Tips for Maximising Your Broadband Speed

As someone who’s spent a fair amount of time cursing at buffering videos and slow-loading websites, I know firsthand how crucial a fast and reliable broadband connection is in our homes. Whether it’s for work, gaming, streaming, or just browsing, internet connection has become as essential as electricity in our daily lives. But what do you do when your broadband seems more like a slow stream than a raging river? Well, I think we know the answer to that so here’s some tried and tested tips and tricks that have transformed my online experience from frustrating to fabulous. Let’s get started!

Understanding and Testing Your Broadband Connection

Decoding Broadband Jargon

Understanding the basics, like the difference between bandwidth and latency, is crucial. Bandwidth is the capacity of your internet connection, while latency refers to the delay in data transmission.

Testing Your Internet Speed

Before diving into solutions, it’s important to run a speed test to see if your internet is performing as expected. This step can give you a clear idea of where you stand compared to the speed promised by your provider.
Start by running a broadband speed test. This will give you an indication of your current download and upload speeds. It’s essential to perform tests at different times for a comprehensive understanding of how your speeds fluctuate.

Recommended Speed Test Tools:

  • Broadband Genie*
  • Fast.com (powered by Netflix)
  • Speedtest.net

Interpreting Speed Test Results

If the speed is significantly lower than your broadband package’s promise, you may need to consider switching providers or upgrading your plan. However, if it’s close to what you expect, a few tweaks can help improve it.

Optimizing Your Home Setup

Restarting Your Router

Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the most effective. Restarting your router can refresh your connection and improve speed. Just turn it off, wait for 30 seconds, and switch it back on.

Router Placement

The physical placement of your router in your home significantly impacts the Wi-Fi signal. Place it centrally, away from walls and obstructions, and ideally in a high position. Keep it close to the devices you use most for better coverage.

Reposition Your Router

The location of your router can greatly affect your Wi-Fi signal. Ensure it’s in a central position, high up, and free from obstructions like walls and large furniture.

Other Router Placement Tips:

  • Avoid hiding it in cupboards or drawers.
  • Don’t camouflage it among other household items.
  • Use the best socket – directly plugging into your main phone socket often works best.

Reducing Interference

Electronic devices can interfere with Wi-Fi signals. Keep your router away from other electronics, especially those that use similar frequencies like Bluetooth devices, baby monitors, and cordless phones.

Using Wi-Fi Extenders

For larger homes, a single router may not suffice. Wi-Fi extenders, like repeaters, range extenders, or Powerline adaptors, can significantly improve your network’s coverage across your home.

Try a Wireless Booster

If you have a large home or areas with weak signals, wireless boosters can extend the reach of your Wi-Fi. They work with most providers and can be a simple yet effective solution.

Examples of Wireless Boosters:

  • Netgear Booster*
  • TP-Link Booster*

Use Microfilters and Change Router Channels

Microfilters in each phone socket can help, as can changing your router’s channel to avoid interference.

Opt for Wired Connections

Using an Ethernet cable can significantly boost your speed as it offers a more stable and faster connection than Wi-Fi.

Keep Router Away from Other Devices

Electrical equipment can interfere with your router. Try keeping devices like cordless phones, baby monitors, and microwaves away from your router.

Manage Device Connectivity

Turning off Wi-Fi on devices that you’re not actively using can free up bandwidth for other tasks.

For Remote Workers: Switch to Audio-Only Calls

If video calls are lagging, switching to audio-only can ease the load on your connection.

Use Home Electrics to Extend Range

Powerline adapters can use your home’s electrical wiring to extend the router’s signal to different parts of your house.

Powerline Adapter Options:

  • Netgear Powerline*
  • TP-Link Powerline*

Enhancing Security and Connectivity

Give Your Computer a Spring Clean

Update your anti-virus, browser, and clear your cache. Stop automatic updates and background apps to free up bandwidth.

Updating Wi-Fi Passwords

An unsecured Wi-Fi network is not just a security risk; it can also be slower due to unauthorized usage. Ensure your network is protected with a strong password.

Ethernet Connections

For a more stable and faster connection, especially for high-bandwidth activities like gaming or streaming, consider using an Ethernet cable directly connected to your router.

Upgrading Your Router

Older routers may not support the latest technology and speeds. Upgrading to a newer model or considering a mesh network can greatly enhance Wi-Fi strength, particularly in larger spaces.

Managing Your Network

Addressing Video Call Issues

If you’re experiencing problems with video calls, like poor quality or dropped connections, switching to audio-only can alleviate these issues while maintaining clear communication.

Disconnecting Unused Devices

Too many devices connected to your Wi-Fi can bog down the speed. Disconnect gadgets that you aren’t using to free up bandwidth.

Closing Background Apps

Unnoticed background apps and programs can consume significant bandwidth. Regularly close unused applications on your devices to maximize your broadband speed.

Troubleshooting and Considering Alternatives

Checking Service Issues

If you’re still facing slow speeds after trying these tips, check with your provider for any wider service issues in your area. They may provide information on the problem and expected resolution time.

Using Tools for Comparison

Broadband Unbundled and other comparison tools can help you find the best deals based on your needs and location.

Switching Providers

If problems persist or you’re looking for better service, consider switching your internet service provider. Tools like MoneySuperMarket make it easy to compare available options based on your needs and location.

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