TwentyFour IT

Top Tips to Boost Your Broadband Speed When Working from Home

Like many people across the UK right now, you might find yourself working at home, living a new ‘normal’. The connectivity you’re used to in the office is more than likely a reliable business broadband solution or a dedicated internet connection, one not shared with others. According to Statista, 15 years ago, around 55% of households had internet access, compare that to the 96% in 2019 – contention ratio is high.

Contention ratio being high means that a lot of other people are sharing the same line as you to use the internet. For instance, if your contention ratio at home is 25:1, 24 other households are using the same line as you. The downside to contention is that broadband speeds are likely to be adversely affected the more people are using the internet at one time. Typical times of peak internet traffic is in the evening between 6pm, and 12am. As you may be experiencing, with many people across the country working and staying at home, your broadband speeds may be worse now than ever. Here are some tips to improve wavering speeds, regardless of contention ratio.

Move Your Router to Another Location Within the Property

Wireless signals can be disrupted by many things such as walls, ceilings and doors. Also, something you might not think could interfere with the connection like microwave ovens and baby monitors, for example.

If your router is stored in a cupboard in the corner of the house, then try moving it to a more central, open location to test if your connection improves.

Use an Ethernet Cable

Gone are the days of dial-up or necessary wired internet. However, connecting to your internet using an Ethernet (network cable) connection opposed to a wireless connection could be a good workaround. Using a cable may affect the flexibility of where you can work in the home. Still, you can purchase an Ethernet network lead extension cable. Ultimately, a wired connection will give you faster broadband speeds and bypass any wireless interference.

Replace Your Router

Can you remember the last time you purchased a router? Maybe never. We often stick with the router provided to us by our Internet Service Provider (ISP), and there is no harm in that. If you are experiencing problems with speed, though, buying a new router could be the solution. Your ISP has most likely sent you a standard router which for the most part, will do a good job. However, it will naturally lack the high performance and attractive features.

On newer routers, data is typically transmitted over two radio frequencies — 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. To explain further, the 2.4 GHz band sends data farther but could be less reliable because lots of devices, like cordless phones and as mentioned previously, baby monitors and microwaves, use that frequency. The 5 GHz band will prove less congested but is likely to travel a shorter distance.

Check for Viruses

It is possible that a virus could be affecting your internet connection, so be sure to secure your network. The performance of your device could also have a knock-on effect on connection speeds. Consider checking the health of your device in terms of programs installed, hard drive space and performance, memory on the device, and so on.

Microfilters

At home, you may notice a small device that is connected to your master telephone socket. The purpose of the device is to prevent telephone and broadband signals from interfering with one another. It looks like this:

ADSL Broadband Micro Filter for BT / SKY / TALK TALK Telephone Phone Microfilter Splitter Leaded

[Source: Amazon]

If you believe there could be a problem with your microfilter in affecting your broadband speeds, try this test:

  • Listen for a dial tone through your telephone and identify if there is any noise on the line
  • If you hear noise on the line, the next step is to unplug all broadband equipment from the master telephone socket
  • Now plug only your telephone back into the master socket. Listen for the noise again
  • If the noise persists, this indicates there may be a fault on your telephone line. If there are no sounds, connect everything as it was before, including all broadband equipment, if the noise returns, it’s probable that the filter is faulty. We would recommend replacing with a new one.

Change Your Router Password

Most routers are sent from the manufacturer with default access details. Default passwords can be easy to guess, or if a sophisticated threat attempts to access, they will more than likely know what the default password is. Most people don’t know, but a default password is of course designed to be changed once active. Without a secure password, your network is not necessarily secure, and it could be possible that you have unwanted guests riding on your Wi-Fi.

Get Organised

When you come to check, I guarantee you will be surprised at how many devices in your home are connected to your Wi-Fi. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but we would suggest to limit the usage of the devices below or disconnect them from the network entirely when you are working:

  • Wireless speakers such as Alexa and Google Home
  • Sound system
  • Smart TV
  • Games consoles
  • Mobile phones
  • Laptops and tablets
  • E-reader
  • Lights
  • Thermostat
  • Set-top box
  • Printers

Try a Wi-Fi Booster

Also known as a Wi-Fi network or range extender, these devices can work wonders in boosting coverage around the house. There may be areas of your home that get little or no Wi-Fi signal at all, maybe in a room that would be ideal as a home office. Have you been working around the slow areas? Now you don’t have to. If you are opposed to cables running through your home, a booster could be ideal for you.

Upgrade Your Browser

Working on an old version of your favourite web browser could be hindering performance. The most up to date version won’t only work faster but will have increased security.

If you need information or assistance with any of the advice above please reach out to us here and we can help you today!

TwentyFour IT