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PHOTO: Ussama Azam

Many are wondering how to cope with the current forced isolation without breaking the internet. Is it up to internet providers to adapt and bolster the infrastructure, or maybe we need to alter or upgrade our hardware needs? The truth lies somewhere in between.

Your Side of the Internet

Home networks prioritize download speed. This is great for watching Netflix and downloading large applications, but leaves video conferencing, sending large files to school and other side-effects of having the whole family home all day difficult.

Let’s start with what we can do: modify our home network and how we use the internet. The most effective way to do that is to upgrade your router to at least 3 GHz, or better yet 5 GHz, even dual-band would help. These offer higher speeds and can better withstand interference from other devices like, believe it or not, your microwave, which operates at 2.4 GHz — a common wave for routers. 

Experiment With Other Approaches

Next buy more broadband, the more spectrum you have the more your network can handle. If you’re looking for cheaper ways to prepare your network, plugging into your router with an ethernet cord will give faster speeds and reduces the traffic on WiFi connections. 

Changing your streaming settings is another way to save bandwidth. Try reducing the quality of resolution for videos. If you’re still having trouble, especially with video conferences, turning off video for attendees can free up enough broadband for the presenter to come through clearly. 

The best free option is to change the channel your internet uses with the help of Netgear WiFi Analytics. It works with any router testing WiFi signal as you move around your house, then identifies the best channel based on the signal. If you can’t connect to anything, it may not be on your end, check for outages at downdetector.com on high-demand services. 

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Your IP’s Side of the Internet

You may be relieved to know that the internet has handled spikes in internet traffic before, such as during big events like the Olympics. In fact, the FCC studied the performance of residential networks and found most providers were able to maintain performance during peak usage hours. However, the bad news is it wasn't for the same extended periods or unprecedented volumes that we currently are facing.

The FCC has already granted emergency access to unused spectrum to Verizon and AT&T to expand broadband access, but that may be quickly put to use by a flood of new users. In response to the millions of people who don’t have internet services, Comcast is offering two months of free access to low-income families. Comcast is also opening public hotspots for free use, many of which use customers’ rented WiFi routers to provide a connection.

Yet the potential for failure is real. Last month people all over the US and EU experienced hour-long outages. Nevertheless, experts seem to agree that moving ahead, the worst outcome will be a diminishing of quality of service. Harold Feld, senior vice president at Public Knowledge, said: "I don’t think the whole internet is going to come crashing down, but there’s likely going to be some unevenness in experiences."  

Related Article:  What's at Stake With Net Neutrality?

See more about coronavirus's effect on the internet below.


Source: Computer Science Zone