Ofcom, avoid microwave while working from home

Update from Ofcom on working from home, avoid using the microwave at the same time as wi-fi

This may sound like a very strange request, however Ofcom are offering this as part of their advice on improving internet speeds.

Millions of UK citizens are now having to change their working habits, with working from home being a legal requirement in most circumstances.

So we now have millions of people trying to use their personal internet for business and to also stream the films, which is one of the things that we are still allowed to do.

Broadband providers are feeling the impact with BT Openreach reporting a 20% surge in internet use.
Ofcom’s advice ranges starting at the blatantly obvious, like downloading films in advance rather than streaming them when someone else may be trying to make a video call, to the more bizarre.

“Did you know that microwave ovens can also reduce wi-fi signals?” Ofcom asks.

“So don’t use the microwave when you’re making video calls, watching HD videos or doing something important online.”

Other tips include:

  • Position your internet router as far as possible from other devices that may interfere with the signal, such as on a table or shelf rather than the floor
  • Keep your router switched on
  • If you’re carrying out video calls or meetings, turning the video off and using audio will require much less of your internet connection
  • Try starting those calls at less common times, rather than on the hour or half hour
  • For the best broadband speeds, use an ethernet cable to connect your computer directly to your router rather than using wi-fi
  • Where possible, try not to use a telephone extension lead, as these can cause interference which could lower your speed.

There are many devices that can interfere with router signals these include but are not limited to: cordless phones, baby monitors, halogen lamps, dimmer switches, stereos and computer speakers, TVs and monitors.

Ofcom also advised making calls on a landline where possible, citing an increase in the demand on mobile networks.

“If you do need to use your mobile, try using your settings to turn on wi-fi calling,” Ofcom said.

“Similarly, you can make voice calls over the internet using apps like Facetime, Skype or WhatsApp.”

The regulator also suggested disconnecting devices that were not in use.

“The more devices attached to your wi-fi, the lower the speed you get,” it said.

“Devices like tablets and smartphones often work in the background, so try switching wi-fi reception off on these when you’re not using them.”

Ofcom is not the only organisation taking action to maximise internet speeds during the lockdown.
Streaming platforms including Facebook, Netflix, Disney+ and YouTube have already reduced the quality of videos attempting to ease the strain on internet service providers.

Internet companies say they can handle the pressure though.

“We’re not seeing any significant issues across our broadband or phone network,” an

Openreach spokesman said.
“We’ve seen a circa 20% increase in daytime usage over our fibre network, but that’s in line with what we expected and not as high as the usage levels we see during evening peak times.”

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