A Back-to-School Home Internet Checklist
Ensure a smooth online learning experience with a secure, fast home network. Use our checklist to optimize your Internet for the school year ahead.
The days of backbreaking textbooks are out. More and more they’re being replaced with laptops, tablets, and a barrage of educational software. That said, as schools increasingly rely on technology to assist students in learning, your home Internet speed and setup can make or break your child’s educational journey.
This, among many other reasons, is why it’s important to ensure your home network sets your kids up for success. Below, we’ll explain how to ensure your Internet is optimized for the bandwidth and security challenges of this school year and beyond.
The Trend of Technology Use in Schools
Today, students research information, submit homework assignments, and learn new skills via the Internet. That’s not even mentioning how smartphones have helped to give students instant access to knowledge. These technological advancements in education show why having a reliable, fast, and secure home Internet connection is more important than ever.
Whether it's a virtual reality app that takes students on a historical journey or a biology quiz app, the reliance on online learning tools is undeniable and will only continue to increase.
Steps to Prepare Your Home Internet for the Added Bandwidth
1. Determine Your Data Needs
Before the workload gets too overwhelming, you should have an open discussion with your child and their teacher about the type of online activities they’ll be participating in and the technology needed to make it as easy as possible for your child.
Will they be streaming videos, participating in online classes, or downloading data-heavy course materials? Regardless of the activities, understanding what they’ll be doing will give you a clearer picture of your Internet data needs and the best plans for your household.
2. Conduct a Speed Test
You might have the best computer, laptop, or mobile devices in the world, but they don’t mean much without a reliable and fast Internet connection. The good news is you can use an Internet speed test to gauge the speed of your uploads and downloads.
If you’re not happy with the results, it might be time to:
- Upgrade your current plan
- Invest in new equipment (modem/router, WiFi extender, etc.)
- Choose a new Internet service provider
For the most part, if you have a small household with minimal Internet needs (aside from academic use), you should be fine with 25 Mbps or more. However, if you’re planning on streaming movies, playing video games, and have many high-bandwidth users learning and working from home, you’ll most likely need a much faster plan.
Related article: What Internet Speed Do I Need? | Internet Speed Quiz
Related article: How Much Internet Speed Do College Students Need?
3. Examine Your Router and Modem
Your router and modem are like the backbone of your home network. If they’re not up to par, it can cause slower Internet speeds and less secure connections. That’s especially true if your router is outdated or incompatible with your needs.
Sometimes, where you place your router can have a major impact on performance. With that in mind, centralized, elevated positions are usually the best for optimal WiFi coverage.
Related article: A List of Approved Modems & Routers by Provider
4. Keep Online Safety At The Top of Mind
Staying safe online is important for adults and even more crucial for children. Other than virus scanning software, there are a few more steps you can take to keep your child’s information and hardware safe. For starters, ensure your router’s security settings are regularly updated.
Next, be sure to implement age-appropriate parental controls to restrict access to potentially harmful webpages and manage screen time (if necessary). Further, you should:
- Talk with your child about Internet safety as often as possible.
- Teach them about cyberbullying and when to report it.
- Push the importance of keeping their personal information off of social media platforms.
Related article: Everything You Need to Know About WiFi 6
5. Update and Secure All Devices
Every Internet enabled device is a potential gateway for malicious threats. That’s why it’s very important to update all of your devices to the latest operating system. This typically comes with security patches.
In addition, you and your student should have unique passwords for each online account. If the number of passwords starts to overwhelm you, a password manager can help you keep track of them.
6. Manage Non-Essential Devices
In today's connected world, you don’t just have to worry about computers and phones sucking up bandwidth — there’s so much more. For example, smart thermostats, home security systems, and even some modern refrigerators connect to the web.
While these devices are cool and convenient, they also consume bandwidth — in some cases, a lot. If you want to ensure they don’t interfere with your child’s schoolwork, you can schedule these devices to limit their Internet use during specific times.
Need to Switch Internet Providers?
Sometimes, even after optimizing your online setup, you might realize your current Internet service provider (or even the type of Internet connection you have) isn't meeting your needs. If you’re searching for the perfect provider, we can help. Discover fast, reliable, and affordable home Internet providers in your area today.
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