Written by Jonathan Martone on April 17, 2020

Networking Best Practices for Today’s Work from Home Reality

In this time of shelter-in-place orders, there has never been a more important time to have access to reliable communication services. As more and more people work from home, the edge data center and local network services has never been more critical in enabling our lives.


As workers leverage high-speed communication services from their homes, consume video conferencing capabilities, access wireless networks for smart phone productivity, and collaborate on-line, the access to high-performance network assets is invaluable to business and personal life continuity. Ultimately, the shift to working from home ensures companies continue to deliver revenue and results to their customers.

In order to ensure this shift to online learning and that work continues to perform, there must be a robust and complex infrastructure in place to meet this new demand. Luckily companies such as Cyxtera have the operational groundwork to help with this explosive growth.



Performance Issues

While many of the applications we are using at home are in data centers, some are seeing performance issues. Issues may include jitter, packet loss, slow response times, and video chop. Netflix, Disney, Amazon, and Hulu are purposely degrading 4k streaming capabilities to standard SD video quality to help with the new network loads.

Comcast said internet traffic has risen 32% because of COVID-19 but assured everyone it has the capacity to handle peak traffic demands in the U.S.

Tony Werner, Comcast’s president of technology, said the company engineers the networks for “peak traffic” and that traffic is up more than 32%. Some parts of the country are up 60%, including Seattle, San Francisco, and now Chicago.

Tom Leighton, the CEO of Akamai Technologies, has maintained the internet is being strained right now. The surging traffic is also slowing things down. Average download speeds over broadband and mobile have decreased in the U.S. in recent weeks, according to Ookla, which tests internet speeds.

Why the Data Center?

The data center is the epicenter of compute services globally. While many people take for granted instant access to cloud and network service, the back end engineering and design is very complex. Many data center companies, including Cyxtera, offer local, edge, carrier-rich ecosystems of networks that incorporate CDN, Internet, storage, and cloud on-ramps to various strategic data centers.

These edge deployed data centers allow network providers to offload some of this traffic and to keep it local, off the national network. This is a huge technical development in ensuring traffic isn’t backhauled into other cities. If the traffic stays local to a specific market, this traffic engineering allows remote users to enjoy better performing applications.



Technical Guidance Tips in the New World

Some technical improvements include moving those locations closer to its users and to increase the bandwidth speed at the user’s home. The easy fix here is to increase your cable provider or carrier high speed connection. These upgrades can be done remotely and via software. 

  1. Make sure your wireless network is operating at an optimal level. 2.4 GHZ setting is typically better than 5.8 GHZ as it allows the signal to penetrate your houses walls easier. 
  2. Applications that reside locally offer a much better performance experience. Since these applications have moved closer to the users, latency issues are resolved. I always say there are two ways to reduce latency. One is to increase the speed of light. Two, is to reduce geography. Clearly nobody has figured out how to increase the speed of light. Therefore, we have to shrink space. Moving these applications closer to its users is known as edge computing. Cyxtera works with many businesses on applications that are deployed locally to provide a 5 MS (milli-second) latency standard to serve the CBD (Central Business District.) 
  3. Many companies are consuming local cloud and storage services to meet the growing demand of information. Many Cyxtera clients offer these services locally, delivering a better user experience for their end consumers. 
  4. Many cloud service providers are moving back to the edge. While the cloud offers businesses easy to deploy compute, performance issues and cost tend to make it sustainable.

Cyxtera Data Center Ecosystem

The Cyxtera data center ecosystem portfolio has grown significantly over the past 12 months. We now have 62 global data centers distributed across tier 1 and edge markets. Customers can consume local traditional data center services, HCI, and bare metal as a service, leveraging our CXD software-programmable network for cloud-like consumption and provisioning. We also connect to 600 networks and 140 network providers across this global footprint, offering highly dense and diverse network services.

For customers that want to connect inter-data center connectivity via dark fiber, OWS, MPLS, SD/WAN, or layer 2 connections between our global data centers, we have strategic relationships with over 140 carriers that can provide fault tolerant network designs to meet their connectivity needs. For more information visit the Cyxtera Marketplace.

About Cyxtera

Cyxtera is a global leader in data center colocation and interconnection services. The company operates a footprint of 62 data centers in 29 markets around the world, providing services to more than 2,000 leading enterprises and U.S. federal government agencies. Cyxtera brings proven operational excellence, global scale, flexibility and customer-focused innovation together to provide a comprehensive portfolio of data center and interconnection services.