Empty offices, empty schools, and full homes became the new norm last spring with the coronavirus outbreak. As work from home continues for many Americans, and as schools move to online learning, many parents are competing for internet bandwidth with their school-aged children who are also using the internet all day.
This can put a significant strain on home wifi networks. If you’ve had a videoconference pause, skip, or delay while your kids attend an online class (or play multiplayer online games), then you’ve had an all-too-real experience with this new work from home challenge.
The good news is that you can take a few simple but effective steps to improve the speed of your home internet network once and for all.
1. Plug your work computer directly into your modem with an Ethernet cable. You will get faster speeds. By plugging in, you can avoid the congestion that can happen with traditional wifi routers when too many users are online. A wired connection gives you direct access to the source.
2. Pause the internet on your childrens’ non-school devices during school hours. eero allows you to create profiles for your kid’s devices so you can easily pause the internet for non-online-learning devices. This not only frees up bandwidth for your work, but it also gives you the peace of mind that your kids are not getting distracted by their phones when they need to be focused on their online classes.
3. In a pinch, switch to audio-only on video calls. Video calls use a lot of bandwidth, both uploading your video stream and downloading the video you’re watching. Having some family members switch to audio-only on calls requires less wifi bandwidth, thus freeing up bandwidth for others.
4. Use your phone. We know. How old-fashioned. But if you’re having trouble audio-conferencing, switching to a phone call can be a reliable alternative. Modern smartphones provide the option to dial in multiple participants, making group calls possible.
5. Upgrading your internet service. If you’re having internet issues at home, your problem may stem from your internet service provider. You should aim for download speeds of at least 10-500 Mbps and uploads of 5-50 Mbps, but your actual needs will vary based on your home usage.
You can run a speed test to check your internet speeds. If you have eero, you can run a speed test directly from the eero app. You can upgrade to a plan with faster bandwidth (like download speeds of 400 to 900 Mbps, or, if it’s available in your area, you can upgrade to fiber optic internet, which has 1000 Mbps for both upload and download. This option, unfortunately, comes with a steeper cost.
6. Buy a mesh wifi system. While these are great short-term bandaids, the reality is that most of us just want our wifi to be fast and reliable. Some devices can’t easily be plugged in via Ethernet, and sometimes, audio calls aren’t an option. If you’ve got a single router now, upgrading to a mesh wifi system, such as eero, will vastly improve your home internet experience.
This is because mesh wifi networks use hub and satellite units to spread the wifi signal throughout your home. This cuts down the distance from each device to the wifi connection, resulting in faster connections. It also reduces the number of obstructions between the router and device, which can help eliminate delays, dropouts, and bad connections. Mesh wifi systems can scale to the size of your house; you’ll want to put a mesh wifi device on each floor, and in rooms where people regularly use wifi, as needed.
Bottom line: Working from home while kids are learning from home is challenging enough. Don’t add more strain to your life by straining your home wifi. Stop spending time troubleshooting when you should be working. eero’s mesh wifi system offers an easy and affordable solution to solve your wifi woes.