In my recent video, 4 Potential Positive Outcomes and Opportunities from the Coronavirus Pandemic, one of my predictions is that Working from Home (WFH) will become the new norm for a vast number of workers, especially those in office-type jobs. Several of you commented that WFH is great, unless the speed of your home Internet is less than stellar. This is a great point – not everyone has access to cutting-edge fiber service or a dedicated satellite system in their front yard. In some neighborhoods, especially at times like this when everyone is home and putting a heavy load on the provider’s infrastructure, speeds can slow significantly. That said, there are several simple things you can do (with no tech skills required) to improve your WFH online experience. Browser:
Clear your cache and cookies – This is a simple fix that can solve a host of browsing issues and ultimately improve your web experience.
Remove clutter – Eliminate any old or unused extensions and plugins from your browser. This will improve general performance.
Reinstall – If you continue to experience browser-related issues, uninstall your browser completely, and reinstall it.
Restart your modem and router – Restarting your modem and router on a regular basis can fix numerous issues and improve connection speed. (NOTE: This is NOT resetting, which is whole different process). To restart, simply unplug your modem and router from their power source, count to ten, and plug them back in. It will usually take about 5 minutes for them to completely restart and reconnect to the Internet. By effectively resetting the connection between your modem and your service provider, you may find a marked improvement in speed. In times of heavy load like these, restart every morning.
Use Ethernet cable instead – Yes, kids. Computers actually used to be connected to the Internet via an actual cable. Like, a plastic tube with like, wires in it. Connecting your computer directly to your modem via Ethernet cable will not only improve internet speed, but it’s actually much more secure than WiFi. Of course it’s not as convenient as wireless, but if you have a home office (or you’ve repurposed that spare bedroom/storage closet/kitchen/almost home gym/dining room table into your new home office) connecting via wire shouldn’t be a big deal. (NOTE: If your laptop does not have an Ethernet port, all you need is a USB to Ethernet adapter, like this one.)
Web Meetings – Just because you are at home doesn’t mean you can’t still have 40 meetings per day, right? Sweet! However, a slow Internet connection can be a pain during online meetings. To reduce potential issues caused by poor connection (such as looking like you are broadcasting from an underwater cave or sounding like you are calling in a ransom demand with a voice modifier), ensure that you quit all unnecessary programs before the meeting. Basically, you want to ensure that your computer (and Internet) is providing all available resources to the meeting itself, and not to other, superfluous applications.
Plan out your activities – If your Internet is still slow, and your provider can’t (or won’t) help you can always use the “flex schedule” method. Do as much work as you can that does not entail substantial uploading or downloading of files during the day, when everyone and their cousin is online. Then, schedule data-heavy activities for the middle of the night, when most people are asleep. For example, if you create videos for online training or blogs, do all your recording and editing during the day, then upload your videos during non-peak hours. Yes, this can be inconvenient, but it will allow you to take advantage of lower traffic and higher speeds. Below is a demonstration of what a difference this makes. The first speed test was conducted at approximately 8:30pm (peak hour) and the second at approximately 2:30am. You’ll note speeds were more than 4x faster during non-peak hours.
I hope this helps! Please feel free to add more of your own tips to help others out.