Broadband Speed

The speed of your internet connection is affected by many things. Firstly, there may be a limit imposed by the broadband service provider, or a technical limit due to the setup and location of your broadband equipment.

Next, the speed will also be affected by the number of users sharing your internet connection.

In a typical domestic environment there may be numerous mobile phones, tablet, computers, gaming consoles all of which use the internet connection. The more of these present, and the more heavily they are using the internet, the slower the connection will appear for everyone. Remember that entertainment streaming systems like Netflix and NowTV etc. will use the internet connection quite heavily during use.

If you feel the internet connection is slow then try “Restarting the Router” as described previously. You can also check to see what other devices are also using the internet connection. Generally, video and audio streaming will use the internet most. Reducing the number of active devices will increase the speed for those left.

There are websites and apps that can check your current internet speed, but you have to know how to interpret the results and also know what is a “normal” speed for these to be of any use. However, if you have a working connection then try –

Speedtest.net

Broadbandspeedchecker.co.uk

The results will be displayed as 3 values

  • Ping : time to send a request and receive a reply – smaller is better
  • Download : speed of receiving data from websites – higher is better
  • Upload : speed of sending data from your device – higher is better

Your actual speed will depend on the service available. Fibre broadband is faster than standard broadband and “Faster Fibre” will be faster still. The Upload speed will often be much lower than the download speed. This is normal and will not affect performance as you generally download much more data than you upload.

Typical UK Fibre Broadband speeds are  –

  • Ping : 12ms
  • Download : 32 MBps
  • Upload : 6  Mbps

The Ping is a time measurement in milliseconds. The Download and Upload figures represent the amount of data that can be moved per second and is shown as “Megabits per second” (where 1 Megabit is a million bits of data).

“Faster Fibre” will give better higher download and upload speeds.

A Virgin Media “Faster Fibre” speedtest result

Optimising Broadband Speed

If you feel your broadband is running slow then there are a couple of things you can try which might help.

First, restart the router. This can often help, especially if the router hasn’t been restarted for a while.

Next, make sure that you leave the router on 24/7 – don’t switch it off for extended periods (i.e. don’t switch it off every night and on again in the morning). Broadband service providers perform communications checks with routers and if your router does not repsond they may assume a fault on the telephone line and may reduce your broadband speed to compensate for this.

Use a network cable rather than WiFi where possible. Plug a network (“Ethernet”, “LAN” or “RJ45” cable) into one of the 4 yellow sockets at the rear of your router and connect this cable to the network socket on your laptop if the router is close enough to where you work from. A cable connection is always faster and more reliable than WiFi.

Rear view of typical router alongside an RJ45 Ethernet Cable

Try to place the router in a higher (e.g. on a shelf, not on the floor) location, central among the devices that connect to it. This ensures a stronger WiFi signal from the router. Also, try to place the router away from other electrical devices (e.g. televisions, baby monitors, audio systems) to reduce any possible electrical interference with the WiFi signal.

For best results the router should connect directly to the BT Master Socket where the telephone cable comes into the house. Don’t connect the router via telephone extension socket as this may reduce the speed.

Reduce the number of devices using WiFi. Phones, tablets, and “smart” devices all use WiFi. The fewer devices using WiFi, the faster the WiFi service will be to those remaining. Switch off or disconnect devices that don’t need to be connected. That streaming music service that you might listen to at home (e.g. via Alexa or an app on your phone) will use WiFi data too and will affect your speed.

Author: Plus1Support

Owner of Plus 1 Computing - IT services for businesses and home users

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