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For those living in rural and remote areas with limited or no access to broadband internet services, satellite internet can be a viable solution to be able to work from home. However available satellite internet is, it’s important to understand its shortcomings to be able to effectively work from home.
Working remotely over satellite internet is doable, but keep the following in mind to help manage your expectations and reduce frustrations.
Understanding Satellite Internet
Since it operates by sending signals from your device to a satellite orbiting Earth, satellite internet is available almost anywhere in the country. But due to the distance satellite signals travel and its somewhat limited bandwidth, satellite internet tends to be slower and have higher latency. These two factors alone can make working from home over satellite internet challenging and frustrating.
Lower Average Speed
Download speeds for satellite internet average around 100 Mbps; however, Starlink satellite internet speeds can reach up to 200 Mbps in some areas. 100 Mbps is plenty of speed to do most things on the internet, but it may take quite a bit longer to upload and download large files, and video calls tend to be lower quality. Your speeds will be even more diminished if there is more than one person in your household using your internet connection at the same time.
The high latency inherent in satellite internet connections can lead to delays in information transmission, which can be problematic for certain types of online activities. Video conferencing will especially be negatively impacted by these delays, which can cause frustration and difficulty communicating with others. While most work tasks like emails, document editing, and even non-interactive video streaming handle this latency without much disruption, it’s important to be mindful of this aspect when planning your workday and preparing for important calls.
Most satellite internet providers have a Fair Access Policy (FAP) to prevent network congestion by implementing internet data caps. Once you exceed your data limit, your internet speed might be throttled, which will slow your connection. Understanding your provider’s FAP and how it might impact your work is crucial. Try to schedule large downloads or uploads during off-peak hours when data usage doesn’t count towards your cap.
Bad weather can affect satellite internet. Severe weather, like dense cloud cover, rain, and snow, can disrupt the signal and lead to reduced speeds or even connection losses. It’s vital to have a backup plan, like a mobile hotspot or alternate workspace, in case weather-related disruptions occur.
Optimizing Satellite Internet for Working from Home
With the challenges and shortcomings of satellite internet in mind, here are tips to optimize your connection to reduce frustration and improve efficiency while working from home.
Test Your Internet Speed
Before optimizing your connection, it’s essential to understand the speed of your internet. Tools like testmyspeed.com can give you a clear picture of your current download and upload speeds. These figures are important as they affect how efficiently you can perform different online work activities.
Optimize Your Workspace
Try to set up your workspace as close to your WiFi router as possible for stronger connectivity. If you can, connect your computer to your router using an ethernet cable for the most reliable performance. If you can’t, consider using a WiFi range extender to increase the signal strength in your home. Consider a mesh WiFi system, which uses multiple devices to create a seamless and robust wireless network across a larger area.
Manage Bandwidth Usage
High-bandwidth activities like streaming HD video, large file uploads and downloads, and online gaming can slow your internet speed, especially if these activities are happening on multiple devices simultaneously. Try to limit these activities in your household during your working hours.
Optimize Video Calls
Video conferencing is a critical component of working from home, but it can consume lots of bandwidth. To optimize this, consider turning off your camera when it’s not necessary or reducing the quality of your video. Most video conferencing platforms offer this option in their settings.
Regularly Update Your Hardware and Software
Older hardware or outdated software can slow down your internet connection. Make sure your router firmware is up to date and consider upgrading if your current model is several years old. Regularly update the software on your devices too, as updates often contain performance enhancements and bug fixes.
Consider a Dedicated Work Connection
If possible, you might want to consider having a dedicated internet connection for your work. This can help to ensure that your work activities don’t have to compete with other household internet usage, allowing for a more stable and efficient connection.
Final Thoughts About Working from Home on Satellite Internet
Working remotely with satellite internet poses unique challenges. Understanding how it works and strategic planning enable productive remote work from anywhere. Managing expectations, solid communication with your team, and adapting to your circumstances lead to a frustration-free and productive work-from-home experience with satellite internet.
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