Recent events have witnessed the remarkable ability of UK businesses to adapt to a crisis. Within days of lockdown, millions of staff were able to connect and work from home over their existing home broadband connections.
This substantial rise in traffic has exposed the limitations of using domestic broadband for business communication. With 5.1 million people working from home
plus 9.1 million on furlough
, and numerous others home from school/university, the home network was simply not designed to support this many people using it all at once. Sharing the network often results in slow and glitchy performance as households compete for Wi-Fi bandwidth within the home and over the last mile.
Couple this with an increase in outages, which rose 80%
at the start of lockdown compared with the previous week which was pre-lockdown and it’s understandable why people are resorting to tethering their laptop to their phone.
However, network speed is just one of many issues relating to home connectivity for both users and businesses.SECURITY
Within the office, router security is easily managed and controlled by the IT department but when it comes to the home router, users are expected to manage it themselves.
Within most housing setups, a user will be using a router provided to them by the ISP “free” when they signed up. Whilst patches may be released to support said router, how many people actually update them? According to a recent survey
, no home router was without security vulnerabilities.
Unpatched routers are just one risk to your corporate data, others include
- Distributed Denial of Service attacks (DDOS)
- Man-in-the-middle attacks
When these devices do return to the work network, they could be bringing with them a whole host of issues.OWNERSHIP
A contentious issue for all home workers is, who pays for the broadband? Almost two-thirds of UK households have mobile broadband access but if you work from home should your company pay for the cost of broadband.
The cost of broadband is a difficult field to manage, whilst if an employee does not have a broadband connection and requires one to work from home, the employer can reimburse the cost. However, the employee could argue that without broadband they are unable to do their job, this then provides added complexities around how much should a company pay and how can they potentially control non-work usage.
THE LAST MILE
Although a network may have high average speeds thanks to fibre-optic cabling, data will need to move along multiple connections prior to reaching the home. In most cases, this is along a copper wire, which can significantly reduce overall speeds.
Coupled with the network being used for other devices within the house and your corporate device is fighting for bandwidth.
As the user is not within the corporate network, IT has no visibility into this last mile and are unable to help troubleshoot a slow or weak connection.
In addition, the home network is often over less than perfect Wi-Fi which can add even further complexity to an already complex picture.