17 Jun Optimizing Your Virtual Workspace: 3 Ways to Speed Up Your Internet
The past twenty years of the Internet age has permanently transformed the work environment. With a simple laptop computer and a reliable Internet connection, employees can conduct their jobs transparently in a virtual workspace and from the convenience of their own home or any remote location.
According to a recent US poll by GlobalWorkPlaceAnalytics.com, 2.5% (3.7 million employees) work at least half time from home — up 103% from 2005. With this growing trend, the importance of optimizing the virtual workspace becomes increasingly evident.
Working from home comes with the unique challenge of sharing digital resources within the household for both professional and personal use.
Among an array of home-based digital systems and with a lack of corporate on-site technical support, each telecommuter is responsible for a larger portion of their own IT management and support. Working from home comes with the unique challenge of sharing digital resources within the household for both professional and personal use.
Clear your Connection
Each individual’s work and Internet needs differ. Some simply require email and remote file storage. Others require media rich virtual environments with VoIP and VPN connections. A poorly functioning Internet connection can disrupt or slow any form of telecommuting, and inhibit productivity. Take care not to overlook or misunderstand your Internet connection optimization. Depending on the circumstances, this particular component is often the lynchpin to an efficient virtual workspace.
Ensure your business devices have a good connection to the Internet infrastructure of your home. For wireless connections, make sure your work devices indicate a strong reception. Generally, the closer you are to your wireless access point or router, the stronger your signal and the more data you can move per second. When configuring your access point or router, try to leverage channels on free frequencies 2.4Ghz/5Ghz. Put your wireless network on a channel with no other WiFi networks listed.
Invest in a quality wireless equipment. The old days of 802.11g are long gone. When purchasing new equipment, gravitate to the 802.11ac wireless specification. For those who are more cost conscious, 802.11n should be more than capable for most business use, even those with media rich requirements. If your home is wired appropriately, a wired Ethernet connection is always a great option, particularly if you have a dedicated workspace.
In most scenarios, your connection to the outside Internet is significantly slower than the bandwidth (speed) available on your local network within your home and among your devices. The Internet connection is the bottleneck to external connections and most importantly to your corporate digital services.
Distribute your Bandwidth
Certain Internet services require significant Internet resources. This includes streaming media, such as NetFlix and YouTube, or downloading large volumes of content. Applications such as BitTorrent and many of the popular file-sharing services, such as GoogleDrive and DropBox, can use an enormous amount of bandwidth at certain intervals, such as during a sync operation.
The Internet connection is the bottleneck to external connections and most importantly to your corporate digital services.
This can diminish the quality of VoIP call by introducing latency (delay) and jumbling of the audio (jitter). Emails will send and receive at a much slower pace and applications, such as VPNs and remote desktop sessions, may grind to a painful halt.
Remedying bandwidth usage and optimizing Internet resources can be accomplished by both technical and non-technical means. The most effective way to combat bandwidth-related issues is to ensure you only run the most necessary applications during business hours. Refrain from downloading and streaming during work hours, and leave your Internet connection mostly free for any business related tasks.
If this is not an option or other members of the household use the same internet services, LifeHacker suggests looking at your router’s advanced settings. Many modern routers have a QOS feature which allows you to prioritize devices. Set your work devices (work phone, laptop, etc.) as high priority and other devices (gaming systems, children’s computers, tablets) at a lower priority. This will give preferential access to the Internet link by the devices you choose.
Depending upon the QOS features, you may also have the option of setting priority to specific Internet services or applications. Prioritizing VoIP services such as SIP/RTP, Skype, email, remote desktop access and file sharing services, allows for the overall control of the network and the services used, rather than piecemeal control of individual devices.
Understand your usage
One guide from Reviews.com breaks down the best internet service providers by location, coverage, speed, and customer service. Purchase the best Internet connection to fit your budget based on your usage needs:
- Broadband Internet is the key and both upstream and downstream are important. A modern cable or fiber technology should cater to the requirements of most households.
- DSL technology is also a possibility, but it has a much lower overall upstream and downstream capacity. Speeds are increasing, primarily due to competition and new efficiencies.
- Start with a 20Mbit downstream and a 2 Mbit upstream for a capable media rich connection. A connection with these stats easily handles a NetFlix HD stream and concurrent VoIP and email services.
To address these challenges, and take advantage of the growth of working virtually, use these tips to optimize your virtual workspace connection.