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Working and Learning at Home Slows Internet Service: What You Can Do to Speed Things Up

Marcie Casas / Creative Commons

With so many children being told to get their lessons online and parents trying to work through the Internet, some consumers are finding their service is slow. 

Sandy Hausman talked with one expert who explained why you might have trouble online, and what you can do about it.

Credit Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech's IT security chief offers advice on keeping your Internet service speedy as millions learn and work online.

COVID-19 is testing the nation’s capacity for Internet traffic according to Randy Marchany, the IT Security Officer for Virginia Tech.

“You’re going to have the kids that are trying to get to their school – K-12.  You’re going to have college kids who might be at home, husbands, wives that are working from home, and then somebody wants to watch Netflix at the same time.”

Networks owned by universities or school systems are designed to handle lots of data, but he says  a household’s Internet provider might not be up to the job.

“Think of it as a town with lots of Interstate highways running through it, but when you get off the Interstate you start going into smaller roads, and by the time you get to your neighborhood, you’re on a standard two-lane road that may or may not be paved, and that slows down your speeds.”

Some companies will meet the increased demand by lifting usage caps – giving customers more than they paid for.

“Are you paying for a basic Internet service package? Are you paying for a big giant movie package or data streaming? I suspect what they will do is they will open up the floodgates so to speak, and I would ask my Internet service provider if they’re doing that.”

Your home router could also be slowing things down.

“If it’s over two years old, then you probably should think about upgrading.”

Marchany says you should consider it an investment since working or learning from home could be required for months. 

***Editor's Note: Radio IQ is a service of Virginia Tech

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