Tips for accessing the internet from home for remote work or learning

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Your internet service

Depending on where you live, high-speed internet service may be readily available from one or more internet service providers (ISPs), such as AT&T, Brighthouse, Comcast, Smithville, and others. There are several websites where you can enter your address to see what services are available near you. In some cases, you may also want to consider satellite internet service (for example, HughesNet or ViaSat).

If other options are not available, you may consider using cellular service to access the internet from your home. Mobile hotspots are available from most cellular carriers. These units allow you to share internet access for all devices in your home.

At Indiana University, UITS Telecommunications also has MiFi hotspots available for departmental use. To request a MiFi device, submit a Departmental Cellular Request.

Service speed

The internet service speed you need depends on several factors, including how many devices you have in your home, and what you use them for. For basic guidelines, see the FCC's Household Broadband Guide.

Your home network

If you already have suitable internet service:

  • The bandwidth speed you actually receive is not always the speed you should be receiving with your service. Call your ISP to have them perform a line check; they can do this remotely and validate the speed your service should provide.
  • You can also check your bandwidth speed yourself. Using a wired connection directly from your router to your computer, visit Speedtest by Ookla to perform a speed test. If you are not getting the speed you think you should, call your ISP.
  • Consider replacing your modem or router. If you have an older model, it may cause intermittent issues.
  • If your modem and router are combined in an all-in-one unit, consider buying a separate wireless router to break up this functionality. Doing so requires disabling wireless on the all-in-one unit.
  • Where you place your wireless router in your home can make a big difference in usability. Place the router away from appliances that can cause interference (for example, microwaves). Also, placing the router near the center of your home usually provides the best results. Knowing the direction your router sends out a signal can be helpful for placement; check the router's manual for details.
  • If you have a large residence, you may also want to consider installing a mesh system. For more information, search the internet for "home networking mesh".
  • Make sure to secure your home network.

Your devices

If your home router is readily accessible, one of the easiest ways to improve your internet connection is to use an ethernet cable to connect your computer to your router. Wired connections are more stable, and usually have faster transmission rates.

If you are using a wireless connection:

  • Update your device's wireless software and drivers.
  • Turn off unnecessary WiFi devices. Check your router to see what devices are connected; you may find older devices that you no longer use.
  • When possible, make sure your devices are using 802.11ac (5GHz) clients. The 802.11b/g/n client space is usually more congested, and traditionally has more sources of interference than the 802.11ac space.

This is document bggn in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2021-09-20 16:19:31.