Remote work goes wrong because of the internet connection ? Some tips to understand and improve it

One of the most frustrating issue with remote work is when the internet connection is stopping you from working.

It’s an important issue for those who use a lot of video conferencing.

For example, you are giving online singing classes via skype and you or your student are experiencing the following voice or video problems :

  • Voice or video is shredded or frozen for a long time
  • Voice or video is in a very poor quality

Eventually, you and your caller end up exchanging back and forward the same question “can you hear me ?” and you are not able to continue your work.

What is happening ?

There are two main internet quality indicators that you can check to see if the internet connection is a problem:

  1. Internet speed is how fast the data travels between your computer and the internet. You need faster internet if you want to send and receive high quality video (high volume video or large video).
  2. Internet connection consistency is how many errors the data encounters along the way through the internet. Its often called PING. Internet data is carried around in small chunks called packets and your connection could be experiencing packet loss. Packet loss causes a decrease in audio/video quality.

Test your internet quality (TEST #1)

To check your internet quality you can go to https://www.speedtest.net/ and make a test of your internet connection. Let me give you an example with a test that I’ve conducted with a public Wi-Fi hotspot.

Test using https://www.speedtest.net/

How to interpret the results :

PING. The lower the better. Since it means how many errors the data encounters along the way going from your computer to the internet and back, its better to have fewer errors.

From my experience, I start to experience some voice and video conference problems from PING around 20 (on my or my caller computer).

DOWNLOAD internet speed. The higher the better. It means how fast the data travels from internet to your computer. For example. Higher the speed, better the video and voice quality you can receive in your video call meetings. UPLOAD internet speed. The higher the better. It means how fast the data travels from your computer to the internet. For example. Higher the speed, better the video and voice quality you can send in your video call meetings.

From my experience, I start to experience some voice and video conference problems below 2 Mbps download / 1.5 Mbps upload.

It is important to test the internet quality on both ends of the connection (yours and your caller). So if you encounter any issues, conduct the test on your computer and your caller computer and compare the results.

Internet stability is key => TEST #2

I highly recommend conducting another test which will help you to understand how you PING is stable in time.  You can do it using https://ping.canbeuseful.com/.

In this way you can see that my PING went very high during a couple of seconds and that is why my video conference call was not working. I usually conduct this test on my computer and ask my callers to do this test to check if the problem is coming from their side.

What can you do to make it better ?

Below you will find a list of tips of what you could try to do for you and your caller internet connection problems :

  • Close other applications that use the internet, especially those playing music or video
  • Cancel any internet file transfers in progress
  • Disconnect other devices using your internet connection (your neighbor or coworkers are connected to the same internet connection)
  • Reset your modem and router. Unplug your modem/router. Wait about 10 seconds, plug in the modem/router
  • Reduce the quality of the video that you are sending via the video conference application (in Facebook video call service you have this option)
  • Be closer to your Wi-Fi modem/router. Sometimes when your modem/router is far in the office/apartment the signal is weak. Especially when the signal is going through walls.
  • Turn of the video in your conference call
  • Try to use another internet connection (ex. try to make a hotspot from your mobile phone if your 4G or 3G is better than your current connection)
  • Check your computer for virus that slower down your internet connection

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