If you find that your home Internet connectivity is inadequate for online teaching or group meetings with Zoom, you have two options, both of which can be pursued at the same time: 1) take steps to optimize your current home internet connection; and, 2) upgrade your Internet service with your Internet Service Provider.
Optimizing Your Home Environment
If your connection drops or quality is poor, check those aspects of the network under your control:
- Disconnect from the University’s VPN before initiating or joining any Zoom meeting, as doing so may degrade performance for all participants.
- Whenever possible, use a wired ethernet connection between your computer and your modem/router. Wired connections are often faster and more reliable than wireless ones.
- If using a wifi connection, move your computer to the same room where your wireless router is located. Wifi signals attenuate when passing through walls or floors.
- Disconnect from your wifi network any computers, phones, smart speakers or tablets that are not currently being used while you hold your Zoom sessions. These devices may be consuming a significant part of your home network’s bandwidth downloading software updates, etc.
- Coordinate internet use with roommates and family members to lighten the load on the communications band.
- If your computer shows a faulty connection, or other devices in your home network appear to be functioning properly while your computer struggles, try restarting your computer, and limit open programs and files to those required for the course.
- If your computer shows a strong connection between it and your home router, but reports “No Internet Connection,” try restarting your home router. Sometimes this will restore connectivity. If no improvement, contact your ISP right away.
Upgrade Your Internet Service with Your Internet Service Provider (ISP)
Because of increased demand, there may be a longer than normal wait for an upgrade or repair of your Internet Service. The sooner you contact your ISP for help, the better.
What to Ask for:
Ideally: A service plan that provides a bare minimum upload speed of 1.5Mbs multiplied by the number of concurrent users in your household. Check your current Internet bandwidth using Speedtest. When ordering an upgrade, the higher the speed, the better. Below is the contact information for Comcast and AT&T, the two major providers of Internet service in the Chicago area.
Customer Support: (800) 266-2278
Online chat support: https://www.xfinity.com/support/
For general information on how Comcast is responding to customers’ needs during the Covid-19 pandemic: https://www.xfinity.com/prepare
Customer Support: (800) 288-2020 or (855)-430-0539
Online support: https://www.att.com/support/topic/u-verse-high-speed-internet/
For general information on how AT&T is responding to customers’ needs during the Covid-19 pandemic: https://www.att.com/help/covid-19/