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Common Fixes for Home Networking Issues

Manage and resolve bandwidth problems

When you work from home, you may have less bandwidth available to you than you had at the office. If your internet speed is slow or you have issues connecting to Stanford applications or virtual meetings, try these troubleshooting tips to speed up your work.

Quick fixes

  • If you are connected wirelessly, try moving your laptop closer to your wireless access point or router.
  • Try connecting your computer directly to your router via a wired Ethernet cable, instead of relying on the WiFi in your home (newer laptops may need an adapter).
    Note: If you use a Mac, you may need to change your System Preferences to prioritize your wired network.
  • Limit non-essential activities (such as Netflix streaming or gaming) by family members on your home network while you are working. Consider scheduling internet time for family members who are using bandwidth for non-essential activities.
  • To prevent or address issues with Zoom:
    • Before a Zoom meeting, test your audio or video connection on the Zoom test site at zoom.us/test
    • If you are connecting from a laptop, plug the laptop into wall power. Battery use can adversely affect video quality.
    • If you are experiencing audio or video issues, turn off your Zoom video camera during a call. Sending only audio to meeting participants preserves bandwidth and improves audio quality.
    • If audio issues persist after you turn off video, turn off your audio and connect to Zoom audio using your cell phone or landline.

Other options to address bandwidth problems

If your connection problems persist, try one or more of these steps:

  • Reboot your router according to the instructions from your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
    Note: Your internet router can take up to 10 minutes to fully reboot.
  • Reconsider whether you need to use the Stanford Virtual Private Network (VPN) because using VPN can adversely affect your bandwidth. For example, you do not need to connect via the VPN to use Stanford's web-based applications, such as Office 365, Google Docs, Slack, or Zoom. For more information, see the Learn More section of the Stanford VPN website.
  • Adjust your Code42 CrashPlan backup so that it uses less bandwidth. Learn how to do this.
  • If your home WiFi offers a choice of connecting at 5GHz or 2.4 GHz, connect to the 5GHz band. This higher band is less crowded but has a smaller range.
  • Change the WiFi channel if the one you are using is too crowded. Check your router or Access Point manual for instructions on how to change the channel. To scan networks for a less congested channel, use a  WiFi analysis tool.
  • If your home network cannot support your needs, try tethering your mobile device to your computer to connect to the internet over the cellular network. Stanford Mobile clients can turn on tethering by calling the Service Desk at 5-HELP on your softphone or 650.725.4357.
    Note: Tethering costs an additional $10 per month for AT&T or Sprint, but is provided as part of the basic package for Verizon and T-Mobile.

How to test your bandwidth

You can test your connection speed to the Internet using links such as speedtest.xfinity.com, speedtest.att.com, or fast.com.

Note: To hold a Zoom video conference, you’ll need up to 3 Mbps of download and 3 Mbps of upload. See the Zoom bandwidth requirements.

More resources