Working With Your Home WiFi

Working from a remote location presents unique challenges. Network issues make for a frustrating experience, but these suggestions and tips may help.

General considerations

These general considerations may give you a better online experience.

  1. Shift your schedule to be online during off-peak hours. During peak hours, more active users can cause the network to slow. Working during non-peak hours helps alleviate this problem.
     
  2. If you do experience lag times or other quality degradation, switch to another tool. For example, if an online call in Webex degrades, switch to the Teams collaboration tool. Note that this can happen more during online presentations as they use more bandwidth.
     
  3. Users connect their office phone through the Webex desktop app (coming August 2021). Make and receive phone calls through your computer or mobile device using Webex.

Working with your home WiFi

Think of your home network as a highway…

Bandwidth and GHz: The amount of data your WiFi network can transfer at once and the speed that data travels. Bandwidth is the number of traffic lanes on your network highway. The GHz is the frequency being used. The newest WiFi devices work over both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies.

Latency: A delay in data transfer. There is a traffic jam on your WiFi highway.

5GHz vs 2.4 GHz: Most newer home networks have both a 5GHz and 2.4GHz network; you'll notice the names of the network reflect which is which: SmithHouse2.4 or SmithHouse5.

Your 5GHz network is typically less congested and provides a faster and more reliable connection. However, the 2.4GHz frequency works better further away from the WiFi router or if there are thick walls/floors between the router and your laptop, tablet or other device.

Under normal circumstances, your home network highway is more than adequate for your family’s computing needs. However, with virtual school and teleworking adults, you may notice some latency as your network struggles to process so many simultaneous requests. The following suggestions may help.

  1. Switch your PC to your 5GHz connection to take advantage of the faster speeds to help with web conferencing and other collaboration tools.
     
  2. Shut down unnecessary WiFi devices to increase bandwidth.
     
  3. Shift your schedule to be online during off-peak hours.
     
  4. Try moving your device closer to the router or even connect a network cable from the router to your computer.
     
  5. Allow more time when uploading videos, academic papers or other files or upload during off-peak times.
     
  6. Record video sessions for viewing later with less reliance on live content.
     
  7. If your video call is slow or glitchy, switch to audio only, which uses less bandwidth.
     
  8. Join meetings using your mobile phone.
     
  9. If you try an online session, but the connection is poor, let other participants know and try again later (or record the session).
     
  10. Online meetings may take longer, especially if they include presentations. There may be lag when presenting so encourage participants to let you know if they experience delays.
     
  11. What if your home wireless network has an outage?
    • First, let your co-workers know about the problem.
    • Next, if you have unlimited data, use your cell device for temporary internet access. For example, use the mobile version of ECU tools like Office 365, Webex.
    • Set up a hotspot using your mobile device's cell service until your WiFi is restored.
    • Be understanding that it will take time for your service to be restored.
    • Remote control support is available from IT to help your needs.

Working securely

  1. Be mindful when working with sensitive data. Do not print or store sensitive data on your home computer and be aware of family members inadvertently reading your screen.
     
  2. Be aware of new phishing scams pertaining to the coronavirus. ECU will never ask for your passphrase. Also, NEVER email your passphrase.
     
  3. If you receive a suspected malicious (phishing) email, forward the message to phish@ecu.edu or report a security concern to ITCS. We will analyze the email, and if it's malicious, we will remove it from all users' mailboxes. See this article on how to recognize phishing email from the Federal Trade Commission.
     
  4. See these ITCS knowledge base security-related articles to learn more.

Do I need to log in through the ECU VPN?

The ECU virtual private network (VPN) creates a secure tunnel between our home computer and ECU resources. Most teleworking can be done without logging in to the VPN network.

  1. Working through a VPN is only necessary when connecting to a few ECU services that REQUIRE it, like Banner admin pages, or if you are connecting to ECU services using a public or unsecured internet connection.
     
  2. Checking email, retrieving files from OneDrive, streaming anything or meeting online does not require a VPN connection. This will save the bandwidth for a user who actually needs it.
     
  3. You do not need to VPN for access to the EHR. From your web browser, go directly to https://vidantapps.vidanthealth.com/vpn/index.html. NOTE: Vidant blocks off-site access to the EHR by default for non-physicians. For off-site access to the EHR, submit the EHR Modify User Access service request.

When you think about all the IT services that must work together to deliver a video conference to a PC at someone’s home or download a file, it’s really quite amazing. Over the coming days, you'll receive more tricks for successfully working online.

Details

Article ID: 67613
Created
Thu 4/8/21 3:50 PM
Modified
Thu 7/22/21 1:45 PM