Technology Insight

Working from home: The right infrastructure for telecommuting success

What is needed to make your telecommute workers safe, secure and productive while working from home? Let's find out.

January 25, 2021

By the end of this article you will have an understanding of how Remote Access works and the necessary infrastructure to provide a frustration free, successful telecommuting experience.

In this article we will discuss proper configuration of these 3 infrastructure items.

  • Business network
  • Remote site internet access
  • Security concerns

Lets get started....

Working from home is good... again:

Prior to the COVID 19 pandemic; telecommuting was on a resurgence. With more than 95% of households in America having internet access the feasibility of employing a telecommuting workforce was not only viable but attractive for its potential cost savings and increase in potential employees.

Many companies were exploring plans to ensure their employees could successfully perform their tasks remotely.

Covid happened at this point

Before we dive in and define what is needed to successfully work from home lets first define our telecommuter and look at how Remote Access actually works.


They use applications requiring a significant amount of compute power.

For the purpose of this article; a telecommuter is an employee who typically utilizes a workstation on the company network and now needs to work from home. They use applications requiring a significant amount of compute power. The files they create and modify can take a significant amount of time to open.

My definition of a telecommuter is narrow for this article; however it is this telecommuter that is the cause of concern for many organizations.

Remote Access:

If your users can watch Netflix with no problems; their internet connection will work fine.

To understand where our 3 components fit into the remote access framework and their importance; let's take a quick look at how remote access works.

  1. From the user's remote location; their keyboard and mouse commands are captured and sent to the workstation in the office
  2. The workstation processes those keyboard and mouse commands as if the user were sitting at their desk in the office
  3. The office workstation continually sends the screen data back to the remote user

As you can see the processing of files and opening of resource intensive software is handled by the remote workstation that was purpose built to handle these types of workloads. The amount of data transmitted between the 2 clients is minimal because it consists of image data and user input information. If your users can watch Netflix with no problems; their internet connection will work fine.

Now that we have defined our telecommuter and have a basic understanding of how Remote Access works; let’s talk about a successful telecommuting framework.

Business Network Infrastructure:

If things are typically slow in the office; working remotely isn’t going to speed them up.

A slow internal network can have many causes.  For the sake of this article we are going to stick to your network infrastructure.

Here are 4 infrastructure components that can impact your telecommute experience:

Ethernet Cabling: (1. Workstation to network port at your desk, 2. Network port to switch or modem)

  • Ideal: Ethernet cable is Category 5e or better (cat 6, 6a, 7…).  You can find the category stamped on the ethernet cable.
  • Acceptable: Cat 5

The speed your switch or modem is rated for

  • Ideal: 1000BASE-T (1 gigabit per second)
  • Acceptable 100BASE-T (100 megabits per second)

The speed your firewall or modem is rated for

  • Ideal: 1000BASE-T (1 gigabit per second)
  • Acceptable 100BASE-T (100 megabits per second)
  • If your office supports more than 20 users you should invest in 10gigabit per second network cards

Your Internet Service Provider plan (bandwidth of your service plan). This will vary based on the size of your telecommute force

  • Ideal: (~20 remote workers): 300Mbs down, 50Mbs up
  • Acceptable: (~20 remote workers): 100Mbs down, 30Mbs up

You may think it unusual that your internal network speed has more capacity than your ISP can handle. If you’ll recall from the ‘Remote Access’ section; the heavy lifting is done by the workstations, license server, and file servers on your network. The amount of data between your users and office is minimal in comparison.

Remote site internet access:

If Wi-Fi is your only option, limit other traffic in your house (aka tell the kids to play Legos or disconnect your neighbors devices :)

The most impactful aspect of remote site internet access will be the stability and security of the connection. Because remote access uses little data the amount of bandwidth isn’t a factor unless you have a house full of boys streaming videos, playing games and listening to music while you are trying to stay connected to your remote session.

Internet access in home networks is predominantly through Wi-Fi. Due to the number of devices connected to a Wi-Fi access point and other wireless devices found in homes; Wi-Fi can be a stability concern. If all you're doing is utilizing the software and files on your office network; little disconnects won’t be as noticeable. If you are conducting online meetings or attending webinars; stability problems will be immediately noticeable.

Here we have 2 home network parameters for trouble free remote working:

Connection to the internet

  • Ideal: Ethernet cable from your computer or laptop to your modem or switch
  • Acceptable: Wi-Fi connection

Internet Service Provider plan

  • Ideal: 30Mbs down, 10Mbs up
  • Acceptable 10Mbs down, 5Mbs up

Security Concerns:

PLEASE don’t assign everyone the same password

Security is always at the forefront when talking about connectivity whether in the office or remote. Poorly configured remote connections can leave the door open to cyber attacks.

Best practices for securing your remote connections:

Remote software configuration

  • Enable 2 factor authentication for the remote connection: requires a password and a code from a second device
  • Once connected to the remote network; require user credentials to unlock their workstation.

Office network password policies

If you don’t have a password policy now is the time to create one:

  • Change passwords every 30 days
  • Require unique passwords (not increasing a digit)
  • Require special characters in the password
  • PLEASE don’t assign everyone the same password
  • Set a session time out so if your users walk away from their remote device their session locks

Choose your remote software carefully

  • There are hundreds of remote software vendors to choose from. Do some research of the security they provide and their security track record. Just because it is produced by a well known company doesn’t mean it provides the best security.


Many of you are likely realizing that your current network infrastructure is sufficient for your remote workforce to be productive and successful. With some security policy tweaks and software configuration changes you’ll be ready to safely and securely provide your users remote access to their workstation.

Matthew worked with Agave IT Services as a Brand & Content Consultant through 2020. He managed our company transition from Agave Solutions Inc. to Agave IT Services (dba). From our Logo to our online presence and business operations platform; Matthew created a solid foundation able to support our growth into the future.

You can find
LinkedIn icon

Agave IT Services

We are an IT Services and technology company serving the southwestern United States since 2003. We specialize in supporting, managing, and deploying technologies for the AEC industries' unique requirements. We differ from the typical IT service provider in that we handle ALL your technology needs, freeing you to focus on your core business.

You have a vision
we want to help you get there

Our approach to IT Service is unique. Let's see how we can best serve you!
Yes Please!