Tech experts offer tips ahead of new and unusual school year |

Tech experts offer tips ahead of new and unusual school year

Updated: August 22, 2020 11:31 PM
Created: August 22, 2020 11:22 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – Before students begin remote learning, and the keyboards start clicking at home, tech experts like Jeffrey Willey and Dan Feuerstein say there's an important step for families to take.

"Just make sure you have proper equipment," Willey says.

Willey runs Jeff’s Computer Service in Webster, and Feuerstein operates as "The Computer Wizard." Both suggest improvements ranging from strong anti-virus software to making sure you have an updated computer capable of keeping up with the video learning students are about to go through. At the end of the day, both say the most important tool to have is a strong internet connection coupled with a strong router.

"The bigger the antennas, usually, the bigger range you get," Willey says.

This includes keeping the number of active devices in your house down to a minimum when your child is in the middle of a class.

"You wouldn't want to have somebody on your router watching a Netflix movie," Feuerstein says.

However, both experts say the best way to keep the connection strong is to keep your router central to your home and make sure the router is elevated. The higher up you go, the better.

Now, this may be a simple fix, but below the surface it is a more complex problem and it involves access to the internet in the first place.

Both experts say sticking to the higher-end brands of routers are your best bet, but not every family may be able to afford a working router or even a working computer. Online, some routers and portable Wi-Fi hotspots can cost close to $200.  

In several school reopening plans, districts are offering families both computers and connectivity. Going forward, though, some areas in the state just aren't getting the needed bandwidth to help a device run efficiently. New York State reported that roughly 98 percent of people had a connection, but that number's been disputed by studies, lawmakers, and school leaders. 

Our Buffalo affiliate reports a bill aimed at expanding access to affordable broadband in the state should be sent to the governor within the next 30 days. With the proper tools, Feuerstein says the focus should be kept on focusing on those lessons.

"You got to keep them engaged, and that's going be a tough one," he says.

To test your computer’s bandwidth, check here. For helpful router tips, click here.

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