Improving internet connectivity
The Ministry of Education's IT team has put together some tips for improved connectivity at home.
For home internet connections
It is important to eliminate performance/speed issues with the home wifi setup first, rather than assuming there is an issue with the connection from the house to the internet.
To check this: Run a speed test at www.speedtest.net to establish a baseline, and repeat after making any change below to check for improvement
- Power off home router every morning, leave off for 30 secs before powering back on (don’t press the reset button this will reset the device settings!)
- Turn off, or disable Wi-Fi on, unused devices where possible, especially older devices that run at slower Wi-Fi speeds
- Decrease the physical distance between your device and the Wi-Fi router, line of sight is best
- Use an Ethernet cable on devices where possible, to reduce Wi-Fi load (especially smart TVs, gaming consoles) – plug these into a spare LAN port on your router
Data Allowance/Cap issues.
- Check you are not already on an uncapped data plan (applies to Spark, Vodafone, Vocus/Slingshot, and 2Degrees, Trustpower). If unsure contact your provider. Some providers have made uncapped offers to rural and remote customers for off-peak (night time hours only).
- Consider shifting non-time-critical downloads such as computer patching to these time periods
- Check what options are available for the address at https://broadbandmap.nz/ and if not on the cheapest/best option suggest changing provider as an option (this is covered as an essential service)
For mobile phone connections
- The data plan on mobile phones is NOT covered by the removal of data caps
- Individual data plans vary significantly – high data usage on some plans over the allowance is very expensive
- For personally-owned phones consider changing to a different plan that better reflects new usage patterns. Often this can be done at no/little additional cost
- Use the app provided by your mobile phone supplier to track usage“Hot spotting” from a mobile phone is less efficient than using home Wi-Fi (aerials are smaller) so this will be slower
- If using for voice calls and running out of minutes consider alternatives where possible such us email/messaging systems.
Keeping online safe
We encourage you to discuss internet safety with your children - of all ages. You should agree with your children what they can do online including sites they can visit and appropriate behaviours including:
- reviewing and approving games and apps before they are downloaded
- reviewing privacy settings of sites and children’s profiles and what they are posting online
- check the sites your child is accessing
- reminding children that anything that is posted online will be permanently on the internet
- taking the time to understand what sites they are visiting and who they are talking with and check in regularly
- some social media sites have age restrictions to join, check these before letting your child use them or join them
- monitoring a child’s use of the internet and consider having them use it in an open, common area of the house
- making sure your children know to report any activity they don’t feel comfortable with, to parents and caregivers straight away.
There is a unique opportunity during the lockdown of families going out together, albeit it close to home, but if your child is going out on their own it’s still important to check where they are going.
Netsafe continues to be available to provide support for online safety. They have information for parents and caregivers and have pulled together their top tips for online safety during the lockdown.
To report an incident To Netsafe - https://www.netsafe.org.nz/reportanincident/If you think a child in your care is the victim of online exploitation or abuse, report it to Police - if you or a child are in danger or a crime is being committed, call 111 or visit your nearest Police Station immediately.
If we all work together to make sure children are safe online, we can make the internet a great tool for people of all ages.