Tips for improving WiFi while working from home

If you are finding your home network to be problematic whilst you are working, below provides some ideas or ways of thinking to help improve it.

Disassociate legacy devices

Older devices running on say 802.11g will be having a negative impact on the overall performance of your home network. All those WiFi 5 (802.11ac) and 4 (802.11n) devices will be degraded because of the older equipment. Depending on how many, and what these older pieces of equipment are downloading and subsequent airtime utilization on the network will impact the network. If possible, turn these devices off, or cable them in if they do not solely depend on WiFi.

Turn off those IoT devices

IoT devices are pretty common in many people’s homes, whether it is Alexa or homekit enabled lights, door entry, speakers and more. Many of these devices are operating over 2.4GHz and can be causing too much interference for a stable connection. Personally, I have many connected devices connected to the network simultaneously. You could make sure to turn off these and unplug any other non-essential connected devices but this defeats the point of many of the devices. In a pinch this could help your WiFi troubles during working hours.

Upgrade router &or placement

Being tech savoy, I wouldn’t personally be inclined to start switching off my connected things and instead prefer using my upgraded access point. The Sky Q WiFi I have at home is reliable as my home networks go, but in the past I have had equipment from other ISPs that gave a rather poor experience. This resulted in me switching off the WiFi on the router and adding a dedicated access point such as a Meraki MR18 which I picked up as demo kit or used my preferred equipment; Ruckus Networks. I am fortunate enough to have a Ruckus R310 at home in my office which I still use in addition to my Sky Q home network. Placing your existing wireless router in open space, possible central placement within the home (depending on the homes size) is likely to already give you a boost if you have currently got it tucked away in a cupboard on the floor and hidden away. Why? Placing obstacles next and around the router is not going to help the RF performance.

Offset scheduled meetings

Looking at the wider WAN concerns, your ISP only has so much bandwidth available to your street. Also, service providers will have server limitations or their own bandwidth limitations. If hundreds, thousands or more people are all connecting to have a meeting at a given time, on the hour (such as scheduled webinars), you are trying to connect during rush time. Scheduling the meetings for an offset time, 5 or 10 minutes past the hour may help. I have not come across any of the services I consume to have issues with performance by running meetings on the hour personally, however I have read on social media some people complaining and this was a suggested action. Note this is not strictly a WiFi issue.

Schedule updates for late night or early morning

Scheduling large downloads / updates to you computers, tablets, mobiles, games consoles, TV’s etc is going to save on the available bandwidth during working hours. The less data being consumed by updates, the more available bandwidth available for you to work with.

Contact your ISP

A simple live chat or phone call can often remedy home network problems. Testing the line, testing the router remotely and configuring, providing you with an upgraded service (especially during COVID-19 as ISPs are wanting to help their customers) is another step to take if you are finding the problem is not so much within your network but with connecting to the Internet.

Hopefully these smaller steps and ways of thinking help improve any home connectivity issues you are experiencing whilst working from home.