Optimising Residential Broadband For Home Workers

As we approach the final quarter of the year it has become apparent that the changes to the ways in which businesses operate as a result of COVID-19, more specifically regarding home working, are set to continue on a more long term basis.

This unprecedented strain on residential broadband has already meant that for many households, their existing IT systems are no longer capable of meeting the increase in demand and usage.

At Woodstock IT we offer support services ranging from one off fixes all the way through to a fully managed IT support contract. Get in touch today and let us take maintaining your IT system and Wi-Fi off your to-do list.

What does this mean for the future of residential broadband?

One source suggests that the proportion of people working from home on a regular basis once the crisis is over will more than double in comparison to prior to the pandemic.

As we outlined in our blog ‘WiFi Solutions For Your Home and Business’ these changes have had an inevitable impact on home broadband and Wi-Fi systems.

At Woodstock IT we have seen a significant rise in the number of households experiencing problems with their current broadband solutions.

How will this impact working from home online?

Disruptions to your internet connection are, as we all know, frustrating. From a business perspective however they are also highly counterproductive and can incur significant financial costs.

Our dedicated team of professionals understand the importance of maximising uptime. Through our proactive approach we aim to help you work efficiently and productively, whilst giving you the peace of mind that your network is secure, fast and fully backed up.

Can I do anything to improve my existing home broadband connection?

Absolutely. Here’s our DIY guide to improving your broadband connection:

Identifying your current broadband speed and analysing how your broadband is being used and for what purposes are the first steps to better broadband:

  • For instance a household with a single user and one or two connected devices will require a far lower bandwidth to function adequately than a household with multiple users and numerous connected devices
  • Similarly, connections primarily used for email and web browsing will require considerably less bandwidth than those used for streaming in 4k, uploading/downloading large files or online gaming

The figures below, estimated by BROADBANDNOW, illustrate just how different the minimum requirements can be depending on usage.

Email and web browsing (multiple devices) 1-5 Mbps
Stream HD content (multiple devices) 15-25 Mbps
Stream 4k content & online gaming (multiple devices) 40-100 Mbps
Stream 4k content & online gaming & download / upload large files (multiple devices) 200+ Mbps

Use an online broadband speed test to identify your current download/upload speeds. Once you have completed the DIY fixes below, run the test again to calculate improvements.

DIY residential broadband fixes

By now you’ve identified your current broadband speed and usage, and have a good idea of the connection speed you require.

Try the following quick fixes to optimise your connection:

Declutter

Every connected device will be drawing from your available bandwidth. Disconnect any that are unessential.

Router management

Check that your router has dual-band capabilities. Keep your router switched on even when not in use. Ensure your connection is password protected.

Dual-band frequencies

The 5GHz bandwidth is faster and less likely to experience interference but will not travel as far as the 2.4GHz frequency. Combining them, or connecting specific devices to the most appropriate should ensure the best connection.

For example, connect devices using streaming services to the 5GHz band. Devices used for browsing the web should be connected to the 2.4GHz band.

Router location

Simple but effective. The further the signal reaches, the better the connection. Place the router in an elevated position, ideally as close to the centre of your home as possible.

Boost your signal

Use Wi-Fi range extenders or access points to improve signal strength in dead spots.

Security

Choose a secure password to help minimise the risk of unauthorised connections to your broadband.

Check your settings

Data usage caps

Some broadband packages will be subject to data usage caps, essentially restricting the amount of data that can be transferred over a given time period. Check with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to ensure your plan is suitable for your usage requirements

Traffic management

ISPs will often adjust download/upload speeds to ensure a stable connection for any users. Again, contact your ISP to ensure their policy on this is not causing any unwanted restrictions to your connection

Streaming quality

Many services including YouTube, Spotify, BBC iPlayer and Netflix provide a choice of streaming quality settings. Adjust as necessary.

Once you’ve completed the above, re-run the broadband speed test. You should notice an improvement to your broadband speed. However, you may still find that your connection is inadequate.

Still need faster residential broadband to work from home?

At this point a more technical approach is required. This might include updating from the slower ADSL connection to a faster fibre broadband connection. It is also possible that a residential broadband plan is not sufficient for your requirements, in which case you’ll need to consider switching to a business broadband contract.

Woodstock IT will create a completely bespoke IT system to suit your residential and business needs. Depending on your current setup and requirements it may also be possible for us to carry out remote fixes and maintenance.

For a free no obligation quote, advice or any further information please contact us today.

***Please refer to our Covid-19 Update regarding current operating practices ***