How Much Internet Bandwidth Do You Need to Work from Home?

Mar 16, 2020Blog

It’s true, we are in a crisis with the spread of Coronavirus. As a result, many companies and college campuses are instructed to close their doors and allow employees and students to do their work from home to try to stop the spread.

If you have a job that requires a computer, this is possible. Especially if most of the work is typing on a computer, fielding chat messages and replying to emails.

However, most home WiFi networks are not equipped to double as a workspace. Often our home networks do not have enough bandwidth and WiFi speed to support all of the data we need to do our jobs.

Your internet might be fine enough to stream Netflix and let you surf the web, but is it fast enough to facilitate video calls for meetings with your boss, coworkers or clients? What about to complete your classes online?

For some of us, it simply cannot be done.

So, what happens when millions of people are trying to connect to WiFi at the same time to work remotely? What if you live in a rural area where broadband internet is already a struggle?

Look at bandwidth as a freeway. If everyone is driving on it at once, there’s little room to get through. Because of this, you’re going to need WiFi that is fast enough to support  and push your online activity through the congestion.

Here’s what you need to know:

How many Mbps do you really need to get your job done?

You might not need the fastest WiFi speeds available to get your job done. But you will still need reliable WiFi, which means you need fast enough WiFi.

Some internet service providers (ISP) will try to sell you the fastest internet speeds available. While that might sound ideal, there is such thing as too much speed. What we mean is that you might end up paying more than you need to.

If you are curious about what your current WiFi speeds are, you can run a WiFi speed test.

To make sure that you are able to successfully work from home, you need to make sure your WiFi can handle it. And you can do this without breaking the bank.

The first step is to consider what is absolutely necessary for your work:

  • Do you need to download large files quickly? What about uploading?
  • Will you need to use Skype, Zoom, GoToMeeting or other HD video call platforms?
  • Do you need to watch videos?
  • Do you only need to answer emails and use Slack, Teams or another messaging platform?

Depending on your answers from above, here’s an outline of how many megabits-per-second (Mbps) you really need to work from home. Each WiFi speed tier is based on how many devices you have connected to your internet and your activity:

Up to 25 Mbps recommended for:

  • 1-2 devices connected to the internet
  • Surfing the web
  • Email
  • Social networking
  • Moderate video use

50 – 100 Mbps recommended for:

  • 3-5 devices connected to the internet
  • Surfing the web
  • Email
  • Social networking
  • Online multiplayer gaming
  • 4K video streaming

150 – 200 Mbps recommended for:

  • 5 or more devices
  • Surfing the web
  • Email
  • Social networking
  • Online multiplayer gaming
  • 4K video streaming
  • Sharing large files
  • Live streaming video

Depending on the work you need to do, you can make a decision from the WiFi speeds above about how fast your WiFi needs to be.

If you have a good WiFi speed for your necessary work, then you are good to go.

If your WiFi speeds are not fast enough, here’s what you can do to increase your speed:

Increase your WiFi speeds to work from home

The first thing you need to do is make sure that you have talked to your ISP to get WiFi setup. If your WiFi is all set up, but you need to boost it, there are 5 things you can do right away.

Here’s what you can do to make sure that your WiFi speeds are fast enough to handle working from home:

  1. Check your router placement – is it centrally located and away from obstacles?
  2. Boost your WiFi signal – a strong signal means faster WiFi.
  3. Check if updates are available for your router – an updated and protected router performs best.
  4. Extend your WiFi range to every corner of your home – no more dead spots.
  5. Invest in managed WiFi to take the workload off of your shoulders – if you are busy working, you won’t have time to deal with manually managing your whole network and all of your connected devices.

A WiFi management platform like Optim will help you get the best performance of your internet and WiFi network. Which you are going to need to get your job or class work done. Hands down. 

When your WiFi is optimized to perform its best, you don’t have to worry when a crisis strikes. Make sure that your WiFi home network is at its prime, today. Call you internet service provider to get Optim set up in your home today.

Want to learn more about optimizing your home WiFi? Check out Actiontec’s Industry Articles and the Actiontec blog for more helpful articles like this one. 


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