- Coronavirus lockdowns mean millions of people around the world are now working from home.
- The UK’s media regulator, Ofcom, has released a list of ways you can ensure fast and reliable internet.
- These range from using an Ethernet cable to turning off your microwave.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
As the coronavirus outbreak forces millions to work from home, ensuring fast and reliable home internet has become vital.
Internet traffic during the outbreak has surged so much that big tech companies including YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon have lowered the quality of their video streaming to reduce bandwidth usage. Facebook, meanwhile, is struggling to deal with the sudden spike in usage.
Britain’s media regulator Ofcom on Tuesday released a list of tips and tricks to help people ensure the fastest internet possible while they work remotely.
Here are seven things you can do to make sure your internet is running at top speed:
1. For reliable calls, avoid using data as much as possible.
With everyone stuck at home, lots more people are making calls using data during the day. Ofcom recommends using a landline (if you have one) or sticking to WiFi to make reliable calls over services like Skype, FaceTime, or WhatsApp.
Some phones and providers also have an option for “WiFi calling,” which can be enabled in the phone’s settings.
2. Move your WiFi router away from other devices.
According to Ofcom: “Cordless phones, baby monitors, halogen lamps, dimmer switches, stereos and computer speakers, TVs and monitors can all affect your WiFi if they’re too close to your router.”
3. Don’t keep your router on the floor.
Ofcom recommends you keep your router on a shelf or table.
4. Don’t use the microwave.
Microwave ovens can affect WiFi speeds when they’re running because they operate on the same frequency, so turning the microwave right off when you’re about to do anything important online — like make a call — could prevent disruption.
5. Disconnect devices from the WiFi when you’re not using them.
Ofcom notes that devices like tablets and smartphones can put a demand on your WiFi even when they’re just running in the background. Switching these devices right off or disconnecting them from the WiFi could free up bandwidth.
6. Use an ethernet cable.
Ethernet cables provide faster internet speeds than WiFi.
7. Plug your router into your main phone socket, and make sure the cable isn’t tangled.
When plugging into the phone socket it’s better not to use a telephone extension lead, as this can slow speeds. If you do have to use a telephone lead, use the newest, shortest lead possible.