Improving your broadband speeds at home

13 March 2020

Lots of people depend on a reliable, fast broadband service. But there are times when your service might not offer you the speeds you need, or that you were promised when you signed up.

First of all, think about what speeds you need, based on what you use it for. Our Boost Your Broadband website has information that can help you decide what service is best for your needs.

what you can do with different types of broadband

If your speed drops below the level your provider promised you, they have one month to improve the performance before they must allow you to walk away without being penalised.

But there are other, practical steps you can take to improve the speeds and performance of your service.

Lots of things can affect your broadband connection.

The distance between your home and telephone exchange, the time of day you’re online and the number of people in your home using the internet at the same time can all slow down your service. Or, it could be a problem with your connection or how you’ve set up your device.

These tips could help bring your connection back up to speed.

Test the speed on your line

This will show you what speed you're actually getting. You can run a speed test using our mobile and broadband checker. Carry out tests over a few days and test at different times of day.

Talk to your broadband provider

If you think there’s a problem with your connection, contact your provider. They should be able to help you work out what the cause is and how you might be able to fix it.

Some devices can interfere with your router

Halogen lamps, dimmer switches, stereo or computer speakers, fairy lights, TVs and monitors have all been known to affect routers. Keep your router as far away as possible from other devices as well as those which operate wirelessly, such as cordless phones and baby monitors. Place your router on a table or shelf rather than on the floor and keep it switched on.

Upgrade your router

If you have an older router, or you have regular disconnections on your line, an upgrade might help. Speak to your provider about this.

Try wired rather than wireless

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

Tackle interference on your phone line

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

Plug your router directly into your main phone socket

Try not to use a telephone extension lead – 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.