Today, people rely on their broadband for access to consistent sources of information, entertainment, and communication.
Now that so much of our lives take place over an internet connection dealing with slow broadband can be incredibly frustrating.
Your broadband speed is measured in “megabits per second” (Mbps), and it describes how quickly you can download information from the internet. Everything from your proximity to a telephone exchange, to the types of broadband available in your area, can affect your internet’s performance.
Rebekah Carter, writer for Broadband Genie, how you can make the most of your Broadband speed.
Frequently Test your Broadband Speed
The first thing you’ll need to do to enhance broadband performance is to find out what your current Mbps rate is. You can do this by checking your mobile and home speed with an online speed test. All you need to do is enter your postcode to get started.
Once you have your broadband speed, you can test it against the number your provider gave you when you signed up for the internet (give them a call if you don’t have this).
Know the Common Causes of Slow Broadband
If your broadband speed isn’t as good as it should be, it could be the fault of your provider, or it could be something you can fix at home. For instance, here are some of the common causes of slow broadband:
- Too many people connected at once: Numerous devices connected to the internet at the same time will affect performance. Disconnect anything you’re not currently using, including laptops, tablets, smartphones, smart TVs, and smartwatches.
- Unsecured broadband: Slow internet can also be caused by poor Wi-Fi security. Cookies, viruses, or even your neighbours leeching off your internet could slow you down. Check that your Wi-Fi is password protected, and perhaps change the password frequently.
- High-traffic browsing: You’ll enjoy a faster internet connection if you do most of your browsing outside of peak times. Consider saving your browsing and downloading until later in the evening.
- Router settings: A broadband router can help or harm your connections. For instance, the MTU setting on your router might cause connectivity issues if it’s set too low or too high. Make sure your router settings are consistent with manufacturer and ISP guidelines. Your providers tech support will be able to provide assistance if you need guidance.
- Eliminate bandwidth-hogging programs: Some applications on your computer may be running hidden background processes that rapidly consume your network resources. It’s easy to forget that these systems are running, so check your computer for background programs when troubleshooting a slow network.
Boost your Connection
If your broadband speed is weak, but there’s nothing your provider can do to help (without increasing your monthly bill) there are other ways to improve performance. For instance:
- Use a wired connection. While wireless internet is convenient, you’ll generally get faster speeds with an ethernet cable.
- Use a microfilter: If you have ADSL broadband you should have a microfilter on every phone socket. Ask your broadband company for a microfilter to limit interference from your home phone line.
- Always keep your router switched on: Routers perform better when they’re kept on consistently. But, keep your router out in the open to stop it from overheating.
Upgrade your Broadband
If the problems with your broadband speed are caused by a limitation in your connection, it may be worth switching to a new provider. For instance, if you usually exceed your standard data allowance, your supplier may cap your broadband speed, instead of increasing your bill. This is a process called throttling. Or perhaps you’re simply getting the best speed possible from the current service.
The only way to upgrade your broadband access is to pay for faster service. You could even investigate switching to fibre if it’s available in your area.Check out fast broadband deals on Broadband Genie to see what kind of connections you can access.
Bonus: Get Compensation for Slow Broadband
If you check all the common causes of slow broadband and you still can’t find a reason for your poor connection, then you may be eligible for compensation or free cancellation from your broadband provider.
Broadband suppliers are only required to give users 50% of the average speed they advertise. That’s why most people end up with a rate much lower than they expect.
If your broadband performance falls below the minimum guaranteed access line speed or “MGALS”, and they are signed up to the Ofcom voluntary code of practice for broadband speeds, you may be eligible for free cancellation or a switch to a cheaper package. And from 2019 you will be able to receive automatic compensation in case of disruptions to the service.