Community IT gets lots of questions on employees working from home, including optimizing Internet solutions for the home office.
If you are dissatisfied with your home internet here are some questions and tips to help guide you. As always, ask your own IT director or MSP for additional insights into what you need to work from home efficiently, and contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) with questions about optimizing your service for your specific needs.
I plan to continue working from home. What internet speed should I aim for?
Home internet of 25/10 Mbps (Megabits per second) is usually sufficient. The two numbers refer to download speed (25) and upload speed (10).
Verizon Fios usually offers equal speeds. Cable companies and satellite services usually don’t. Line of sight broadband usually offers much slower upload speeds than download.
Higher download speeds are often the priority for consumers at home as the amount of actual data uploaded is not usually high (a “click” on a weblink is uploaded to the Internet server hosting the webpage) while the data downloaded is usually orders of magnitude greater (the text and graphics download to your computer in response to the click).
The place where uploads are generally more important is in virtual meetings. In a Zoom meeting, our audio and video are uploading to the Internet. A 10 Mbps upload speed should be fine.
It’s worth noting that if your experience of your home Internet is slow, but other devices in the home seem fine, check the age of your computer. Community IT recommends a replacement cycle of about 3-4 years for laptops.
My internet quality is inconsistent. Can I improve it?
Assuming you aren’t experiencing uneven quality because you are moving around your house and pushing the limits of your home wireless, causes of uneven Internet quality are often upstream from your router and therefore controlled by your ISP (Internet Service Provider). You may see improvement by replacing your router. If not, then contacting your ISP, or changing ISP, is the only answer.
Uneven connectivity is usually more of a problem in rural areas because of the low density of customers and less competition among providers. More efforts are put into larger customer clusters. Making yourself heard can be very effective. If you belong to a homeowner’s association, or can join a group of customers experiencing the same problems with an ISP, make sure everyone is contacting the provider about the issue.
My wireless signal is fine in some parts of my home, but not all. What can I do? I love working on my deck!
If your internet works well when you are directly plugged into it via an ethernet cable, then an uneven experience of Internet service may be caused by limitations with your home wireless. You may be able to address this with a wireless mesh network (WMN or just Mesh).
Mesh carries data across space via boosters you place around your home. Nodes can be placed strategically to allow the best efficiency around thick walls and sprawling lay outs. A simple phone app helps optimize installation.
Google Nest, Amazon Eero and Netgear Orbi are brand names with good reputations. Ubiquiti is also good. Check current reviews as WMN is a rapidly changing tool.
Whichever brand you choose, be aware it is a “system,” designed to work with itself and not with other brands. Your old wireless network should be turned off with the new access points replacing it entirely.
At least one of your devices should be physically connected to your router. More is better, but one is enough.
I live in an apartment building with other remote workers. How can I avoid wireless signal interference?
Mesh is the solution here, as well.
Using radio frequencies, it will automatically switch to a different frequency to avoid interference which older wireless access points can’t do.
Is Mesh secure?
Your mesh is secure from point to point. Mesh systems also typically update themselves, so you don’t need to take additional steps.
Stay up to date on cybersecurity risks such as ransomware, and plan your IT support for your entire workforce in-office and remote with our resources, including this webinar Beyond the Office Nonprofit IT Support Trends.
What about when I take my laptop to a café?
Whenever you are on a wifi outside your home or office, you must take additional security measures such as using a VPN you can secure.
Ready to support your remote staff? Operating a hybrid office?
At Community IT Innovators, we’ve found that many nonprofit organizations deal with more IT issues than they should have to.
Do you feel that a lack of knowledge around IT is hindering your nonprofit’s success?
Is your current approach to IT resulting in recurring issues that endanger the success of your mission?
Are you consistently behind on operating updates? Do you worry about impending cybersecurity issues?
Community IT has been serving nonprofits exclusively for twenty years. We offer Managed IT support services for nonprofits that want to outsource all or part of their IT support and hosted services. For a fixed monthly fee, we provide unlimited remote and on-site helpdesk support, proactive network management, and ongoing IT planning from a dedicated team of experts in nonprofit-focused IT. These Internet solutions for the home office are just some of the tips we provide our community.
If you’re ready to gain peace of mind about your IT support, let’s talk.