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What to you do if you encounter technical problems when working from home

PA Media logoPA Media 23/03/2020 By Jamie Harris, PA Science Technology Reporter
a person sitting on the keyboard of a laptop computer: People working from home during the coronavirus crisis might encounter technical problems (Joe Giddens/PA) © Joe Giddens People working from home during the coronavirus crisis might encounter technical problems (Joe Giddens/PA)

Despite assurances from internet providers that the UK’s broadband network is able to withstand the added strain, technical issues can still occur like any normal day.

So what should homeworkers do if they encounter problems? Here are some tips:

– Ensure you’re not working in a ‘blackspot’

Certain areas of the home may be too far from your Wi-Fi router, which could be causing dropout issues. Try working from a different area of the home to see if it improves.

Some providers, such as Virgin Media, offer a black spot scanning feature within their app, so users can scan each room to test the Wi-Fi strength.

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– Invest in a Wi-Fi booster

Wi-Fi boosters expand the reach of your Wi-Fi connection, particularly to those blackspots. These could also help deliver more consistent broadband with fewer dropouts.

– Use your smartphone’s data

Don’t forget your smartphone has its own internet connection wirelessly, so if you’re having trouble with your home broadband you could try this instead.

Make sure you check whether your mobile provider allows you to share – or tether – data and that you have enough data in your allowance, otherwise you could rack up charges on your bill.

On an Android phone you can tether by searching for “hotspot” in the settings.

On iOS, you can do this by going to settings, and selecting “personal hotspot”.

Related: 20 tips for working from home (Espresso) 

– Check who is using the Wi-Fi – and disable devices

Wi-Fi can only be shared so far. The more devices connected to it, the slower it will become.

In busy households – particularly those with children playing data-heavy games while schools are closed – it can be a particular problem.

Some broadband providers allow you to disable certain devices from receiving a connection within a smartphone app. Check with your provider whether they offer this and how to do it.

– Ask a neighbour

If your broadband is playing up, maybe your neighbour is using a different provider and might be willing to help?

This could be a good emergency short-term solution – and perhaps offer to return the favour should they need it in future.

– Know who to speak to at work

It might be that you are actually experiencing an issue with your device.

In this case it is better to be prepared before something happens, knowing contact details of the relevant IT department to get their advice.

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