable.  Poor quality extension cables (non-ethernet) can massively increase interference on your line and cause broadband speeds to be lowered.  Finally, make sure it is positioned correctly – upright and facing towards you, preferably in the middle of your home and unobstructed by walls or furniture.

 

Should I just turn it on and off again?

It sounds daft in 2020 to say this, but yes. Cheap routers can get befuddled for any number of reasons, particularly if pushed hard. Turn off your router at the wall or switch, wait at least 20 seconds, then switch it back on.

 

Wi-Fi Signal Reach

Wi-Fi has limited range and it was never designed to provide excellent coverage across a typical house or office with a single box.  Wi-Fi signals do not take kindly to going through walls.  Maybe it was an issue you were vaguely aware of but it didn’t affect you too much before lockdown. But as your family has spread itself throughout the house, the connection dropping out in certain rooms has become a real source of frustration. The good news is that Wi-Fi networks can be boosted in order to increase signal strength and coverage area using Wireless Access Points.  A wireless access point is a device that creates a wireless local area network.  It connects to a wired router, switch or hub via an Ethernet cable and projects a Wi-Fi signal to a designated area.

 

Streamline your computer

Sometimes, what looks like slow broadband is actually the result of your computer or devices not running at their best.  Check to make sure you’re not running unnecessary programmes on your computer that could be slowing it down or placing excess demand on your broadband.

 

Ensure your network is secure

Probably a no-brainer but also something that is easily overlooked; always make sure your broadband connection is password protected to keep freeloaders at bay. The last thing you need is to have your speeds sapped by a neighbour hogging all of your bandwidth without your knowledge!

 

Firm up your firmware

Firmware is your router’s operating system and keeping it up to date is vital for security as well as getting the most out of your connection. Manufacturers will deploy updates to patch security vulnerabilities, fix bugs or other problems and provide new features.

 

Protect your computer from viruses

Setting up decent anti-virus software is almost a prerequisite to running a computer but did you know that aside from infecting and corrupting your computer, viruses, trojans and worms can use your broadband connection in the background without your knowledge to slow everything down? Viruses and adware can also cause your computer to slow down considerably which can have the effect of making your broadband connection seem slow.

Call in the experts!

If you need any help/advice on getting the most out of your broadband, get in touch with us today!

© 2020 by RuralTech. 

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