As more and more people take on working from home either full or part-time, having a fast and reliable internet connection is a must.
What minimum speed do I need to work from home?
As a general rule, allowing 10Mbps of for each member of your household is a good idea. However, the right speed for you will depend on how you’re using your broadband.
For example, if you’re only using the internet to send emails and browse the web, this would be considered light use, but more bandwidth-heavy activities, such as video calling (Zoom, Skype etc.) and downloading large files will demand more from your connection.
It is also important to consider how many devices you will have connected to your WiFi at any one time. So, even if you only have a few members in your home, if they’re connecting and using both their phone and laptop to access the same connection, this can have an affect on your broadband's overall speed.
Consider the placement of your router and the coverage you need
When setting up your router, try and place it in an open area, unobstructed by furniture, walls, and electrical appliances, as this can interfere with your connection.
The construction of your home could be impacting your ability to get a decent Wi-Fi signal and where you place your router can massively affect your wireless coverage.
To shield your router from irritants such as dust, you might think that keeping your router in a cupboard or somewhere else out of the way may be best, but that isn't always the case. Here are some tips on placement for your router:-
- Keep your router in the open, away from any thick walls or other obstructions - such as large pieces of furniture - which may lead to interference or overheating.
- If possible, place your router as close as possible to the centre of the house. This will mean that your signal can reach as many room as possible.
- Avoid having electronic devices such as cordless phones and baby monitors, as well as appliances such as microwave ovens, in the vicinity of your router as these can negatively impact your Wi-Fi signal.
- If your router has external antennas, place them vertically to increase coverage.
- Place your router in a high position - such as on the top of a shelf. This will help ensure the signal is as clear and unobstructed as possible.
Something else to consider with your broadband deal is the coverage you’ll get. If your office is set far away from where your router is placed, you may want to look into getting a WiFi extender with your deal to bolster the coverage throughout your home.
Do I need business broadband to work from home?
In most circumstances, a standard home broadband connection should be adequate to work from home. However, depending on the kind of work you do, you may benefit from a business broadband deal.
A business broadband deal will give you more security and phone capabilities, a static IP address (this allows you to use your connection for business-specific features such as hosting your own website or domain name server, or remotely connect to your computer from another PC), dedicated customer support, and a more powerful Wi-Fi router. Some providers, such as BT and TalkTalk also prioritise business broadband traffic over its residential broadband customers.
Business broadband is often home broadband, so if you only work from home select days of the week, then you may want to consider whether. But the cost of a business broadband connection can be claimed asa business expense.
Can I use my home broadband for business?
If you’re working from home, and especially if the situation is not permanent, using a home broadband package should be fine. However, if several members of your household work from home or even use the internet for school or entertainment, it might make sense to install a separate connection for your home office.
But this would be entirely dependent on the complexity of your work and its reliance on the internet to succeed.
Can I use my mobile phone as a hotspot to work from home?
You can turn your mobile into a portable Wi-Fi router and use it to connect your work laptop through a process known as ‘tethering’.
Most smartphones have a tethering option activated via settings. Once enabled, it creates a wireless network that other Wi-Fi enabled devices within its radius can then connect to.
This can be a great short-term solution if your main WiFi goes down during work hours, but most mobile phone providers.
It's important to remember that not all network providers will include tethering as part of your monthly data allowance, and choosing to tether in this instance can become expensive quickly.
Most mobile phone providers will also cap the amount of data you can use each month depending on the plan you have chosen. So, if you don’t have an unlimited data plan, you might find that you quickly exceed your monthly data allowance.
And bear in mind that if you intend to connect your work laptop to your mobile WiFi, it will use more data. This is because websites will load in their desktop form rather than in smartphone mode.
Should I worry about usage limits?
Regardless of the broadband package you choose, most will have unlimited broadband included. This means that you will be able to use the internet as much as you want with no caps or restrictions in place. However, with unlimited broadband, some providers may still impose certain policies such as fair use or traffic management policies.
Traffic management policies, otherwise known as ‘speed throttling’ is when a broadband provider adjusts download and upload speeds over its network at peak usage times (typically between 4pm – 8pm) to ensure all customers can enjoy a stable connection.
If you think this might interfere with your work, you may want to seek out a broadband deal that has “truly unlimited broadband”, meaning you will avoid any usage caps, fair use or traffic management policies.
depending on the provider, unlimited broadband doesn’t always mean “unlimited”
Compare broadband deals
We find deals from all the top providers and help you switch.