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Coronavirus

Everyone working from home could slow down your Wi-Fi – here’s what you can do

The coronavirus pandemic has shocked the world economy. To prevent the spread of infection, companies across America are urging workers to stay indoors and work from home as much as possible.

It’s a sudden, drastic change. But social distancing is shown to prevent the spread of the virus. Plus, there are plenty of tools that make working from home easier than ever. Tap or click to find out how to prepare your business.

But so many people working from home may have a negative effect on our home broadband networks. Too much traffic can clog up connection speeds and slow them to a crawl. So here’s how you can make do in the meantime.

Stuck at home with so much to do

Companies big and small across the United States are moving their workforces to remote positions. Major names like J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Twitter will no longer require their employees to show up to work in person. Instead, they will continue to work from home via teleconferencing.

This is an effective tactic to contain the spread of coronavirus, which has already begun to progress through the United States. Social distancing has worked in other countries affected by the virus, but networking analysts are nervous about the effect this influx of remote workers will have on our digital infrastructure.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 1/3 of the American workforce will be able to work remotely. But combined with so many kids staying home from school, network traffic could slow to a crawl.

This is because the strain on broadband networks will now be coming from residential connections, rather than corporate ones.

Many offices and workplaces use specialized, high-speed connections. If the workforce is no longer relying on them, they’ll have to “share lanes” with residents watching Netflix, playing games and FaceTiming family members.

I will be working from home! What can I do to stop my connection speed from dropping?

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to make sure your work doesn’t suffer from drops in speed, and neither will the work of other housebound employees. Tap or click to see some of the free tools being offered to remote workers during the outbreak.

One of the first things you should do is check your internet connection speeds during the day and during the evening to see if you notice a difference. Tap or click here to use these quick, handy speed tests to gauge your connection.

If you see dips during specific times of the day, it’s time to curb your activity during those peaks.

Since workers will be sharing local residential connections with kids staying home, try to keep recreational internet use like Netflix and online gaming to evening sessions.

When possible, you should also attempt to watch movies and listen to music on physical media. Streaming occupies a large share of internet traffic — with video making up a whopping 70%.

If workers across America prepare themselves, they can lighten the daily load for our networks, and make it easier for work to commence. Plus, since kids will be going to sleep later in the evening, it’ll organize peak activity into specific times rather than over the course of the day.

Additionally, if your workplace offers a VPN, you should make use of it. VPNs let you use another network’s connection in place of your own, and if your workplace has faster internet, using a VPN will take the load off of public traffic.

If your work doesn’t use a VPN, you may want to consider installing your own. Our sponsor EspressVPN offers fast, secure connections that won’t leave you hanging. Get an extra 3 months free of ExpressVPN when you sign up at ExpressVPN.com/Kim.

It’s also worth making sure your router is secure from intruders and snoops. With more people working from home, hackers will be on the move to attack home networks more than ever. Tap or click here to learn how.

Telecoms are doing their part as well.

Individual workers aren’t the only ones who will need to make digital lifestyle adjustments in the near future. Telecom companies that handle our internet infrastructure have a responsibility to make sure their equipment is running at peak efficiency.

Fortunately, several of the biggest names in the business seem to have taken note. Starting on March 16, Comcast will be expanding its Internet Essentials plan so low-income families can get free access to the web for 60 days.

Additionally, the company pledges to increase the base speed of the Internet Essentials service from 15/2 Mbps to 25/3 Mbps. This will become the standard speed from here on.

Comcast isn’t the only one taking action, either. AT&T has agreed to remove data caps for subscribers during the epidemic, and according to reports from Reuters, multiple telecom companies have spoken with the FCC about waiving disconnections for individuals who cannot pay their bills during the outbreak.

We’ll be updating this story with more information as it comes in. But in the meantime, take comfort in the fact that there is something you can do as an individual to make your fellow citizens’ jobs much easier.

This virus is something we must face together. By staying indoors and being courteous of others’ needs, we’ll conquer the threat together — and we won’t even need to put on pants to do it!

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