Middlebury

Tips for Improving a Home Network

(Visit this page again easily -- http://go.middlebury.edu/homenetwork)

In most cases your home network works just fine for you and your family. When trying to participate in a video conference call or a class, however, you may run into bandwidth constraints. In those cases you may experience choppy audio or video. Zoom may notice and send you a message along the lines of “Your Internet Connection is Unstable”.  

Here are some steps you can take that may address those stability issues, listed in priority of effectiveness:

 

  1. Close applications on your computer that may consume bandwidth in the background unless you’re actively using them. (Don’t close Zoom while on a Zoom call!)
    • Microsoft OneDrive
    • Google Drive File Stream
    • MS Teams
    • DropBox
       
  2. Make sure your laptop screen is open even if working with external monitors,
    • the wireless antenna in a laptop is located in the screen. If your laptop is now at home and you are using a docking station, the laptop may be closed if you have external monitors and this greatly reduces the range you can be from your wireless access point.
       
  3. Turn off other computers that aren’t actively in use,
    • or at least disable their WiFi or wired connection temporarily.
       
  4. Ask family members to stay offline temporarily while you’re in an online meeting, conference, or class.
    • No Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube, gaming, or streaming music.
       
  5. Temporarily turn off devices that use the network, including:
    • TELEVISION DEVICES:  Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, etc.
    • MOBILE PHONES
    • PERSONAL ASSISTANTS:  Siri, Alexa, Google Home, etc.
    • VIDEO CAMERAS:  Ring doorbell, Nest Hello, any video camera that uses the network and can upload video to cloud storage
    • GAMING SYSTEMS:  XBOX, Playstation, Nintendo Switch, etc.
    • SMART TELEVISIONS
    • MUSIC STREAMING:  Spotify, Amazon Music, YouTube, etc.
       
  6. Close other browser tabs that aren’t in use, like Facebook or other pages that may auto-refresh.
     
  7. Try an Ethernet cable rather than WiFi.
    • An Ethernet cable is often “faster” than WiFi, but it can also bypass a problematic WiFi configuration.
    • If the Ethernet cable works better than WiFi, it may be worth seeking assistance in the setup of the WiFi router.
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