Thanks to Broadband Internet services, most people around the world are able to access internet directly from their homes. The problem is that there are so many providers and services out there, that it can be very difficult to make a choice and get the best value for money.
Luckily, there are a few simple tricks for ensuring that you get the best broadband speeds for the most competitive price.
A good starting point is to understand exactly how fast your current broadband is, and the best way to do that is to use an online broadband speed test. Tests like this will give you a good idea of how fast your current internet connection is.
When running these tests it’s important to take note of a couple of things:
Firstly, make sure that no one using your connection is downloading anything or using the internet at all. If other people on your home network are using the internet connection then you won’t get an accurate readout of your download speeds.
Secondly, try to check your broadband speeds at different times of the day. Some broadband providers will perform better or worse than others during peak times of the day, like in the evenings and at weekends, when they’re at their busiest.
Once you have an accurate readout of how fast your broadband connection is, you can start looking at ways to gain better performance, or at the very least save yourself some money.
If you are looking for ways to boost your Wifi then read this article which provides tips to improve your Wifi speeds.
Tips to increase broadband speeds
Always use the master socket.
Chances are that you have more than one phone socket at home. If that’s the case, then make sure you plug your internet router into the original master socket, i.e. the one that your provider installed previously.
It might seem like a trivial thing, but connecting to the master socket can cut a good few yards off of the cable run, and it eliminates at least one physical connection seeing as any other sockets in your home will run off of the original one.
By connecting to the master socket you will also be eliminating any problems that occur through bad connections in your house, which is the first thing your provider will blame if you call up complaining about bad connection speeds.
Don’t use extension leads
Using the master socket is great, but not if it means using an extension lead to get your router in the location you want.
In effect it’s exactly the same as connecting to a secondary socket, in fact it can be a lot worse if you’re using a “reel” type extension lead such as the one shown on the right.
These types of leads will lead to more interference on the line, which can result in slower download speeds or even a complete loss of service.
If your master socket is in a location where you just can’t place your router, consider asking your provider to move it to a better location. There will be a charge associated with this, but the long term gain is that you could end up with better download speeds.
Use filters correctly
When you receive your router from your provider it will come along with an ADSL Splitter. This splitter allows the use of the phone line and broadband simultaneously. It does this by separating the frequencies used by your phone and your broadband.
For your broadband (and phone) to work properly, you need to install a filter on every single telephone outlet in your home, not just the outlet used by the router.
Failing to install a filter on every phone outlet will result in interference, which will almost certainly impact performance of your broadband connection.
Speak to your Internet Service Provider
If you suspect that you aren’t getting the speeds that you should, and none of the above tips have helped, then your next step is to speak to your ISP. They will probably take you through the same steps that I mentioned above, and ask you some questions that are really quite pointless and trivial!
Play along with them, and then ask them to run a line test in order to see if there are any issues with the service you’re receiving.
This may not work if you’re using your own router instead of one they provided. In fact, once they discover that you’re using your own router they will invariably say that the problem lies with your router equipment. So, if you still have the router they provided, switch back to it before calling them up.
Chances are that you receive your internet service from a different company to the one that provides your phone line, in fact that most internet companies rely on third parties to provide such services. They’ll almost always tell you that their service is fine and to ring your provider.
Speak to your phone provider
It may be that your phone and internet services are provided by the same company, but if they’re not then your Internet provider will almost certainly blame your phone line for the lack of performance.
If that’s the case, ring your phone provider and ask them to run a speed test on the line. They can usually do this remotely, but they may need to come round in order to ascertain if there’s a problem.
This is more likely to be a problem in older houses or housing estates where the wiring is likely to be older and of a lower quality.
If the quality of the line is deemed to be bad, then you’re within your rights to ask for it to be replaced. However, most providers will still charge a connection fee for this service, which you’re unlikely to be able to talk your way out of.
Vacate your house
OK! I agree that this one isn’t really practical. But, if you’re thinking of moving anyway, make broadband service a consideration when choosing your next home. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking the current owners or tenants of a property what their connection speeds are, and how much they pay.
What’s more, most Internet providers will be able to give you a rough idea of actual speeds if you provide them with a postcode for the place you’re looking at moving to.
What if all this fails
If you’ve gone through all of the steps above and still can’t get the speeds that you should be getting, then it may just be that the service you’re receiving at the moment is the best you can receive in your area.
But that doesn’t mean that nothing can be done, it’s time to get tough with your service provider.
Call them up and tell them that unless something is done you will switch to another provider. It will help if you’ve had a look around at what other providers will offer in terms of price, because they’ll usually call your bluff and ask what you’ve been offered.
The chances are that you’ll only see a marginal increase in speed (if any) if you switched providers. What you’re after here is a price cut on your existing service. If you’re outside of your initial contract period then your provider would rather cut the price of the service they offer than see you move to a competitor.