Nobody expected this—millions of people connecting to the Internet from home during the day. Social distancing policies and stay-at-home orders have transformed the way we work. In many cases, that means slow Internet connections. When there simply isn’t enough bandwidth to go around, even fast Internet connections can slow down. Aside from paying your ISP more money for a faster connection—which still may not work during peak usage times—here are some suggestions for what to do if your Internet is slow when you’re working from home.
Change the channel or frequency
Newer routers often have a feature that changes the channel over which they broadcast your Wi-Fi signal. Others may stay on a default until you change the channel. Experiment with different channels to reduce competition with the neighbors’ routers, which may be transmitting over the same frequency as yours.
Dual-band routers offer two networks, one of which uses the same 2.4-GHz frequency as many household appliances, such as microwave ovens. Try switching to the 5-GHz band. You’ll have to move closer to your router, as the 5 GHz band has a smaller range.
Use a wired connection
Connecting directly to your modem or router with the proper type of cable will always be faster than using a wireless connection. If you can set up close to your modem or router and connect directly with a cable, you’ll automatically get greater speed from your ISP to your laptop. If you can’t get close enough to your router to connect directly, you can at least pull out the router from wherever you have it hidden. Give your router some breathing room to make it easier for the signal to move throughout your home. If you still have “dead zones,” try adding a signal booster to give your Wi-Fi a little more reach.
Download and update at night, and disconnect devices not in use
Schedule regular software updates to occur overnight, when traffic should be lighter. Likewise, if you must download large files, try to do that at off-peak times as well. If everyone in your household has their own devices and streams something different while isolating in their own rooms, try to ensure that your heavy streamers disconnect their devices from the network when movie or game time is over.
Schedule meetings at off times
Starting your Zoom meeting at an odd or off-time might actually boost your speed. Schedule meetings to start at 10:20 a.m. or 1:40 p.m. That way, you won’t be competing with all the 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. meetings when everyone else is trying to connect simultaneously.
If all else fails, contact your ISP to find out if they can do anything else to provide greater speed when your Internet is slow while you’re working from home.