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Coronavirus Spotlights Work-From-Home Internet Bandwidth Needs

As more people connect laptops, fire up desktops and turn to their mobile devices for video conferencing and more, the blaring question is: can the Internet handle it all? It’s no secret that connecting numerous devices to your home Wi-Fi system can more quickly consume the available bandwidth than the use of say, one laptop. Just as COVID-19 has sent many employees home to work, it’s also emptied schools, pushing students to the use of technology for eLearning platforms.

Bandwidth vs. Internet Speed

As you prepare for what may be a change to your family work and school life for the next few weeks, you want to ensure you have the proper Internet speed and bandwidth to meet the many needs of your family. Let’s start with understanding how your Internet service works.

While many people may use the terms bandwidth and speed interchangeably, there is, in fact, a subtle difference. Bandwidth refers to the maximum amount of data, measured in Megabits per second (Mbps), that can be transmitted over your Internet connection. Speed refers to the rate at which data can be uploaded or downloaded to any one device that’s connected to your Internet.

Think of your Internet service as a highway. Bandwidth refers to the number of lanes available while speed is the suggested speed limit along the highway. When too many cars pack the highway, a slowdown occurs. That same type of congestion can occur with your home Wi-Fi. When multiple devices are connected, a slowdown can occur if you don’t have enough lanes, or bandwidth.  One of the primary observations you want to make as you begin to work remotely is whether you have enough bandwidth to handle your family’s demand.

What Internet speed do you need?

Working from home, especially if you’re sharing that space with a working partner or children committed to eLearning, requires a quality Internet speed. HTC offers an online Internet speed calculator to help you decide which service tier will best fit your needs. Consider these online activities and their average speed requirement:

  • Video conferencing: 5-10 Mbps
  • Email exchange: 3-5 Mbps
  • Large file downloads: 50 Mbps
  • Video streaming: 10-15 Mbps

The speeds listed are per device, so think about how many electronics you have in your home at any one time. If you use your computer for email and project completion while listening to streaming music from a home assistant (Amazon Alexa), and your children are each watching streaming videos from teachers as part of their eLearning program, the necessary speed to maintain all the devices at a quality level can quickly reach 100 Mbps or more.

Work-from-home Tips

Working from home offers a number of benefits, but it’s not without its challenges. To help you resist hitting the sofa and catching up on your favorite TV shows, we’ve developed a few work-from-home tips.

  • Create a schedule: Keep your remote work schedule as close to the office routine as possible. Wake up at the same time, get dressed and begin work in the same fashion. This will become the driving force behind your day. When you begin your day on task, staying there will feel more natural.
  • Set boundaries: Working from home with the kids comes with inherent challenges. Schedule your day around their eLearning activities and set boundaries during your work hours. Prepare them with activities or alternate chunks of time with others to watch the children so you each have an opportunity to work without interruption.
  • Communicate regularly: Check in with your team on a regular basis. Working from home shouldn’t feel like you’re on an island. Communicate often to ensure you understand tasks to be completed.
  • Schedule breaks: Set the pace of your day with scheduled breaks. Just as you likely take short breaks throughout your day at the office, do the same at home. It will help you make the transition without feeling like the day is endless.
  • Prepare for isolation: There’s no getting around the fact that working from home is, in some cases, a very singular experience. It’s very different than catching up with a coworker over coffee or grabbing lunch with a friend. Utilize video conferencing, message apps or plan moments with your family to avoid the feeling of isolation.

Trustworthy Internet service

HTC has spent more than $125 million in the past five years updating its fiber-optic network to offer the most reliable Internet service throughout Horry County and extending into Georgetown County and beyond. As families begin to rely more heavily on technology connected to home Wi-Fi service, the HTC network is prepared to handle the increase in demand. Utilize our Internet speed calculator to determine if your current plan will adequately carry your family through working and learning from home.