Check your Wi-Fi speeds

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If you're working from home (or anywhere besides the office) then chances are you'll need Internet access. Don't just assume that you'll have 'good enough' signal from anywhere in the house; often times the indicator at the top or bottom of your screen is misleading and portrays a stronger connection than you really have. Remember that Wi-Fi gets weaker the further you are from the source and that concrete walls are not your friend. Running a quick speed test (or two) is an easy way to test your connection without getting too technical. Of course, if you have the option to be 'wired' with a direct ethernet connection, then that's even better for reliability.

My personal go-to is, but doing your own search for "speed test" will connect you with plenty of other sites that can get the job done. If you're not sure what to make of all those numbers in the results, don't worry; there's only three main ones that you need to look at.

  • The first and mostly commonly referenced is download. This refers to information your computer is receiving, like when you 'download' a file, or stream a video. 10 Mbps is enough to quickly download average size files and stream HD video.
  • Next is upload, which refers to information that your computer is sending. This includes tasks such as sending email attachments, syncing to cloud file storage, or sharing your screen/speaking during a video call. 3 Mbps is usually enough to maintain a good video call, but just like download speed, you'll probably want a faster connection if you frequently work with larger files.
  • The last number I look at is ping, and in this case, the lower the better. Ping is like a measurement of the reaction times between your device and other computers on the Internet. Your perception of whether things like opening a link feel quick and snappy is largely determined by this number. The higher the ping is, the slower and less responsive your computer can feel. It can fluctuate a lot, but generally your ping should stay under 100 ms; less than 30 ms is ideal.

If any of your results don't look right, then it may be time to consider a more powerful router or repeater, or moving your setup to a room that's closer to the current source of Wi-Fi. Friendly reminder - if there are multiple remoties in your house, you may need to double or triple the aforementioned upload and download speeds to make sure everyone has enough bandwidth to share!

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