[techtalk] INTERNET - Improve Your Connectivity, Check Speed Tests

Darci Hanning darci.hanning at state.or.us
Wed May 27 12:35:11 PDT 2020

Greetings and welcome to this week’s issue of Tech-Talk!
Run a speed test to see if you can make imporovements



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WEBINAR RECORDING up for: Dealing with Difficult People & Situations

See the "Communications Tip" below
for the answer to a question posed in the webinar.

·     May 27: VIDEO: In Windows 10, Create Videos With Photos App
·     June 3: DESKTOP: Organizing Thoughts & Naming Conventions
·     June 10: INTERNET: Clever Ways to Search
·     June 17: LEADERSHIP & TEAMS: Six Questions You Must Discuss
·     June 24: WORD: More Tips and Tricks

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 This Week's Topic: INTERNET

1. ARTICLE & VIDEO ... Improve Your Connectivity, Check Speed Tests
2. COMMUNICATING ... Dealing with conflict on the phone vs. face to face
3. LEADERSHIP ... Do you ask?

[SPEED TEST]<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001YDX7ZCe4GdFTc7Bxzz-5rl0KkmbLM2R1LIs7kHpHeP0Nb4bS6NdT89uRkoRaRpmpZQ-2OQwZZi2KQCbJmHK-1z1u_WgxOPrrWiWnfTsj4Z0o_DY5AFClVw_fITybbOwPe5Mz88a7yjtvWRDvhbpZl-bLoDS1Eq4bUZiZwjJQm6E6H3YTFv0M7s4S8KPw5p5AJ0_KlrDQLGpUHFfuiLFmaQ==&c=ogPBr5UXtgPd-2FcCCZsFH-5QdTefsaji6_YS1s5Q1MSb4Pgs7esfg==&ch=PJFZ5POqaGGbWfFV1WGRxzYRL2DGPy4xa-Ai6Ltq-ucTRveE6H7Yag==>

Photo by Jason Chen<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001YDX7ZCe4GdFTc7Bxzz-5rl0KkmbLM2R1LIs7kHpHeP0Nb4bS6NdT89uRkoRaRpmpx88rayK-2srKuxdjVsCtS9PjWhsUpGn3zs6Q6q6rzNipo6I57nHTWGh8YV72LW8Xz5KyDHUmt4zZJbESQa3OzLRcWNa9v9Xth6J3lD0xfDVbCkE8LPJJlu7SMAbMTKoHeba4ga1ikdEXK_FaWc7yM9MXVN2rpc78qtSVS9phHi94H8rVzD6MicWtdqlSJCop&c=ogPBr5UXtgPd-2FcCCZsFH-5QdTefsaji6_YS1s5Q1MSb4Pgs7esfg==&ch=PJFZ5POqaGGbWfFV1WGRxzYRL2DGPy4xa-Ai6Ltq-ucTRveE6H7Yag==> on Unsplash<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001YDX7ZCe4GdFTc7Bxzz-5rl0KkmbLM2R1LIs7kHpHeP0Nb4bS6NdT89uRkoRaRpmpa8xaPIl77HaVmqDfSH4du_4RrM_rE_YRXIvfkPX6DxTW7hUpBfHpG9kzKzUkjMYlLK_VIsvz_FQFEo5gk89sQZFzF8UAncn1NarKo-CUgTA6G0ASThl4kEdmxZClTiYSXQRG07Ffvh_kL6kWARfMqKSilcho0JwG2-_2LKQieprOMlTV38VQ5J3HV1KpS8AKeyIay11433g=&c=ogPBr5UXtgPd-2FcCCZsFH-5QdTefsaji6_YS1s5Q1MSb4Pgs7esfg==&ch=PJFZ5POqaGGbWfFV1WGRxzYRL2DGPy4xa-Ai6Ltq-ucTRveE6H7Yag==>

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Questions about Tech-Talk?

INTERNET - Improve Connectivity, Check Speed Test


One of our subscribers contacted us because as she was watching a Tech-Talk webinar<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001YDX7ZCe4GdFTc7Bxzz-5rl0KkmbLM2R1LIs7kHpHeP0Nb4bS6NdT81jRKARXCIQQ5RKGznOnC0HeYJVbMJRdA0JAoE_0VE0SiKh9Vq7FW-eCEsaxADXS2KlInJllVcMYTydnU4RKYtO1OKj4-9vuIzeC8ZaSf8xq&c=ogPBr5UXtgPd-2FcCCZsFH-5QdTefsaji6_YS1s5Q1MSb4Pgs7esfg==&ch=PJFZ5POqaGGbWfFV1WGRxzYRL2DGPy4xa-Ai6Ltq-ucTRveE6H7Yag==>, and it had a timing lag. She said she still enjoyed it, but wanted us to know. (We of course, appreciate her reaching to us.)

Actually though, it's usually the receiving entity (the picking up of the signal) that drives poor connection issues. So with all the online meetings and working from home, we thought her observations made for a good Tech-Talk article.

It can be frustrating when you're trying to get some work done, watching a video online or checking email – when your Internet connection is just sooooo slow.

What can you do? How do you figure out if it's the bandwidth (internet speed)? Is there a problem with the Wi-Fi router? Have the drivers in your computer been updated lately?

NOTE: When working at your organization, you may want to check with your IT department. We're giving suggestions below when working remotely at home.

Quick Definition: Internet speed, also called Bandwidth, is the maximum amount of data you can send/receive (upload/download) over your Internet connection. It is measured in megabits per second (Mbps). Your Internet speed is shared among all devices in your network. That means that if you're working from home, and someone else in your house is watching TV or playing an online video game, they will be using a lot of your bandwidth.

When you're having speed issues, buffering or stalling, you might be tempted to first call your Internet Service Provider (ISP) ... Comcast, Spectrum, Verizon, etc. But you can do a little troubleshooting on your own first, and you might just find a solution. Here's a simple checklist to work through.

Run a Speed Test

To really know what your Internet speed is, you can run a speed test. There are many tools out there to choose from, but to "match" your numbers with what your ISP plan is providing, it's a good idea to use their speed test tool. To do this:

·     Open a browser window and do an Internet search for "speed test Frontier" or "speed test Verizon" or "speed test Spectrum" -- depending on your provider. (We're using AT&T in this example.)

·     Find a search result that looks like "speedtest.att.com" for your provider. They all have them (as in the image below).

[speed test]

·     Depending on your provider's speed test tool, find the option that says something like "start test" and run it. It's a perfectly safe test with the major ISPs.

·     Then stop and watch. It will only take a minute or two.

[speed test]

·     First it calculates the "download speed". That is how quickly you bring up a website, or run a webinar. The national average in the US is a whopping 93.98 Mbps which is twice as fast as the average global speed. But don't sweat it if your number is much lower. Even 25 Mbps is a decent level. (By the way, the numbers for MOBILE download and upload (because it runs on cellular) is much slower, about 1/3 of the rate ~33 Mbps.)

·     Next the test will go on to the "upload speed." That will be much slower. That's how fast you upload a document or image on the web. The national average is about 38 Mbps.

In our example, the speed test results for download speed is 28.5 Mbps and upload 13.1 Mbps.

[speed test]

Upload and download speeds can vary significantly and can still be functional. But the lower the number, the more intermittent issues and pauses one will have.

[Internet plan]

·     Then, based on your numbers, compare it to your Internet plan. In this example, we subscribe to the AT&T Internet 25 plan, which means the expected download speed is 25Mbps. In our speed test it was 28.5, so our results are in line with our plan.

If your speed test results match (or exceed) your plan and is still too slow for you, think about upgrading if available.

If your speed is much shower than your plan, before contacting your ISP, work through some of these options below... and then re-run your speed test.



Use the universal trick when something is wrong: REBOOT. (It works!)

Turn your modem/router off (or pull the power cord out), wait at least 30 seconds, and then turn it on again.

Is It Specific to Your Computer?

Check other computers using the same connection. If their speed is good, it may be your device that has the issue.

[your network]

Competition With Other Devices

You may have multiple computers, smart phones and tablets. Additionally, smart TVs, game consoles and smart home hubs (like Alexa). When all of these devices are sending or receiving information at the same time it can slow speeds or cause buffering during streaming.

Check the Location of Your Modem

If you're not hard-wired (with the cable literally plugged into your computer) and are using W-Fi, if you can, try moving your modem/router to a location closer to where you're working.

True story: My Internet speed was slow and after running a speed test through my ISP, the results page suggested getting a Wi-Fi Booster (also called Range Extender). This is a device that extends a Wi-Fi network's coverage space by amplifying the signals. I paid about $40 through my ISP, but they can be found for as little as $25. Since my modem was in the far corner of my basement and wasn't movable, the booster really improved my speed.

Stop Fighting File-Syncing Services


You may save files to locations like Google Drive, Dropbox, One-Drive, etc… They are saving data in the background that can slow down your Internet connection.

For example, if you use Dropbox, in the desktop Settings you can make changes in the Bandwidth section to limit the speeds of upload or downloads.

Call Your Internet Service Provider

Now that you've done your homework, if you're still having speed issues, you can make the call to see what they can do. No one likes to get less than what they're paying for. When you've done your due diligence and can tell your ISP what you are experiencing, you're more likely to get help.


Communications: On the Phone?
Dealing with difficult people and situations

In the webinar we held on Dealing with Difficult People<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001YDX7ZCe4GdFTc7Bxzz-5rl0KkmbLM2R1LIs7kHpHeP0Nb4bS6NdT81jRKARXCIQQ5RKGznOnC0HeYJVbMJRdA0JAoE_0VE0SiKh9Vq7FW-eCEsaxADXS2KlInJllVcMYTydnU4RKYtO1OKj4-9vuIzeC8ZaSf8xq&c=ogPBr5UXtgPd-2FcCCZsFH-5QdTefsaji6_YS1s5Q1MSb4Pgs7esfg==&ch=PJFZ5POqaGGbWfFV1WGRxzYRL2DGPy4xa-Ai6Ltq-ucTRveE6H7Yag==> we introduced communication phrases and techniques that have proven to be especially effective. (Each has corresponding Tech-Talk articles<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001YDX7ZCe4GdFTc7Bxzz-5rl0KkmbLM2R1LIs7kHpHeP0Nb4bS6NdT89uRkoRaRpmp2i5NwJ584A5F3NjOB6AAn-fvD3kiSvh1Bbc8Tdx_u2fkmQZKbi08nsJqfh5CZq-OGv5nHuiIOq_tJcb92-iegjsZjDlKmUc7&c=ogPBr5UXtgPd-2FcCCZsFH-5QdTefsaji6_YS1s5Q1MSb4Pgs7esfg==&ch=PJFZ5POqaGGbWfFV1WGRxzYRL2DGPy4xa-Ai6Ltq-ucTRveE6H7Yag==> in the database.)

One of the questions we were asked was to identify differences between using these techniques in face-to-face situations vs. over the phone. With so many people now working remotely, the need for skills to deal with difficult people with just voice has become even more important.

Over the phone, when there are no physical cues to the mood of a person, it is even more important that we bump up the voice quality.

When you have a challenging discussion in front of you, do these two things:

1) Put a smile on your face (even if you're not feeling it). This will help to carry a more positive tone. They can't see you, but they'll feel the difference.

2) Lighten your voice. Purposefully, take the stress out of your sound. Get rid of the aggravation, anger or disappointment and replace it with a calmer, open sound that says you're ready for a non-intimidating conversation.

NOTE: These two techniques are also a way of masking your emotions in face-to-face situations. Plaster a pleasant smile on your face and pitch your voice a bit higher as if you're being very accommodating. You'd be surprised how easily people accept that "positive" attitude, rather than suspecting it's a facade.


Do you ask ... at every level?

Do you believe that every individual has knowledge about something that can help the organization thrive?

I mean, do you really?

Do you think each person has unique experiences, interactions with the patrons, students and customers ... such that they could offer special insight?

If so, do you ask them for their ideas?

For example, if you were working the receiving dock, you could come up with ideas that would make the unloading of inventory process more efficient -- if you were only asked.

If you were a cataloger in a library you would have first-hand knowledge of time-wasters and redundancies that could make a difference to the system -- if you were only asked.

In many organizations, there's no established method for people to share their ideas in a way that will let those thoughts be heard, considered and possibly acted upon.

As a leader (of a team, a project or a department), you benefit by looking for opportunities to ask everyone. Very often the "worker bee" is reluctant to suggest ideas, yet when the person in charge asks for their ideas, insight and observations, not only do you boost morale, you could discover a true "gem."

The best solutions often come from the person closest to the action.


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