In the wake of COVID-19, working from home is creating causing a strain on home internet usage

In the wake of COVID-19, working from home is creating causing a strain on home internet usage

In mid-march, as the COVID-19 pandemic case-count began to rise around the world, many individuals shifted their work from in the office or at school, to working remotely from home.

Now, rather than going into the office or into the classroom, individuals used platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, Google Meetings to support this new work from home lifestyle.

This was great for the increased safety of our families and limiting the spread of the virus, but this adversely created some new challenges in the home. There was now unprecedented demand for internet-based services in the home. Now, with multiple users running multiple internet-based applications in parallel, users were creating a serious strain on finite internet resources.

From this, we’ve seen a myriad of challenges from work video conferences crashing, to Netflix and Youtube streams lagging behind. Luckily, there are some tried-and-true strategies and solutions to help families address these new challenges as they look to run multiple web-based services in parallel.


Strategies to Internet Bandwidth Challenges

Simple Strategies

First, consider your proximity to your Wi-Fi router. If your router is in one room and you’re on the other side of the house, there’s a chance you’re battling with a poor connection to your router versus strained bandwidth from internet-based services. One simple strategy is to move the router into the work office if you are suffering from an inconsistent connection to the Wi-Fi router.

Another strategy is that individuals can create additional internet access by creating a Wi-Fi hotspot through their cell phone. Cellular networks are designed to accommodate large user bases, so by tying into your cellular network you may find that you’ll have dedicated access to running some of these internet-dependent services. Another consideration here is to set up a Wi-Fi hotspot and limit access to work applications to ensure that these mission-critical services have priority.


Tech Savvy Strategies

If your router offers the option for a 5GHz frequency band and 2.4GHz frequency band, consider using the 5GHz band over 2.4GHz. As a quick overview, the 5GHz frequency band is going to transmit data faster than the 2.4GHz frequency band, however, the 5GHz frequency band is going to transmit at short distances in comparison to 2.4GHz. So, if you are in close proximity to your Wi-Fi router try opting for the 5GHz band. You may find a great improvement in the quality of streaming and internet dependent services. One neat trick is to create your 2.4GHz and 5GHz SSIDs with identical names. The network devices these days are smart and will figure out the fastest way to connect to the Internet.

One trick is to set certain times to limit Internet consumption. This one is a bit tricky but if you can limit certain internet demanding activities during certain parts of the day, you can free up availability for more important work-dependant applications. Take for example, if your kids or young adults are streaming Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ or gaming online while you are trying to conduct work conferences via Zoom, Webex or another video conferencing platform. By limiting the use of these streaming services to outside work hours, you can dramatically free up internet access for those more mission-critical applications.

Now understandably, this can be a challenge to set rules and ensure that everyone is doing their part to limit strain on that precious bandwidth. Luckily, there are actually services out there that handle this type of internet bandwidth prioritization.


Simplest Strategy

The problem with all these solutions is that they need specialized network knowledge or are not easy to control. However, Network Smartware’s Rezrv router software can do all the above and many more tricks with the concept of ‘Zero Touch Configuration,’ making it accessible to everyone.

Tantiv4’s Rezrv is a software-based application that interfaces with your existing home router to apply bandwidth management policies. These bandwidth management policies can set prioritization of certain applications over other applications.

For example, a user can set prioritization through Rezrv to ensure that critical conference call hosting applications like Zoom or Webex get priority to the bandwidth they require to support application continuity, while other non-essential services like Netflix, Hulu or Xbox are deprioritized. Now, users can ensure that they will maintain application continuity for business-critical applications, while other services in the home only get limited access to Wi-Fi bandwidth. You can learn more about this service here.



So, now that many organizations are considering long term remote work, it’s important to put some strategies in place to create long term success for your family. By following some basic considerations presented above and utilizing third-party services, you can minimize the strain on internet bandwidth usage effectively minimizing the contention over these internet-based services. Be sure to check out third party services such as Rezrv to take advantage of all of the capabilities of your Internet connection.

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