For general guidance about accessing IT services while off campus, see Using IT services off campus. For guidance about distance teaching, see: Using IT services for distance teaching.

When using Lancaster University IT services while you are away from campus, for example if you are working from home, you may experience issues if you are using a low-bandwidth, intermittent or poor internet connection. Bandwidth is the amount of data that can be transferred over a connection each second. 

This page offers some advice which aims to improve connection quality. There is also specific help for Using IT services in China.

Tips for improving connectivity

  • Using Wi-Fi? Ensure you have a strong signal - the easiest way to do this is to move as close to your router as is practical. Or even better - plug your laptop in to your router using an ethernet cable.
  • Don't stream music or radio via the internet - use DAB or FM radio instead.
  • Don't try to access other non-work/non-study services while you are using University IT services.
  • Don't connect to the VPN unless you really need to. For information about which services do and don't require VPN connectivity, see Connect to the VPN.
  • If you need to stream video, try to reduce the quality where possible (e.g. from 4K to HD, or from HD to SD). Lower-quality video uses significantly less bandwidth.

     Changing video quality in eStream

    To change quality of an eStream video, click the settings cog and then select the quality you wish to use

     Changing video quality in Panopto

    To change quality of a Panopto video, select Picture quality and then select the quality you wish to use. Automatic should automatically adjust the quality

  • If taking part in online meetings or webinars, turn off your webcam and just use audio. Though you may lose some visual interaction, you'll still be able to participate as if you were on a phone. This will significantly reduce the amount of bandwidth required.
  • If teaching or running other sessions, try to minimise the amount of live sessions, and instead pre-record content. For more guidance see Using IT services for distance teaching.
  • If working with files, sync them to your device so that you can access them even when your connection is poor. For help with Teams and OneDrive files, see Accessing OneDrive and Teams files in File Explorer or Finder. You can also do this using the Moodle app for Moodle content; see Moodle help for more information about the Moodle mobile app.
  • Remember that other members of your house share the same connection as you - be aware of what others in your home are doing and ask them not to overload your connection when you are trying to access University IT services. Particular consumers of large amounts of bandwidth are online games and video streaming services.
  • You might find at certain times of day, your connection speed increases and decreases in line with general demand (your connection speed is also determined by other homes usage as well as yours). If you tend to get a faster connection at certain times of day (e.g. mornings) then try to use higher-bandwidth services (e.g. scheduling online meetings) at those times.
  • Position your router away from other devices that may interfere with signal, such as on a shelf rather than the floor. Ensure it's plugged directly into your mains telephone socket (not via an extension). And don't switch your router off.
  • If your home internet is particularly unreliable, you can try to use a personal hotspot data (4G/3G) connection from your phone which may be faster and more reliable, depending on your location. It's important to be aware of network restrictions, your data usage limit and any fair use limit if you do this.
  • Don't use your Microwave during online meetings or at other times when connectivity is critical.

Useful resources