So We’re Working From Home. Can the Internet Handle It? – The New York Times

So We’re Working From Home. Can the Internet Handle It? – The New York Times

Derek Pando rarely had problems with his home internet service — until last week. That was when he began working from his house because of the coronavirus.

Mr. Pando, 35, a tech worker in Palo Alto, Calif., immediately started using work applications like video conferencing that ate up a lot of data. And he shared his internet service — which was built atop a premium broadband internet package from Comcast and a state-of-the-art home Wi-Fi network — with his wife, who was also working at home, and their two children, who at times streamed movies.

After five days of this activity, his internet ground to a halt, Mr. Pando said. Google Docs froze, and he couldn’t get on video calls or send big email attachments. “It’s never gotten that bad,” he said.

As millions of people across the United States shift to working and learning from home this week to limit the spread of the coronavirus, they will test internet networks with one of the biggest mass behavior changes that the nation has experienced.

That is set to strain the internet’s underlying infrastructure, with the burden likely to be particularly felt in two areas: the home networks that people have set up in their residences, and the home internet services from Comcast, Charter and Verizon that those home networks rely on.

That infrastructure is generally accustomed to certain
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