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How to Manage Slower Internet and Low Bandwidth

Productivity while working and learning remotely can be affected by the type of internet connection you’re on. Not everyone has access to high-speed (broadband) internet. Even if you do, access may be interrupted or degraded.

There are some steps you can take when dealing with slower internet bandwidth.


On this page:


Symptoms of low internet bandwidth

While working or learning remotely, problems can appear during web conferences, accessing online tools, or even playing back recorded video content. They might look like:
  • Slow loading web pages
  • Slow upload/download times
  • Slow video loading/playback
  • Timed out connections
  • During web conferences:
    • Audio might sound scrambled, or cut out
    • Screens might freeze, or go blank
    • Becoming disconnected from the session
These problems may not be exclusive to slow or low bandwidth. In some cases, they may also be indications of computer equipment problems. 

Figure 1: Image showing relative bandwidth usage of different types of online tools and activities.

Comparison chart of how different services use internet bandwidth

Figure 1: Description

High bandwidth, high immediacy 
  • Video conferences, audio conferences
High bandwidth, low immediacy 
  • Pre-recorded video, asynchronous discussion with video, pre-recorded audio, asynchronous discussion with audio
Low bandwidth, high immediacy
  • Collaborative documents, group chat and messaging
Low bandwidth, low immediacy
  • Discussion boards with text/images, readings with text/image, email

What to do if there are bandwidth issues

Is it an equipment problem?

Contact the Eagle Help Desk to help diagnose any technical problems. 

Contact your home Internet provider to help troubleshoot at-home WiFi or Internet issues. 

During live video conferences

  • Request that everyone close all the programs on their computer except for the browser they’re actively using.
  • Switch to audio only. Use live video only when necessary. Turn off video to reduce load on the internet connection.
  • Mute everyone’s microphone.  Only turn microphones on to speak.
  • Switch to chat.

For instructors:

  • Check network connection status in Blackboard Collaborate-Ultra (learn how). This information may help you spot and respond to issues with internet connectivity. 
  • If applicable, switch to Canvas Chat, a feature in your Canvas course that offers instructors and students a real-time way to communicate. You can copy and paste Blackboard Collaborate-Ultra chats into Canvas Chat to archive them and work around having to sign into Blackboard.

Prepare ahead of time

  • Use supported web conference tools. Webex, Microsoft Teams, Kaltura, MyMedia, Mediatesite, Blackboard Collaborate Ultra and are tools that the Eagle Help Desk or CATL can assist with.
  • Check internet speed status ahead of time.
  • Share resources from external Internet providers, which includes assistance for paying for internet and low-or no cost internet options (see "External Vender Options - COVID-19 Responses" towards the bottom of this KB).
  • Provide materials for your meeting ahead of time. Lead time can help users who might need to download, print, or review materials.
  • Offer alternatives to participation in web conferences. Consider chat meetings, or phone conferences.

For instructors:

  • Switch to pre-recorded (asynchronous) videos. If using Kaltura to upload videos (e.g., recorded PowerPoint files or lecture capture), be advised of a lengthy turn-around time to process and successfully upload videos, especially longer videos. Tip: Save all video files to an additional folder to ensure they aren’t lost!
  • Shorten video length! Aim for 6-7 minute videos or less.
  • Provide materials for the course ahead of time. While you might not want students to access course materials ahead of time, some students might need significant lead-time to be able to download and print/review documents because of access issues. Upload documents, files, images, etc. through Canvas in a clearly-titled module or use Teams or OneDrive. 
    • Courses can be downloaded in an offline, view-only mode. With this download, you cannot interact with the course content, such as completing assignments or viewing submissions. The course content is downloaded as a zip file, which includes the HTML version of the course. Downloading the course content is only accessible if modules were used.
      • For students to be able to do download the course for offline access, you must enable the Modules navigation (by default students cannot see this option). In your course, go to Settings -> Navigation -> click the three little dots next to "Modules" to select Enable -> make sure Modules appears in the list of unhidden course navigation options -> Save (button at bottom of screen).
      • Download the course to view offline: How do I view course content offline as an HTML file as a student?
  • If the situation requires, loosen requirements for participation in synchronous video conferencing, video-based contact with course content, etc. Provide alternative reading assignments as PDFs, OneDrive files, Google Docs (especially if freely available primary sources). Indicate to students that these avenues to connect with course content are open to all, but particularly for those experiencing internet connection issues. Offer alternative assessments for students as well.
  • See additional guidance on our Instructor Information site: https://www.uwlax.edu/academic-affairs/covid-19/.

High-speed WiFi available at UWL parking lots 
  • ITS has been able to configure expanded WiFi connectivity to the west side of the parking areas [C-2 and C-3] of Roger Harring Stadium at Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex, and on the east side near parking C-11.  Please refer to the maps below for a general guide of additional WiFi coverage. 






Keywords:internet, WiFi, bandwidth, slow, broadband, covid, external vender   Doc ID:99645
Owner:Erin B.Group:UW-La Crosse
Created:2020-03-27 08:21 CDTUpdated:2020-05-07 12:58 CDT
Sites:UW-La Crosse
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