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Top tips for improving your broadband speed

If you’re experiencing slow internet speeds, it could be a problem on either your end or your provider’s end. Luckily, if the problem is at home, it can usually be sorted with a few quick fixes.

Test your internet speed

Before you try to fix things yourself, run an internet speed test. It’ll give you an idea of whether your internet speed is falling short of your broadband provider’s average speeds.

It’s quick and easy to measure your connection speed with our broadband speed test. Just enter your postcode and we’ll run a check for you.

Restart your router

It may be a tried and tested trick, but a quick restart is often the most effective way of getting your internet back up and running smoothly again.

Simply switch your modem or router off, leave it for 30 seconds, then turn it back on again.

Similarly, turn off the Wi-Fi on your devices and wait a few seconds before reconnecting.

Move your router to a better position in your home

Where your router is physically placed in your home can affect the Wi-Fi signal.

To maximise coverage, place your router in a central location in your home, and in as a high a position as possible. Try to keep it clear from obstructions such as walls and large pieces of furniture, and avoid hiding it in a corner or cupboard.

If you can, put it as close as possible to the devices you use the most.

Keep your router away from other devices

Try to keep it away from other electronic devices. In particular, avoid putting your router near Bluetooth-enabled gadgets and equipment that uses the same frequency, such as baby monitors and cordless phones. This is because signals from these different pieces of tech might interfere with your Wi-Fi signal.

Try using a Wi-Fi Extender

If you’ve placed your router in the best possible location but you’re still having problems, you may benefit from adding extra devices that help spread your network’s coverage.

While smaller homes and flats can generally get by with one router, it could make a big difference if you’re in a larger house. It’s usually quick and easy to set up.

There are several different extenders – also called broadband boosters – you can use:

  • Wi-Fi repeaters – these consist of two wireless routers. One picks up the existing Wi-Fi signal, and transfers it to the other router, which then boosts the signal
  • Wireless range extenders – this device sits between your router and the area in your home where you want better coverage
  • Powerline adaptors – using your home’s mains electrical system, one unit is plugged into the mains near your router while another is plugged in the area where you want to improve broadband coverage

Add or update your Wi-Fi password

It’s always a good idea to password-protect your home internet network. As well as keeping you safe and secure from potential hackers, having a password will prevent others nearby from latching onto your bandwidth and clogging up your internet.

Plug in with an Ethernet cable

Although a wireless connection is the norm, thanks to its convenience, a wired connection is much faster and more stable.

Try using an Ethernet cable to connect your laptop or desktop computer to your router. This way, you’ll at least have a reliable internet connection for the time being, while you sort out your wireless broadband.

Consider upgrading your router

Like all electronics, old routers can sometimes malfunction and stop working. If your current router is outdated or damaged, the signal may be affected – you’ll need to replace it.

Rather than going for a single router, you could consider a mesh router network. This is a network of several routers placed around your home, so it’ll help improve the strength of your Wi-Fi signal if you have a larger house.

Problems with video calls? Try audio-only

Grainy video quality, dropped calls and jumpy audio – when it comes to trouble with video calling, we’ve all been there.

If your internet connection is struggling to keep up with a video call, turn off your camera for the time being. Although this isn’t a long-term solution, it’ll help you have better sound quality while you’re on a call.

For more on broadband when you’re working from home, visit our working from home guide.

Disconnect unused devices

You may be connected to your home Wi-Fi on multiple devices – likely much more than you’d think.

Too many connections can slow down your Wi-Fi. While it’s a safe bet that you’ll need to connect your phone and laptop to the internet, try disconnecting the devices you’re not using.

Close apps and programs running in the background

Without you noticing, you may have many programs and applications running in the background of your PC and mobile phone. Even when you’re not actively using the apps, they’re still eating up bandwidth.

It’s best to close any computer programs and mobile apps you’re not using. As well as helping your device run smoother, it’ll help maximise your broadband speed.

You can shut down background apps through the ‘Settings’ on your computer. If you’re using Windows, you can also press Ctrl + Alt + Delete to launch the Task Manager, where you can view all programs running.

Additionally, if you have lots of tabs open in your browser, close the ones you don’t need.

Likewise, go through your applications folder on your phone and swipe away on any you’re not using at the moment.

Check for service issues with your provider

If you’re still experiencing a sluggish connection after trying out some quick fixes, it might be an issue with your provider.

First, check their website to see if there’s a wider problem affecting your neighbourhood. If there is, your provider will most likely provide information on the issue and when it will be fixed.

If it seems that service is normal and only your household is having an issue, get in touch with your broadband provider. They’ll be able to run checks on your line and try and establish the problem. If they can’t fix it remotely, they may end up sending out an engineer.

Consider switching internet service provider

Whether you’re still experiencing problems with your connection, or simply want to upgrade to a faster package, you could switch to a different broadband provider.

With MoneySuperMarket, it’s quick and easy to search for an alternative. Just enter your postcode and we’ll search our panel of providers to find the best broadband deals in your area.

You can then filter by cost, contract length, connection speed and what you want in your package, such as a phone line or TV services.

Compare broadband, TV & phone deals

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