Breaking the internet? More people at home leads to slower speeds, connection issues

With people working from home the internet is seeing an influx of use.

DETROIT – The phrase “break the internet” is often used humorously, but with so many people at home using streaming services and the like, there’s concern about overloading the system.

Millions and millions of people are home due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), either working from home or just enjoying some time off with a movie online. More and more people are using their laptops or computers. More people means more data being used.

“There’s absolutely a thing as internet overload,” Jeff Inglesbe said.

Inglesbe, the chief information security officer with Flexible Plan Investments, said that’s exactly what’s happening.

“The internet can be thought as water pipes and the bigger the pipe, the more information that can go through it. So, when you displace workers and send them home, the pipes at their houses, are generally not as big as the pipes at their work," he said.

And that’s causing slower internet access. Chris Stamatakis experienced that first hand on Thursday.

“We’ve been doing the conference calls through Ring Central and apparently, we had too many people," he said.

Stamatakis said the internet overload trickled down to his kids as well when it was time to complete their school work online.

“Their devices won’t connect to the internet but all of my personal ones do," he said

But the good news is that there is help.

“Try not to do many things at once," Inglesbe said.

MORE: Here’s which Michigan counties have confirmed cases of coronavirus

How COVID-19 Spreads

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
  • Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily the virus spreads

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

Prevention & Treatment

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

MORE: Beaumont Health launches coronavirus hotline for patients with symptoms

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here.

Read more about coronavirus here.