Remote Work from Home During Coronavirus: How Will It Affect the Internet

In light of the Coronavirus outbreak, many countries have responded by imposing nationwide lockdowns and quarantine measures. This means closed schools, businesses and universities.  It also means that remote work from home during coronavirus is now a thing. And so is the concern about the Internet’s ability to handle the increased demand. Long story short; disruptions are possible.

Companies like JP Morgan Chase as well as Twitter are taking measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They are doing this by allowing their employees to work from home. This means about 29% of the American workforce or 42 million people, will now be working from home. The same goes for kids, who will place additional pressure on home networks by doing their school work from home.

The main goal is to prevent a system overload. As that could lead to the Internet crashing and thus affecting the connectivity of your home broadband network. The Internet will now function much like actual road traffic which often experiences congestion.

Who will be hit first? Stats show that homes and neighborhoods who operate on copper-wire connection, or lower bandwidth table will get the worst of it. On the other hand, a WiFi signal that’s utilized by the whole family will most likely experience delays and a fair amount of buffering. This is due to the increased demand on the shared network.

What Will Happen to Large Networks?

Larger networks are expected to keep working. This is because they’re made up of large fiber-optic cables that are spread out across the country and are able to shuttle between different cities.

According to the chief executive officer of AT&T Jeff McElfresh, they’re confident that they should be able to meet the demand in their system at this time. They’ll continue to serve their customers through TV, wireless and landline services. This will make remote work from home during coronavirus much smoother, thus softening the blow of decreased productivity levels.

If you’re wondering why the company is so confident in its infrastructure and ability to continue operating, it’s because they don’t expect in a change in traffic volume, but rather in patterns. Instead of coming from offices, the traffic will come from residential areas with less powerful connections. Bottlenecks are expected for cable and phone companies which offer home broadband connectivity. This is especially at particular network nodes that connect several lines.

Apart from remote work from home during coronavirus, social media services such as Skype, Facetime, YouTube and Netflix are expected to hog the most bandwidth and clog networks the most. This is because people are looking to the Internet to provide entertainment and respite from an otherwise extremely stressful situation.

Video streaming already accounts for about 70% of all network traffic. This figure is expected to rise due to increased streaming from kids and adults. They are all home from school and work and want to watch stuff at the same time.

Attention: Read before you continue

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Diffusing Impact

Lost video feeds, slow downloads and dropped connections are likely to cause massive problems. Of course, those in cold climate are somewhat familiar with these conditions. This is because home broadband capacity and connections tend to get interrupted during snow days.

However, this problem will vary region by region and depending on the time of day. It’s not like Internet glitches that have been experienced during Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday shopping or Walt Disney’s Disney+ launch.

Even with robust connections, an interruption in connectivity is expected. Some companies might buckle under the pressure of suddenly servicing thousands of employees and students working from home at the same time.

One of the best ways to get around this problem is to use a Virtual Private Network. The great thing about a VPN like IPVanish is that it enables you to utilize a different IP address. This way it seems like you’re browsing from another region than where you are. This is a great way to bypass regional slowdowns.

Keep in mind that businesses usually allocate just enough of their network bandwidth to cater to a tiny number of employees at a time. The resources are simply not there to support the increase in capacity, as more people are working from home now. A VPN can significantly relieve the demand on company networks. It does this by adding several hours or a few days to the company’s limited capacity, causing temporary issues.

What to Do?

The best way to avoid this is to prepare for the inevitable. Luckily, most large corporations have business-continuity strategies and contingency plans in place to deal with such events. Checklists are in place courtesy of information technology departments who have also briefed employees on what to do when a situation like this happens. Some companies have even enacted mock emergencies. They have tested their procedures in temporary offices or through employees that work from home.

Suffice to say, most companies are definitely in a good place when it comes to network preparedness.

Hackers Could Take Advantage of the Situation

Due to remote work from home during coronavirus, people are forced to use their personal technology for work. Employers are mostly concerned about capacity as well as other unexpected issues. This includes the use of personal computers on the network, weak passwords, poorly protected Wi-Fi routers and virus attacks due to shared network connections.

If just one device on the network gets infected, this could spread to the rest of the devices connected on the network, leaking industry secrets and compromising the company’s safety. Malware experts say that this is by far the biggest possible threat that could come from working from home.

The employees should definitely consider practicing good digital hygiene. They should also follow the correct cyber safety tips that could help them avoid attacks from opportunistic criminals. Hackers are paying attention to the situation and might already be looking for ways to exploit the pandemic. They can do this by spreading malicious software on unsuspecting users.

Are you affected by remote work from home during coronavirus? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below! We love hearing from you!


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