Posted on March 31, 2020 by Samantha Baidoo
With the majority of the nation working from home and competing for bandwidth with their partners and kids who are also working from the same kitchen table, now more than ever, the need for good broadband connection seems to be a bone of contention in houses throughout the country.
So how can you improve your home internet speed? Here are our top tips:
If your home router is not secure, it allows others to freely connect to your broadband. As well as a host of associated security concerns, this will definitely impact on your internet speeds. To make your connection secure – add a strong password to your router.
Try to position your wireless router close to where you are working from, ensuring that your wireless router has good air circulation and isn’t tucked away in a cupboard and ensure you move it away from devices that may interfere with your signal, such as microwaves, cordless phones and baby listening devices. If this doesn’t work, try to connect the ethernet cable from your router directly to your device.
Look around your home and count the number of devices connected to your network.
You’ll be surprised how quickly they add up – Smart doorbells, Televisions, Mobile phones, telephones, Smart Heating Controllers, Wireless Lighting systems, Sonos players and Internet Connected Kitchen Appliances. Most home routers are only designed for a dozen connections and we are overloading them with devices all taking up your bandwidth. Disconnect devices that are not being used during your working from home time. This tip maybe a little bit harder when kids are at home, but during essential times when you need to have a fast connection, for example, during video calls, try and get a non-technology filled activity ready for the kids.
Streaming services such as Netflix have already announced that they will be reducing the streaming quality of their service during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re filing key month-end figures and running conference calls, it’s worth checking what the kids are streaming in HD from YouTube and Netflix and consider pulling the plug.
Home routers are often simply not designed for the workload we now place on them. There are some relatively inexpensive, and also some fairly pricey options for increasing home Wi-Fi coverage. The more sophisticated solutions create a ‘mesh’ of Wi-Fi signal and work by having several connected devices that you can place strategically throughout the house which work together to provide a seamless Wi-Fi connection throughout your home. You can even use their respective apps to give different devices a higher priority – meaning your Microsoft Teams conference call get prioritised over your son’s game of Fortnite! These are simple to set up and install but can have a huge impact on the strength of the signal and are normally designed to support more like 100 devices, rather than the dozen or so devices most ISPs say their home routers are designed for. Solutions such as Google Wifi and TP-Link Deco system are great examples to look at. And remember, this isn’t just about improving connectivity during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is not going to be a decrease in the number of internet-connected devices we install in our homes over the coming years, so it’s a great investment for the future too.
It’s an obvious one but, check with your home internet service provider to see if you’re able to upgrade your service. It’s often possible to subscribe to a faster service without changing provider and possibly even keeping the same hardware at home. Upgrades can sometimes happen within a few hours, so it’s a good time to check what service packages are available to you.
Just like a computer, older routers will perform worse than more modern devices. If you have a router at home that’s more than four years old, it may well be time for an upgrade, but before you do so, check to see if there’s a firmware update or patch that can be applied. In our offices, we are accustomed to keeping networking devices updated but we don’t often take the time to do so at home. If you’re not sure how to do this, speak to your ISP or google the instructions for your particular device.
It’s also worth ‘power cycling’ your router – sounds tricky right? You’ll be pleased to know that the way to do this is just to turn it off, leave it off for 5 minutes, and turn it back on again! This can often clear faults and the router will often then choose the least busy Wi-Fi channel.
Ofcom has also provided some useful information to help public users to improve their internet connection. The broadband universal service obligation (USO) has said that they will be giving people in the UK the right to request a decent and affordable broadband connection.
Contact us for more information on improving remote working