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Broadband, home working and home schooling

Broadband, home working and home schooling

Most people aren’t set up to work from home or home-school children, so it can be tricky to adapt during the coronavirus outbreak. That’s especially true when your broadband is under extra strain. Here’s how to make the most out of your broadband, to help home working and home schooling run smoothly. 

Holly Niblett
From the Digital team
4
minute read
posted 18 JUNE 2020

Can my broadband cope with home working and home schooling?

The speed of your broadband depends on how many other people in your home are online at the same time, and what they’re doing. If someone is video conferencing, someone is streaming a movie, and someone else is playing games online, then your WiFi is likely to slow down.

However, many broadband providers have reassured customers that their network can cope with the increased demand. BT, for example, says its networks are holding up well, with more than enough capacity to handle large-scale home working in response to COVID-19. 
 
Find out more about what broadband providers are doing to help
 
Streaming platforms like YouTube, Amazon Prime and Netflix have been helping lighten the load on networks, by restricting bandwidth and reducing video quality to decrease their data consumption. However, Netflix’s bandwidth is now being restored. 

What broadband speeds do I need?

There isn’t a specific speed for working from home, but the higher the Mbps, the faster your broadband will be.
 
The minimum speed for web browsing is between 1 Mbps and 5 Mbps. If you’re using Skype, for example, you’ll need a minimum download speed of 1.2 Mbps for video calls. To get a decent speed when you’re working – including emailing, web browsing, video conferencing, and uploading and downloading files to online document sharing platforms – 16Mbps or more is a good benchmark.

If you’ve got fibre, you should be ahead of the game. Speeds typically start at 60 Mbps and it’s much better than standard broadband at handling multiple devices using the internet at once.

Find out more about the benefits of fibre broadband

Is there anything I can do to speed up my broadband?

Fibre broadband isn’t available everywhere, and if you just want to give a little boost to your existing package, there are a few things you can do at home.

  • upgrade your router – old or basic tech might be hindering your broadband speed
  • use a wireless range extender to help reach dead zones in your home
  • angle your router’s antennas – one up and one to the side is best for the signal. 
Get more tips in our guide to upgrading your broadband for home working

How can I improve working from home?

If you’re not used to working from home, it can be a completely new experience. Here are some top tips to help maintain normality and keep the right balance between work-life and home-life:

  • Get washed and dressed before starting work – you could even put on your usual work clothes to feel more motivated.
  • Stick to your working hours – start and finish at the same time you usually would.
  • Tidy your work equipment away at the end of the day – if you don’t have an office, make sure you can switch off properly by putting your work stuff away.
  • Try to find somewhere quiet and set up a makeshift desk area – this will help you work comfortably and keep focused.
  • Take regular breaks – it’s all too easy to stay at your screen for longer when you’re working from home. Take tea breaks or go for a walk to break things up.
  • Don’t just rely on emails – pick up the phone to ask a quick question or have a catch up so you’re not too isolated from people.

How can I improve home-schooling?

Although some children have now gone back to school, many are still at home, so parents are tasked with home-schooling, as well as keeping their kids entertained.  
 
You can find plenty of useful home-schooling resources to help parents and children carry on learning until all children can return to school. These include educational videos, games and other interactive experiences. With the increased demand, there have been lots of new apps launch recently, to offer help and advice. Check out your app store for the latest and most popular releases. 

Please note: The information in this article was correct at the time of publication on 18 June 2020, but, because of the impact of COVID-19, things are changing rapidly. We aim to keep this page updated, but check with your broadband provider or potential provider directly to confirm any details.

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