Slow internet can be incredibly frustrating but it is worth knowing that the speed of your broadband service isn't just dependent on your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and the package you've signed up for.
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There could be many reasons why your internet might be playing up so here are a few tips on how to improve the speed and service.
Do you know your maximum broadband speed?
The first thing you can do is check the maximum internet speeds for your broadband package. If you signed up to a basic broadband deal with speeds up to 8Mbps, it may be not viable to expect fast internet and if you see a discrepancy between your up to and actual speeds then there may be an issue that needs to be resolved.
There are a few simple steps to improving your broadband speeds.
- Do you know what your actual speed is? Use www.broadbandandspeedchecker.com and try checking at different times of the day.
- You can find out what your exchange is enabled as – for example, ADSL, ADSL2 etc. by checking www.samknows.com/broadband/exchange_mapping_full
- If you are thinking of switching to a different provider it’s worth checking www.comparebroadband.co.uk
- Monitor what is being rolled out in your area but spending a few minutes here www.superfast-openreach.co.uk/where-and-when
- If you are interested in email newsletters then register on www.connectingdevonandsomersetco.uk
- If you want to find out how superfast broadband and technology in general can help grow your business sign up at www.superfastbusiness.co.uk
Practical steps to improving your speeds
There are some practical and easy steps you can take to speed up your broadband for free so here’s what to try first:
- Avoid downloading large files at peak times - Most ISPs apply traffic management policies which prevent users from downloading lots of content at times when everyone in the local area is trying. This is usually between 7 and 11pm.
- Reset your router, flush DNS settings, clear your web browser's cache - These steps are simply but they can effectively reset your connection and clear up any glitches. Turn your router, set top box and laptop's Wi-Fi receiver off, wait for approximately 30 seconds, and then turn them back on again.
- Flush your DNS - If you're having trouble loading a particular website, firstly try flushing your DNS settings. Just type CMD into the 'run' box of your startup bar, then type 'ipconfig flushdns' and this will effectively resets your internet connection and can prevent some loading issues.
- Clear web cache - It is good practice to clear your web browser's cache regularly. You can do this by using the Tools option under Settings.
Regularly update your web browser and your antivirus software
- Check - If your antivirus software has expired then it will stop updating its library. This leaves your machine susceptible to newly created malware, spyware, Trojans and other viruses. These can slow down your computer generally, and in some cases may be using your bandwidth to download or upload additional data.
- Protect - Always make sure that your computer is protected and that your antivirus programme is up to date. In addition, an old unregistered antivirus programme can start swallowing your precious bandwidth as it will keep trying to update itself in circles until you manually delete it or re-install it.
- Try moving your router - Move your router closer to your telephone socket and connect any devices you can via ethernet instead of wirelessly. If your router is currently connected to an extension cord or a secondary telephone socket, move it to be within easy reach of your main telephone socket.
- Get a new router - If you've had the same router and digital set top box for a really long time, your ISP has probably upgraded and is offering better hardware to new customers. You could be entitled to a free hardware upgrade, which could improve your speeds dramatically. Give your ISP a call and explain you're having internet speed issues, roughly when your hardware was issued, and ask if they would be able to provide new equipment.
- Set a password for your router - If you don't set a password for your wireless router, anyone could access your bandwidth which will cause your internet speeds to slow down. Worse still, an unsecured wireless network is vulnerable to attacks from hackers who may access it to retrieve your personal information or perform illegal activities. Always ensure that your password is complex and cannot be guessed. Use upper case, lower case and numerical characters if possible.
- Change the channel on your wireless router - Wireless networks operate on different channels and when lots of nearby networks are all using the same one (i.e. your neighbours) this can cause interference and slow your connection. In some cases, you can manually change the channel on your router to the least busy, but this is quite a technical process and many modern routers actually do this automatically. Firstly check your router’s instruction manual for information on how the router channel is set up.
Take control of your start up programmes
- Do you know which programmes are running every time you start up your computer? - Programmes are continuously updating themselves and sending data to the web so you may be surprised at how many programmes set themselves by default to run automatically when you start up your computer, Java and iTunes are two examples. You can use a free registry cleaner programme to analyse what's running when you log onto your PC and to tell programmes to stop starting up by themselves.
- Don't allow download managers to run constantly in the background - If you use download managers to organise the files you are receiving from websites, make sure that you turn them off after completing all of your downloads. This prevents them from constantly sending and receiving information and will free up some bandwidth.
- Microfilters - This is a small device that allows your broadband connection to run smoothly alongside your home phone service without interfering with one another; they are also called signal splitters. If you don’t use microfilters this may result in slow broadband and noise when calling. All the equipment you have that runs via the phone system should be connected using a microfilter (i.e. telephones, faxes).
- Did you know that other electrical equipment such as microwave ovens or Christmas tree lights can interfere with wireless signals? It is worthwhile just spending a moment to check and see if electrical equipment is interfering with your wireless internet speeds. Try switching them off when you are browsing.
Hopefully by following these few straightforward tips your broadband is working a little better and your internet speed has improved
Extracts of this guide have been taken from: http://www.simplifydigital.co.uk/guides/speed-up-your-broadband-connection-pay-nothing/