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COVID-19: Frequently asked IT and Tech questions

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Questions we're regularly hearing from customers working from home

With thousands of people working from home to help contain the coronavirus some may be facing unexpected IT challenges.

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions that our customer service and tech support teams are hearing from customers - and their answers.

1. My internet is slow on a work laptop, why?

This could be for a variety of reasons, including the quality, reliability and capacity of your business’s IT resources and Virtual Private Network (VPN). If you feel your internet is running slower than normal we’d suggest running an online speed test, such as this one, or measuring the speeds on a different device such as a tablet or a non-work laptop. It’s unlikely that the connection speed of your fibre broadband is the issue if it’s your work laptop that’s affected by slower speeds.

 

2. How do I connect to my Virtual Private Network (VPN)?

There are a wide range of different VPNs available to enable home working and each one is different.  To find out how best to connect to your own specific type of VPN contact your business’s IT department and they should be able to talk you through it.

 

3. How do I optimise my service in my spare bedroom?

There are many ways to optimise the Wi-Fi connection throughout your home. For nine handy tips on how to do it check out this article.

 

4. Why is my Netflix picture quality not as good as usual?

You may notice that the picture quality is not as sharp as usual when you’re streaming Netflix shows. This is not a problem with your broadband. It is because Netflix has reduced the video quality on its service in Europe for at least March and April. The video-streaming provider says doing this will reduce Netflix data consumption by 25 per cent – and this will help the UK’s wider broadband network cope with the added daytime demand it’s experiencing due to a surge in homeworking. To achieve this Netflix has reduced its ‘bitrate’. This influences how clear and smooth videos look when streamed online. Videos with a higher bitrate tend to look less "blocky" or pixelated but use more data.

 

5. My game is ‘lagging’ or taking a while to download

With millions of people in lockdown and children home from school, the demand for online gaming services such as Xbox and PlayStation is much higher than normal. With more users all logged in at once this is likely to have an impact on the game providers’ servers as they try to cope with the demand. These are outside of KCOM’s network control. Gamers may experience an increase in ‘ping’ (the time it takes to get a response from the game host, which is measured in milliseconds) or latency (the time it takes to transfer data back to your console). However, KCOM is well-placed to cope with exceptional spikes in demand on its own network.

In March, two global updates on the Call of Duty game saw KCOM’s network handle record levels of demand with no impact on quality of service. During this peak time 340 Gigabytes (GB) of data were being downloaded every second across Hull and East Yorkshire as thousands of gamers downloaded the free 90GB release – the equivalent of 22,500 songs being downloaded every second. For more details about our network capacity click here.

 

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