Work from home during the corona pandemic – Can the home internet handle it?

The coronavirus pandemic has compelled millions of people home across the US to work from home, a trend that began in early March when the pandemic had just begun spreading in the country and affected only about a thousand people. Twitter was among the first American technology company that started the trend by ordering its Asian workers in Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea to work from home as the countries grappled with the pandemic, followed by similar orders for its entire workforce. Soon other technology giants like Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, and many others joined the trend, and in no time, a massive workforce made their home the workplace. The move aimed at limiting the spread of coronavirus, which has become the norm across the rest of the world too. 

The WFH brigade

Today, it is not unusual to find the husband and wife using the home internet, usually, a broadband package supported by a robust Wi-Fi network for office work while the children occasionally using it for streaming movies. However, as more and more people join the bandwagon of WFH, the stress on the infrastructure, especially the internet, is posing serious problems. After all, the resources now being used on a commercial scale as never created for it.

The overloaded internet

Never did the U.S. witness such mass change in behavior of the working people, as well as students as the homes, are now serving as office and schools with online lessons gaining traction during the times of widespread lockdown. While the move has been unprecedented, so also the enormous load on the internet, which is now bursting at the seams and severely affecting performance. Users are suddenly experiencing that their systems are freezing, unable to cater to the huge demand that has grown exponentially. The internet’s underlying structure cannot handle the strain because the home networks and home internet services are unable to adjust to the enhanced demand.

The internet is snapping

The experience of those working from home and facing frequent disruption of internet connectivity seems nothing unnatural because the infrastructure design is capable of handling only a certain peak of activities at specific times of the day. For example, people usually get online and use the internet the most for home entertainment during the evening. But now that large volume of work and learning has shifted to homes, there are new peaks in internet use as many users share the same internet connection throughout the day and using apps that consuming huge data usually meant for schools and offices. 

Broad and services are tripping

The enormous traffic that the internet is now handling is putting excessive stress on the broadband services that deliver the internet to homes. The broadband services that cater to households are simply not meant for handling the huge demand for bandwidth and data transmission resulting from work from home and learn from home, which requires enterprise-class services that can handle large scale operations with ease.   Moreover, home routers can be finicky and compound the problems.

We must now wait and see how the internet supports the new culture of work and learning from home in the long run.