What affects your broadband speeds?
Outside Your Home
Phone line faults
If the phone line in your area has been damaged, this can cause problems with your broadband speed. You'll know this is the case if you're having problems with your phone- like noise on the line or no dial tone.
Heavy rain, flooding and snow can all damage cables and cause short circuits. Damage like this can slow your connection down or cut it out completely.
If a website is particularly busy, then you might find it loads slower than usual. There’s not much we can do about this except recommend that you keep trying or try again later. You might also find that loading times for websites vary depending on where the site is hosted. A website hosted in the USA, for example, will take longer to load than a website hosted in the UK.
Inside Your Home
Your master socket
If your router is connected to an extension sockets instead of your master socket, you'll likely get slower broadband speeds. This is because your master socket is the point where the phone line enters your home, whereas all other sockets are connected to your master socket with extension wiring which isn't built for carrying broadband signals.
If you want to move your router and must use an extension, you should avoid using standard telephone extension cables. They aren't designed to carry broadband signals and will likely slow your broadband down. Use a longer Ethernet cable or an ADSL extension cable instead. You should only use the cables we supplied with your router, as they're the optimal length and made with the best quality materials.
In theory, Wi-Fi signals are capable of passing through walls and other obstacles easily. However in reality, materials like brick, plaster, cement, metal, stone, and double-glazed glass can block some of the signals. Some newer homes may even have plasterboard walls that are backed with aluminium foil, which acts as a barrier to Wi-Fi signals.
Bluetooth devices – they operate on the same Wi-Fi frequency as your broadband, which can cause signal problems.
Mirrors – they actually reflect Wi-Fi signals, stopping them from passing through walls and reflecting them back into the room.
Large metal objects – radiators, for instance, will have the same effect on your Wi-Fi as mirrors.
We recommend that you keep your router in an elevated position, free from any surrounding objects. You should also bear in mind that the larger your house, the less likely it is that you'll get a strong Wi-Fi signal in every room. You can use wireless powerline adapters to boost your signal in any rooms that have Wi-Fi weak spots.
Router age and software updates
Even if you're getting higher speeds through your phone line, an older router (or a router that needs a software update) might struggle to keep up. If your router is very old, you might want to upgrade to a newer model. Our newer routers automatically update their own software to ensure the best possible connection.
When a device gets older, it might struggle to run modern software and apps. This means that any task it performs will feel slow – regardless of your broadband speed. If your connection is slow on a particularly old device, it might be time for an upgrade.
Viruses and spyware
Spyware slows your computer down by consuming its resources while viruses can eat up your connection by performing repetitive tasks like sending countless emails to spread itself, leaving little computing power for much else. You should install a good security suite that can protect your computer and clean it if it becomes infected.
Software and apps
Running software and applications in the background will have an effect on all the tasks your device performs, including those using the internet. Large applications like games that take up a lot of memory are the worst offenders.
Although it’s not always convenient, a wired connection is faster and more stable than a wireless connection. If you want faster speeds, try connecting to your router with an Ethernet cable.
Sharing your connection
If lots of people are using the internet at the same time, your speed on each device is going to be slower. That’s because your total broadband speed is shared amongst each device that’s using the connection. It’s best not to do all these at the same time if you want to get the most from your speed.