Even though the UK’s lockdown is slowly coming to an end we’ve still never been so reliant on the web connection beamed into our properties. Endless Zoom calls, watching hours of Netflix in pin-sharp 4K and attempting to download the next blockbuster PlayStation 5 title will all place a huge strain on our broadband and can see things slow to a maddening halt.
There are lots of factors that can affect your broadband and BT has a swathe of advice aimed at helping its customers get the very best out of their internet. Things such as where you place your router and the time of day you attempt the biggest downloads can all affect the speeds you’re getting.
Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes many of us make is popping the ugly black plastic flashing router out of sight. That’s a bad idea with BT saying that it’s vital you place this box out in the open and away from obstacles like walls, doors and even wardrobes as these can all slow down your connection. Even things such as fish tanks and baby monitors can disrupt the signal so make sure you keep the router away from other gadgets.
Another problem with the web is when you use it with BT admitting that busy times of the day can mean reduced speeds.
“We’ve invested heavily in the network, so everyone gets a fast connection even at the busiest times,” BT says on its help page. “But similar to rush-hour traffic, the speed you’ll get depends partly on how many people are using the network. During peak periods, usually 8pm to 10pm, you may sometimes notice slightly slower speeds.”
That means if you want to download the next Call of Duty game update you’re probably best attempting it early in the morning or very late at night.
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Another thing to remember is that the more devices that are connected to the web in your home the slower things will get.
As BT explains, broadband speed is shared with every device connected to your Hub. So if four devices are using the internet at the same time, they’ll each get roughly a quarter of the available speed.
Streaming (for example watching live TV, YouTube or Netflix) and online gaming use more of your bandwidth, so if anyone in your household is doing this it could make your broadband slower for everyone else. It’s always worth checking your usage as the more people that use the web in your home the faster the speeds you may need to pay out for. BT offers numerous packages but the cheaper and slower options may leave you feeling pretty frustrated if you have a household of people streaming content all day.
BT says that any devices that aren’t being used should be disconnected to help improve your downloads.
Another top tip is to always leave your router switched on especially when heading to bed.
BT often pushes out vital updates to its routers at night and turning it off will mean you may not get the best and most stable connection during the day.
One final thing that can impact the broadband on your PC are any viruses you may have picked up. Some bugs can actually slow things down to a snail’s pace so it’s important to make sure your laptop or desktop PC is free of issues and running smoothly.