SET YOURSELF UP TO EFFECTIVELY WORK FROM HOME OR LEARN REMOTELY
If you’ve suddenly found yourself working from home more often or learning remotely, there are a few things you might want to consider to ensure your new workspace has the internet connectivity and speeds you need to work effectively. We also offer some advice on securing your connection and troubleshooting web outages to keep in mind when making your transition from a traditional in-person experience to a home office or classroom.
1. Understand your home internet needs and capabilities
How to test your internet speed
To begin setting up your home workspace, test your internet speed to make sure your connection is fast enough for your needs. An easy way to test your broadband internet speed at home is by using Speedtest®.
To run a Speedtest, make sure you are connected to the Wi-Fi or ethernet connection you’d like to test, click or tap on the “GO” button and wait a few seconds until your download and upload speeds have been analyzed. You’ll see your speeds at the top along with ping and jitter.
What speeds you need for different tasks
The graphic above illustrates the kind of speeds you need for different activities like video conferencing or uploading large documents.
A download and upload speed of 2 Mbps is sufficient for those who only use email, social media and audio conference calls on one device at a time. For remote work and learning that requires video conferencing or uploading and downloading large documents like videos, average download speeds of 10 Mbps would be preferable. A download speed of 25 Mbps or higher is desirable for those who have multiple people working from home or people using streaming services at the same time.
Keep in mind that internet usage is cumulative. This means that you need to consider all the speed needs that are happening at the same time together: the person in your house who is only sending and receiving emails, the one streaming HD, and the person on video chat (even if they’re all you).
How to get faster internet
If your Speedtest shows your internet connection is not as fast as you need it to be, check to see if you’re running any ongoing downloads or other programs like video chat that might be hogging your bandwidth. Close those programs and test again. If your speeds are still low, reboot your computer, modem and router. Also, make sure that your router does not have any Quality of Service (QoS) features turned on. You may also want to check the Speedtest Global IndexTM to see the average speeds in your country and how your connection compares.
If your speeds are still not where they should be, this would be a good time to contact your ISP for help or to upgrade your service package. Keep in mind that you may need to upgrade your router to obtain faster speeds.
Get the most out of your Wi-Fi
Most people are not using a hardwired connection at home, instead they’re using Wi-Fi on their laptops or mobile devices. That’s why getting Wi-Fi right is so important. People are often tempted to use the Wi-Fi connection labeled “5 GHz” because it’s faster. However, 5 GHz has shorter range and is bad at penetrating walls. While 2.4 GHz is slower and can be subject to interference from bluetooth devices, 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi has a longer range and is better at penetrating walls. Choose the connection that’s best for your home Wi-Fi setup and then test your speeds on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz to see which one truly works best for you.
2. Secure your connection
For those who deal with sensitive and important data on a daily basis, a secure connection is essential. Multiple companies now rely on Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to enable their employees to send and receive data across a shared or public network as if their devices were directly connected to a private network.
If you are working from your mobile device, check out Ookla’s recently released Speedtest VPNTM that ensures your online privacy and security from the convenience of your Speedtest mobile application.
Your company or school may also already have a preferred VPN product they use in the office that you can use at home. If they don’t, there are multiple options beyond Speedtest VPN that you can test in your home office. We recommend browsing through PC Magazine’s VPN reviews to find the VPN that is best for you.
3. How to keep up with outages
Sometimes your internet connection is working just fine and it’s the services you rely on that are having an issue. Bookmark Downdetector to keep up with website and online services outages. Part of the Ookla family of products, this website is your go-to resource to see if others are experiencing issues with the same website or app, which can be more common during periods of increased usage and network congestion.
Simply type the website or app’s name in the search bar on the home page and click on the search button. You’ll navigate to a page that includes a chart with the number of reports from the last 24 hours, a live outage map where you can see where reports of an outage are coming from, and the most reported problems for the site you searched. You’ll also see comments from other users with the same problems at the bottom of the page.
Remote work and learning requires some adjustment, but with the proper internet setup, you can enjoy the flexibility as much as you enjoy the lax dress code. Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page if you need more information about internet speeds.