Are You Having Internet Connectivity Issues?

Distance learning tools depend on that “Last Mile” of Internet service to your house or remote worksite over which the University has no control. In general, you will need upload and download speeds of at least 2 Mbps for services like Zoom and Canvas to work. If you are having internet connectivity issues, you can check your internet connection using this site: https://www.speedtest.net/

Use Wired Ethernet Connections

Wired connections connecting your computer directly to a router with an Ethernet cable are better and more reliable than wireless connections over WiFi or phone networks. Wireless connections can be spotty and may lack the necessary bandwidth to allow for screen sharing, good-quality video (webcam), and uninterrupted audio.

  • Plug an Ethernet cable into your computer.
  • Be sure to also turn off WiFi on the computer, because otherwise it could still be using WiFi even with Ethernet plugged in.
  • Instructors should always use a wired Ethernet connection when holding virtual classes via Zoom.
  • Students should always use a wired Ethernet connection to take online quizzes and exams.
  • A poor internet connection can cause disruptions in Canvas exams or cause it to be flagged for possible cheating.

Some computers do not have Ethernet ports, but most can be connected to Ethernet using dongles or adapters from their USB connections or–for Macs–from their Thunderbolt (USB-C) connections.

If you absolutely have to use WiFi

We DO NOT recommend taking online exams on WiFi, and especially not on public or unsecured networks, as these connections can be unreliable. However, if you do not have access to a device with an Ethernet connection, here are some tips to get the best WiFi experience possible:

  • Check your exam times and plan ahead with other people in the household so that you can be using the WiFi exclusively during the exam times.
  • Move your device as close as possible to your WiFi router.
  • When you are close you may also have the option to select a faster network. Some routers have a slower service that transmits further and a faster network that works when you are close. Check your WiFi preferences and choose the home network with the highest number (5GB instead of 2.5GB).
  • Turn off the WiFi on all other devices (phones, iPads, etc.), and ask others on the WiFi router to turn off their WiFi, too.
  • The Internet is full of many other tips for speeding up WiFi and Internet connections.

Use Your Phone’s Hotspot

If your computer does not have a reliable internet or WiFi connection, then consider using your smartphone to access Canvas and Zoom. Alternatively, try turning on the “personal hotspot” (iPhone | Android) option on your smartphone, and connect your computer to your phone’s data connection. However, we DO NOT recommend students take high-stakes exams or quizzes on a smartphone, nor while your computer is connected to your phone’s hotspot. If you experience a poor internet connection while using Zoom, consider stopping your video (webcam) feed to free up bandwidth.

U.S. Internet and Wireless Providers Announce Temporary Measures To Make Internet More Affordable and Accessible

Below is a list of Internet Service Providers (ISP) offering free, extended, or enhanced services. Also see “Are There Programs Available to Help Make Internet Service More Affordable?” for a list of free services to low-income families and households with students.

AT&T

  • The Georgetown agreement with AT&T includes a $39.99/Mo. discount rate for unlimited internet access through an AT&T MiFi device. The MiFi device can be purchased for a one-time $1 fee. Georgetown would be billed for the account and it would be up to Georgetown and the student to decide how to cover the bill. There is no contract associated with this plan, so it is easily cancelled in the event of non-payment.
  • AT&T has multiple public hotspots nationwide that are currently available for free usage at public locations.
  • Unlimited AT&T Home Internet – All AT&T consumer home internet wireline customers, as well as Fixed Wireless Internet, can use unlimited internet data.
  • AT&T will continue to offer internet access for qualifying limited income households at $10 a month through our Access from AT&T program.

Charter Communications

  • Charter will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription; and at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households.
  • Charter will continue to offer Spectrum Internet Assist, high speed broadband program to eligible low-income households delivering speeds of 30 Mbps.
  • Charter will open its Wi-Fi hotspots across our footprint for public use.

Comcast/Xfinity

  • 60 Day Xfinity WiFi Free For Everyone: Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free – including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit www.xfinity.com/wifi. Once at a hotspot, consumers should select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots and then launch a browser.
  • Comcast is pausing caps on data plans for 60 days, giving all customers Unlimited data for no additional charge.
  • Comcast will not disconnect a customer’s internet service or assess late fees if users contact Comcast, and inform them that they can’t pay their bills during this period.

Cox

  • Residential customers in the company’s Starter, StraightUp Internet and Connect2Compete packages will be automatically upgraded to speeds of 50 Mbps for 60 days.
  • For those tiers, Cox is extending its Cox Complete Care remote desktop support at no charge to residential customers; for assistance with online classroom applications and web conferencing service for 60 days.
  • Essential customers will be upgraded from 30 Mbps to 50 Mbps, originally planned for later in the year, will be deployed now.

Sprint

  • Providing Unlimited data for 60 days to customers with metered data plans (effective 4/19).
  • Giving 20 GB of free mobile hotspot to customers with hotspot-capable devices (coming soon).
  • Offering complimentary rates from the U.S. to CDC-defined Level 3 countries to customers with international long-distance plans (effective 4/17).

T-Mobile

  • ALL T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers on current plans with limited data with data will automatically have unlimited smartphone data for the next 60 days (excluding roaming). No action required.
  • T-Mobile postpaid and Metro customers on smartphone plans with mobile hotspot data can add 10GB of Smartphone Mobile HotSpot each month for the next two (20GB total) – coming soon.
  • T-Mobile postpaid and Metro customers on eligible plans can add 10GB of SMHS each month for the next two months at no extra charge via myTMobile.com/app or .com, MetrobyT-Mobile.com or the myMetro app. T-Mobile Prepaid customers on eligible plans will get it automatically, no action required.
  • T-Mobile for Business customers with eligible plans that do not have access to myT-Mobile.com or the T-Mobile app can add 10GB of SMHS for two months at no extra charge via Customer Care, Account Hub, or their TFB Customer Portal.
  • Currently working with their Lifeline partners to provide customers extra free LTE data up to 5GB per month for each of the next two months.
  • Increasing the data allowance for free to schools and students using our EmpowerED digital learning program to ensure each participant has access to at least 20GB of Hotspot data per month for the next 60 days.

Verizon