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Are you trying to crank out some work during the pandemic at home, but your remote access experience just isn’t cutting it?
You are not alone! I mean that quite literally, too. One of the compounding issues for many of us working remotely right now is the sheer increase in load on residential internet connections. Some internet service provider (ISP) networks are better equipped to handle this added load than others, and your location can play a big part in the equation. So what are some common reasons your work VPN connection might be responding like a hibernating bear?
If you are connected to a signal-based network such as Wi-Fi or are on a mobile internet connection, low signal strength will likely cause your connection to drop due to excessive packet loss (data not being received).
To resolve this issue, try using a wired connection or a signal booster, which can help increase the reliability of your connection.
When connected to a network that is shared with other individuals — such as coffee shops, airports, apartment complexes, or homes with multiple bored individuals desperately trying to chase away the doldrums using Netflix or downloading the latest video game — heavy utilization of the internet connection can cause your work VPN connection to become slow or unstable.
Whenever possible, try to connect to a connection that is not heavily utilized when you require consistent connectivity to your VPN.
For the vast majority of your home internet needs, you will focus on the download aspect of the service level you pay for. For instance, let’s say you pay for broadband connectivity with up to 100 Mbps download and up to 10 Mbps upload capability (i.e., 100Mbps/10Mbps). This might be enough for most activities that are “download” focused, such as streaming movies, downloading modern video games, playing online games, surfing the web, etc. But when it comes to “upload” focused traffic (e.g., participating in a video conference, uploading working documents to your company network over a VPN), it just might not cut it!
For those of you who live in areas where fiber connectivity is available, great! Many fiber service levels start at 50Mbps/50Mbps or even 100Mbps/100Mbps. Connections that provide fast upload speeds are better equipped to handle the increased traffic that relies on fast, stable upload connectivity.
High latency network links, such as those using satellite-type uplinks, may cause excessive data losses that result in a connection timeout. Most consumer-grade satellite internet services are not well suited for high-usage remote work scenarios.
Provider issues can be difficult to diagnose, but each time you access a website, network traffic is going through multiple routers, firewalls, and network nodes before it gets to its destination. These scenarios are best evaluated by network experts along with your ISP support team.
Using the same ISP at home as what your company uses could potentially improve your connection, as it can shorten the route that your VPN traffic takes, further lessening the potential for interconnection issues. Please speak to your IT team to see if this might be the right option for you.
Not all VPN protocols are created equal, and some are much faster than others by design. For instance, an IKEv2 VPN will outperform L2TP or IKEv1 VPNs (if configured properly). Find out what type of work VPN connection you have, and let us know if you have any questions!
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