Surge of Video Conferencing Strains Internet

Updated: Mar 31, 2020

The following was published in yesterday's editions of Foster's and Seacoast Sunday. My project for today is to research all of the resources becoming available related to the CARES Act. I hope to publish a post tomorrow with links to the best resources I can find to help small businesses take advantage of the assistance being offered.

As New Hampshire now enters a phase of stay-at-home orders and the shuttering of non-essential businesses the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are everywhere. Many businesses are struggling to survive, and our government is pulling out all the stops to try to maintain our economic system through these unprecedented times.

There is no question these are scary times, but there are some bright spots as well. Volunteerism, donations to help neighbors and first responders, people helping people. In the technology industry, we are seeing the same. As I wrote about in my last column, the tech industry has really stepped up to help. So many companies are making their software available for free for anywhere from three to six months, to help organizations pivot to a remote workforce. Video conferencing is soaring and at times, the internet is buckling under the load, but it has yet to break.

The companies who maintain the backbone of the Internet and the last mile delivery to homes and businesses are working overtime to keep the network running. Redundancies are being enhanced and systems are being scaled to keep up with the increased demand. This is one reason why technology workers have been classified as essential during this crisis.

Could you imagine getting through this if the Internet were to go down?

With the kids at home, learning remotely and streaming entertainment seemingly 24x7, the strain on home networks is very real. I was on a video call with a client earlier this week and they had to ask their daughter to stop watching Netflix, because their video quality kept fading until she stopped. I was on a GoToMeeting online meeting earlier this week and the software was not able to handle the load. The audio and video were choppy but eventually smoothed out. We may see more of these hiccups and we will need to be patient.

Residential broadband internet was never designed for the load it is seeing now and companies like Comcast and Verizon, while often the brunt of customer frustrations, should be commended for the work they are now doing. They have removed data transfer caps and are doing a great job keeping us connected to our world.

The list of companies offering to help grows daily. Myself, I changed my website homepage and am offering to help anyone who may need technical assistance through this time. It’s the right thing to do to support one another. I know finances are tenuous for many and it looks like the federal stimulus package will bring much needed assistance to individuals and businesses of all sizes, especially those that are able to retain their staff and avoid layoffs. The details are still coming out, but it looks to be a move in the right direction.

I am publishing almost daily blog posts on my blog with helpful information and resources to get you through. Please check out my blog at for helpful links. They are spread across several posts over the last could of weeks and I’ll add more resources as I find them. These are all free resources. I hope they help. Stay safe, stay healthy and please stay home! It’s up to all of us working together to defeat this pandemic.