back to article Microsoft, Google, Slack, Zoom et al struggling to deal with a spike in remote tools thanks to coronavirus

With more and more companies across the world telling employees to work from home in an effort to limit, or slow, the spread of COVID-19 – which was last night declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization – outages on common remote-working tools have started to increase. Shares in video-conferencing specialist Zoom …

  1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    I have noticed..

    Webex's call quality seems worse than normal but otherwise OK. Skype for business is crap too but then it was crap before COVID-19 so seems to be behaving as expected.

    Not tried teams this week but Zoom seemed to be good for an office Web conference but crap on Sunday for my youngests' Chinese school lessons (they tried keeping it going but attendance dropped to 10% so they're going to move the whole school onto using Zoom until things settle down).

    Which does lead to an interesting problem - what will happen if schools move over to web conferences? Not just the services themselves but pupils internet in general when millions of kids start videos on mass everyday?

    1. Alan J. Wylie

      Re: I have noticed..

      Cisco Webex was borked yesterday between 14:00 and about 16:45. The app wasn't so badly affected, but the web interface was unusable and it was dropping messages sent through the API.

    2. MiguelC Silver badge

      Re: I have noticed..

      Yesterday Zoom was A-OK but today both Zoom and Teams were showing lower video quality and Teams has also been stuttering a bit. OTOH Skype showed no diminished quality (dismal as always)

    3. mistersaxon

      Re: I have noticed..

      I was on Teams AND AnyDesk yesterday afternoon (presenting issues on Teams, audio issues on AnyDesk) and had no problems other than near-terminal boredom.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "after the current COVID-19 crisis"

    First question : when is the current COVID-19 crisis going to end ?

    Because right now, it's ramping up. And US health officials are doing less to get it under control than companies are.

    Good on companies. Shame on the US Government.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Being prepared

    We were sent home as a precaution last week and are now working remotely. Webex seems to be ok. Skype was always bad. Zoom haven't tried. Did install NoMachine on a few of the office-based PCs just in case we need access to important docs and other material. Also VNC.

  5. Buzzword

    Remote working hype cycle

    "big tech has viewed remote working as a potential goldmine for years"

    Really? The same big tech that insists all their employees live in Silicon Valley? The same big tech that builds shiny new campuses with all services on-site, so that staff never have to leave? I'll believe the teleworking hype when the FAANGs embrace it.

    1. }{amis}{

      Re: Remote working hype cycle

      Goldmine is a good analogy as the guys doing the dangerous digging work seldom get paid or treated well to this day the mining industry has a well-deserved crap reputation, gold mining especially.

      1. MrNigel

        Re: Remote working hype cycle

        As a Goldmine consultant in the 90s it never struck me as dangerous and I was quite happy with £750/day

        1. NeilPost Silver badge

          Re: Remote working hype cycle

          Did you do any digging, blowing up, mercury extraction ??

  6. Flywheel

    My SSH connection

    .. is fine thank you

    1. AndyD 8-)₹

      Re: My SSH connection

      ... gives me the same access as being in the office, so where is the big tech goldmine?

      Where it's always been: FUD - my last employer had an experienced team quite capable of supporting SSH but no - it had to be a CD with a Known Name on it for me to take home. I was tempted to set up a reverse SSH tunnel to spite them but a) BOFH would notice, and b) I was so chuffed at working from home I didn't want to rock the boat!

  7. Caver_Dave
    Thumb Up

    Remote working

    I work from a Home Office, as do most of my colleagues around the world (including China where a home office is very rare). We write a certifiable operating system; so a job that would traditionally be penned in a "gofer farm."

    We tend to use Zoom for project (text) chats and its video for conferences, or when we just want to see someone (e.g. talking with line manager or customers). Had a call yesterday afternoon (GMT) with 157 participants with only 3 reporting slight, transient breakup of sound.

    We use Remote Desktop to talk to lab equipment (wherever it happens to be in the world).

    It's great to get out for a walk around the village at lunchtime and catch up on what's going on (I'm also Vice-Chairman of the Parish Council) and if there was a shop or cafe it would be used. Working from home (normally) helps both local businesses and the community cohesion.

    If two outcomes of this pandemic are that more people work from home and more people use video conferencing rather than travelling to meetings, then it will have a lasting positive legacy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Remote working

      If two outcomes of this pandemic are that more people work from home and more people use video conferencing rather than travelling to meetings, then it will have a lasting positive legacy.

      If my job limited me to seeing colleagues on TV, and never travelling to meet them, I'd quit.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Remote working

        You can go and meet them - but you don't need to do that every day do you?

        (Yes there are some jobs that can't be done remotely, not talking about those).

      2. MatthewSt

        Re: Remote working

        Been remote for 10 years now. If my job involved having to _go_ somewhere to be productive, and limit who we could employ to who was willing to live in or travel to the same location then I'd quit!

        It's not for everyone, granted

        1. mistersaxon

          Re: Remote working

          Been based from home in the main for about 20 years now - the monthly team meetings are ok but not critical and I meet customers and colleagues F2F when needed (can't hump a server into a rack remotely after all) but on the whole this will affect sales people more than technicians I think.

      3. NeilPost Silver badge

        Re: Remote working

        Working for the Netflix Generation.

  8. Not Enough Coffee

    I wonder if IBM will reverse their no remote work policy, or will they hope the virus takes out the older employees.

    1. cookieMonster

      No, and yes

    2. NeilPost Silver badge

      Elderly Presidents ???

  9. RM Myers

    This is only going to get worse

    Local University just announced that all classes would be changed to online. 60,000 students on one campus alone!

  10. Alistair

    Remotee for the last few years

    Both with my current and previous employer.

    Good VPN, Good ISP, and tuned WiFi. And I get to make decent coffee instead of the crap one gets in most offices.

    BlueJeans has been fine for quite some time. My boss is in Italy, and most things in his neck of the woods are calm. My team is all over the planet, from NZ, Italy, France, Germany US, Canada and Czech Republic. We're all remotees.

    Nice to see the sports industry finally getting their heads out of their butts. NBA, NHL suspended. Hullo football? Junos cancelled and dozens of conferences in Japan, China, Taiwan and several in Malaysia off the lists.

    I get the social weeping about these things, but the idea is to *slow the spread* down so that we don't end up with hospitals all over the world having to decide who lives and who dies.

  11. blazewon22

    As schools shut down in the US and more people strain the consumer network all video and SaaS services will be affected for the next 2 weeks starting Monday.

    1. mistersaxon

      Valid point

      More people at home means more streaming services pushing bandwidth demands. Can the actual backbone provide enough throughput for all this demand?

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022