Having problems with home WiFi? Plug in ethernet instead.
If you’re new to working from home and find yourself in front of a laptop using Zoom, Teams or Google Hangouts, etc, to conference with colleagues and students you might find that the quality of the calls is somewhat intermittent.
Internet service providers (ISPs) are closely monitoring usage and the Janet network is just as vigilant (see Rob Evans article on ‘how working from home has changed traffic the Janet Network’).
Cloud service providers have also been ramping up to cope with this recent surge in demand and streaming services are throttling back provision to help limit congestion.
But perhaps some of the problem is your home WiFi?
Especially in built-up areas or blocks of flats the number of neighbours each with their own wireless router provided by their ISP can be enormous. This can cause annoying interference, combined with additional family members with smartphones and tablet devices at home. This all contributes to a busy WiFi.
Usually you would not notice this with streaming services, email or surfing websites, but with Teams or Zoom it can become noticeable, even distracting, as interactive real time call quality deteriorates or even drops altogether.
A possible solution is to ditch the WiFi altogether and use an ethernet cable instead.
Most ISPs will include an ethernet cable in the box along with their wireless router, although they are often too short to be of practical use, but you could still use it to test the connection. If successful, a longer more useful one could be purchased for a few pounds on eBay, just remember to disable WiFi on your laptop.