How do I cope WFH with unreliable WiFi?

By Chris Lord|6th April 2020

Wi-Fi, WFH, working from home, WiFi network

As we now face up to working from home (WFH), how many of you have experienced an issue with your Wi-Fi internet connection not working or being very flakey?  You are not alone, indeed the technical team at DCS have taken many calls concerning this issue both from colleagues, who have recently started working from home and from customers. 

So what could go wrong? Here are a few scenarios

  • Out of range / weak signal: a common one. Are you close enough to the Wireless Access Point (WAP)? The range will be very different depending on your environment. Obstacles that can really hinder wireless signals include walls (particularly thicker walls in older buildings) and metal obstructions (metal can also act as a mirror with radio waves – making signals bounce around the room).
  • Faulty equipment: the Wireless Access Point (WAP) or your device could be faulty. Does your device work well on another wireless network? Have you tried restarting your device? Are others working OK on the same Wi-Fi?
  • Age of the equipment: your router may need upgrading to improve the WiFi range and speed.
  • You live in a densely populated area: in many businesses or homes, there will be a lot of wireless networks competing for airspace. This is often a recipe for a poor connection depending on what you’re trying to do. You may find that there is a pattern to the connection dropping, maybe your neighbours are heavy WiFi users at a particular time each day.

Bear in mind that performance can be affected by what you are trying to do

Twitter, BBC News, YouTube, e-mails are all types of traffic that are not time-sensitive and can react reasonably well with poor or sporadic Wi-Fi performance. Traffic that is time sensitive such as voice and video calling (Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, VoIP enable PBX) really needs a quality Wi-Fi and internet connection if you need to rely upon it.

Bear in mind the types of traffic!

All Wi-Fi network providers allow the browsing of websites and picking up e-mails. However, some providers do not permit certain types of network traffic. For example, VPN (Virtual Private Network), remote desktop and CCTV traffic could all fall into this category. This could really hinder your working when out of the office.

Finally, it’s worth asking yourself a couple of questions to resolve your Wi-Fi problem

  • 1. If you have a smartphone or tablet capable of 4G, live and work in an area with good mobile signal and you have a generous data allowance, is there actually a benefit of turning your Wi-Fi on at all?
  • 2. Instead of connecting your laptop or tablet to the Wi-Fi why not use the “Personal Hotspot” (aka Tethering) feature on your mobile phone. This means you have your very own wireless access point to carry around with you and the experience will be the same every time.

Visit our Working from Home with DCS page on our website for more tips and advice