Top 10 Proven Tips to increase your broadband speed

March 18th, 2024
Top 10 Proven Tips to increase your broadband speed

Are you fed up with slow internet that ruins your streaming, gaming, or work-from-home experience? Slow broadband is a common annoyance, but the good news is that you can take steps to speed things up. In this article, we're excited to share ten effective tips to help you get the most out of your broadband and enjoy a faster internet access connection.

Restart Your Router Regularly

One of the simplest yet most effective ways to boost your broadband speed is to restart your router regularly. Over time, routers can become overloaded with data, leading to slower speeds and connectivity issues. By restarting your router, you clear its memory and give it a fresh start.

To restart your router:

  • Unplug the power cord from the router and the wall outlet power source
  • Wait for 30 seconds to 1 minute
  • Plug the power cord back into the wall outlet and the router
  • Wait for the router to fully restart and reconnect to the internet

Experts recommend restarting your router at least once a month to maintain optimal performance. Set a reminder on your calendar or phone to ensure you don't forget this crucial step in optimising your broadband speed.

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Position Your Router Optimally

The location of your router can significantly impact your broadband speed and Wi-Fi signal strength. To optimise your router's position:

  • Place your router in a central location, away from walls and obstructions
  • Avoid placing your router near metal objects, appliances, or electronics that can interfere with the signal
  • Elevate your router off the ground to improve signal distribution
  • Keep your router away from areas with high foot traffic or where people gather, as human bodies can absorb Wi-Fi signals

When deciding on the best location for your router, consider the layout of your home or office. If you have a multi-story property, placing the router on the ground floor or in a central area can help ensure that the Wi-Fi signal reaches all areas of your home with minimal interference.

Position Your Router Optimally

Update Your Router's Firmware

Router manufacturers periodically release firmware updates that can improve your router's performance, security, and compatibility. Updating your router's firmware can help optimise your broadband speed and fix any known bugs or issues.

To update your router's firmware:

  • Check your router manufacturer's website for the latest firmware version
  • Download the firmware file to your computer
  • Log in to your router's admin interface (usually by entering your router's IP address in a web browser)
  • Navigate to the firmware update section and follow the instructions to upload and install the new firmware

Some routers have automatic firmware update features, which can simplify the process. Make sure to check your router's documentation for specific instructions and be cautious when updating the firmware, as an incorrect update can potentially cause issues with your router's functionality.

Use a Wired Connection When Possible

While Wi-Fi is convenient, it can be prone to interference and signal loss, resulting in slower speeds. Whenever possible, use a wired Ethernet connection to optimise your broadband speed. Ethernet cables provide a stable, direct connection between your device and the router, minimising signal loss and interference.

To set up a wired connection:

  • Connect one end of an Ethernet cable to your router's Ethernet port
  • Connect the other end of the cable to your device's Ethernet port
  • Configure your device's network settings to use the wired connection, if necessary

Wired connections are particularly beneficial for stationary devices like desktop computers, gaming consoles, and smart TVs. By using a wired connection, you can ensure that these devices are receiving the fastest and most stable internet connection possible, reducing the likelihood of buffering, lag, or other performance issues.

If you're using an older router, it may be time to upgrade to a newer, more powerful model. Newer routers often support the latest Wi-Fi standards, such as Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), which offer faster speeds, better range, and improved performance in congested areas.

When choosing a new router, consider the following factors:

  • Wi-Fi standards supported (e.g., Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 5)
  • Number of antennas and their configuration (e.g., external, internal, directional)
  • Processor speed and memory
  • Security features (e.g., WPA3, firewall, VPN support)
  • Additional features (e.g., parental controls, guest networks, QoS settings)

Be sure to choose a router that is compatible with your broadband plan and can handle the number of devices in your household. If you have a high-speed fibre broadband connection, look for a router that supports gigabit speeds to ensure you're getting the most out of your plan.

Optimise Your Wi-Fi Channels

Wi-Fi networks operate on different frequency channels, and congestion on certain channels can slow down your broadband speed. By optimising your Wi-Fi channel settings, you can minimise interference and improve your Wi-Fi performance.

To optimise your Wi-Fi channels:

  • Use a wireless connection analyser tool (e.g., NetSpot, WiFi Analyser) to scan for nearby networks and identify the least congested channels
  • Log in to your router's admin interface and navigate to the wireless settings
  • Change your router's channel to the least congested one identified by the analyser tool
  • Save your settings and restart your router, if necessary

Most modern routers support both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands. The 5 GHz band typically offers faster speeds but shorter range, while the 2.4 GHz band provides better range but may be more prone to interference from other devices like microwaves or cordless phones.

Optimise Your Wi-Fi Channels

Limit the Number of Connected Devices

The more devices connected to your network, the more your broadband speed may suffer. Each device consumes a portion of your available bandwidth, leaving less for other devices and activities. To optimise your broadband speed, limit the number of connected devices whenever possible.

Tips for managing connected devices:

  • Disconnect devices that are not actively in use such as laptop
  • Use a guest network for visitors to keep your main network free for priority devices
  • Set up parental controls to limit children's device usage during peak hours
  • Invest in a router with advanced QoS (Quality of Service) settings to prioritise bandwidth for essential devices and activities

Consider auditing your connected devices regularly to identify any unnecessary or unused devices that may be consuming bandwidth. By minimising the number of connected devices, you can ensure that your most important devices have access to the bandwidth they need for optimal performance.

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Use Quality of Service (QoS) Settings

Quality of Service (QoS) is a feature found in many modern routers that allows you to prioritise bandwidth for specific devices or activities. By configuring QoS settings, you can ensure that your most important online tasks, such as video conferencing or gaming, have the necessary bandwidth to function smoothly.

To set up QoS:

  • Log in to your router's admin interface and navigate to the QoS settings
  • Enable QoS and select the devices or applications you want to prioritise
  • Assign priority levels to each device or application based on their importance
  • Save your settings and restart your router, if necessary

Some routers have pre-configured QoS profiles for common activities like gaming, streaming, or web browsing, which can simplify the setup process. Experiment with different QoS settings to find the optimal configuration for your specific needs and devices.

Reduce Interference from Other Devices

Electronic devices like microwaves, cordless phones, and Bluetooth speakers can interfere with your Wi-Fi signal, causing slower speeds and connectivity issues. To minimise interference and optimise your broadband speed:

  • Keep your router away from potential sources of interference, such as microwaves, cordless phones, and baby monitors
  • Avoid placing your router near large metal objects, as they can absorb or reflect Wi-Fi signals
  • Use shielded Ethernet cables to reduce electromagnetic interference
  • Switch to a different Wi-Fi channel that is less prone to interference from nearby devices

In some cases, you may need to relocate your router or the interfering devices to minimise the impact on your Wi-Fi performance. If you suspect that neighbouring Wi-Fi networks are causing interference, consider using a Wi-Fi analyser tool to identify the best channel for your network.

Consider a Mesh Wi-Fi System

If you have a large home or office with multiple rooms and floors, a traditional single-router setup may not provide adequate Wi-Fi coverage. Dead zones and weak signals can slow down your broadband speed and make it difficult to stay connected. In such cases, a mesh Wi-Fi system can help optimise your broadband speed by extending your Wi-Fi coverage and eliminating dead zones.

A mesh Wi-Fi system consists of a main router and multiple satellite nodes that work together to create a seamless, whole-home Wi-Fi network. The nodes communicate with each other to determine the best path for data traffic, ensuring that your devices always have the strongest possible signal.

Benefits of a mesh Wi-Fi system:

  • Expanded Wi-Fi coverage throughout your home or office using access points
  • Seamless roaming between nodes without dropping the connection
  • Improved speeds and reduced latency, especially in larger spaces
  • Easy setup and management through a mobile app
  • Ability to add more nodes as needed to further extend coverage

When choosing a mesh Wi-Fi system, consider factors such as the size of your space, the number of devices you need to support, and the system's compatibility with your broadband plan. Some popular mesh Wi-Fi systems in the UK include the BT Whole Home Wi-Fi, Tenda Nova MW6, and Google Nest Wi-Fi.

Bonus Tip: Monitor Your Broadband Usage

In addition to optimising your broadband speed, it's essential to keep an eye on your monthly broadband usage, especially if you have a plan with data caps or fair usage limits. Exceeding these limits can result in additional fees or slower speeds until the next billing cycle.

To monitor your broadband usage:

  • Log in to your ISP's customer portal or mobile app
  • Look for a usage meter or dashboard that displays your current data consumption
  • Set up alerts or notifications to warn you when you're approaching your monthly limit
  • Consider upgrading to a plan with higher data allowances or unlimited usage if you consistently exceed your limits

By monitoring your broadband usage, you can avoid unexpected fees and ensure that you're getting the most value from your broadband plan.

Bonus Tip Monitor Your Broadband Usage

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Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I restart my router?

Experts recommend restarting your router at least once a month to maintain optimal performance. However, if you experience frequent connectivity issues or slow speeds, you may need to restart your router more often.

Can I update my router's firmware myself?

Yes, most routers allow users to update the firmware themselves through the admin interface. However, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully and ensure that you are downloading the correct firmware version for your specific router model.

Do I need a special Ethernet cable for a wired connection?

In most cases, a standard Cat 5e or Cat 6 Ethernet cable will suffice for a wired connection. These cables are widely available and can support speeds up to 1 Gbps (Cat 5e) or 10 Gbps (Cat 6) over a distance of 100 meters.

How do I know if my router is compatible with my broadband plan?

When choosing a new router, check the specifications to ensure that it supports the maximum speeds offered by your broadband plan. For example, if you have a gigabit broadband plan, make sure your router supports gigabit speeds (1,000 Mbps or higher).

Can a mesh Wi-Fi system replace my existing router?

Yes, most mesh Wi-Fi systems are designed to replace your existing router. The main node of the mesh system connects directly to your modem, while the satellite nodes extend your Wi-Fi coverage throughout your home or office.

How can I test my broadband speed?

You can use online speed testing tools like Speedtest.net, Fast.com, or your ISP's own speed tester to measure your broadband speed. Be sure to run multiple tests at different times of the day to get an accurate picture of your average speeds.

What should I do if my broadband speed is consistently slower than advertised?

First, try implementing the tips and tricks outlined in this article to optimise your broadband speed. If you still experience slow speeds, contact your ISP to troubleshoot the issue. They may need to send a technician to investigate your line or equipment.

Can I prioritise specific devices for faster speeds?

Yes, by using your router's Quality of Service (QoS) settings, you can prioritise bandwidth for specific devices or activities, ensuring that they have the necessary resources for optimal performance.

How can I reduce Wi-Fi dead zones in my home?

To minimise Wi-Fi dead zones, try repositioning your router to a central location, away from obstructions and interference sources. If that doesn't solve the problem, consider using a mesh Wi-Fi system or Wi-Fi range extenders to improve coverage throughout your home.

What should I look for when upgrading my broadband plan?

When upgrading your broadband plan, consider factors such as the advertised speeds (both download and upload), data caps or fair usage limits, contract length, and pricing. Make sure to choose a plan that meets your household's needs and budget.

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