CNN and others in the media have been asking me whether the internet can handle the increased load of residential, work-from-home usage due to the coronavirus. That’s a good question. While most people will find the internet will work just fine for them to work at home, others will experience problems. Which are you?
First, let’s understand how this works. You pay for a connection to the internet through high speed connections from your phone company, cable television company, wireless carrier or other Internet Service Provider or ISP. They then connect you to the internet, which is the giant network everyone uses.
To connect to the internet, you must use an ISP or Internet Service Provider
While I believe the internet can handle this change in access, the real question is about your connection to the internet through your ISP or Internet Service Provider. This is where the real question should focus.
This is where bottlenecks and troubles often occur. I think we can expect more troubles with this excessive load in the next few months.
Networks are configured to meet demand, not exceed it. If there is a sudden demand, users are often blocked or slowed down.
Think about this in wireless terms. With wireless data, networks bring in portable cell sites on truck beds to increase access for events. That is planned for in advance. The coronavirus is everywhere and there is simply not enough additional capacity.
Networks can increase capacity, but that will take time and money. Some will do this in certain areas. Some will do this. Others will not.
We must realize, access to the internet is not all the same. There are many different kinds and types. Some are faster than others. Some handle increased usage in neighborhoods better than others. Some are wire line and others are wireless.
Wire line and wireless internet connectivity
So, we either connect to home internet over a wire from the carrier into our home which connects to a Wi-Fi device. Or we connect to our wireless network using our smartphone or other device.
That means most of us have at least two ways to access the internet.
Within each of these, every telephone company, cable television company and wireless carrier offers internet. And with the rollout of 5G, wireless carriers increasingly offer incredibly fast connections. This will become even more attractive as we move forward and as 5G spreads.
Within each category of ISP, there are different quality providers. Remember, just because two companies offer the same kind of service in the same way, their reliability, speed and quality is often quite different.
Some carriers are simply much better and must faster than others.
The amount of internet we use will not increase
We must remember, the amount of Internet usage will not likely increase just because we are using it from home. For some it will. Example, people who watch TV or movies on the net rather than working. However, many others will just move from the office to home.
Internet usage will originate from residential connections compared to a commercial connection at work.
This will be fine for the average worker who does not need a heavy-duty, ultra-fast connection. The connection they have at home will be fine for most users.
Those who require more bandwidth, a faster and more reliable connection have different needs. It’s very likely they already have a high-speed connection at home since they most likely do work from home already.
Those who do not already telecommute and who are not prepared may have demand that outpaces their home Internet connection. If this is you, it’s time to upgrade your connection.
AT&T, Verizon, Xfinity, Spectrum, Altice offer wire line home internet
Other problems may come from the service provider you use. Example, it has long been known that high-speed Internet from a phone company is typically more stable than that of a cable television company.
While Cable TV Internet can be fast, it has never been able to handle the large number of neighbor connections at the same time as well as telephone companies Internet connection.
That’s why internet connections from your cable TV company often slows down at the end of the day and on weekends when everyone is home and on the net.
Cable TV internet slows down when many neighbors on at same time
I have several different connections to the internet from my home and I have noticed a real drop-off in connection reliability and speed with my cable TV internet connection.
In addition, not all cable TV companies offer the same kind of internet connection. That’s the same with telephone companies and wireless companies. Some are better than others.
However, don’t expect just because you have a big brand name cable TV company that your internet will be great.
That is often not the case. Things are different depending where you live even with the same provider. Service quality and speed is often much better in some areas than others.
AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, Sprint offer wireless internet
Plus, we all know the big-name phone companies like AT&T and Verizon, and wireless carriers like AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and Sprint. But there are countless smaller wire line and wireless carriers all across the nation.
The quality, speed and reliability of these companies Internet service are all very different. If you have been a customer for a while, you generally know what you can expect.
If what you have always had is good enough, it will likely be good enough for the next few months as the coronavirus runs its course.
However, you may experience slowdowns with certain providers. The crowded internet connection in many neighborhoods will be taxed to the limit while others will hum along just fine. Plus, some neighborhoods are upgraded to ultra-fast speed. Others are not.
So, which kind of neighborhood do you live in? That’s the real question. You should know based on your previous usage. Have you had any problems in the past? You can fix some problems. Others, not so easy to fix.
There may be ways to increase your speed and reliability. Call your ISP and have a conversation. If you can, it will cost more, but you will generally be happier.
The post Kagan: Can home and mobile internet handle increased COVID-19 usage appeared first on RCR Wireless News.