Working from home is now an everyday reality for many of our customers and network issues can be a challenge. As schools have now closed and other businesses have also sent people home, many home workers are struggling with ensuring they can run their real-time work apps such as Voice and Video conferencing without interference from other people, who are also working from home or using other online content.
Broadband & Connectivity
Home broadband: Where you are already on Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) or better, and reasonably close to the network distribution point, your broadband should be able to cope with your needs. In situations where this is not the case, you may still be able to upgrade to fibre or beef up your connectivity using mobile networks. Many operators, ourselves included, are offering mobile data packages for 1 or 3 months so you can help your home workers over what is, hopefully, a short term issue.
Work Broadband: If your data is still located in your offices (on a server or PC) you may find issues with accessing it, caused by the limitations of your connectivity in the office. Ideally, you should move your data into the cloud as this will help. You may also need to upgrade your office connectivity. Advice on this is best coming from someone who understands both software and connectivity.
BT Openreach announced on 24 March that they were limiting the work they are prepared to do inside customer premises. It is not 100% clear how this will impact you – but it is likely that this will severely limit the amount of installation work on new services and line moves to people without a critical need. Virgin Media are still attending – but it is likely they will change their policy soon. In these circumstances, a mobile connection may be your only choice.
In many cases your broadband is fine and it is your local network that is causing the issue. Either because there is a high demand for service or simply that your wifi signal is not good enough where you are working.
If this is a high demand issue, upgrading the home router, or installing a firewall, should allow your operator to manage the traffic, prioritising work applications over domestic.
If this is a Wifi issue, there are a number of easy to install range extender products available which provide a connection over your electrical wiring directly back to the router – these can provide stronger WIFI signals in a particular room or ethernet. These are available from Amazon, just be careful and make sure you use the security features built into more up to date products, as you don’t want to open up your network to your next-door neighbours.
Supporting Your Users
Supporting users who are sat next to you is a lot easier than supporting people distributed more widely. It may be that all you need is the ability to see what they see on their screens to help them. In which case a product such as Microsoft Teams allows you to share your desktop and also control someone else’s PC. There are a range of other more specialist apps for this. However, it is also possible that you may need to offer more technical support to your people and, as you didn’t design or install their home infrastructure – this is something you are not going to be able to do. Speak to your maintainer and see if your contract covers home user support. If not, it would be something to consider adding to your contract. How much does an inactive critical employee cost you per hour?
Look out for the other articles in the series including the Top 10 Things to Think About, Your Telephony, Your Cyber Security...
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