An image of a home office set up, along with a desktop computer, a laptop and a mouse. Working from home has become an environment that many of us have become familiar with recently. However, home offices often aren’t set up as effectively as usual places of work. This means you may
not be able to guarantee access to the internet all the time, or that you may not have the speeds you need to work efficiently. Below are some steps you can take to ensure that you have the best possible working from home set up.

Device and workspace set up

Doing internet speed tests is a great way to check how fast your internet is performing. Websites like, run by Ookla, gives a good indication of how fast your internet is at any given time. If your internet is slower than what it should be, there are a few things that could be causing this such as:

  • The location of your modem – avoid putting your modem behind appliances like your TV or tucked away in a cupboard.
  • Network traffic/bandwidth - when lots of people in your area are using the internet at the same time (like after 3pm on school days), this can make your home internet run slower.
  • If your computer is affected by malware – computer viruses can make your computer run slow, freeze, or crash a lot.

If you think any of these things might be affecting your internet speed, there are a few things you can try that might help.

Limiting any unnecessary internet activity

If anyone in your household happens to be watching Netflix while you’re in a Zoom meeting, it’s a good idea to ask if they can stop streaming for a while. Streaming video content, music, and video chatting take up a significant amount of bandwidth, so this could be impacting the quality of your calls or stopping you from accessing the internet.

Check your home office location

Setting up your home office near your Wi-Fi modem can also be helpful. Wi-Fi signals often struggle to travel long distances or through thick walls, so having your modem near your home office is a good way of improving internet speed.

Invest in extra tech

If these steps don’t work, there is the option of purchasing a Wi-Fi extender. Wi-Fi extenders act as a spot-fix for areas in your house that may have trouble receiving internet. The extender essentially picks up Wi-Fi signals and pushes them to wherever you Wi-Fi extender is in your house. If your home office has a weak connection, this could be an option.

However, Wi-Fi extenders don’t improve internet speed, and can’t fix issues that come from your in-home wiring.  

If your internet drops out:

It can be incredibly frustrating when your internet drops out while you’re working from home, especially while you’re on an important call or working to a deadline. If you need a quick fix for an internet outage, try using your mobile phone’s hotspot to get back online quickly.

When you are able, try turning your modem on and off. If you have an NBN Network Terminating Device (a small black box that connects to your modem), the issue could be with this device, so restarting can also be helpful.

If restarting your modem doesn’t work, it might be worth checking if there’s an outage in your area. Use your mobile data to check your provider’s website, give them a call, or check Down Detector to see if there’s an outage that hasn’t yet been reported. Some providers offer a credit to your account if you’ve been impacted by a service disruption or outage, so also explore their policies.

Finally, you can try contacting your service provider to see what they can do to help. If the outage is going to last longer than three days, it is your telco’s responsibility to ensure that you have an alternative connection when the problem comes from their end. For more information visit ACCAN’s Talking Telco resources.

Who to talk to next

If your internet still isn’t working after trying everything that we’ve outlined above, you might need to contact your provider to get your issue resolved.

Your provider can help you with a range of issues, including:

  • Loss of phone or internet connection including outages
  • Issues getting connected
  • Concerns about speed
  • Appointments, including where your technician hasn’t turned up
  • Service connection delays

If you believe that your provider has not handled your situation correctly or efficiently, get in contact with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO). The TIO can help with the following:

  • Faults, drop-outs, and poor coverage
  • Service disruptions
  • Billing mistakes
  • Missed technician appointments
  • Contracts

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