Many people have transitioned to online learning during the pandemic and have met the frustrations of the slow Internet. With that in mind, let us explore some of your options to overcome it.
Know Your Bandwidth
The first step is to know what internet service you are paying for. The FCC currently recognizes broadband as 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. That is not great by any stretch, but it should be enough for online learning, and most internet service providers have bumped upload speeds to as high as 20 Mbps due to the increased need for video conferencing.
Know what you are paying for? Excellent! Now it is time to check your speed both via wireless internet connection or Wi-Fi and Ethernet. Use a tool like speedtest.net.
Bad Internet Connection
If you did not get the speeds you expect on Ethernet, there could be a problem with your modem or an even more fundamental issue with your internet service. You will probably want to call them to have them come out and diagnose the issue. In the meantime, jump ahead to Finding fast internet.
Be mindful that if the problem is limited to Wi-Fi, which is often the case, you can plug in an Ethernet cable for now. It may be a hassle, but it will get the job done in a pinch.
As for diagnosing your Wi-Fi, start by power cycling your modem, router and all devices. Turn it off and on again is a meme, but it really does solve a lot of problems. Still no good? You will have to take a heuristic approach.
It could be your router needs a firmware update or that it is not optimally placed. Perhaps your router just is not that good or the Wi-Fi adapter you are using is cheap. It may take some trial and error, and you may want to call out a professional if possible to diagnose the issues for you.
Finding Fast Internet
So, you have bad internet—Ethernet and Wi-Fi. Your ISP has scheduled a service appointment, but that does not help you right now. What do you do? Our recommendation is to find the fasted public Wi-Fi hotspot available to you.
Which is fastest? This varies from area to area, but a local library is often a good starting point. Many of the major chains, such as McDonald’s and Walmart, provide excellent access as well and have very public-friendly polices about letting people use it without buying anything.
Managing Your Connection
Make the most of the connection you do have by reducing demand on it. Close any applications on your computer that could be accessing the Internet in the background.
It may not seem like a lot but can make a big difference when dealing with limited upload. It may also help to shut down streaming devices and ensure no one else in the home is doing anything too intensive online.
What About 5G?
5G is often discussed as the savior of online gaming. The truth is that most people do not have cellular connections good enough for online learning, but that is an option if you do.
As for 5G itself, the industry, on the whole, has been rather slow to deliver on its rather ambitious claims. It will get there at some point, but for now, it is best not to factor them into any online learning plans.