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Tricks to make your broadband faster at home – and the ones that definitely don’t work

As more households continue to work at home and children drop out of school due to the ongoing pandemic, internet and mobile speeds have stretched more than ever.

As a result, many will find their broadband lagging behind and look for ways to improve it.

While telecom companies are constantly monitoring traffic on their networks, households can take steps to improve their internet speeds themselves to help those who now have to work from home.

We reveal the biggest myths about internet speeds, but also the things you can do to improve your broadband connection.

Families will now increasingly use their broadband and mobile network at home

Families will now increasingly use their broadband and mobile network at home

Myths

Myth 1: It doesn’t matter if there are other devices around: It’s a good idea to keep your router as far away as possible from other devices, including those that work wirelessly, as they can all affect your Wi-Fi if they are too close to your router.

This includes cordless phones, baby monitors, halogen lamps, dimmers, stereos and computer speakers, TVs and monitors.

Also, place your router on a table or shelf instead of the floor and keep it turned on for maximum effect.

Myth 2: Having a microwave nearby doesn’t matter: Microwaves have been proven to reduce the Wi-Fi signal.

Therefore, you should not use the microwave when you make video calls, watch HD videos or do anything important online.

Myth 3: Turning my router on and off every day improves speeds: There is a myth that restarting your router will make your internet run faster.

Some say restarting your router can speed up your broadband, with the theory that the router’s cache fills up and reboots for 20 seconds, clearing the cache, improving performance.

However, this is not the case with all routers.

Use the official Ofcom to test your speed mobile and broadband checker. If possible, perform tests over a few days and at different times of the day.

A number of factors in your home can affect Wi-Fi speed, so check your provider’s website for help improving your signal at home.

Households are advised to call via Skype or WiFi to talk to people, instead of 4G or 5G

Households are advised to call via Skype or WiFi to talk to people, instead of 4G or 5G

Households are advised to call via Skype or WiFi to talk to people, instead of 4G or 5G

Myth 4: Having a lot of connected devices doesn’t matter: The more devices connected to your WiFi, the lower the speed you will get.

Devices such as tablets and smartphones often run in the background, so try turning off Wi-Fi reception when you’re not using them.

If you have video calls or meetings, you will need much less internet connection to turn off the video and use audio, or try to start them at less usual times, rather than on the hour or half hour.

You may also want to manage your family’s online activities so that different people don’t perform data-heavy tasks like HD streaming, gaming or video calling all at once.

Pre-downloading video instead of streaming it can also help.

Best high speed internet deals

If you find that your internet speed is not fast enough now that you are working from home, you can talk to your provider first to see if you can negotiate a better deal at higher speeds.

If this doesn’t work, it may be worthwhile to compare other deals on the market.

This is Money has compiled a list of the best high speed internet deals currently available.

1) BT Superfast Fiber: The average speed of BT’s fiber optic deal is a whopping 50MB, ideal for downloading and streaming TV shows and movies.

For a 24-month contract, customers pay just £ 28.99 a month, as well as a £ 40 Amazon voucher and £ 80 Mastercard rewards card.

The price will increase to £ 36.99 per month after the first two years and customers will have to pay £ 9.99 as a setup fee.

2) Virgin Media Superfast 2: Virgin offers its super fast broadband with massive average speeds of 63 MB.

New customers only have to pay £ 24.95 a month for 24 months. Existing Vodafone Mobile customers can save an extra £ 2 a month on this deal.

Customers who do not have a BT Openreach line may need to pay £ 60 upfront to have a line installed.

3) Sky Broadband Superfast: Sky offers massive speeds of 59MB with unlimited downloads.

The 18-month contract costs customers £ 27 per month for new and existing customers with a setup fee of £ 19.95.

Tips

Use your landline or WiFi calls if you: During the day, more people call via their mobile network.

Due to this high demand, you may get a more reliable connection over your landline. If you still need to use your mobile, try using your settings to enable ‘WiFi calling’.

Wi-Fi calling is available on some smartphones and mobile packages. This allows your phone to make calls over your broadband network, which often provides the best sound quality and also helps reduce the demand on the cellular network.

Likewise, you can make calls over the internet using apps like Facetime, Skype or WhatsApp.

Use an Ethernet cable to connect your computer directly to your router instead of using Wi-Fi

Use an Ethernet cable to connect your computer directly to your router instead of using Wi-Fi

Use an Ethernet cable to connect your computer directly to your router instead of using Wi-Fi

Try wired instead of wireless: For the best broadband speeds, use an Ethernet cable to connect your computer directly to your router instead of using WiFi.

This is a computer network cable that should give you a faster, more reliable connection. They are available from just £ 3.

Connect your router directly to your telephone jack: Whenever possible, try not to use a phone extension cord as they can cause interference that can slow down your speed.

If you must use an extension cord, use a new, high-quality cable with the shortest possible length.

Tangled and coiled cables and interference from your telephone line can also affect speeds, so try plugging ‘microfilters’ into every telephone outlet in your house.

They look like small white boxes and split the telephone and broadband signals so that they do not affect each other.

Different providers have different settings, so always check their website before disconnecting cables.

Ask your broadband provider for advice: If your connection is not working properly, you can find advice on your broadband provider’s website, which is also available on mobile phones.

If you need to contact them for help, keep in mind that because of coronavirus, some companies have far fewer people to help you with your questions.

Most prioritize vulnerable customers and essential public services, so keep this in mind.

Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on it, we may earn a small commission. That helps us to fund This Is Money and keep it free. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow a commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

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