Superfast Essex

Top tips for a better broadband connection

There are a number of things that can affect the speed of your broadband connection. The distance your home or business is from the telephone exchange (or fibre cabinet), the time of day you go online and the number of people using your broadband at the same time, can all play a part in slowing down your connection.

Your device may also not be set-up correctly or the line that provides the internet connection to your home or business may be damaged, while your internet provider's traffic management policies could also be a factor.

Try the following tips to improve your connection speed.

1) Try an online speed test

This will show you what speed you're actually getting. Carry out a few tests over several days and vary the times you carry out the test. Visit one of the following websites to carry out a test:

  • 2) Talk to your broadband service provider

    If you think you may have a problem with your connection or speed we suggest contacting your broadband service provider in the first instance. They should be able to help you work out what the cause is and hopefully fix any issues.

    3) Fit a broadband accelerator or filter device

    There are a number of devices available that are designed to filter out interference from your home or business phone wiring. These may improve speed and, even if they don't, can help stabilise your broadband line and make it more reliable. Try searching online using the term ‘broadband accelerator device’ or ‘broadband filter device’ to find a device that may suit your needs.

    4) Reduce interference by keeping your router away from other electrical and wireless devices

    Halogen lamps, dimmer switches, stereo or computer speakers, fairy lights, TVs and monitors and AC power cords have all been known to affect routers. Keep your router as far away as possible from other electrical devices as well as those which emit wireless signals such as cordless phones or baby monitors. It’s also best to place your router on a table or shelf rather than on the floor. Finally, to keep your broadband running at its fastest possible speed, it is advisable to leave your router switched on all the time.

    5) Avoid using telephone extension leads

    Try not to use a telephone extension lead to connect your router to the master broadband socket - leads can cause interference which could lower your speed. If you have to use an extension lead, use a new, high quality cable with the shortest possible length. Tangled and coiled cables can also affect speeds.

    6) Tackle phone line interference with an up-to-date main phone socket and micro filter plugs (ADSL only)

    Any interference on your phone line could slow your broadband down. Make sure you have an up-to-date main phone socket and plug microfilters into every phone socket in your home or business. They look like little white boxes and split the phone and broadband signals so that they don't affect each other.

    7) Update your router to the latest model

    If you have an old router, or experience regular disconnections on your line, you may benefit from upgrading to a newer model. Speak to your broadband service provider who should be able to advise you.

    8) Use a wired instead of wi-fi connection

    Use an Ethernet cable to connect your computer directly to your router rather than using wi-fi. An Ethernet cable is a computer networking cable which should give you a faster, more reliable connection.

    9) Update your web browser

    Check whether you're using the latest version of your web browser - newer versions not only provide better security but should also work faster.

    10) Password-protect your home or business wi-fi system

    If you don't keep your wi-fi system secure, anyone nearby could log on to your broadband. Not only could this slow down your internet speeds but your online security could also be at risk. To find out whether you are secure, search for available wireless networks. If your network is secure there should be a picture of a padlock next to it. If there isn't then you'll need to set this up.

    The following links offer guides to wi-fi security from four of the UK’s main broadband providers:

  • BT: How do I change between WEP and WPA on the BT Home Hub?
  • Sky: Setting up wireless broadband
  • TalkTalk: About wireless security
  • Virgin Media: Wireless encryption options - WEP and WPA
  • For more information about getting the best from your broadband connection see:

    Ofcom - Improving your broadband speed - How to make your broadband faster