Three tips for optimizing your home office and virtual classroom internet performance

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In response to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order, millions of Michiganders find themselves hunkering down in their homes. Those who are working from home are now adjusting to life as telecommuters. Some also have taken on the additional responsibility of managing online learning for their children.

As a result of this change in routines, residential internet usage peak times have shifted and increased the load on network providers. At Comcast, on average, we’re seeing a 32% increase in peak traffic. On Xfinity Mobile, we’re seeing a 10% decline in LTE data usage and a 24% increase in mobile data usage over Wi-Fi.

Additionally, customers are doubling down on the amount of time spent streaming videos and gaming. We’re seeing a 38% increase in streaming and web video consumption.

A reliable internet network should be engineered for the capacity to handle spikes and shifts in usage patterns. However, regardless of your internet service provider, there are three easy ways to ensure your home-office and home-school network is running at full performance.

Location, location, location

To ensure a strong signal, locate your internet modem and router, or gateway, in an elevated, central position within your home. And remember to tighten those cables. Avoid placing your equipment in areas that prevent your Wi-Fi signal from traveling within your home, like in closets, behind furniture, in basements or near windows. A shorter distance for the signal to travel will provide a better Wi-Fi connection. If the lights on the gateway are flashing, the signal is working.

Broaden your Wi-Fi network

Even with your gateway in an optimal spot in your house, the signal strength may benefit from a Wi-Fi extender. If you have transformed a spare room in a quiet wing of your home into an office, an extender expands the Wi-Fi signal to those harder-to-reach areas. Most internet service providers sell their own. There also are numerous options through third-party providers. Xfinity offers xFi pods that easily plug into any wall socket.

Consider your current speed plan

Working from home may challenge your Wi-Fi’s capabilities with online video conference streaming and downloading large files. At the same time, children’s video chats with teachers and online homework submissions could strain your signal.

Consider how many devices are connected in your home and the potentially slower network speeds as a result. In general, 100-200 Mbps should support up to eight devices at a time with multidevice streaming and downloading.

If your internet is failing to keep up with your needs, it may be time to reassess your internet plan. Increasing the amount of bandwidth should support the increased usage of connected devices.

These tips should help remedy any in-home Wi-Fi speed and coverage issues. If you’re still having trouble, contact your internet service provider to troubleshoot further and find a solution. To learn more about all Comcast is doing in response to COVID-19, click here.

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