Work from home internet speed has suddenly become an important subject. If you’re reading this in the spring of March 2020, we all know why. COVID-19 has pretty much turned the world on its head. If you weren’t already instructed by your employer to stay at home, you may have just been issued a recommendation by your mayor or governor to self-isolate or shelter in place.
If you’re going to work from home, you’ll need the internet to communicate and transfer your work from your location to someone else. Since the rest of the world is in the same boat regarding self-isolating, all of your household members will also be home – using the internet to work, go to school or pass the time.
Internet usage more than doubled just over the past weekend. This affects everyone’s ability to get connected, stay connected and transfer data. During peak periods, your internet might slow to such a crawl that you have flashbacks to dial-up days.
Faster internet option?
If you’re wondering if there are better options when it comes to work from home internet speed, the answer is yes and it depends. The “it depends” part is because there will be fine print posted by every internet service provider that states “speeds of up to.” That up to part is critical. That’s your max, and not a guarantee. And with so many people online right now, you know you won’t hit the max. The “yes” part means there are different options available that might give you an internet speed advantage, depending on what type you’re currently using. Here’s a great summary comparison from Nerd Wallet:
“Consider this sampling of entry-level plans in one particular city:
- DSL: Windstream Communications, $50 per month for download speeds of up to 6 Mbps.
- Cable: Time Warner Cable Spectrum, $49.99 per month for download speeds of up to 50 Mbps.
- Fiber optic: Google Fiber, $60 per month for download speeds of up to 100 Mbps.”
So if you want smokin’ fast internet, fiber optic is the way to go, if you have that option. It’s doubtful you’ll reach the max during this COVID-19 quarantine, but you’ll most likely have higher speeds than the first two options. (You can read the complete article by Kelsey Sheehy from Nerd Wallet here.)
But download speeds aren’t the only factor to check. If you’re relying on video conferencing or uploading large files when working from home, your upload speed is just as important. Be sure to compare those.
Is satellite your only option?
If you live in a rural area, and your only option is satellite, you’re a bit out of luck with video conferencing and uploading because of the slower upload speeds as well as latency. The previously mentioned internet options are sourced on the earth. Satellite internet is sourced from 20,000+ miles up in space. What does this mean? Lag time on those video calls.
If you’re stuck with satellite, there are pretty much only two major companies to choose from. (You can read a great comparison here by Catherine McNally of Reviews.org.) And neither can do a thing about the whole latency problem. If you want to increase your bandwidth and attempt to achieve as fast a connection as possible for video conferencing, try this:
- Turn off the Wi-Fi on all Wifi-enabled devices in your home for important video calls. Laptops, cell phones, tablets, desktops, SMART devices like thermostats and speakers, SMART appliances…anything with Wi-Fi. You might only have a 10 second delay instead of 20-30.
- Dial in with your telephone and choose either Video or Share screen as your options. You cannot use computer audio, video and screen share all at once. You can’t even use two of those. Choose one, and dial in.
- If you’re not a meeting facilitator, turn off your video after you check in. You’ll still be able to see the facilitator’s screen and talk.
HughesNet posted this “Work from Home Tips” page. At first I got excited when I saw Zoom listed; alas, I’ve already tried those workarounds (and then some), but no improvement. (See my post here about how to increase internet speed for video conferencing.)
No matter what your work from home internet speed is, just remember to have patience during this time. We’re all experiencing tech issues. But we’ll get through it!
If you need more guidance on your telecommuting office setup or time management during our new normal, join me for a live virtual seminar. Get details here.