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The Key Workers That Keep Your Wi-Fi On

The Key Workers That Keep Your WiFi On
03 June 2020 | Updated 04 June 2020
 

With the recent surge in home working, it would be fair to say that our home internet networks have been experiencing a heavier than usual usage. 

Telecoms and broadband engineers, designated as key workers, tasked with maintaining these networks, have certainly been essential to most people’s lockdown experience. 

Such workers are essential for keeping emergency services connected, hospital infrastructures running, retail distribution centres viable and much more.

Engineers have also dealt with the danger of physical threat during the lockdown, owing to conspiracy theories linking COVID-19 to the installation of 5G masts.

 

A “taxing load” on networks

 

According to a Forbes article by Dan Pontefract, telecommunications companies are working around the clock to prevent networks from becoming overloaded:

“Team members across the globe in these telecom firms are dedicating countless hours to prevent the mobile voice and data networks from collapsing as we switch from face-to-face meetings to ringing people up whenever we can on our mobile phones. Across the UK, for example, Vodafone reports that mobile voice traffic has increased by 56 per cent and broadband traffic is up 15 per cent. 

“It’s a taxing load on the network, one requiring scores of technicians, engineers and analysts to apply fixes and patches as necessary to keep us connected. Additional routers, ports and other equipment are not only being added but serviced due to the exploding network usage numbers, be it broadband, fibre or cellular.

 

Tips for faster internet at home 

 

The extra bandwidth requirements of households using working tools such as video conferencing software (Openreach have reported a peak of 7.5 TeraBits Per Second), has also affected the industry, alongside increased use of streaming services.

Ofcom, the regulator for the communications services industry, has been coordinating advice to help the public reduce congestion, alongside BT, Sky, O2 and Virgin Media.

These tips include:

 

  • Use your landline or wifi calls if you can – More people are making calls on their mobile during the day. Because of this high demand, you might get a more reliable connection using your landline. If you do need to use your mobile, use your settings to turn on wi-fi calling. You can make voice calls over the internet using apps like Facetime, Skype or WhatsApp
  • Move your router clear of other devices – Keep your router far away from other electrical devices, and those which work wirelessly. Halogen lamps, dimmer switches, stereos and computer speakers, some types of baby monitors, TVs and computer monitors can all affect your wifi if they’re too close to your router. Also, place your router on a table or shelf rather than on the floor, and keep it switched on
  • Lower the demands on your connection – The more devices that use your wi-fi, the lower the speed you get. Devices like tablets and smartphones often work in the background, so switch off wifi reception on these when you’re not using them. If you’re making video calls or meetings, turning off the video and using audio-only will use much less of your internet connection. Or, try starting them at less common times, rather than on the hour or half-hour

Picture: A photograph of some ethernet cables

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 03 June 2020

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