Information on setting up your home working environment including how to set up a printer/monitor at home and how to optimise your home broadband connection.
Setting up your home working environment
If you don’t have access to an office desk and office chair at home, please make good use of any table and chair, as opposed to sitting on the sofa or in bed. Ensure you take regular breaks; try to stand up and move away from the computer during these breaks, giving your body a rest from sitting in the same position for long periods. Using a separate monitor, keyboard and mouse is also recommended over using a laptop and trackpad, if available.
Connecting home printers and monitors
How you connect to a monitor, your TV or home printer very much depends on which make and model you have. The information provided below is general guidance relating to installations and troubleshooting and we recommend reading it in conjunction with the product manual for your device.
Hardware installations and troubleshooting on non-managed computers will be supported on a best endeavours basis. We have included the relevant link to both Microsoft and Apple support pages based on the problem you may be experiencing.
Printing issues and support
Some of the more common printing issues are as follows:
Slow printing and/or printer not receiving print jobs. In this scenario, you may need to restart the printing services.
Outdated/incorrect drivers can also prevent you from printing and may need to be updated.
Removing print job errors that fail for various reasons.
Connecting to a TV or monitor
When connecting to a monitor or TV, you will need to be aware of the type of ports that are used on your device.
A description of the type of cables and connectors can be found here:
Once connected, you may need to adjust the display settings.
Desktop @ UCL
All hardware installations on Desktop @ UCL require admin, or ‘elevated’ rights. This will be the biggest hindrance and most common problem encountered.
With regards to home printer installation on Desktop @ UCL:
- If you have elevated rights on your laptop you can install a printer yourself
- If you don’t have elevated rights (which will be true for the majority of users) – please contact the IT Services or your local IT support team, stating the specific printer details along with your contact details and availability
- Some printers with Wi-Fi capabilities may require software installation. If this is the case, again, please contact IT Services or a local support team
- Other Wi-Fi capable printers may only need to connect to your home network to begin printing (please see your printer manual for further information)
- If you want to print whilst using Desktop @ UCL Anywhere, you will need to access the service via the Citrix Workspace and click on Devices in order to find and access your local printer if installed. Please note you will not be able to print locally using the browser (light) version of Desktop @ UCL Anywhere
Monitor connection and support
Connecting a monitor/TV to a Desktop @ UCL laptop will depend on the make/model of the laptop. There are couple of different models of laptops currently in circulation at UCL. The most common ones are listed below along with the ports that are available for that machine.
Laptop model: HP EliteBook 840 G3
- Ports: VGA, Display Port
Laptop model: Dell Latitude 7300 / 7400
- Ports: Display Port, HDMI
You can use adapters (display port to HDMI, VGA to HDMI etc.) where necessary to connect.
If you connect via a port replicator, some models may require driver installation.
If you have elevated rights on your Desktop @ UCL laptop, you can proceed to install the driver yourself.
For users without elevated rights – please contact the IT Services or your local your IT support team, stating the port replicator details along with your contact details and availability.
If you require specific cabling to connect your device to a TV or monitor, please consult the ISD Purchasing team in the first instance. Adapters, connectors and cabling will need to be bought by the member of staff. There is no facility for ordering these smaller items direct from UCL.
Using your broadband service effectively
Assuming you already have a broadband service of at least 2Mb in your home, we suggest the following steps for optimal use.
- Check your broadband contract for its advertised download speed – all internet service providers now must show a guaranteed speed for their different services. You can check the speed in your house using one of the many broadband speed checkers available on the internet, e.g. https://broadbandtest.which.co.uk/. Run some tests and make sure you are getting the speed you are paying for. If you are not, contact your internet service provider, as they may be able to resolve the issue.
- Router location and connection – think about where the router is located in relation to your laptop or home computer. Assuming you are connecting wirelessly, try and minimise the distance between the two and avoid thick walls between the router and your computer where possible; you don’t need to sit right next to the router, but being in the same room is always better than being two rooms’ away. If you have the appropriate ethernet cable to connect directly to the router and you can do so without creating a trip hazard, this will often be a faster, more stable connection than via Wi-Fi, as ethernet cables are less affected by interference. If you need to work in a more remote location in your home it may be worth considering buying a Wi-Fi extender, which can help to boost the signal.
- Reducing interference – Wi-Fi signals can be subject to interference from a number of sources including neighbouring Wi-Fi transmissions and even using microwave ovens or other electrical equipment nearby.
- Other users of the broadband connection – while you may not be able to reduce broadband use by your neighbours, once the signal enters your home it is worth checking to see what other devices you have connected that may be sharing the connection. If somebody is streaming video or playing an online game on the same connection while you work, this may affect your computer’s internet connection.
If you followed the steps above and your connection is still poor, then also consider the following:
- Use 4G from your phone – you may be able to tether your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot to your computer. In certain locations 4G coverage may be better than fixed line broadband. However, make sure you don’t go over your allocated limits for data usage or you may incur significant costs.
- Reduce the bandwidth of the applications you are using – if you are struggling to maintain a working connection then switching from video to audio conferencing will significantly reduce your data requirements. Also, turn off other services that may be hogging the connection. Turn on your radio or watch broadcast TV rather than stream music or video whenever possible. If you have to stream video, can you reduce the resolution? Reducing from 4K to HD, or HD to SD is about a 75% bandwidth saving each time.