This last March AT&T said Netflix streaming reached record-breaking levels, and it’s not because of the new season of Ozark. COVID-19 has most Americans confined to their home causing remote work, school, and entertainment to be conducted exclusively through the internet. Now with two-thirds of the population using the internet most of their waking hours, can the internet handle all the traffic or is it going to break?
That’s not all, more are slated to join the fray, with potentially 12 million or so schoolchildren who previously didn’t have access to the internet. Coming from low-income families, these children also need remote schooling, so in response to COVID-19 internet service providers have been providing complimentary internet access.
Can our internet handle the influx? Well, yes and no. In 2011 the Federal Communications Commission did a study on the performance of residential networks. They found that most service providers were able to maintain performance during peak hours. But the study didn’t take into account the effects of WiFi, corporate VPNs, and sudden, mass behavior change, as we are witnessing now.
The issue could be on our end, we’re sorry we doubted you internet! Home networks are not suited for every activity that we are now forced to do from home. Especially work-related actions, like video conferencing, uploading large files or using big work applications. Uploading speed is usually sacrificed for faster download speed on standard home networks, which is better suited for streaming content.
Here are some best practices to tweak your home network to better handle the strain.
Avoid your microwave interfering with the network by upgrading your router to 5 GHz. WiFi operates at 2.4 GHz as does your microwave (who would have thought?). Anything better than 2.4 GHz will avoid any problems as well as boost internet speed. If you rent a router that is older than 5 years check with your service provider, you may be due a free upgrade.
Plug an ethernet cord into your computer from the router. It will grant faster internet as well as reduce the load on the WiFi network. Also, find the best channel to run your network on using Netgear WiFi Analytics. The free app tests your WiFi signal and helps identify the channel that gets you the best signal.
The internet, while slowed down, doesn’t seem like it’s going to break. Just watch out for bad home network setups, and remember to keep calm and buy more broadband!
Learn more about the stress on the internet during the pandemic here!
Source: Computer Science Zone
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