In life, broadband is now more vital than ever. Whether it’s working from home, gaming online, or catching up on the latest season of whatever must-see show that’s on Netflix, fast broadband is imperative in your daily life. It’s essential to ensure your broadband is the cream of the crop, the best it can be, so that you get the most out of using it.
However, when it’s not, it can be hard to figure out what you can do to boost your speed. But did you know you can take some simple steps to propel your broadband speeds? Let’s take a look at some of our best advice for boosting your broadband speeds:
Know your hardware’s limitations
Can your speed be boosted?
To begin with, you should first check that your broadband connection can be improved before you spend ages trying to improve it. Next, you need to know what speed your broadband is capable of to see if there’s any point in doing anything.
It is generally straightforward enough to find this information. Typically, your internet provider will inform you of the maximum speed when you sign up for your current contract. You might have this information in the form of an email, or you may have received a letter.
What do these speed terms mean? Your message might say “up to 100 Mbps”, for example. Mbps stands for “Megabits per second” – this is the way providers measure your internet speed. Then there’s that phrase “up to”. This expression indicates that your provider knows your connection may not reach these speeds.
Why can’t your connection reach these speeds? Several potential barriers could prevent your broadband speed from taking off. Let’s take a look at some of them.
The first step is measuring your current broadband speed. The best way to do this is by using an online speed test. Simply search for a broadband speed checker, press that button, and you’ll have your answer.
What’s your router?
Also, check what kind of router you have. Like most people, you use the router that came with your broadband package. But when was the last time you changed your broadband deal? If it’s been 3 years since you last switched broadband plan, chances are your router is a little behind the times.
Thus, if your router is old, you should consider changing it. Again, you don’t have to go to a store to do this – just contact your broadband provider to see if they will send over a better router and take yours for recycling.
Make it mesh
One thing your internet provider may offer you is a mesh device. This device aids the internet in getting to the areas in your home that are otherwise difficult for the signal to permeate. Mesh devices are part of the same internet network and use the same password. Mesh modules simply enhance your Wi-Fi signal and pass it on to the next mesh module. They create a string of connections that can avoid doors, ceilings, walls, and anything else that could block your signal. This will get you a good signal everywhere in your home!
If your router is sufficiently modern, the router’s settings might be to blame.
What About Ethernet?
Alternatively, why not try out using a wired connection? Sure, a Wi-Fi connection is undoubtedly the most convenient type of connection. Unfortunately, mobile devices like your phone don’t have the backwards compatibility for an ethernet port. But if you have an ethernet slot on your laptop or an ethernet adapter for your mobile device, it couldn’t hurt to try using a wired ethernet connection.
After all, wired connections are the fastest possible type of connection. Ethernet can even give you a bit more security since it’s physically impossible for anyone to gain access to your internet unless they come over and plug in too.
Think about how many other wireless devices you have. Whether it’s Bluetooth or mobile signal, all these other wireless connections can cause interference in your Wi-Fi connection. And then, there are the physical barriers in your home, such as the walls, doors, ceilings, and other solid objects. You’re not exactly going to remodel for the sake of a good internet connection, are you?
If you’re interested in exploring ethernet and thinking about investing in a suitable ethernet cable or two, make sure you go for a high-quality one. A low-quality ethernet cable is prone to as much interference as other wireless signals can cause for a Wi-Fi network. But, on the other hand, a high-quality cable can increase your broadband speed tenfold!
When you’re ready to plug in, look at the back of your router. You should have a few, typically yellow, ethernet ports with square-ish slots. Your ethernet cable will clip into place there.
Find out your provider’s limitations
There’s no limit?
Your broadband provider might call your broadband plan “unlimited”, but is it really? Most broadband plans still have some kind of download allowance, even now. So, you should thoroughly check out your provider’s policies – you don’t want to discover their limitations the hard way.
Some providers might reduce your internet speed when you reach your download allowance. If you have wondered why your broadband speed consistently decreased at the end of every month, this could be why! Or, your provider may charge you for exceeding your download limit. Your internet service provider should typically warn you when you exceed your usage limit – they might send an email or something. This notification doesn’t always happen, however.
If you discover that you’ve been going over your usage limit frequently, you should look into getting an unlimited broadband plan.
Check your browser settings
Check for updates
What’s your favourite browser? Do you prefer Safari, Firefox, or Chrome? Whatever you like best, browsers are constantly updating to give them more features and security updates. These updates include optimisations that could enhance your connection speed. Newer is always better, so be sure to turn on automatic updates for this piece of software.
Uninstall unwanted add-ons and extensions
It’s also worth ensuring that your browser doesn’t use loads of unwanted add-ons like toolbars you don’t need or no longer want. For example, maybe you installed a proxy, dictionary extension, or themes but haven’t used them in a while. If this is so, you should get rid of them.
Or maybe other software also came with browser add-ons you didn’t want, such as a change to the search engine. Again, if this software boosts your security, it’s okay to leave it, but just make sure you don’t have too many extensions running in the background.
Clear your cookies
Another potential problem with your browser is its cookies and cache. You’re probably familiar with the concept of cookies from those small messages that pop up every time you visit a new website. Cookies are small files stored on your computer containing some information.
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Cookies can make websites faster since you don’t have to download that information every time you visit. However, as a website gets updated, things change so that the old cookie is no longer the right one. This switch means the website can no longer load appropriately when you visit it. The cookies clash. That’s why people recommend clearing your cookie cache every couple of months.
Clean your computer
Look at the background
If you don’t find your internet speeds up to scratch after doing all this, something may be up with your computer or mobile device.
The first place to check is your computer’s background. You might be aware that specific applications start in the background of your computer when you turn it on, such as Spotify, Skype, or Teams. But did you know that these applications can significantly impact your broadband speed? Of course, you may need to leave these specific applications on sometimes so that they can keep receiving messages in the background. However, try quitting these apps or setting some not to run at startup if you can. You could see a big difference in your speed!
The same applies to your phone – apps run in the background, potentially affecting your precious data and bandwidth. Dealing with apps in the background on your phone is more straightforward – you likely already clear your unused apps several times a day. On top of this, most up-to-date mobile operating systems contain software that identifies apps that need to be put to sleep. Your phone then shuts these apps down in the background or flags them up for you to deal with. Handy!
We all know computer viruses can clog up our computers and make them run slowly. But did you know they can also silently use your broadband connection in the background? This makes it extra critical to have an antivirus!
Most modern antivirus software can also clean up your computer. This facility means it will remove unnecessary files and those cookies that are so important to delete regularly.