Everyone probably knows that Seattle was assaulted with a heavy outbreak of COVID-19. Consequently, they have faced shortages in medical supplies and food for the needy. But did you know that Washingtonians were facing internet outages? Seattle’s internet traffic spiked at the end of January and in a little over a month, it rose by 30%, which is usually typical of large events like the Olympics. It seems there may be some unforeseen fallouts due to Coronavirus.
Phone and Game Traffic
At the end of March, not just those in the Emerald City, but citizens across the entire country experienced outages lasting about an hour. Internet providers posit that WiFi phone calls and online gaming are the main causes of the increase in internet traffic. AT&T also disclosed that Netflix streaming was at an all-time high in that same month.
Lift your eyes from the west coast, 4 of the 10 largest cities have experienced slower residential internet. Part of the problem is residential networks, which were developed neither for large groups of active users nor for heavy upload usage.
All the video conferencing people are doing for work puts a huge strain on their network because of the real-time uploading of image and sound. If that was not enough, with all members of a household at home, using the internet at the same time, the network becomes choked trying to handle the intensive use.
What’s more, many who did not have access to the internet may be joining the network soon. In 2017, 12 million U.S. schoolchildren did not have home internet access. Now that schooling has moved to the homes, to aid those without internet providers have begun administering access to internet services.
Get More Broadband
To answer the call for peak performance, AT&T and Verizon acquired unused spectrums with the permission of the FCC. Which is exactly what you should do if you want to keep your home network running smoothly. Buying more broadband especially on the upload side is the single most effective thing you can do.
The next best thing is to upgrade your router to 5 GHz, which will patch the internet faster and resist interference from the many more devices on your network. If you want to get more involved try changing the channel your router uses, or if you want to get really technical change your DNS to Cloudflare or Google. For those business tycoons, when you are in an important meeting and you or your members cannot stay connected, turn off video for everyone except the person speaking.
With the internet of all things adversely affected by the pandemic, who can tell what other areas of life will be challenged? With every challenge, there is an answer, but it may not be readily apparent. No matter the arena, we can roll with the punches Coronavirus throws, just keep sharp!
Learn more about COVID-19 and the internet here!