Downloading films, browsing the internet for the latest bargains, ordering the latest grocery shop – it’s hard to imagine life without the internet these days. Most smart gadgets include a Wi-Fi feature too, so there can be a lot of device trying to connect in any home.
Even when you have a decent broadband speed, it can sometimes run slowly or feel like it takes forever to download something. That’s because broadband speeds vary depending on where you live and who else is logging on. If there are a lot of people online in your area during the evening, speeds are likely to drop up to an average of 35%. If you live in a remote area, this too will reduce connectivity.
But if your broadband is running slower than normal outside of these hours, there could be a few reasons for this. Before you do anything, check your broadband speed at various times of the day. Which? has a broadband speed checker tool that enables you to get a better picture of your broadband speeds. Use this to compare against what you pay for. If your connection is slow throughout the day, this might not be due to peak usage. Instead, there could be another reason.
Some basic checks
Your broadband provider doesn’t need to give you the full speed you pay for – it only needs to give you 10% of that. But before you rush to shop for a new provider, make sure you check whether you could get a better speed. Ofcom has an app that allows you to see a rough guide of what your property line is capable of offering.
If you feel you could get faster speeds but your broadband provider just isn’t providing them, call your provider and see what they can do to rectify the issue. Explain you’ve made the checks and that the connection is unusually slow.
But if your broadband provider won’t help you, it might be time to switch providers. You could have to pay an exit penalty for this, unless your provider increases your price.
A few boosters
If you want to improve your broadband speed, there are a few things you can do to give yours a little boost.
• Check your monthly allowance and usage. Install a usage checker like tbbMeter to monitor yours. If you are going over your usage, your speed will be much slower and you’re likely to pay more too.
• Try repositioning your router to get a better signal. Wi-Fi signals can struggle to get through thick walls or big objects, so make sure your devices can easily connect. Find a central point that will reach the whole of your home and avoid hiding your router in a cupboard.
• Protect your Wi-Fi connection with a password to ensure neighbours or those nearby can’t tap into it. If other people can log on, this will slow your connection down as well as make your devices less secure.
• A wireless booster can help overcome weak signals or blackspots in your home. It won’t increase your broadband speed or bandwidth but it will ensure your whole property has a signal. Both Sky and BT have their own boosters but it’s probably only worth picking one up if you live in a bigger property.