Coronavirus or COVID-19 is now a pandemic, and governments around the world are taking steps to keep citizens safe. This outbreak is also changing the way we work. As authorities advise social distancing, companies are reconfiguring their workflows to adapt to work from home (WFH).
Working from home though is different from working in an office, where everything is taken care of by dedicated teams. At home, you need to ensure that all essentials are in place so productivity is not affected. Today, among the most basic necessities for working is a stable internet connection. To help you prepare for a work from home scenario, here are some tips to ensure you have optimal internet connectivity.
The first step is to choose the right Internet Service Provider (ISP). Depending on where you live, there will be multiple ISPs to choose from. You should shortlist them, and see which of them have offices closest to you. This will help you reach out to them without depending on customer service. Read a few user reviews to get an idea on their service record, and also speak to your neighbours on their experiences. Some ISPs offer a single connection to the entire building, and it is advisable to latch on to it.
Once you have selected an ISP, the next step is to choose the right plan to suit your needs. Depending on the kind of work you do, choose the plan that offers high speeds. This is also necessary if there are multiple people at your home using the internet. Higher speeds will ensure everyone gets enough bandwidth. Speeds are critical if your work involves sharing files and video conferencing with colleagues and streaming multimedia online.
Speaking of streaming, do ensure your broadband plan offers enough data per month. Office work plus streaming videos online will quickly eat into your data package. You don’t want to be in a position where you are paying extra to buy more data at the end of the month.
Choosing the right kind of router is as important as is keeping it at the right place. For ideal signal strength, make sure the Wi-Fi router is not kept in an enclosure or blocked by too many things around. Keep it in the open, and ideally on a surface that is equidistant from the floor and ceiling. To check the signal strength and speed, you can run some tests on dedicated websites like fast.com or speedtest.net.
If you’re not satisfied with the speeds or signal strength, you will need to invest in a better router. The size of your room or apartment plays a major role in deciding the right kind of router. If you live in an apartment with multiple rooms, you should buy a router with multiple antennas. Multiple antennas help spread Wi-Fi signals more efficiently. If you live in a house with multiple floors, then a more expensive Wi-Fi mesh system will help your connectivity needs.
If however, you’re in a place where there are frequent power cuts, then depending on a fixed internet connection will be frustrating. If there is no power going to the router, there will be no internet connection. In such a scenario, you can opt for an internet Wi-Fi dongle from one of the telecom providers. The likes of Reliance Jio, Vodafone-Idea and others offer MiFi dongles that can offer internet connection to multiple connected devices. These dongles are easy to carry around and work on a built-in battery, so you are covered during power outages.
If however, you want true freedom to work from anywhere, you can use your mobile’s data for connectivity. A smartphone can act as a mobile hotspot to offer internet to any connected device. But to use mobile data as the primary mode of connectivity, you will need to opt for one of the high range plans that offer oodles of data. Most of these plans also have a roll-over feature, which means any unused data will be carried forward to next month. While it may offer freedom, it is highly recommended that mobile hotspots be used as a backup option.