As the working world was forced to adapt in order to protect national economies, millions of working professionals have left high-rise buildings and traditional office environments, instead working from their own kitchens, dining tables and spare rooms.
In this newly adopted way of working, we can’t help but wonder about the long-term sustainability and suitability of home Wi-Fi networks.
Seán Keating, CEO at Vilicom explains that there is no shortage of daily internet users in the UK: 2019 saw a peak of 45.1 million users each day. But with the huge exodus from your regular office space, can our current home Wi-Fi solutions keep up with the rigorous demands presented by our new world?
Prior to our current state of worldwide lockdown, less than 8% of the global workforce were deemed to be remote workers. Working as a digital nomad is undoubtably on the rise, but even at present, remains far from the norm. So, does that mean people are unprepared for this new way of working? Single person residencies may be amply supported by off-the-shelf solutions, but families of three or more could quickly suffer a bottleneck in bandwidth and connection speeds.
The average working day for most people accustom to new-age digital practices typically includes joining a plethora of teleconference calls, continuous connections to web-based tools, plus the essential streaming of your favourite tracks to get motivated. But with kids taking school lessons via Skype, playing online games and streaming all manner of TV shows, movies and music, your bandwidth can soon become strangled to unusable speeds.
Research conducted in 2019 showed the average UK household enjoyed download speeds of 54.2Mbps, with upload rates of just 7.2Mbps – figures that fall well short of the promises of many fibre service providers and symmetrical broadband packages.
But how can we plug the gap for the many UK residencies lacking in ‘superfast’ 24mbps+ speeds? Quick-fix solutions such as range extenders, switching devices between 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies, or measuring connection speeds with web-based diagnostics tools don’t tend to present the most sustainable solutions.
Sometimes, basic firmware updates and sitting closer to your router just aren’t enough. This is where mobile connectivity can really make a difference. Harnessing the power of mobile connections could hold the potential to help the masses struggling with stable connections during our new world as we all continue to learn and adapt together.
As 5G looms somewhere in the not too distant future, early adopting countries are already seeing huge benefits in connection speeds. Initial reports show average boosts of between 127mbps and 270mbps over traditional connections.
But mass rollout of 5G is still some way off, so it’s important not to forget the abilities of current tech: 4G. In Ireland, the Health Services Executive has already adopted a mobile-first method: distributing a large quantity of 4G dongles to staff; ensuring reliable connectivity as they continue to support the vital operations of the health service remotely.
After many months of working from home, and many global enterprises continuing to adapt and overcome, it seems more likely than ever before that remote working is here to stay, in one guise or another.
With such huge positive impacts on the working and domestic lives of employees, insufficient technology shouldn’t ever represent the constraint or limitation in adopting this new way of working. If there was ever a major shift in consumer demand, it’s now. But until we’re presented with new solutions to help mobilise our home broadband packages, going mobile with 4G could be your most viable option to bring you up to speed in this new reality.
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