So you have the opportunity to work from home (WFH as some people call it) and you think yes, no commuting, extra hour in bed, no annoying boss leering over your shoulder – and it all of a sudden looks extremely rosy.
Then you have to think about how you can do your job at home. Do I have somewhere to sit and work? can I email from my bed? will my WiFi work in the spare bedroom, or is that a wifi dead spot? can I access my companies network via VPN? – and what does that actually mean, can I use WiFi Calling and what about video conferencing???.
Once you have discussed all of the above IT related issues with either your IT team or your broadband service provider you may be in a position to set up and go!
However, most of us don’t know what bandwidth is required to perform a WFH function.
Email and web browsing
These are usually very lightweight activities. The average size of a web page is around 3MB, but many will be smaller. And it’s likely that most of your emails will be primarily text.
Unless you’re frequently sending or receiving large email attachments or using drop box, one drive or Google Drives, an ADSL broadband connection is more than capable of handling email and web sites.
VOIP and video conferencing
Good news if you use Skype or VOIP tools for voice calls – they only require a small amount of bandwidth, so you don’t necessarily need a superfast connection.
However video calling is more demanding. Skype recommends a minimum speed of 300Kbps down and 300Kbps up for the lowest quality video, and 1.5Mbps (down and upload) for the highest. Other video chat services recommend even more – up to 3Mbps for Google Hangouts and Apple Facetime. The bandwidth requirements also increase the more people are involved.
It’s not only download speed you need to consider with video conferencing either. The upload rate is important, and this is where ADSL broadband will not be fit for purpose.
Most connections will easily cope with downloading at 3Mbps, the maximum upload rate of any ADSL service is going to be around 1Mbps if you are lucky (some properties will be much slower).
Fibre services are better suited to video conferencing as this technology can deliver upload speeds ‘up to’ 20Mbps.
File downloads and uploads
Depending on how often you’re transferring files and how big they are, this might be the best reason to get a superfast connection.
Small files don’t take long to download or upload on ADSL. But large amounts of data can leave you waiting a lot longer. If your job requires regular large downloads or uploads, it’s a compelling argument for the faster transfer rates of a faster broadband connection.
Fast download and upload speeds may be particularly important if you use cloud storage for file synchronising or backup, as this could involve transferring lots of data frequently.
Usage limits and traffic management
Some broadband connections have a monthly usage limit. We would recommend that home workers avoid any capped service and opt for an unlimited deal whenever possible. Using the broadband for work as well as personal tasks will consume a lot more data, especially if you’re going to be using it for demanding activities like video chat and file transfers. Exceeding the cap of a limited package can mean reduced broadband speeds or extra fees.
Another restriction to watch out for is a traffic management policy. Most of the time, this will not be a problem as it’s most often used to slow down file sharing, but some ISPs can apply it in other ways.
Check the terms and conditions before signing up to ensure the traffic management policy is not going to interfere.
Sharing the connection
In addition to the above points, you must also consider other users in your home. If the broadband is shared among other people during your working hours, this will place extra strain on the connection. While one person might be fine working on an inexpensive ADSL broadband service, the additional demands of other people may mean that fibre optic is required to prevent things crawling to a halt when everyone tries to download files at the same time.
Rural Locations and Slow Broadband
Unfortunately superfast broadband and Rural life do not always go hand in hand. If you are unfortunate and do not have access to fibre broadband services all is not lost. There are a number of solutions that can give you a bit more speed, and as a result of hours upon hours of testing we can reveal the best solution to consider. Currently 4G Broadband is now considered a real alternative to rural fibre broadband services. Not only can it transform you home or business broadband experience it will surpass the expectation of speed required to access cloud services like one drive, google drive and naturally face time, video conferencing and other IP related services. This is mostly because of the increased available upload bandwidth where ADSL is 1mbps, fibre up to 20mbps and 4G up to 30mbps. In most cases we have seen upload speeds commonly above 20mbps where fibre like services degrade significantly over distance from the local cabinet.
WiFi Dead Spots
WiFi Dead spots are all too common still in today’s day and age, you have a superfast or even an Ultra-fast broadband connection, but the room at the back of the house where you could work from home has no WiFi signal. This is because WiFi transmission degrades over distance with walls and other solid objects having a severe impact on the performance of your home WiFi.
If like many households your router is inadequately located at the front of your house or in a cupboard under the stairs then consider getting the master socket relocated to a more central location where WiFi can be easily distributed.
A must have in my opinion is to get Mesh WiFi. Mesh WiFi is a simple bolt on to your existing internet service and easily connects via a simple Ethernet cable into your current router. Mesh units usually come in packs of three, so you have 2 more devices to scatter around within a defined range from one another to boost WiFi throughout your home.
Mesh WiFi has a unique selling point which is that it is easy to deploy. The additional units connect via WiFi to set up a virtual connection between all notes to create a one name network you only have to log into once no matter which room you may be in. And with many other benefits to boast such as parental control, blacklisting, QoS, notifications of new devices added to the network or if a node goes down and many many more.
There are other solutions available, if you only need one room connected for internet ccess then opt for a cabled connection via Cat5e, or if you have an external out house more than 100m from your home then maybe even a point to point wifi link. Point to Point WiFi links can beam WiFi up to 5km and even 10km with hardly any signal degradation at all. Interesting right?, and its all available via Fixmyline…
If you feel you need any assistance on any topic above please feel free to give us a call, we will be more than happy to offer some additional advice and if needed we can agree a convenient time to visit you for further consultation.
Call – 01322 761051
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit our rural 4G broadband page for more information.
Over 20 years Telecoms Experience Specialists in Rural 4G Broadband Free 4G Broadband or IP CCTV Survey
Home & Small Business CCTV Solutions