Working from home has become the new norm due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, but the quick shift from the in-office work culture to telecommuting has left many ill prepared to deal with managing their own technology. Working from the comfort of your own home certainly has its perks, such as flexible work hours, the freedom to throw in a load of laundry at lunch, and no more wasted time on your dreaded commutes. Those perks most definitely come with tradeoffs including sudden surges in usage of online hosting platforms leading to slowness, unreliable internet connections, spotty software, and sluggish VPN connections, all of which can make your job seem nearly impossible.
While this may be frustrating, not all hope is lost! Here are some ways to overcome the work-from-home tech headaches you may be experiencing.
The number one tech issue at home is internet connectivity. We all expect the same high-speed internet connection we are accustomed to in the office while we are at home, but that’s not always the case. WiFi connections are likely to be pretty spotty, especially if multiple people in your home are now working remotely. In general, most are experiencing slower speeds than normal due to the spike in usage from the pandemic as everyone is shifting to online operations and using up heaps of bandwidth.
Now is a really good time to assess your WiFi!Start by checking your modem and WiFi router.
- Unplug the power cord from the back of the modem and remove any batteries.
- Unplug the power cord from the WiFi router.
- Wait 30 seconds, and then reinsert any batteries and reconnect power to the modem.
- Allow at least 2 minutes to ensure that the reset is complete. Your modem’s connection lights should be solid (not blinking).
- Reconnect the power to your WiFi router. Allow at least 2 minutes for your router to finish powering on.
- Check your internet connection to make sure it’s working.
Internet still slow after resetting the modem and router? It’s time to run a speed test.
There are many sites that can help you run a speed test, but Speedtest.net is our favorite. All you have to do is click the “Begin Test” button and Speedtest.net will check both your download and upload speed.
I ran the test but what is a good speed?
The FCC has defined broadband, or fast internet, as internet with download speeds of at least 25 Mbps and upload speeds of at least 3 Mbps since 2015. Download speeds of at least 25 Mbps accommodate many families’ needs, but the best download speeds and upload speeds for you depend on how you use the internet at home.*
If your internet is slow after checking the modem and router and performing a speed test, you may have to contact your internet provider and ask for options on faster broadband speeds.
VPN’s (Virtual Private Networks) and Working from Home
Are you connected to a VPN while working from home? Using a secure VPN connection while working from home is often necessary to do your job. While the software creates a secure connection to all of your much-needed files, it could be contributing to some of your slowness. Unfortunately, a VPN connection is dependent on the speed of your internet— so if your internet is slow, your connection to your company’s VPN will also be slow. Here are some ways to troubleshoot:
1. Use a wired connection
As mentioned before, your connectivity speed may be limited by your WiFi connection. Try plugging an ethernet cable into your computer. These hard-wired connections typically offer much higher speeds and are always preferable if that option is available.
2. Restart your Modem/Router
Over time, your modem or router may slow down. Restarting your modem/router may increase the speed of your connection to the internet, thus your connection to your VPN.
We hope that these tips and tricks will help you work more efficiently and effectively at home; and allow you to comfortably sit back and enjoy some of the perks of remote working too!
* George, N., Ng, George, N., Anders, D., Da, & Anders, D. (2020, June 05). What Internet Speed Do I Need?: FAQs On Internet Speeds. Retrieved June 17, 2020, from https://www.allconnect.com/blog/faqs-internet-speeds-what-speed-do-you-need