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Congestion When Working From Home


One word you'll often hear in the context of Internet service, especially nowadays with the high volume of remote work, is "congestion". Congestion refers to slow internet speeds caused by heavy usage on a shared Internet connection whether that's fiber, cable, or DSL. Below are a few tips to get the most out of your internet under these heavier loads.

WiFI
If your devices primarily connect via WiFi, keep in mind that many factors can affect the speeds you'll see. One such factor is the generation of wireless technology supported by both your router and your devices. The most common of these are WiFi 4 (802.11n) and WiFi 5 (802.11ac), both of which operate on two different frequencies. The newer 5GHz frequency band should be used whenever possible. The older 2.4GHz band has slower maximum speeds, and is susceptible to interference from other devices such as cordless phones, microwaves, and wireless baby monitors. 

VPNs
While working from home many customers will be using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) provided by their employer. VPNs are a useful tool to provide a secure tunnel for accessing work servers and applications. After using a VPN be sure to disconnect the VPN before going back to web browsing and before running speed tests to avoid sending your internet traffic unnecessarily over your company’s network. While connected, VPNs route all of your internet traffic through your company’s network which may be located in another city or state, before the traffic is sent to its final destination. To avoid unnecessarily loading your company’s network and seeing lower speeds and response times, be sure to disconnect the VPN. Also note that speed tests done over a VPN don’t actually test your network, they test a combination of your company’s network and your network, slowing down the results substantially.

Equipment
If you consistently see download speeds of approximately 94Mbps, it's possible that a piece of equipment needs to be upgraded from 100Mbps to Gigabit ports. Older equipment that is not Gigabit capable will typically be limited to 100Mbps by design and typically tests out at 94 Mbps.

Speed Tests
Due to the many factors affecting wireless performance, we ask that you run speed tests from a device with an Ethernet port connected directly to your router to get accurate results, in addition to wirelessly. If the speeds when plugged directly into the router are fine, but those over WiFi are noticeably slower or inconsistent, it means WiFi is the issue and there are a number of things you can check to ensure the best possible performance. If your router displays separate wireless networks for 2.4GHz and 5GHz, make sure to use the 5GHz network whenever possible. For example, Belkin/Linksys devices append ".media" to the end of 5GHz networks, so if you have one network named "MyWifi" and one named "MyWifi.media", choose the latter. If our technicians helped you set up your router, there should be two networks, one ending in "2", one ending in "5". In that case, select the network whose name ends in "5". Wireless signals also become weaker as you move further away from the router. If your router is located in your basement and you notice weak or intermittent wireless connections while using your laptop upstairs in the master bedroom, consider moving the router to the main floor of the house or moving closer to the router.

If you have questions about your Internet speeds, please contact our support either by calling 651-888-4444 or by email at support@gigabitmn.com and we can answer your questions over the phone, and schedule a technician dispatch if necessary to further assist. 



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