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Working from Home: WiFi & Network Considerations

The world has seen a totally different scenario for the past nearly two years. Due to the pandemic worldwide, we have seen changes in various aspects of life. Employment and the mode of working has also seen a lot of changes. There are so many people who have lost jobs in this scenario. But if you are one among the many who have been able to continue working from the comfort of your home, you should consider yourself blessed.

Work from home has become the order of the day. Though this has been an entirely new concept for many, it has picked up very well and has seen widespread acceptance also. We can see that even though normalcy is slowly creeping in, working from home is continuing. It is set to continue for some more time too.

Reading the above it looks like work from home is a cool concept now. But don’t fail to understand that there are so many considerations that will come along with the concept of working from home. It is not only a single person that is working from home, but the entire house which includes people getting their schooling from home also. Also, since this concept was taken up very suddenly, we cannot say that all home networks are equipped enough to handle work from home.

The Wi-Fi speed that we have in our homes cannot match the demand for a job. Working involves a lot of video calls, meetings for long hours, and this can drain up the limited Wi-Fi bandwidth that you have. In an office setup, they are prepared to handle heavy Internet traffic and that is the reason you do not face any lag while at the office. Achieving the same level of service at home is not so easy.

Thousands of people are working remotely and connecting to the Internet at the same time. This causes chaos and makes the Internet choke. You experience very low speeds even though this speed is enough for your regular streaming of videos on YouTube or Netflix.

While working from home you should also take care of the security and privacy of your official information. The following are some risks that you may face:

  • In secure Wi-Fi networks
  • Malicious emails that target people working from home
  • Lack of knowledge of information security practices
  • Poorly protected personal devices that do not have adequate antivirus, etc

Make sure you follow the below-listed practices to have safe and secure Wi-Fi in your place.

  • Set up a two-factor authentication: Normally you log in to the system using a password, but this may not be enough to have a secure network. You should try to have a two factor authentication so that it is difficult for trespassers to gain access to your system. You can set up one-time passwords that you receive on your mobile phone or on your email. This can be in addition to the password that you used to log in. This helps in increasing security.
  • Create data backups regularly. The rule is that at least three copies of data in two different storage formats must be made so that you don’t lose vital information. And, one of these copies should be located offsite in an external drive. All these are very much essential because the data that you deal with is very sensitive.
  • When working from home as far as possible try to use the laptop of your company. Personal devices will not have security in place. When the device given by the company is set aside exclusively for official use without allowing access by anybody else from your home, you can try to maintain security.
  • Dedicate a VLAN exclusively for office work. You can use a guest network to separate the company laptop. By activating the VLAN you can increase the security of your company laptop.
  • There are so many unsolicited emails or fake apps that are coming up. You should be aware of these online scams. Once you open any of these fraudulent messages your device will be infected. You should try to avoid all these since you are working on your company’s device.
  • You should secure your router and regularly scan it to find out the presence of any malware. Since the router is the gateway to all the connections that you make from your house, it is very important that their router is safe. Regular updates of firmware can also keep the router in condition.

Now let us look at some of the Wi-Fi considerations for working from home.

  • Bandwidth: The maximum rate at which data can be transferred over a network is called its bandwidth. There are so many plans that your Internet service provider offers when you subscribe to their connection. Each plan comes with a different price range. The downstream and upstream speeds are different for each Internet plan.
  • Downstream speed is the speed that you download from the Internet to your device. Similarly, upstream speed is the speed at which you send data from your device to the Internet.
  • Depending on what purpose you use the Internet you should know what your downstream and upstream speeds should be. For office applications, especially even you have a lot of video calls you tend to use applications like zoom or Meet. Here the downstream data will be the video and audio of all participants in the meeting. The upstream data will be what your device sends through the network to the app.
  • To have a seamless work-from-home experience you should first understand how much bandwidth you need. Your Internet service provider should be able to provide you with 25 Mbps downstream and 5 Mbps upstream. This is in respect of one device’s usage. If more people are working from home, then the requirements will be more. You are ISP should be able to give you increased speeds considering the number of people working or learning from home.
  • There are speed tests available to find out the speed of your network. You should compare this with the requirement your office work has. When you’re able to match the requirement with the available speed, you can have a good experience then you are on a call with your office members.
  • If you are working with a Wi-Fi router then you should always position yourself closer to the router so that you get an uninterrupted connection. The closer you stay to your router the stronger the connection.
  • In case you face any issues with your router you should immediately speak to your Internet service provider so that they can help you and solve the issue.
  • Whenever the Wi-Fi is found slow a wired connection can also be an alternative. This provides even more speed but with the restriction of staying connected to your router with a cord always.

Working from home is a relatively new concept and people are slowly getting accustomed to it. Efforts should be taken both from the company and on the employee’s side to take care of security aspects while working from home. This is in the wake of a lot of cyber threats happening around the world. Making the necessary arrangements for Wi-Fi along with securing them is very much essential.

 

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