Try using a hard-wired Ethernet connection to solve many of your connectivity woes! If you’d rather watch a video, check out our YouTube video:
Switching to Ethernet changed our lives
Like many of you, I’m navigating virtual school with my children. It’s been particularly hard on my 4th grader, but a quick video call with her teachers fixed many of the issues. I’m so thankful that she has such wonderful, caring teachers. She was also having some technical glitches. Here’s how we fixed some of the connectivity problems.Our technical issues
Here’s a summary of some of the problems we were experiencing. Our main issue was audio quality. The teachers’ and students’ words were often garbled. There was also a lag in the audio where it would take a second or two to hear what someone was saying. Pressing the unmute button would also take a good 20 seconds to work. We would also get kicked off of video calls and we would often have trouble logging into our calls despite re-booting and clearing the browser cache/cookies.
Note: Sometimes audio problems can be caused by hooking up headphones or a monitor and have nothing to do with your Internet connection. Check your audio settings in whichever video teleconferencing system you’re using. Also try restarting your computer, if you haven’t done so already.
Our broadband connection
First, let me explain our broadband connection and some of things we tried. We have a gigabit connection speed with Verizon Fios and one Wi-Fi extender (which helps extend your Wi-Fi signal to parts of your home). This is the fastest speed that Verizon offers. We do not have a “mesh system” which I’ve heard from several friends that this system really helps with connectivity problems. The cost of the mesh system ranges depending on the size of your home, but you can expect to drop a few hundred dollars. I’ve read some articles that the router used with the gigabit connection cannot be used with a mesh system. I also read that the mesh system DOES work with some of the other Verizon plans with slower connection speeds. So before I spent money on a mesh system that may or may not work, I figured I would try an Ethernet connection. This will give you a hard wired connection and takes Wi-Fi completely out of the equation. Gosh, I’ve gotten so used to the convenience of having a wireless connection, that I forgot about Ethernet!
So I bought a 50 ft Ethernet cable and a USB to Ethernet adaptor and we were rockin’ and rollin’! Since we have a Chromebook, we didn’t have an Ethernet port on the computer. So we had to buy a USB to Ethernet adaptor. If you have a Windows laptop, you may have an Ethernet port and don’t need to buy the adaptor. Once we hooked up the adaptor and ethernet cable, we instantly had an Ethernet connection. We haven’t had to reboot or clear our cache/cookies since! Also the audio is crystal clear and it only takes a second to press the unmute button (this is huge….you know what I mean if you’ve experienced this). Unfortunately, our router isn’t in the most ideal location for learning since it’s in a common area (especially when I have a 7 year old also in virtual learning). I’ll just have to weigh the advantages and disadvantages and maybe do some rearranging of the house. Hope this helps and PLEASE share this with anyone struggling with connectivity problems.
Here's a list of products we used to solve our issues:
USB 2.0 to Ethernet Adaptor (use this if you computer only supports USB 2.0). If you have a "SS" label by your USB port, then use a USB 3.0 to Ethernet Adaptor.
USB 3.0 to Ethernet Adaptor (use this if you computer only supports USB 3.0). If you have a "SS" label by your USB port (as shown below), then use this.
50 ft Ethernet Cable
100 ft Ethernet Cable
Ethernet Switch Use this if you have multiple computers that aren't close to your router. Run one long cable to this switch and then plug in each computer to this switch.