With more of us studying and working from home, we are likely to become more aware of limitations imposed by our own home broadband and Wi-Fi. There are some steps we can all take to help improve our understanding and our situation. Click below for more information.
Fixed Line Broadband Services
Here are some simple tips and advice to help you get the most out of your existing broadband and Wi-Fi:
- Whilst you are remotely accessing study or work related systems, avoid using the same device for other non-study/work internet services or streaming audio or video.
- Turn on your radio or watch broadcast TV rather than stream music or video whenever possible.
- If internet streaming of TV or music is your only realistic option, try to download as much content ahead of need where possible. E.g. can you download that movie or box-set to your device(s) overnight?
- If you have to stream video, can you reduce the resolution - reducing from 4K to HD, or HD to SD is about a 75% bandwidth saving each time.
- Most online meeting platforms will allow you to turn off incoming video and your own outgoing video to work in a voice call only. This will greatly reduce demands on your Wi-Fi and broadband.
- Be aware of what everyone else at home is doing on the internet and work with them to not overload things when you need to study/work.
- If you connect via Wi-Fi make sure you have a good strong signal. Can you move closer to your router?
- If you can, ensure your broadband router is connected to the first incoming/master phone socket in your property.
- Avoid connecting your broadband router via telephone extension cables.
- If you think you're experiencing problems with your broadband connection, restarting your broadband router may help resolve the issue. Note that frequent restarting of your router to resolve problems may be a prompt to call your Internet Service Provider.
- Most broadband routers have network ports. If you can, connect your laptop/PC directly to your broadband router with a suitable network cable.
Understand that domestic broadband connections are sold as a shared service and is designed to have contention, and at times of peak usage you cannot always expect to get the advertised speeds.
Ensure you are aware of your broadband contract details, any usage limits, and make sure you know the contact and account details for your ISP in case you need to talk to them for technical support.
Mobile Phone 4G/5G Data
You can try to use your phone/4G configured as a personal hotspot if performance on your wired broadband is poor. However, there are some things you should check:
- Understand your data usage limit.
- Check if all data in your mobile contract is available for use as tethering or if there is any fair use limit.
- Use your phone to carefully monitor your data use, but make sure you have correctly set the day of the month when your allowances renew.
- You may need to check for the best mobile signal location in your property. Perform an internet speed test in different locations to understand where you get the best speed.
There are some excellent 4G, and emerging 5G, home broadband services provided via a number of the major service providers. What sort of speed you can achieve with these services will depend upon the provider's capabilities in your geographic location and the number of other users accessing their services concurrently. In some cases, using an externally mounted 4G/5G antenna can greatly enhance speed and reliability.
Broadband and Wi-Fi Speeds
Here you will find a list of resources to help you learn about your broadband connection and work out if there are any problems you can resolve yourself.
Below is a link to a statement from Ofcom regarding the current situation and how Internet Service Providers are working to support businesses and individuals during this time.
Check your Broadband Speed
Your Broadband Speed is measured in megabytes per second (mbps). There are two speeds, how fast you download data (information) and how fast you upload data. The faster your mbps, the more you can download at any given moment.
There are a number of tools you can use to check your internet speed. You can click below for the Which? internet speed tester or alternatively you can google 'internet speed test' to use the Google-provided tool.
Which? also provide a guide to Broadband Speeds which can help you understand more about your Broadband and what other options there are on the market.
"Speed is a crucial consideration when you're deciding which broadband package is right for you. Too slow and you'll struggle to do the things you need to do; too fast, and you may be paying for a service you don't really need. The best speed for you depends on a couple of things: how you use the internet and where you live."
Check if a Service is Unavailable
Sometime ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and other web services encounter problems and cannot be accessed for a period of time. This can be very inconvenient and worrying.
Downdetector shows the service status of most ISPs and web services. If a service you would normally use is not connecting or responding or your wi-fi connection is not working, it is worth checking this site to see if that service is not currently working.