If you need to work from home for an extended period of time it is only a matter of time before something stops working! Fear not, this guide provides you a simple set of steps to help you troubleshoot your own issues.
If you are seeking to purchase a new device to work from home then the following minimum PC specifications should provide an adequate home-working experience.
- Processor: Intel Core i5-8265U 1.6GHz -
- Memory: 8GB RAM
- Storage: 256GB SSD
- Operating System: Windows 10 Pro
- Stable internet connection with 5Mb download speed
Remote access method
There are three main solutions businesses use to work remotely with many having multiple solutions at their disposal.
- Microsoft Remote Desktop – Remote desktop used by businesses with legacy applications
- Citrix – Remote desktop used by businesses with legacy applications
- Office 365 – Microsoft's online Office suite
Each of the above methods has a different method of connection. Please contact your IT contact to determine the right method for you.
Any data from your home device to your office needs to traverse back and forth between a number of technologies.
In most home working environments this technology "chain" looks something similar to this:
- Home PC/Laptop
- Home WiFi
- Home router/firewall (ie BT homehub)
- ADSL filter (if ADSL is used)
- Network terminating unit (often used for Fibre)
- Line to the local Exchange
- Your organisations network terminating unit (NTU)
- Public Domain Name Server (DNS)
- Your organisations firewall
- Your organisations servers
- Your organisations applications
The above “chain” means anything that stops working will impact (either slow-down or stop) your ability to work.
However, depending on the nature of the problem it may be possible to use an alternative.
An IT engineer needs to perform a range of tests to identify which of the above items could be faulty. This guide may not help you fix the issue but it may help with a conversation with an IT professional or your ISP.
Troubleshooting your home PC/Laptop
- Sometimes the simplest step is simply to restart your PC/Laptop – although the cause of the original problem will remain unknown, if it gets you working in 10 minutes this is often a worth while sacrifice.
- Should a reboot not solve the problem consider whether anything has recently been installed by you (or your children!). If software has been installed, then remove this and reboot. https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/help/4028054/windows-10-repair-or-remove-programs
- Has your PC/Laptop got sufficient diskspace? Many people now use OneDrive which copies a lot of data locally. https://www.windowscentral.com/windows-10-check-free-space-hard-disk
- Check all your devices are working. Sometimes internal devices can fail and perform erratically. https://www.howtogeek.com/167094/how-to-use-the-windows-device-manager-for-troubleshooting/
More info: https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/help/10741/windows-fix-network-connection-issues
Troubleshooting your network
The network is now a critical component of any home working setup. Some people have wired networks (Ethernet ports on their walls) which run to a central location whereas most now use WiFi.
Unfortunately WiFi is slower and less reliable than wired solutions but it does provide more freedom of movement and cheaper installation.
WiFi signals can easily penetrate soft materials but will rapidly lose strength through bricks and especially metal or water.
- Do you have a WiFi signal? (and your machine is not in airplane mode)
- Move your laptop closer to your wifi router - does this help?
- Does you mobile still work over WiFi? If it does then the issue is likely with your PC/Laptop. If it does not then your issue is elsewhere.
- Check to see if your ISP is having problems. https://downdetector.co.uk/
- If you are using ADLS it is important your home-hub or similar device is plugging into a micro-filter which in turn is plugging into the first BT socket presented from the outside. If not, when your home phone rings or is in use the Internet with either slow or drop.
Hopefully some of these steps get you up and running.