So, you’ve signed up to a deal that you think is perfect. You get a good price and the speed is just as you desired, but you’re still struggling to watch a full episode of House of the Dragon on HBO without your app buffering.
Whilst picking a good provider and the right price are important, sometimes you need to do some extra work behind the scenes to improve your broadband signal. Hopefully, our guide should be able to help you extend that signal, so you don’t end up losing your rag with poor broadband quality.
Increase Internet Speed Fast
One of the biggest and most common complaints that regularly light up online forums is poor broadband speeds. But there are ways to improve internet speed, and they don’t always cost you any money either.
Here you’ll find a few tips that can help you test broadband speed and increase internet speed.
Get a UK Broadband speed test
Sure, the company you bought your broadband from might claim to be the best ISP (Internet Service Provider) on the market, but that speed it listed when you bought it isn’t always on the mark.
In fact, most UK broadband providers list a speed of ‘up to’ a certain amount, meaning that you can receive speed of anything up to the number which they’ll try to sell you. This is a common move by most ISPs, and one which isn’t normally too far from the truth, but it can be misleading.
If you’re stuck wondering ‘what is my broadband speed?’ you can find out by doing a broadband test online, which are free and give you a solid figure on your download and upload speeds. From here you can figure out how to increase network speed with the rest of our tips.
Secure your connection
Increasing internet speed is often hard if you have multiple devices all running at once through your internet connection, so having your next door neighbour ‘borrowing’ your connection won’t be of any help to your speed either.
By securing your connection you can stop people clogging up your broadband connection, making your speeds faster for your devices. This is also important for your broadband security as well, because by having an open connection you could be granting access to your devices for other users as well.
Position your router correctly
One thing which many customers forget when getting their broadband speed test is that the router’s position can have a huge effect on the speed you can get. For example, walls, doors and even other electrical items can hinder your speeds if they’re in between your router and the device you’re using.
On top of this, if your router is positioned in a room that is a real distance from your bedroom, you could find signal a problem there – affecting broadband speed dramatically.
To counter this, you should position your router in a central room and ensure that it isn’t surrounded by clutter. By doing this, you help get yourself the best chances at a decent broadband speed that is unlikely to drop in and out. Plus, it also ensures that you have solid range across your home, hopefully leaving no black spots without any signal.
Sort your PC out
Whilst you may think that it’s your internet connection that’s slowing you down, it may well be your PC instead. Whether it’s in the need of a clean-up or if it’s infected with a virus you don’t know about, your PC could be slowing you down when surfing the web.
By running some anti-virus software on your computer and going through a simple PC clean-up, you can drastically improve your day to day speeds both online and offline.
Also, by managing your PC you also help open up hard drive space for extra downloads as well as improve the overall user experience you go through with it. Plus it should help you watch all those YouTube videos with a bit more ease as well.
If you’re struggling after going through all of our previous tips it might well be time to get an Ethernet cable and go back to the non-wireless age. This goes especially for those non-portable internet devices, like games consoles and desktop PCs, which really benefit from a consistent connection.
Wireless broadband is obviously very handy for our phones, tablets and laptops, but by going without a cable you can suffer from slower speeds. Meanwhile, if you opt for a wired connection direct to your router you’re much less likely to struggle.
Upgrade Your Broadband
Sometimes there’s little else to do except bite the bullet and upgrade an ageing broadband deal – especially if it dates back to the pre-2012 years. This is because the development of fibre broadband has vastly improved general broadband speeds, and if you aren’t rolling with the punches you’ll likely be a fair few MBs behind the average.
To do this you can compare deals online, or simply speak to your broadband provider to see what new deals they can offer you. Also, you could even make a saving on your monthly bill, which leaves you an extra few quid to play with…
Find out more about broadband usage here.
Improve Wireless Broadband Range
Speed isn’t always everything, and even if you do happen to get the best broadband speed ever, if you’re wireless range isn’t wide enough you’ll still struggle for a good connection. Thankfully, we’ve answered some of the common questions about broadband range here…
What is broadband range?
Wireless broadband range is the distance that your broadband router can send a viable signal for your mobile devices to connect to. This range can be seen on wireless devices on the dedicated Wi-Fi connection logo, which is normally dictated by the number of bars shown – if all the bars are lit up, you are in close range to your connection.
I can’t connect to my router, what’s wrong?
This could be a number of problems with either your internet device or the router itself. The best and often simplest remedy is to reset the router by unplugging it for 30 seconds and then try again. Otherwise, ensure all plugs and ports are connected properly and ensure you don’t have clutter around the router.
If none of these help you out, contact your ISP as they may be experiencing trouble.
How can I improve my Wi-Fi range?
The main reason for poor broadband range is bad positioning of your router, if you move the broadband device into a more central location you could see improvements in its range. If not, ensure there is no clutter around it and be sure to avoid tucking it behind any furniture.
If you’re still finding range hard to come by, it might be worth investing in a new router or splashing the cash on a wireless powerline adapter, which uses internal wiring in your home to extend signal to certain areas. Broadband repeaters are also available, but can slow your connection down.
What’s the difference between 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz bands?
In recent years, we’ve seen two different wireless channels emerge in certain broadband routers, and they can be confusing to tackle.
2.4GHz bands often have a further reach, but are a bit slower than their 5.0GHz counterparts. Basically all internet connected devices will run through this channel, meaning almost all of your devices should be able to connect to this band. 2.4GHz connections can suffer from a little more interference than 5.0GHz bands as well.
5.0GHz bands are the fastest wireless connection you can expect in your home, but only a few devices will be able to connect to it. Normally bigger devices like games consoles will be connecting to this channel. However, its range is shorter than 2.4GHz, so you should be sure to have any devices needing this connection closer to your router.
How can I avoid Wi-Fi interference?
There are a number of things that could be scuppering your Wi-Fi connection, with particular baddies including cordless phones, microwaves, baby monitors and other electrical appliances. To best avoid interference you should have these kinds of devices away from your router and turned off if at all possible.
Where’s the best place to put my router?
Obviously this depends quite a lot on the layout of your home, but in general you’re always better off putting your router in your living room, where you’ll likely spend the majority of your time at home. It’s not the easiest thing to do, relocating your router – but by contacting your ISP, you should be able to organise the positioning of your broadband connection for a small cost.
If you don’t want to relocate your router, powerline adapters and broadband repeaters are other viable options.
What are Powerline Adapters and Broadband Repeaters?
If you need to extend your broadband range, be it for improving your online gaming experience or day to day web browsing, sometimes you’ll need some hardware to help you out.
Broadband repeaters and powerline adapters do just that, only in slightly different ways.
Powerline adapters work by using your mains power lines throughout your home as a way of extending the range of your broadband. You plug one adapter into a socket near your router, with an Ethernet cable between them, and one in the room where you need internet. You can then connect this by cable or wirelessly, if the adapter has that functionality.
This makes them ideal for connecting to games consoles and smart TVs, as well as offering added Wi-Fi range if you need it. It’s worth noting however that your broadband speed can be slightly lowered using a powerline adapter, but is still more than useful for most broadband uses.
Broadband repeaters work slightly differently to powerline adapters, simply taking your Wi-Fi signal and creating an extra hot spot in your home for the same connection. They can have a more serious impact on your broadband speed, and don’t allow for a wired connection – but can be easier to set-up.
They plug into a socket between your router and home area without signal and effectively offer extended range, but need to be secured to ensure nobody else can access your network. They’re typically cheaper than powerline adapters, and take up fewer plug sockets.
Dos and Don’ts of Wireless broadband speed and range
If you’re struggling with wireless speeds and range for your broadband, here are a couple dos and don’ts you should stick to.
Do perform a UK broadband speed test, it will determine exactly how fast your in-house speeds are. It’s also worth doing several tests at different times to get your average speed nailed down.
Don’t think your speed is exactly what your ISP says it is, they can mislead you with speeds ‘up to’ a certain amount.
Do go through the effort of positioning your wireless router correctly. This will help improve speed and range, without costing you any money.
Don’t leave your connection insecure. This can let numerous devices onto your system and clog up your speed as well as risking any sensitive information you have on your devices.
Do invest in powerline adapters or broadband repeaters if you exhaust all other options to extend your wireless range. They can be found at quite competitive prices and can save you plenty of inconvenience.
Don’t just put up with unsatisfactory range or speeds. If you think you aren’t getting the best performance, make sure to get in touch with your ISP, they might have problems or offer you a better deal.
Hopefully, by following these tips you should have sorted out any major problems you’ve got with your broadband speed or range. If not, it might be time to speak to your internet service provider to see if they can solve your issues.