Home Broadband - 3 Things to Consider When Working At Home

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The last 18 months and three lockdowns certainly brought a lot of stress and challenges for many of us, with juggling home working and home schooling being a major frustration.

The pandemic accelerated a lot of things and home working is certainly one of them. With many who have never worked this way before having to try and find a space at the dining table or even working from the dressing table in the bedroom.

But space wasn’t the only issue. Homeworking also put a whole new level of pressure on the home broadband. Before our ADSL connections only had to balance Netflix, FaceTime and a games console, which already put the bandwidth under undue stress. Suddenly our home broadband was trying to balance the younger kids’ Google Classroom, our online Teams meetings and the teenager’s requirement to be constantly Xboxing – the house was instantly full of people needing fast and reliable broadband 24/7, something that had never been demanded from consumer broadband before.

We all suddenly needed the bandwidth, speed and resilience of a £300 per month leased line, in our home but without the hefty price tag!

Home broadband solutions that aren’t quite right

I’ve seen lots of solutions to home broadband offered, ranging from people selling separate business broadband lines for home workers to SD-WAN solutions for traffic shaping on home apps and even some 4G solutions. However, I’m not sure that any of these work as not many of us need or want a second line.

The SD-WAN idea has some merit but again it’s a pricey option and not one that many of us want, especially if we don’t want to work from home in the first place. The more obvious answer is to improve the connection you already have.

Consumer broadband is designed for household internet traffic which usually runs at different hours to business traffic. It’s provided at a cheap price point with basic support and reasonable endeavours to deliver on bandwidth.

What homeworkers need is a business package at a consumer attractive price point with three main differentiators:

1. Better hardware

Most consumer providers are selling connectivity ‘en masse’, meaning the router needs to be low cost to hit the price point for the market. This means limited features and controls for business applications. Pay a bit more and you get a far superior product by way of reach, functionality and control.

2. Traffic control

Consumer networks are normally very closely managed and will likely control and shape your traffic to make sure you don’t use them too heavily. However, business networks tend to be completely unlimited and prioritised. Plus, with a high spec router, things like traffic control including the prioritisation of key apps becomes possible.

3. Support to match

All consumer services have this challenge, how many consumer brands can you think of that provide a great service? You’ve heard of the price, quality, service triangle? Consumer broadband is built on price so both quality and service tend to drop. Business providers focus more on the value of the product and therefore offer a better balance of the three elements: a slightly higher price combined with better service and quality.

So, for those of us planning on long term homeworking or hybrid working, it makes sense to “business grade” your broadband with a business DSL or fibre broadband connection. A connection coupled with high-quality routers, wireless access points, dedicated account management and support. It’s a solution that will make our homes a reliable place to work, so we can do an awesome job wherever we are.