Improving Your Home Network Connectivity

Distance learning has exposed a lot of new challenges for at-home learners. Zoom meetings and other online tasks can be significantly more difficult when network connection issues present themselves.

While most households have enough bandwidth to spare for several simultaneous Zoom meetings, YouTube streams and other background tasks, some can find themselves constrained by the distance of their home from their internet service provider (ISP), or even the distance in the home from their wireless access point.

To improve your connectivity, there are several things you can try. First, I often recommend power-cycling your network equipment. For most people, that will be their cable modem and/or their wireless router. For some people, these two devices can be combined into a single device - you might just have one device that does all three tasks: modem, router and wireless. For others, there may be one, two or even three devices. Turning them all off, and back on again can help resolve connection issues.

Zoom has published some tips on how to optimize your connection to the internet:

  • Watch a video about WiFi connectivity
  • Check your Internet bandwidth using an online speed test, such as nperf, Speedtest, or Comparitech
  • Try to connect directly via Wired (if your internet router has wired ports)
  • Try bringing your computer or mobile device closer to the WiFi router or access point  in your home or office
  • Upgrade your WiFI router firmware. Check your WiFi router vendor support site for firmware upgrade availability. 
  • Use a WiFi extender such as Amped Wireless or Linksys to increase the distance and strength of your WiFi signal
  • Use a higher powered/long-range WiFi such as Amped Wireless router or adapter to increase the WiFi signal on your PC or Mac
  • [Home] Use a DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem (if you have cable modem) to improve internet performance

If none of these things seem to improve your connection, contact your ISP. It is possible that there is a problem between your home and the ISP's network equipment. Sometimes, your ISP can optimize the settings of your network equipment (if they own it) remotely, or schedule an onsite visit by a technician from your ISP.  Some have asked if a hotspot could improve their connection. A hotspot relies on cellular service and offers a connectivity option when there is no hardwired internet service to a home (usually in a rural area where cable internet cannot reach). It is not the ideal substitute. Additionally, it is rarely an improvement over your home service. The best strategy is to follow-up with your internet provider to improve connectivity.