Working remotely: How to check your internet speeds for web calls and workflow

Working remotely: How to check your internet speeds for web calls and workflow

Currently, there are a lot of people transitioning to working from home. How do we get everyone to understand that technology at home is different than the office? You may already be experiencing this, with slowdown on your computer or battery life of your equipment draining quicker. Sometimes, when pages load slowly, or we have trouble with calls and webinars, we blame our “slow” computers, when, in reality, it may not be the computer, but rather, your internet speeds.

So that you know I’m not a tech geek or expert by any means, I just learned how to optimize my work from a home network. One of the critical factors I learned early on was to look at something called bandwidth. Remote teams already know this, but if you are transitioning now, you’ll need help with speeds.

Bandwidth, as defined by Merriam Webster dictionary, is the capacity for data transfer of electronic communications systems. What does this mean, and why should I care? Bandwidth determines how fast information comes in and goes out of your computer and, thus, the speed of your work when you are remote.

Two standard terms that use bandwidth include:

Uploading: This is data sent from your computer. Think about sending emails, posting photos on social media, and using your webcam.

Downloading: This is your computer receiving data from the internet.

One way to check your upload and download speeds is to go to a website and run a speed test on your service. I like to use this website for testing the speed on my computer.

The bandwidth is measured in megabytes of data. For the table below (which is in Kilobytes – KBs), the conversion is 1 Megabyte = 1,000 Kilobytes

Here is a quick guideline from Skype as to some minimum and recommended speeds for the best performance on your computer. The table shows some of the basic communication speeds needed for your best performance.

If you find that you’re not inline with these speeds, or not achieving the best speeds, then check with your internet service provider (ISP). High-speed plans are available, as well as relief on data usage overages right now during the Covid-19 social distancing.

While this may seem basic to some of us that work remotely, this is likely new information, and readily available to share, with “new” remote workers. Sharing (from a distance) is caring. #CommunityStrong