Helpful tips

Slow or unstable Internet connection

There can be many causes for a poor Internet connection, and therefore many things that might help, while others will be beyond your control.  Here are some things you can try if you need that connection to complete your work.

  • Reduce the local load.
    • Ask other users in your home to limit their use when you must use the connection for something critical.
    • Configure devices like phones to stay on the cell phone network instead of connecting to wi-fi if your plan allows.
    • Avoid streaming video on your network if you need to use that network for critical access.
    • Maybe some devices can be turned off
  • If possible, try to do critical online work at off-peak times
    • Traditionally high network use times included evening hours mostly.  
    • With many people working from home, that likely causes a much wider band of peak usage probably from mid-morning through late evening.
    • Think about a time you normally wouldn't want to be on the Internet (early morning or late evening, perhaps) and those are times others likely don't want to be online.
  • Structure your work so that low bandwidth use tasks can be done during times of network congestion.
    • Messaging, email, and moving text files around like you might do to submit assignments in Blackboard use less bandwidth than streaming videos.
  • Other
    • If you are having difficulty maintaining a remote meeting online, try to do so without video if you can.  Google meet assigns a phone number users can dial in to if video isn't necessary or isn't working correctly.
    • If you use a private VPN and don't need it, you might get better performance by turning it off.  This doesn't apply to the Sonicwall VPN for campus access which has its endpoint on campus.  If you need the university provided VPN to do your work, then it's not going to be the bottleneck where bandwidth is concerned.  With that said, it is a shared resource where number of licenses are concerned, so don't tie up a license if you don't need it.  If none of this bullet point makes sense to you, then it's probably not applicable and you can ignore it.
    • Poor performance can arise from congestion at any point between you and the resource you're trying to access.  That means that sometimes some things will be working great while others are abysmal.  If you have more than one thing you can be working on, try switching to a different task.
    • You can do a speed test.  Navigate to or use Google's built-in speed test to get a relatively accurate idea of what your current network speed specifications are.  Ultimately it's going to tell you the approximate bandwidth available to you between your computer and the speedtest computer.  That's helpful if you are experiencing poor performance accessing a resource but the speed test tells you there is sufficient bandwidth.  That likely means the congestion is closer to the resource than it is to you and that you might get good performance accessing a different resource.  If the speed test is very low, then the congestion is more likely close to you and then doing everything you can to reduce your local load may be helpful.  It could also mean everyone is hitting that speedtest server at once, which means the feedback it provides isn't all that helpful
  • Move files locally if you can
    • If performance is poor, working on local files will be better than remote files.  You can download files stored on your campus network drives at
  • IT is actively monitoring critical resources on campus and ensuring servers maintain a comfortable working margin of resources.  If we notice this margin is shrinking we will add additional resources where we can.