How to Optimize Your Network for Remote Work


Currently, internet connectivity is a necessity for most homes, especially as the pandemic continues to unfold. The reason is that the number of individuals working remotely in the U.S. is surging. You cannot achieve much without a stable internet connection when working remotely, and that is why you should prioritize a reliable and capable service.

The fact that social distancing and stay-at-home orders have become part of our lives in the recent past is part of the reasons why most organizations are seeking innovative ways to adapt. As a result, the "new normal" is something that most individuals have to embrace, and that includes working from home. Additionally, children are no longer going to school, which suggests that they have to learn from home.

If you are working from your house, you will most probably experience network issues on various occasions. The reason is that your home network is doing more than allowing you and your loved ones to stream movies, play games, check emails, and watch YouTube. For that reason, your home internet connection is under so much pressure because everyone wants a piece of it.

Part of the prerequisites for effective remote working is a reliable network connection. You may tend to imagine that speed is the only thing worth considering in this case, but there are factors you need to focus on too. Ensuring your network is ready for remote operations will make the transition to working from such an environment smoothly.

Here are some questions to help you understand whether your network is ready for remote working.

What Internet Speed Is Ideal for Remote Operations?

Without a doubt, video conferencing is the backbone of working from home because it allows you to run meetings as usual and hold conversations with your coworkers. The challenge is that out-of-sync or low-quality video calls can cause you frustration. Since video calls require sending and receiving real-time video simultaneously, there are some internet speed factors worth considering if you want to leverage remote meetings. These are;

  • Latency — It affects the synchronization of your connections with each other. High latency can cause lag and distort calls.
  • Download Speed — Dictates the reception of video from other individuals on a call by your connection.
  • Upload Speed — Impacts the ability of your connection to send video streams to others.

150 ms of latency is ideal for most video conferencing apps. Also, note that you cannot control the latency of your connection the same way you can change your internet speed through an upgrade. The lower the latency, the better, which is why most users prefer fiber connections because they have low latency.

The Internet Speed Necessary for Sharing Large Files

Fast internet connectivity is critical when it comes to jobs that demand a large amount of file sharing. However, that does not necessarily imply that you need fast internet speeds to upload and download large files, but it enhances your experience altogether. For example, downloading a small video (300 MB) with an internet speed of 10 Mbps down/1 Mbps up will take 4 minutes and 24 seconds.

Downloading the same video with an internet speed of 1,000 Mbps down/1,000 Mbps up will only take 2 seconds. You will need to wait 25 hours to upload a 10 GB file using a speed of 10 Mbps down/1Mbps up and 1 minute, 30 seconds for the same file size when using an internet speed of 1,000 Mbps down/1,000 Mbps up.

Can You Use Your Network for Video Conferencing?

The productivity of remote workers depends on various factors, including provision for video conferencing because it boosts morale, increases collaboration, and keeps communication lines open. In turn, video conferencing allows employees to socialize and connect in some way while social distancing. Also, you should focus on the following when identifying a video conferencing app for your operations.

  • The capacity of your telephone system and your network to handle video conferencing.
  • Necessary licenses.
  • The pros and cons of an installed or on-premises solution vs. the cloud-based option.

Also, recent statistics confirm the fact that the popularity of video conferencing is on the rise.

Ideal Internet Speed for Video Conferencing Applications

Zoom, Google Meet, among others, are some of the popular video conferencing apps for remote workers. A reliable internet connection is something you cannot afford to overlook because it enhances your experience when using such applications. Here are details on internet speed requirements when using particular video conferencing apps.

  1. Google Meet and Google Hangouts — A minimum upload speed of 3.2 Mbps and 1.8 Mbps for downloads, but the speed recommendation for both functions is 3.2 Mbps.
  2. Zoom — Minimum upload and download speed of 600 Kbps for one-on-one calling and a minimum of 800 Kbps upload speed, and 1 Mbps download speed for group calls. The recommended upload and download speed for one-on-one Zoom calls is 1.8 Mbps. 3 Mbps upload speed and 2.5 Mbps download speed is the recommendation for group calls.
  3. Skype — The minimum upload and download speed should be 128 Kbps, but the recommendation is 512 Kbps for uploads and 8 Mbps for downloads.
  4. Slack — A minimum of 600 Kbps for both upload and download speeds. The recommendation is 600 Kbps for uploads and 2 Mbps for downloads.

Do Your Remote Workers Use A VPN?

Your remote systems and devices behave as if they are functioning from your office when you use a VPN, but the latter may not allow multiple employees to connect at the same time. So, before setting up a VPN for your remote team, ask yourself the questions below.

  • What level of security and updates do VPN-connected devices require?
  • Do all your remote workers have VPN access?
  • Are you protecting your VPN using filters?
  • Does your remote team have the necessary training to access the VPN?
  • Are your remote workers using secure connections and passwords to access the network?

Security breaches can compromise your operations and result in massive losses too. That explains why using VPNs is paramount and you can find more details on that here.

Are Help Desk Resources to Support Your Remote Team Available?

Most individuals are still trying to adjust to remote working following the sudden changes resulting from the pandemic. That implies that your team may not have the knowledge or resources to connect remotely to your company's network. Having enough help desk resources to handle your remote staff members with network-related issues will keep your operations running smoothly. Consider the following.

  • Software support skills for mission-critical solutions and mobile devices for your help desk team.
  • Hiring enough help desk personnel to support your remote team.
  • Setting up workstations that focus on connectivity and productivity for your remote workers.
  • 24-hour help desk access.

How Can You Increase Your Internet Speed?

In part, your effectiveness when working from home depends on the internet speed you are using. You can increase its speed by restarting devices regularly, offloading apps to other devices, adding a Wi-Fi extender to improve coverage and signal strength, turning off video when using conference apps, among other things.

Conclusion

There is a high probability that most firms will allow their employees to continue working remotely, in some capacity, going forward. So optimizing home networks for remote work will be essential for teams to maintain productivity in such an environment.

Figuring out all your bases to cover pertaining to your organization’s IT strategy is not an easy process to navigate, especially in times like these— and that’s why Electric is here to support your organization.

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