Remote teaching and learning technology resources and troubleshooting tips

A couple with children work from home.

Published January 13, 2021

Slow (or no) internet? Printer isn’t printing? People can’t see or hear you on Zoom? We’ve heard them all. Read on for advice on working through common technology problems.

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Looking for a new device, need internet or software?

This article will help you troubleshoot problems with your existing devices and internet. If you need to a new laptop, internet service provider or software for your online work or learning, see our article on remote learning technology resources.

Internet

Fast.com is a free service that checks your internet speeds. UB recommends minimum speeds of 1 Mbps to get the most out of essential apps like Zoom.

If your internet speed isn’t adequate, or you aren’t getting any internet connection at all, first try turning your internet router off and turning it back on again—it’s a cliché, but it often works. Then, check downdetector.com to see if there are any outages in your area. 

If you need to find another internet connection, consider checking with competing internet service providers in your area for faster service, if available. 

You might also consider using reputable Wi-Fi hotspots in public locations—UB offers access to eduroam on campus and in select parking lots. Eduroam is also available at several other universities all over the U.S., and the world.

Several internet service providers also offer Wi-Fi hotspots in public locations:

  • Spectrum: Visit spectrum.com/wifi-hotspots.html to find Spectrum's Wi-Fi hotspots, which are currently free for public use.
  • Xfinity: Students can visit xfinity.com/wifi to find a Wi-Fi hotspot in New York City and other locations. Once at a hotspot, select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots and then launch a web browser.
  • Wiman Mobile and other providers also offer hotspots at no cost. 

Zoom

A problem with your webcam or microphone can quickly derail a Zoom meeting. Before your meeting, visit buffalo.zoom.us/test where you can test and adjust your settings beforehand.

If you’re unable to trace a problem with your webcam by using the test Zoom meeting above, visit webcamtests.com, a site designed to help you work through issues with your webcam. 

Printers

Printers are famously finicky, but there are a few steps you can take to resolve common issues (from virtualvocations.com):

  • Unplug the printer, let it rest for 30 seconds, and plug it back in
  • Check all your cables if it’s a wired printer
  • Uninstall and reinstall printer software
  • Update the printer’s drivers

UB services

If you’re having a problem with a UB service or website, it might not just be you—check the UBIT Alerts Dashboard to see if an outage has been reported. The dashboard will also show you any upcoming scheduled outages (due to maintenance) and provide updates on any ongoing outages.

Don’t forget: the UBIT Help Center can assist with problems related to UB technology services! Visit them online at buffalo.edu/ubit/help, or call 716-645-3542.

Third-party services and apps

Downdetector.com is a website that tracks outages for popular services. Search for the service you’re having trouble with to find out whether the problem is with your devices or internet connection, or if others are having the same problem. 

Security concerns

If you’re concerned about your security, especially while working from home, follow this process to secure yourself, your devices and your router.

Something we didn't cover?

If you don’t see your problem listed here, email ubit-communication@buffalo.edu and tell us what we’re missing—your input may help others troubleshoot common technology problems in the future.