Staying connected and strategies to optimize your home WiFi

The past month our research institute moved our workspaces into our homes. Though our physical research labs stayed behind, our teams are actively working hard to analyze data they have already gathered, writing grant applications and manuscripts for publication, recruiting volunteers for studies, as well as still continuing our outreach and education efforts giving virtual presentations and providing COVID-19 resources and information on our blog and social media channels. We feel very fortunate that we are able to telecommute.

Right now, we are each going through our own set of routines and challenges to adapt and merge our home and work lives even closer together under one roof, all while managing and caring for our children, pets and balancing meal and activity schedules. Being able to stay connected with our supervisors/managers who have showed great care for each team/labs’ well-being during COVID-19 has made the transition to remote working a much easier process for the institute.

As each week passes, there is a continuous adjustment to ensure technology meets our working and home needs to keep us connected to our loved ones from afar, as well as ergonomics of our workspace to be set-up in an efficient, safe and comfortable way so we can perform our job tasks. Last week, I received an email from our Institute’s Senior Technology Analyst, Dan Austin. He is often behind the scenes helping out with technology related needs and has created many helpful resources to our teams work remotely during this pandemic. Dan provided a helpful resource on trying to optimize your WiFi to run more efficiently and stronger on our workstation at home. I thought I would share:

How to optimize your WiFi at home:

  • Avoid sources of interference between your WiFi router and your computer. For example, don’t place your router or computer near walls, refrigerator, microwaves and fish tanks
  • Do not your tuck your WiFi Router away in a cabinet
  • Update your WiFi router firmware
  • If your WiFi router is 5 or more years old, consider upgrading your router
  • Make sure your WiFi router is secure and password protected to prevent outside sources from accessing. If someone else uses your WiFi signal your speed goes down (your bandwidth is divided up among all active users at any moment in time)
  • Add a WiFi extender, especially if you have walls or multiple floors between your computer and or if the router is far away from your computer
  • Check your WiFi speed tester (e.g. Speedtest)
    • This will allow you to make a decision to move your router and/or computer to optimize your signal
    • Begin by running the speed test, then move your computer closer to your router and repeat the speed test
    • If you see any pop-ups saying they will improve your Mac or PC’s speed do NOT engage or click on them

If you have given a talk or come to one of our events (Symposia or Summer Institute) or attended a meeting on campus like an Institute seminar, more than likely you have interacted with Dan. As researchers, we try to be tech savvy, but sometimes need a helping hand. Thank you, Dan for you helpful tips and your service to our institute for over 25 years.

Dan-Austin Headshot

Institute’s Senior Technology Analyst, Dan Austin, M.S.

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