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Internet Performance and Reliability

Tips to maximize your remote internet experience

Speed test dial

Unfortunately the internet, like so many things in our lives today, is feeling the effects of the COVID-19 virus.  As our usage shifts from our places of work and school to our homes, our home internet providers will be struggling to keep up.  These networks that serve our homes were, in many cases, not designed to handle this load. As a result, you should expect internet performance and reliability to suffer at times.

If you are experiencing poor internet performance, it could be caused by one or more of the following:

  • Your home WiFi
  • Greater household usage within your home
  • Your home ISP service (speed limit)
  • Your ISP's network
  • The websites you are trying to access

You may be able to improve your performance if the problem is caused by your home WiFi or ISP service.  We recommend the following troubleshooting steps to help determine the cause:

  1. Run speedtest:  This should help you determine the performance between your computer and the internet.  Compare your results with the stated rate of your ISP service.  If you are getting at least 80% of your stated rate, then your WiFi and ISP service isn't likely the problem and there isn't anything you can do to improve your performance.  If your speeds are significantly below this, try the following steps.
  2. Is internet usage within your household greater than normal?  For many, it is and it may be adding to your performance problems.  Try asking family members to pause their internet use (especially video streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, Youtube, etc.) and rerunning speedtest to see if performance improves.  If so, you may want to ask family members to limit some Internet activities until after work hours.  Another option may be to contact your ISP and ask if your bandwidth can be increased.  If so, make sure you understand the cost as it will most likely cost more per month.
  3. WiFi:  If you are using WiFi, move closer to your router and run speedtest again.  If performance improves it could be a signal coverage problem or interference problem from your neighbor's WiFi.  The easiest solution is probably to work closer to the router.

Hopefully, this information will help you do what is possible to minimize your Internet performance problems.  Please keep in mind that as more of us spend more time at home, internet performance and reliability could get a lot worse than what we see today.  Applications like Zoom are fantastic tools for helping us stay connected, but we encourage you to develop backup plans that include lower bandwidth solutions like Google Mail and Google Chat.