COVID-19 Effect on Internet Usage (2)
Some changes in internet usage that may occur as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are WiFi delays and congestion, VPN delays, and delays on mobile networks in specific clusters with no corresponding change in the number of users on a network. Out of about 144 million American workers, at least 42 million (29%) are capable of working from home. There are tendencies that more Americans may be urged by lawmakers to work from home, and this may affect the network in several ways as identified.
WiFi Delay and Congestion
- A change in internet usage as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is a delay in family (home) WiFi networks due to data demand via TVs as well as tablets from family members trying to "stay connected and entertained." At the same time, office WiFi networks will remain underutilized or experience low usage.
- Among 42 million American workers, about 29% can work from home. WiFi delay and congestion around residential areas will be as a result of an increasing number of workers that will require WiFi to work from home along with TV traffic.
- About 61% of households across the United States have WiFi. Consequently, workers residing in these households would be most like to utilize a WiFi connection to work remotely as the need arises.
- Following the outbreak of COVID-19 and stay at home instructions issued for residents of the United States to curb the spread of the virus, several users have complained about frequent WiFi delays and congestion. One of the users that recently complained of WiFi delays is Richar Parr. On March 13, 2020, Richard Parr complained of "constant dropping out of WiFi" and low bandwidth on Sky Broadband WiFi and changed his connection to Bluetooth.
- One potential impact of the WiFi delay and congestion is the loos of consumers. Some WiFI consumers often abandon their service providers when their networks experience "constant dropping" \in WiFi for faster options
- "Copper-wire" connected users will be among the first consumers to be affected by network congestion and delays. This congestion will result in slow VPN connections. VPN services often get transmitted via "copper" wires (such as EFM or SDSL) or fiber-optics.
- This congestion is the result of the high number of employers that use "virtual private networks" or VPNs to establish secure, dedicated communication channels for remote staff to access their office networks from homes in a safe manner as they usually do at work.
- Typically, businesses offer or provide adequate network capacity for everyday network activities of a few employees that usually work remotely. With large-scale shifts (such as more users working at home due to COVID-19), the requirements to establish more VPNs could spell temporary trouble. The process of adding VPN capacity might take hours, days, or maybe weeks for some companies.
- The potential impact of slow VPN connections and network delays may be consumer dissatisfaction, poor reviews, and possibly the loss of a customer. One VPN service provider within the United States experiencing slow or delayed connections is FastestVPN. A user of FastestVPN recently complained of a slow VPN connection that "barely connects after waiting" and keeps disconnecting after successful connects.
- Due to delays in VPN connection, a consumer known as Flexi McNoddle recently rated FastestVPN with a low rating of 1-star rating on a scale of 5. The user admonishes people to avoid the service because it is a waste of money.
Mobile Usage To Remain Constant With Increased Service Bottlenecks
- Among phone companies (including those offering mobile telephone services), there would be underlying confidence in the performance of their networks because the quantity of traffic will not necessarily change during the period of the COVID-19 outbreak.
- While the overall volume of traffic on mobile phone networks will remain constant, what will change will be usage patterns. There will be more mobile phone traffic (bandwidth requirements) originating from residential areas. Less mobile phone traffic will originate from office locations, but the number of users per mobile network provider will remain the same.
- Since the volume of overall phone traffic will not change, the impact will be that companies (including mobile phone network service providers) that offer home broadband would experience service bottlenecks for network nodes where there is a convergence of multiple lines.
- A mobile phone company that is experiencing congestion or service bottlenecks is Mint Mobile. These bottlenecks are frustrating, lead to low customer reviews, and make some customers unable to perform some jobs that require some already congested services.
- A user that required mobile network services to work remotely for a company recently revealed that Mint Mobile ruined his/her life. Although Mint often has excellent service in the area, most of the time, the network operator experiences "network congestion," leading to the inability to receive official calls. Service bottlenecks cost the customer his/her job and led to some missed appointments.