Things to consider for a strong and steady internet connection

To make sure you’re set up for the best possible experience with online music lessons, it’s very important to have a strong and steady internet connection. This may sound like a given, since you’re using the internet now to read this post, but actually, most users can benefit from optimizing their settings. In addition to that strong connection from your Internet Service Provider (ISP), there are factors that are unique to each user’s situation that should be considered in order to get the most out of your available bandwidth. 

The first step to understanding your connection is running a speed test to confirm you have good upload and download speeds. Two reputable tools that can teach you how to run a speed test can be found at www.speedtest.net or www.fast.com

How to read a speed test:

  • Download speed in Megabits per second (Mbps): This is the amount of data that you can download in a second. A good download speed is 100Mbps, but you can use Forte with as little as 5Mbps (or less) if it is a strong and steady connection.
  • Upload speed in Mbps: This is the amount of data you can upload in a second. Ideally, it is close to your download speed, but again, you can easily use Forte with as little as 5Mbps if it is a good connection.
  • Ping in milliseconds (ms): This is the time that it takes to send a “ping” to a test device and receive a response. A consistent 20ms ping rate is excellent for a lesson on Forte. Anything consistently over 60ms will start to give you trouble. Keep in mind this number is usually unstable on WiFi, and an Ethernet cable is the best way to improve your ping.

The speed of your connection is important, but the stability of the connection is just as important if you want to have a good music lesson. We also recommend https://ping.canbeuseful.com/en to monitor the stability of your connection over time. 

There are a few things you can try first to optimize your internet connection:

  1. Use an ethernet cable! Connecting your computer directly to the internet router is an easy and cheap way to increase the efficiency of your connection by over 4x.
  2. Make sure your computer’s processor isn’t overworked, and reduce the connection traffic.
    • Close all apps and tabs you’re not using.
    • Turn off auto-updates.
    • Make sure you are using the latest version of your operating system and browser.
    • Clear your browser cache.
    • If you can, ask people sharing your internet connection not to download anything or watch online videos during your lesson.
  3. Do what you can to raise your upload speed by disconnecting other devices on your WiFi network or upgrading your internet plan so that you don’t reach data limits quickly. (Note: The upload speed is usually the first thing to be limited on university networks, and it is important for a quality lesson on Forte. Therefore, it might be better to do your lesson from home.)
  4. Move closer to the WiFi router, or extend the range of your WiFi router with a wireless network extender or booster. Large, solid barriers (like a concrete wall) between you and the router can harm your connection.
  5. Update your router’s firmware.

Some things may be outside your control, but it’s important to consider them and weigh whether or not to change your location or upgrade your internet plan. Here are some things to think about:

  1. Not all WiFi routers are built the same. Most people don’t notice the breakdown in their bill, but quite often, your ISP will rent you a router as part of your monthly bill. Consider purchasing a higher quality one on your own and return the router you rent. 
  2. Some ISP ads boast high download speeds at cheap prices. The speed advertised is a “best effort” statistic – not what you actually experience. There are variables with both the ISP and the consumer that determine if that max bandwidth is reached. 
  3. Check to see if your ISP restricts your connection or bandwidth in the fine print. Some ISPs will lower the bandwidth of your connection after you reach a certain data limit, if there are too many people using the connection at once, during certain times of day, and/or for any other reason they see fit. This is a major consideration if you live in a big apartment building or have a house with several family members that need the internet connection at the same time. (Often, it is the upload speed that is affected first and most.)
  4. Satellite and mobile internet connections are easily interrupted and should not be used for music lessons unless they’re your only option. These types of connections are most sensitive to things like tall buildings, thick walls, cloud cover, population density, distance to a cell tower, and internet traffic.

We hope this helped! If you’re still experiencing issues or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us here.