We’re all using broadband to connect to the internet these days but sadly it’s not always perfect. It can slow down, be generally unstable or disconnect all together. We’re going to look at a few ways to speed up your broadband and improve its stability.
The important part to remember here is that we’re talking specifically about the speed of your broadband, not the speed of your WiFi. If you’re looking to improve the performance of your WiFi then we have this article here just for that question.
The speed of your broadband is dependent on your router’s connection to the local exchange that is situated close to your house. The speed of your WiFi is your home’s network and your connection to the router. If something is wrong with your broadband speed as it comes into your house it’s going to have a knock on effect to your WiFi’s speed too.
How to improve the speed of your broadband
Check your broadband provider’s service status
First, we're going to see if we can find the cause of the slow speed.
If you feel like your broadband is running slow the first thing to check is with your provider to see if there are any issues in your area.
The majority of the lines in the UK are owned by BT and you’ll be able to find their service checker here, just type in your phone number at the top.
If you’re using Virgin Media then you can check their service status here too.
If you’ve just activated your broadband for the first time it will take a little while to come up (make sure you check your activation date). Up to 10 days after your activation date your connection will be unstable as your provider runs tests, so if your connection is unstable in that time that will more than likely be why.
The distance from your home to the local exchange matters
The distance your house is from the local exchange is going to have a large impact on the speed of your internet too. The general rule of thumb is that the further the distance to the exchange, the slower the speed of your broadband. The distance is measured by the length of the cables that carry the data along and these cabled generally follow the layout of roads, so sadly it won’t be the direct distance ‘as the crow flies’.
Due to these factors, much of the performance if your broadband relies on the ISP (Internet Service Provider) that provides your connection and the infrastructure that is being used. There isn’t usually a whole lot you can do about your broadband speed as it’s out of your hands.
There are however a few things you can try and they’re going to involve your router.
Turn it off and on
First of all, try turning it off and leaving it off for a few moments. You can do this by simply pulling the power out of the back of the unit, and then plugging it back in after a few minutes. As with most computers, sometimes the best solution is simply to turn it off and on. This will give the router a chance to restart its processes and generally sort itself out.
Make sure it’s in a good location
If you’re going to use the Wi-Fi then having your router away from doors, wall and any obvious large obstructions will help improve its signal.
Having your router close to electronic devices such as microwaves can have a large impact on its working too, even something as simple as a lamp that is very close to the router can have a poor effect on its performance too, so try moving some things around to see if that helps.
It's important that you keep the router close to the middle of your house if at all possible, so the connection is easily spread.
Diagnose/replace/upgrade your router
Your router will have some self-diagnostic software located in its options that you can try running to see If that throws up any problems. Your router may also be something you’ve had for a while so going into the options and finding out how to update the router’s firmware (software) should help its running too.
You will be able to find guides on your router manufacturer’s websites on how to do both of these things.
If all else fails, then you may want to try another router. If you’re using a router that is supplied by your ISP then you can contact them and ask for a replacement/upgrade. If you’re going to need to buy one yourself have a look at our Best Routers for 2018 here.