When working from home becomes permanent.

By David Scott, Managing Member at Avid Communications

Avid Communications: When working from home becomes permanent.We’re entering the fourth month of the pandemic, and because this is far from over, many of our clients are now viewing work-from-home as a permanent situation–at least for some of their people. The rush back in March to send people home, and the struggle to adapt, is now changing into a more considered evaluation of what this requires. Poor call quality and unreliable internet can be tolerated for just so long. 

Avid is working with our clients to convert kitchens, spare bedrooms and dens into professional workspaces. And our focus is bringing high-speed, reliable Internet connections all the way to the computers and phones used for business.

In some cases, the Internet connection provided by Google Fiber, AT&T, Spectrum and other providers needs work. Ordering a higher speed connection might be required, and frankly, some provider’s networks are poor in a given part of town. Sometimes, the best route may be to switch providers. But usually the issue isn’t with these “wide-area” connections; the Internet service is adequate. The trouble often lies elsewhere.

Again, the main goal is to get a good, reliable and fast Internet connection delivered to both your computer and your phone in your home office. Often, the existing WiFi network isn’t up to this task. Usually there isn’t an Ethernet connection handy (and you may need an Ethernet connection if you want to use an actual phone rather than a softphone that operates on your computer).

Fortunately, these are simple problems to resolve via one or more of the following steps:

  • Replace your WiFi access point.
  • Reconfigure WiFi access point to eliminate frequency hopping.
  • Move your WiFi access point to a better spot.
  • Add an additional WiFi access point.
  • Add an Ethernet port near your office setup using a power line adapter.
  • Configure your WiFi access point(s) so that your computer chooses the right access point to use.

There is usually no need to run new wiring–which is both messy and expensive.

The Ethernet over power line equipment is inexpensive and is useful for:

  • Adding an actual IP phone anywhere in the house
  • Adding a second wireless access point.
  • Improving bandwidth.

Now that you’ve got an excellent Internet connection exactly where you need it, you have a choice about your phone: either an actual phone or a softphone running on your computer. Here are some pros and cons of each approach:

Physical Phones

Pros: Can have multiple lines; can monitor specific extensions in your company; generally higher voice quality.

Cons: Take up space; require an Ethernet connection and a separate power cord. Headsets can be clunky and costly.

Softphones

Pros: Less expensive; don’t take up valuable desk space; more and better headset options (for instance, Airpod Pros work great!)

Cons: Some functionality limitations, especially for receptionists and other high volume stations; may run into configuration issues at the outset; can have more call quality problems, especially if computer uses a WiFi connection that’s in a sub-optimal location and/or poorly configured.

Either option can work reliably and well.

We find that most people already have a strong preference for one or the other. We also find that people have a bias towards a traditional phone until they try a softphone. Many people that try softphones convert and never look back.

Avid is working remotely, on site or both with any of our customers who need help getting everything set up correctly. And we provide ongoing support if issues arise–no need to get bounced around on hold with a provider who can’t really fix the issues anyway!

Are you having problems working effectively from home? You’re probably not alone… it’s likely affecting many of the people working at your company.

We can help. Give us a call!

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