In the wake of office and corporate campus closures due to COVID-19, being set up properly to work and learn remotely have never been more important.
As you plan to work or learn from home for an extended period, there are a few key areas to focus on which will set you up for long term success. Let’s explore each one to help plan for the coming months.
If your home network isn’t configured properly, your remote work or kids’ e-learning is going to be miserable. You might think that your current setup is just fine, but consider adding the additional strain of more gaming, streaming and video conferencing. A poorly designed network will start to show its cracks pretty quickly when taxed with more traffic than it was designed for.
Here are some factors to consider when evaluating your network:
Upload/download speed: How much are you paying your internet service provider (ISP – i.e. Verizon or Xfinity)? Using a calculator can help you figure out the right package. It’s pretty easy to rack up a 300 megabits per second (mbps) package for a family of 5.
Router: This piece of gear acts as the conductor for all the network traffic in your home. Which one should you get? Just like anything else, it depends. Most homeowners may be fine with the router provided by the ISP, while others may benefit from an upgraded router for performance or security reasons. Many large companies have specific requirements around telework. Make sure to check with their IT department before buying anything.
Wireless: This is the category we hear the most about at Livewire. Often it’s because the ISP router can’t push the wireless signal everything it needs to be, creating dead spots. This is where a great wireless mesh product or hardwired wireless access points make a huge difference. If you have a limited budget, investing in your wireless infrastructure will go a long way to bringing peace to the home.
Companies vary on which telepresence platforms they use, but hardware tends to be fairly agnostic. The question really to ask is whether you might want a better camera, better lighting, better sound or anything else to improve your online meetings. You could’ve taken a selfie and posted that to your LinkedIn profile, but you didn’t. Ask yourself why? Appearances matter and making some small tweaks can really change how you’re perceived in an online get together.
If your kids’ school hasn’t moved to e-learning yet, it’s a good time to prepare. Do they have the right laptops, chromebooks or tablets? Do they work properly on your network?
Last but not least, for the endless hours you may all be spending together as a family, now is a great time to make sure you’re able to stream all the apps you need. Consider this a great time to upgrade any old set top boxes (Apple TVs have been out since 2006!) or cut the cord. There are a ton of resources to help you DIY or a bevy of tech professionals out there to help configure it all.
As always, this one is a matter of personal preference. If you like tinkering with technology and have a good grasp on how things go together, you’ve probably already taken the plunge. If you want peace of mind or a second set of eyes to make sure everything’s configured properly, consider hiring a home technology pro. There’s no better place than the CEDIA Pro locator to help in your search for the right partner.
In the words of George Ellis: It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.