As millions of us continue to stay inside, it’s vital that broadband speeds are up to scratch. Working from home, video calls, streaming radio stations and songs as well as bingeing on endless boxsets on Netflix can place huge pressure internet connections and that action can bring things to a shuddering halt. But is it just what goes on inside your home that impacts your connection?
Sky has offered its customers useful advice, which explains exactly why its broadband users could find things slower than expected. The satellite firm has a dedicated webpage with advice about why things change so dramatically.
Perhaps one of the biggest reasons speeds aren’t always as good as you’d hope is due to the age and quality of the physical line coming into your home. If your street only has an old copper connection, it won’t be anywhere near as fast as the latest fibre technology.
Things can also be affected by how far you live away from the exchange with speeds getting much worse the further away you are from the original source.
Without digging up the tarmac outside of your home on a quiet weekend, you clearly cannot change the wires that pump broadband to your router but the next tip can be controlled by you. As Sky explains, the web is a bit like a motorway, when there’s less traffic passing along it you can go faster but add more users and things will begin to slow.
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One of the worst offenders for web traffic are big uploads. So if you are trying to make a video call to your boss and your kids are trying to create their first 4K YouTube channel – you could be in trouble.
It’s worth remembering everything you connect to your broadband hub uses bandwidth. The more you connect, the more it slows you down. And don’t forget those things running in the background, like app updates, device backups, Google Photo uploads, and all those open browser tabs – all of these could impact speeds.
Shut them down if not being used. And always keep your WIFi password on – it stops anyone else using your WiFi.
The latest home technology, such as Smart TVs, Sky Q, smart lighting and connected sound systems, app-controlled thermostats … all these use your bandwidth, so you’ll need to make sure your internet speed can handle all these devices.
It’s a good idea to check each of your device’s minimum requirements and consider upgrading your package if you have too many devices on your network. One final thing to try is moving your router.
Things can get an instant boost by simply moving this device off the ground and making sure it’s not near any other gadgets which could affect the signal.
Sky’s advice is to keep the router out in the open – not in a cabinet, on the floor or stuck behind the TV. For the best results, 30cm of space around it’s best.
Another way to make sure you get the best download speeds is to get as close to your router as possible. Sitting next to this black box will give you a better connection than when you head outside to your garden shed.
If things are still terrible then it’s worth keeping a daily record of your speed using services such as speedtest.net. As part of Sky’s commitment to Ofcom’s Better Broadband Speeds, Voluntary Code of Practice, you might be entitled to cancel your contract if your actual speed falls below the one they told you when you joined.
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