EAST LONGMEADOW/SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Many parents have voiced concerns on the Western Mass News School Authority hotline after WiFi signals dropped, forcing students out of Zoom calls during class.
Western Mass News spoke with a tech expert to see what you can do at home to help.
"I have five children that [are] on the internet, and I'm paying an internet bill of $199," said Springfield grandmother Bertha.
Bertha, a grandmother of five, called Western Mass News' School Authority hotline looking for help with WiFi troubles that have impacted her children's learning.
"The children continuously get knocked off because there's so many on," she said. "What are we planning to do about that the increase in the internet and WiFi in our homes?"
"This is a big problem for people because maybe you've got good internet in the house, but you have lousy WiFi in the room where your child is working," noted the owner of East Longmeadow's Gogeeks Computer Rescue, Stan Prager.
Prager told Western Mass News there are a lot of solutions for this, but...
"Unfortunately, most of these solutions are not easy for the non-geeky to deal with," Prager said.
What you can do is buy a WiFi extender found at a Brick and Mortar or online at Amazon.
"Buying them is not the problem, installing them is not easy, that can be the issue," he said. "They're not intuitive often, but you can. It's easy to get our WiFi into the room if you have the technical capability to install the extender."
If that's too hard, you can find where your WiFi router is and relocate it.
"Let's say you have your router in your basement because you had a computer down there 10 years ago, and now you don't," he said. "Now, you're using your other devices, and you're 20 feet away from that basement location, that router can be located elsewhere."
Or, relocate your student to where the WiFi signal is best.
"You may determine that your child is suffering because, in their room where they're doing the homework on the laptop, their Zoom call keeps dropping. They have no WiFi connection, but if you go two rooms over, you might find a better connection in the kitchen," Prager explained.
Or, call your internet provider...
"You can contact them and talk to them about the possibility of moving your router to another location of the house," he added.
Prager also said you could download an app called Speedtest.
"If your phone is on your home WiFi, you can check the speed. Ignore the upload speed. You only care about download speed. Go from room to room and do a speed test, you'll see which room is best," Prager said.
If none of this pans out, it's best to call the experts.
"If you're not getting good WiFi, this is a very solvable problem," he said. "But you may need to reach out to someone like Gogeeks or a tech professional because it can be challenging for someone non-geeky to solve this problem."