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Can the internet handle all of us working from home?

Taylor Gadsden

Apr 3, 2020 — 3 min read

There are more users on the internet than ever. Can the networks and providers handle the Shelter in Place traffic?

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Mom is working from home, as usual, running her team’s Zoom meetings a few times a day. Dad’s company just implemented work from home (WFH) policy and now they are sharing Mom’s office, both running video conferences, spreadsheets, messaging programs and more. Tommy and Susie were sent home from school to complete their studies online. And, of course, what teens don’t need some Netflix breaks? And so, the great internet slow-down begins in the house.

Sound familiar? Most internet users are familiar with the effects of network congestion and what can happen when a large influx of traffic hits the internet at once. The result of what is commonly called “Internet Rush Hour” is usually reduced speeds and increased latency. 

But now that millions are being mandated to shelter in place and WFH, can the internet withstand the traffic?

Is the internet holding up?

All eyes are on internet service providers and the home networks customers have established as workers, students and recreational internet users put the technology to the test. Former chairman of the FCC, Tom Wheeler, says the impacts of additional users are largely unknown.

“We just don’t know how the infrastructure will fare,” Wheeler said. “What is sufficient bandwidth for a couple of home computers for a husband and wife may not be sufficient when you add students who are going to class all day long operating from home.”

The week of March 7, Seattle internet traffic rose 30% compared to a normal week. Traffic in the city started spiking nine days after the first COVID-19 positive case on Jan. 30

Major providers like AT&T, Charter Spectrum, Cox, Verizon and Xfinity have all expressed complete confidence in their networks to meet the high demands and have each released their own forms of assistance to employees, students and low-income internet users during this time.

Comcast Xfinity has also expressed plans to increase bandwidth on the network level to assist customers with the effects of heavy traffic.

Test your connection

Have you experienced the effects of heavy internet traffic in recent weeks? Run a speed test on your internet connection to see how your current speeds compare to the ones advertised in your internet plan. Remember, speeds may slow due to increased volume following the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you’re looking for faster speed, there are a couple of ways you can upgrade our connection and enhance the quality of your favorite internet activities.

Solution #1: Try a mesh network

Mesh networks are ideal for Wi-Fi coverage across your entire household, no matter how big the residence. These multi-router networks allow you to place devices around your entire home  and connect them to the main “node.” You’re essentially setting up a web of Wi-Fi signal around your house as opposed to a single unit (which projects a single signal).

Learn more about how a mesh network could give you the smooth connection you need to work from home, browse and stream effortlessly.

Solution #2: Upgrade your internet speeds

If you find that you’re getting the speeds you purchased, it’s possible that you need more to better support the users and devices in your home. Call now to speak to an internet expert about the providers in your area and the internet speeds they offer.