Internet Connection Information for Remote Environments

A strong internet connection is a top priority for students learning remotely and for University employees who are telecommuting.

For students, Information Technology Services (ITS) suggests a minimum internet speed of at least 20 Mbps but recommends speeds of 50 Mbps or more.

For faculty and staff [per the BGSU Telecommuting Policy, Section 2,F,A], off-campus worksite internet requirements are as follows:

The worksite must have adequate broadband internet access to allow remote work. The employee is responsible, at their own cost, for the purchase, setup and installation, support, and maintenance of internet service at their off-campus location. Employees who work seventy-five per cent time or more away from campus should have at least fifty Mbps connection from their ISP for software updates and automated backups. Service will degrade below this level.

Maintaining an adequate internet connection is the responsibility of both the Internet Service Provider (ISP) and the telecommuting employee/student. While the ISP can promise to provide speeds that meet the University's requirements, the connection setup and number of users connected to the network at your off-campus worksite must also be taken into consideration.

The below information and resources can help you ensure that your home/remote network connection is adequate for working, teaching and learning remotely.

If you experience general slowness with your Wi-Fi, it can be helpful to first determine if the issues are the fault of your ISP, or your home connection. Use this article to help determine the cause of your internet slowness and possible solutions.

If you experience issues with your home internet connection, one of the first things you can do is test your internet speed and compare it to the speed you should be getting from your ISP. You can usually find this on your bill or provider's website. This is usually a good first step to take if you have noticed poor audio/video quality on remote calls, meetings or classes.

Note - The speed listed is usually the top speed, so it is likely that your performance will be a bit below that (but not much)

When considering your optimal internet speed, it is important to look at both download speeds and upload speeds.

Download speed refers to the amount of Mbps of data per second it takes to download data from a server in the form of text files, images, videos, audio; etc. Activities like streaming music and videos all require data download. 

Upload speed refers to the number of megabits of data per second the user can send information from their computer to another device or server on the internet. Sending emails, video conferencing and playing live, tournament style games all require data uploads.

Depending on the activities you plan to engage in online, one speed may be more important to you than the other and ISPs often offer plans with higher download speeds versus upload speeds. 

Routers are a very important piece of equipment where internet speeds are concerned. In some cases it may make sense to use your own router rather than the router provided by your ISP.

ITS suggests/recommends that faculty, staff and/or students use a wired connection whenever possible and if choosing to purchase an independent router, please use a dual band Wi-Fi router that supports 802.11n / 802.11ac specification. We also recommend routers with a built-in firewall for added security benefits.

If you already have a router, be sure that the age of the router isn't the culprit for slow internet speeds. If the router in question is over five years old, it is probably a good time to replace it. In 2015, the Federal Communications Commission removed restrictions allowing new routers to be 20 times more powerful than they were before.

Also consider where your router is placed (in a central location, out in the open) and how large your home is. Larger homes may require multiple routers and/or wireless access points (WAPs) to help improve signal strength.

Below are some resources to help you determine the best home router for your particular circumstances.

The following will help to better secure your router:

  1. Change the router's default password
  2. Add encryption to the router
  3. Keep the router's software up-to-date
Visit your router manufacturer's website for information on how to perform the above.

We understand that at times, when working or learning remotely, you may need to connect to the Wi-Fi at a public place, such as a coffee shop. Please keep the following in mind if/when you do so:

  • Expect that any public network you use may be insecure. This includes networks you may use at family or friend's homes, at cyber-cafes, libraries coffee shops or hotels.
  • Do not access sensitive/restricted data while connected to public networks.
  • Do not download/install software updates when connected to public Wi-Fi. For more information on this topic, review this FBI advisory.