Home Network Troubleshooting
These steps are intended to help you navigate the process of improving your internet connection, or finding alternative means to connect while still maintaining social distancing so that you can teach, learn, and work during the rest of this semester.
Check Your Connection and Restart Your Devices
If you are experiencing internet connectivity issues at your home, ensure that your computer and mobile device are successfully connected to the internet. If your devices are not connecting, restart your router to aid in getting you back online:
- Unplug or power off your router.
- Wait 2 minutes before plugging it back in.
- Wait a few more minutes and retry the connection.
- Note: hard-wiring your computer to the network will provide a more reliable internet (an adapter may be required).
If you go through these steps and something still isn’t working, you may need to contact your internet service provider for assistance.
Pause Spotify, Netflix, YouTube, and Other Background Entertainment
When it’s time for online work, be sure that the connection is as unburdened as possible. Talk with your family or roommates and agree on the best ways to facilitate online work each day. Setting up a schedule for work meetings, coursework, gaming, entertainment, etc. will help free up your internet resources.
Try Different Times of Day
With many more people telecommuting, carriers are experiencing network overload on some connections. Until they can complete emergency upgrades, you may have better success using the network at off-peak hours.
Connection Speed Testing
If you are noticing that your internet connection is struggling to keep up, running a speed test can help you know how much your internet connection can handle. It’s good to try multiple speed tests to get a fuller picture of your speed over time. To test your speed, run two or three tests at different times of the day using the Google Fiber speed test.
To Test Your Connection Speed:
- For the best results, close all applications before running the Internet speed test.
- Open your browser and go to speed.googlefiber.net
Here are some minimum connection requirements:
- For general web surfing, email, audio conferencing, or social media: 1 Mbps
- For video conferencing: 1-4 Mbps
- For standard definition (SD) video streaming: 3-4 Mbps
- For high definition (HD) video streaming: 5-8 Mbps
If you notice your internet connection is not able to handle the services, or your speed test is showing that you are not receiving the internet speeds you have purchased in your package, you will want to reach out to your internet provider.
Pre-Record Content and Lectures When Possible
The activity that requires the highest level of network performance is live-streamed video and audio sharing. To mitigate network issues during a live-streamed lecture or conference, be sure to turn off your camera and mute your microphone when not speaking. Discussion boards and chat rooms should not use the same level of bandwidth as live-streaming. We are encouraging professors and instructors to pre-record lectures and other video content whenever possible so that during this crisis, there is less need for the most bandwidth-intensive types of content.
How to Use Your Cell Phone As a Wi-Fi Hotspot
If your network connection at your home is insufficient, you can set up your smartphone to create a Wi-Fi hotspot that you can connect your computer and other devices to. Most cellular providers require that the mobile hotspot capability be set up ahead of time and charge a monthly fee for the service. To ensure your smartphone has this capability, confirm with your cellular service provider that your data plan includes mobile hotspot functionality.
Using a mobile hotspot drains a phone battery much faster than usual, and the hotspot may use a significant portion of your data limit. Depending on the cellular network, the speed of the connection may not be as fast as your home connection.
Below are some links to the leading cellular providers and their information surrounding their mobile hotspot offerings:
How To Set Up Your Mobile Device as a Hotspot
Resources for Connectivity
- FCC agreement: Providers will waive late fees, provide open hotspots, and will not disconnect service for lack of payment.
- Comcast COVID-19 response: Offering free Wi-Fi for two months to K-12 and higher education students. All Xfinity hotspots are free to the public during this time.
- AT&T COVID-19 response: Offering open hotspots, unlimited data to existing customers, and $10/month plans to low-income families.
- Verizon COVID-19 response: 15GB of high-speed data for wireless consumer and small business customers
From March 25 through April 30, wireless consumer and small business customers will see an additional 15GB of data added to their plan for no additional charge. New consumer and business customers can also take advantage of this additional data. Specifically:
For Verizon consumer and small business postpaid unlimited customers, 15GB of 4G LTE hotspot data will be added to your current plan.
For Verizon consumer prepaid and consumer and small business postpaid metered customers, 15GB will be added to your current standalone or shared data plan, which can be used for smartphones, hotspot, or other connected device use.
Standalone metered and unlimited Jetpack plans will also be provided an additional 15GB of 4G LTE data.
There is no action needed as the data will automatically be added to your plan.
- Sprint COVID-19 response: Sprint offers unlimited data to existing customers and allowing all handsets to enable hotspots for 60 days at no extra charge.
- T-Mobile COVID-19 response: Offering unlimited data to existing customers, and, coming soon, will allow all handsets to enable hotspots for 60 days at no extra charge.
- Charter Free Internet offer for two months: Offering free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription and at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll, call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households.