Preparing Your Computer and Home for Remote Use

When preparing to use your computer for virtual classes/testing at home you need to test the equipment in use at your residence.

  1. Laptop or desktop computer: make sure it is up to date and in good working condition

  2. Microphone: most laptops have built in microphones or an external microphone (such as a USB or headset can be used)

  3. Webcam: a camera may already be built into your laptop but as with a microphone you can use a USB external webcam as well.

  4. Internet: either commercially provided or you can configure your phone to be a wireless hotspot. Many providers have been changing their policy concerning data caps. Contact your provider for more information.

Tips for improving internet connectivity

Moderate internet usage - Network capacity is shared by everyone in the home. If you are trying to connect to a Zoom meeting while someone else in the home is trying to download software or stream a movie, it may slow down your connection. Also, think about the device that might be using the internet in your home; cell phones, AI (Google Home assistant or Alexa) or gaming consoles may transmit data even when not in use.

Close other programs on your computer - Many programs run in the background and may be using bandwidth and slowing your computer down. Programs that sync regularly (OneDrive, Dropbox) may also be slowing your computer down. Close any of the programs or apps that you are not using at the time to allow your computer to use its resources for what you are doing. You can check the menu bar in the lower right-hand corner on a Windows PC and the upper right-hand corner on a Mac for programs that are running in the background. Restarting your computer might help also.

Get closer to the router - Moving closer to the router may help with your Wi-Fi signal. The farther away you are the more the signal degrades. You may want to consider extenders to reach the outlying areas of you home. Old homes with thick walls and plaster may not allow a Wi-Fi signal through to the next room. Are you able to connect to the router with an ethernet cable? This will allow for a faster more reliable signal. Resetting your router and modem can help. If these suggestions don't help, consider using a mobile hotspot (check with you service provider first so you don't get charged any fees) or talk to your internet service provider to see if they are having any problems with their system.

If none of this helps, you may want to consider upgrading your internet service to accommodate for the increased usage of your network resources.