When you sign up to your broadband service, you can expect to receive information which provides you with an expectation of the service you will receive. This could be an estimate of what broadband speed you should receive and what activities it will support. If you are not provided this information, you can ask for it.
This speed estimate will be for the broadband speed that will be delivered to your property and it does not reflect the speed you will actually experience. The reasons for this are that there are many factors within your home that can and do affect your broadband experience. A non exhaustive list of factors can include:
- Interference with wireless devices such as baby monitors or other electrical devices
- The location of your router and whether there are any obstructions to the signal
- The age of your router and other devices that you are using
- How many devices are connected at one time
- The type of activity you are carrying out – for example, browsing the latest news will not use as much of your bandwidth as downloading a film
It is important to note that your service provider has a responsibility to deliver a broadband service to your property. Anything which affects your experience beyond that is the responsibility of you as a consumer.
Things You Can Do
If you would like some assistance in identifying whether there are any factors within your home which are impacting on your broadband experience, you can ask your service provider if they offer any assistance in this area. Alternatively there are other independent companies who will visit your home and carry out a home “health check” and offer practical advice on what you can do to improve your service. Please ensure you check whether any charges will apply first.
We have also outlined below other steps you can take to improve your broadband experience.
Check to make sure your phone line is securely connected to your router, as well as any other connections between your router and your devices.
If everything is correctly and securely plugged in, try resetting your router. Turning it off and on again sounds simple but works more often than you’d think.
Visit the service issues page of your Internet Service Provider's (ISP) website. Alternatively, your ISP will be able to tell you whether there are any network issues which could be causing (perhaps temporary) reduced speed. Alternatively, they should be able to try and identify what the cause is and provide you with some advice as to things you could do to try and improve the speed. Please be aware that if you request an engineer call out, there may be a charge if the issue is found to be within your control and not with the network, for example if your router is not set up correctly.
If you are using a wireless connection, using an Ethernet cable to directly wire your device to the router can help improve your speed, rather than using wireless.
Web browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox or BING release updates periodically. Installing the most recent version of the web browser you use has two benefits. It should provide you with increased security whilst using the internet and also work faster. Visit the Get Safe Online website for help doing this.
The number of devices connected to your internet impacts on the speed you receive on each device. If you do not password protect your wireless internet, anyone close by can access your broadband. This could be a security risk, but equally it could slow down your own broadband speed. Include a password to protect your broadband. Including a mix of capital letters, symbols and numbers will make your password more secure.
For further information on how to stay safe on the internet. Please visit the OCSIA website for advice here.
Other electrical devices can cause interference with your wireless router and this can impact on your broadband speed. Some electrical devices which can cause interference include: halogen lamps, electrical dimmer switches, speakers, fairy lights, TVs and monitors. Try not to keep your router on the floor where possible and keep it away from items such as those listed above to try and avoid interference.
Using telephone extension leads can cause interference. If you can, plug your router into the main telephone socket. If this is not possible, make sure you use a new, high quality cable with the shortest line length possible. Also check that the cables are not tangled or coiled.
Your phone line could be interfering with your internet. Check that you have the most up to date main phone socket and micro filters into every phone socket in your home. They look like little white boxes and split the phone and broadband signals so that they don’t interfere.
Broadband accelerators or filters can help to filter out interference or stabilise your line, making it more reliable. These devices should be available from your ISP.
Just as with web browsers, routers are also being upgraded and improved. Your ISP should be able to advise whether upgrading to a newer version could help improve your speed and/or things such as line disconnections.