Stay-at-Home Orders

Work, School, & How it Affects Your Internet Pipe  

In these unprecedented times, COVID-19 has radically changed our lives, moving our working and learning into our homes. In the past weeks, volunteer groups have delivered food and necessities to the elderly; we’ve learned to take classes via video meetings; and we’re tipping delivery workers with toilet paper and hand sanitizer!  

While this pandemic has been a challenge to our country, we are mastering these challenges with reliable internet. However, fast and reliable doesn’t mean flawless. We’ve all experienced the occasional webpage that takes longer to load, video meetings with less-than-perfect quality, or lag while streaming video. Where is the problem? Will it keep occurring? It can be a lot of factors, so let’s run down a few sources. 

How many devices are using the Internet at the same time? 

How many devices are asking for an internet connection? According to Cisco, the average number of connected devices in a typical American home is 8 per person! That sounds high, but consider how many smartphones, smart TVs, voice assistants (like the Amazon Echo Dot), computers, gaming consoles, smart watches and more you have in your home. Each device consumes your internet while active. If you’re working from home and your children are taking online classes, you may run into bandwidth starvation. Here are helpful tips! 

  • Video meetings: Video meeting platforms are bandwidth efficient, consuming about 1 Mbps of bandwidth. So, if you have a 25 Mbps connection and four video meetings going concurrently, you have used about 5 Mbps. If you have a good router and minimize the usage of other devices, you should be fine. Make sure you aren’t streaming TV, music or gaming while on video meetings.  
  • VPN connections: VPN connections don’t eat a lot of bandwidth by themselves, but your remote applications may not be efficient. Don’t expect the same performance out of your business applications that you would if you were in the office.  
  • Streaming services: Netflix can use up to 7 GB of data per hour! If you have multiple streaming sessions on multiple devices, you will eat through your connection quickly. Even YouTube can be a bandwidth hog, using up to 12 MB/minute!  
The equipment in your home 

Let’s look at the equipment you’re dealing with.  

  • Router: This is the most important piece of equipment in your house! It provides the communication to every device. 
    • If your router is 3+ years old, it doesn’t live up to today's Wi-Fi standards.  
    • Home routers are priced based on several features, including the total amount of traffic it can efficiently process.  
    • Consider a central location for your router. 
    • Blue Valley has a Managed WiFi service where the routers are made for great throughput, multiple users, and has WiFi extenders to help with coverage. Also, check out our TechHome bundle as its the perfect complement to our Managed WiFi
  • Your computer/tablet/smartphone: The equipment you are connecting to the internet needs to be up to the task too.  
    • Make sure you have installed the latest updates for your operating system and applications. 
    • Backup your files. 
    • Turn off or remove apps you don’t need. Almost every app uses the internet in the background. 
    • Make sure your anti-virus is up-to-date. 
    • Practice good cybersecurity. The cybercriminals see COVID-19 as an opportunity to take advantage of you. If you don’t have this in place, check out our TechHome offering
  • Smart devices: Smart TVs, video doorbells, lightbulbs, vacuum cleaners, etc. are computers in their own way. Keep them updated and off when not in use. 
Everything beyond your house 

Our internet usage has changed overnight and getting these services ready to handle the extra load takes time. If you see performances issues with certain websites, streaming services, or applications, the problem may be on their end, so please be patient.  

Blue Valley is here for you!  

We are here to help make your ‘stay-at-home’ experience as pleasant as possible. 

  • Our offices are currently closed to the public. We are available by chat or phone during regular business hours and have remote technical support available by phone 24/7. 
  • We are not currently performing in-home installations. 
  • We have signed the Keep Americans Connected pledge and are offering bandwidth upgrades to help you connect to your business and schools. 

We are not just your communications provider, we are your neighbors and friends! Together, we will weather this storm!