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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Tricks to make your broadband faster at home – and the ones that definitely won’t work

With more families staying at home at work and children not going to school because of the continuing pandemic, the speed of the Internet and mobile devices is more extensive than ever.

As a result, many may find that their broadband is lagging behind and will look for ways to improve it.

While telecommunications companies are constantly monitoring traffic on their networks, to help those now working from home, families can also take measures to improve Internet speed.

We reveal the biggest myths about Internet speed, but also the things you can do to improve your broadband connection.

Families will now increasingly use their broadband and mobile network from home

Families will now increasingly use their broadband and mobile network from home

myths

Myth 1: It doesn’t matter if other devices are nearby: Keeping the router as far away from other devices as possible is a good idea, including those that work wirelessly, as they can all affect Wi-Fi if they are too close to the router.

This includes cordless phones, baby monitors, halogen lamps, dimmers, stereo speakers and computers, TVs and monitors.

Also, place the router on a table or shelf instead of on the floor and keep it turned on for maximum effect.

Myth 2: Having a microwave oven nearby doesn’t matter: Microwave ovens are proven to reduce the Wi-Fi signal.

Therefore, you should not use the microwave when making video calls, watching HD videos or doing something important online.

Myth 3: Turning the router on and off every day improves speed: There is a myth that restarting the router will speed up your Internet operation.

Some argue that restarting the router can help speed up broadband with the theory that the router cache fills up and restarting for about 20 seconds clears the cache, improving performance.

However, this is not the case with all routers.

To test your speed, use Ofcom’s official mobile and broadband control. If possible, test for a few days and at different times of the day.

Numerous internal factors can affect the speed of Wi-Fi, so consult your provider’s website for guidance on how to improve the signal at home.

Families are advised to use Skype or WiFi calls to talk to people rather than 4G or 5G

Families are advised to use Skype or WiFi calls to talk to people rather than 4G or 5G

Myth 4: Having a lot of connected devices doesn’t matter: The more devices are connected to your Wi-Fi network, the lower the speed you get.

Devices like tablets and smartphones often work in the background, so try turning off WiFi reception on these when you’re not using them.

If you’re making video calls or meetings, turning off video and using audio will take much less than your Internet connection or try to start them at less common times, rather than in the hour or half hour.

You may also want to manage your family’s online business, so that different people don’t do heavy data tasks, like HD streaming, games or video calls, all at the same time.

Early downloading of videos, rather than streaming, can also help.

The best high speed internet deals

If you’re finding that your Internet speed isn’t fast enough now that you work from home, the first thing you can do is talk to your provider to see if you can negotiate a better deal at higher speeds.

If this doesn’t work, it may be worth comparing other offers on the market.

This is Money has put together a list of the best high speed Internet deals currently available.

1) BT Superfast Fiber: The average speed on the BT fiber deal is 50 Mb, great for downloading and streaming TV shows and movies.

For a 24-month contract, customers will pay only £ 28.99 a month and receive a £ 40 Amazon voucher and a £ 80 Mastercard award card.

The price will rise to £ 36.99 per month after the first two years and customers will have to pay £ 9.99 as an installation fee.

2) Virgin Media Superfast 2: Virgin offers its superfast broadband with huge average speeds of 63 Mb.

For new customers, they will only have to pay £ 22.95 per month for 24 months. Existing Vodafone Mobile customers can save £ 2 a month more on this deal.

Customers who do not have a BT Openreach line may have to pay an upfront fee of £ 60 to have a line installed.

3) Sky Broadband Superfast: Sky offers massive 59 Mbps with unlimited downloads.

The 18-month contract will cost customers £ 27 per month for new and existing customers with an installation fee of £ 19.95.

Tips

Use your landline phone or Wi-Fi calls if you can: More and more people make calls on their mobile network during the day.

Due to this high demand, you may find a more reliable connection using your landline phone. If you need to use your mobile phone, try using the settings to turn on “Wi-Fi calling”.

Wi-Fi calling is available on some smartphones and mobile packages. It allows the phone to make calls over the broadband network, which often provides the best sound quality and also helps reduce demand on the mobile network.

Likewise, you can make voice calls over the Internet using apps like FaceTime, Skype or WhatsApp.

Use an Ethernet cable to connect the computer directly to the router instead of using WiFi

Use an Ethernet cable to connect the computer directly to the router instead of using WiFi

Test by cable instead of wireless: For the best broadband speeds, use an Ethernet cable to connect the computer directly to the router instead of using WiFi.

This is a computer network cable which should offer a faster and more reliable connection. They are available from just £ 3.

Connect the router directly to the main phone socket: Where possible, try not to use a phone extension cable, as it may cause interference that could reduce speed.

If you need to use an extension cable, use a new high quality cable with the shortest length possible.

Even tangled and coiled cables, as well as interference from the telephone line can affect speed, so try connecting “microfilters” to each telephone jack in your home.

They look like small white boxes and divide the telephone and broadband signals so that they do not affect each other.

Different providers have different configurations in the house, so always check their website before disconnecting the cables.

Get advice from your broadband provider: If your connection isn’t working as it should, you can find recommendations on your broadband provider’s website, which is also available on cell phones.

If you need to contact them for help, keep in mind that because of coronavirus, some companies have far fewer people who can help you with your questions.

Most are prioritizing vulnerable customers and essential public services, so keep that in mind.

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them, we may earn a small commission. This helps us fund This Is Money and keep it free to use. We don’t write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

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