Now that Summer 2020 has come and gone, we find ourselves still unsure of when or if we will return to offices or if our kids will return to school. With this significant change to how our day to day is conducted, there is no doubt that our well-being is questionable as we navigate new challenges every day.
The most recent challenge we have been experiencing- low network capacity.
Before this new normal, home networks were mainly used to stream TV, play video games, scroll through social feeds, and maybe work here and there. But now, your home network’s bandwidth is being spread thin as family members are making long simultaneous video calls. Many are experiencing poor connection, slow internet speeds, and sometimes outright outages. You have to work, and your kids have to attend school, there is no compromise- you have to get the most out of your network. Luckily, we have some tips on how to do just that.
Conserve Your Bandwidth
Bandwidth is the maximum amount of data your network can transmit in a given amount of time. For example, think of bandwidth as the width of a pipe. A network with high bandwidth has so much space; data can move quickly and doesn’t require a lot of effort to be pushed through. A network with less bandwidth can’t carry as much data as quickly because it is getting clogged in the small space and slowly pushed through. Here are some ways you can free up space to allow for a faster and more reliable connection:
1. Disconnect unnecessary devices. One of the quickest ways to improve your network capacity is to disconnect any unnecessary devices from your network. Even if you aren’t actively using them, devices like Amazon Alexa, gaming consoles, tablets, smart TVs, and video doorbells take up your network’s bandwidth.
2. Scan your system for Malware. Unbeknownst to you, Malware could be eating up your bandwidth when communicating with an external server. Home networks are rarely protected, and with kid’s browsing activities, you might likely find something worth removing.
3. Set a schedule. Work with your family members to minimize the concurrent use of devices, applications, or websites that require high amounts on bandwidth. For example, scheduling Zoom concurrent zoom calls while someone else streams a Netflix show is sure to overload your system. If possible, divide up the day and plan to schedule video calls when others aren’t on them and respectfully refrain from high bandwidth activities like streaming tv shows or online gaming.
4. Be aware of your wireless connection strength. It is possible that your connectivity issues aren’t stemming from a lack of network capacity, but a weak wireless connection. Depending on how far away from your access point you are and what lies between you and it (walls, furniture etc.) your connection could be weak. To learn more about how to improve your wireless connection stay tuned for volume three of this Equipping Your Home For A Remote Lifestyle series.
If possible, you can look into upgrading your network to give you an increased bandwidth, allowing more activity on your network without compromising its stability. Based on your geographic area, internet providers may or may not offer upgraded plans.