Tips for improving your home network

Try our tips below for improving your home network:

1. Carry out a speed test on your connection

This will show you what speed you’re actually getting. Carry out a few tests over several days and vary the times you carry out the test.

Try the following speed testers to test your connection:

To improve the accuracy of your speed test:

  • Check that you’re using a modern computer;
  • Connect your computer directly to your router via a network cable, rather than a Wi-Fi connection;
  • Switch off your other digital devices that usually connect to the Web.
2. Talk to your Internet Service Provider (ISP)

If you have a problem with your connection, we recommend contacting your Internet Service Provider (ISP) in the first instance.

They should be able to help you work out what the cause is and how you might be able to fix it.

3. Check that your router is plugged into your BT master socket

The telephone extension cables running around your house may be old, low quality, damaged or not connected properly. Any of these reasons could cause interference and reduce the speed of your Internet connection. Always plug your router into the BT master socket.

4. Do you hear noises or crackling on phone line, when talking?

If you hear interference when making a phone call, there could be problems with your Internet connection too.

Try disconnecting all of your phones, devices, faxes and telephone extension cables. Then, using your highest quality phone, make a call and see if the noise is still there. If not, then one of your other devices may be causing the problem.

If the noise is still there, try a different phone, to determine if the first phone was the problem.

If you’re still hearing interference, you may need to contact your phone provider and report the problem.

Once the noise has been eliminated, retry the speed test (above) and check if this improves your connection speed.

5. Have you renewed your phone socket filters?

When you first signed up for an Internet account with your Internet Service Provider (ISP), you will have been given phone socket filters to plug into the phone socket.

A phone socket filter looks like a splitter, allowing a phone and the router to connect through the same socket. These filters do wear out. Whenever you receive a new router, you should replace the old filters with the new ones provided.

6. Check that your wired phone connections are connected via your ASDL phone filter

It is important that all of your landline phones are plugged into your ASDL filter and not directly into the wall socket.

An ADSL filter splits the phone line into two virtual cables: one for voice and one for data. It does this by using the higher sound frequencies for data transmission and the lower frequencies for voice.

7. Have you installed the router updates?

Routers are mini-computers, and as such, the manufacturer will release security and improvement updates for the router software (also called firmware).

You should install these updates, and if there is an option to automatically install any new updates (usually indicated by a checkbox), then we suggest you enable this.

The user manual for your router should show you how to perform a software update for your router. However, you may need to obtain latest manual for your router from the manufacturer’s website.

8. Is your computer old and/or slow?

If your computer is old and/or slow, then you may find that websites do not display or load very quickly in your web browser.

If a web page loads slowly in your web browser, this may be due to your computer rather than your Internet connection. In these cases, your Internet connection may not be as slow you think.

Try running a speed test, but on a different, faster computer.

9. Are you using Wi-Fi to connect to your router?

Wi-Fi is a convenient way to connect to your router, but it is not the most efficient.

Connect your computer to your router using a network cable, and retry the Internet Speed test.

10. Wi-Fi Issues

Is your router using the same channels as your neighbour?

Your router has a variety of channels that it can utilise to connect to your devices.

If you (and your neighbours) are using the same channels, then this can cause confusion, and potentially slow down your data connection speeds.

Check the manual for your router to determine if you can check and change the channels.

There are free smartphone apps that show you all of the Wi-Fi channels in your area and you can check to see if yours overlaps.

Change your router to broadcast on channels that are not used by your neighbours - or those channels used less frequently if you live in a busy area.

11. Is your Wi-Fi signal strong enough?

The strength of your Wi-Fi signal in your home depends on (and is affected by) a number of factors:

  • Your router: Use a good quality router to connect to the Internet. A poor quality router may result in a poor quality Wi-Fi signal;
  • Your property: Your property can affect your Wi-Fi signal too. Older properties with thick walls and newer properties with foil lined plaster board may cause a reduced/weaker Wi-Fi signal.
  • Use Wi-Fi extenders: Wi-Fi extenders work in two ways. They can either be placed within range of your router’s Wi-Fi, re-broadcasting the signal or they can be connected to your router, either via network cable or electrical cables in your home (these are called Powerline Adaptors, which are generally not as efficient as a network cable).
  • Smartphone apps: There are smartphone apps that can measure the strength of your Wi-Fi throughout your home. If you know which rooms in your property have poor connectivity, you can then determine the best locations for connecting to the Internet. Alternatively, you can boost your signal as described above.
12. Turn off devices that you’re not using

Are you using too many Internet devices in your home at the same time?

If so, try turning off the devices that you are not using. Even when they’re not in use, some devices may be connecting automatically to the Internet for software updates.

13. Are you using a 4G Mobile data router?

Many homes use the 4G network for the Internet, but may receive poor connection speeds if they are in rural areas or are old properties with thick walls.

Consider using a 4G router with an external antenna to receive an optimal signal.

4G routers should have two external antennas, these are often built in to the same unit, but will have two separate cables to connect to your router.