Slow broadband speeds, intermittent service and flaky connections can be immensely frustrating when you’re trying to get online.
Try these tips to fix common router problems and speed up your internet connection.
1. Upgrade your router
Replacing an old router with a newer model will vastly improve your broadband speed, coverage and reliability.
If your internet service provider (ISP) supplied the wireless router, call and ask them for a newer model if available.
Alternatively, buy your own router – look for one with the fastest wi-fi technology, often labelled ‘Wireless n and ac capable’ and with support for dual-band wireless of both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.
This allows faster, more reliable connections for newer devices such as Apple iPads and laptops.
For a smaller fix, replace your router’s antenna. A more powerful antenna will have a better range, so it can receive and transmit the wireless signal further around your home.
Read our guide on what to do if your broadband isn't working properly.
2. Keep your router on
Don’t turn off your router or unplug it when not in use. Routers need to be on continuously to ensure optimum broadband speeds.
If you switch your router off at night, you may miss out on automatically downloaded firmware updates that boost your router’s speed.
Your ISP may also mistake a switched-off router as a faulty connection and so lower your broadband speed to compensate.
3. Check cables and reboot
Loose cables can cause problems, so ensure your router cables are properly connected.
For a quick fix to a troublesome broadband issue, restart your router. Turn it off, wait at least 30 seconds and then switch it on again.
This resets your broadband connection to the fastest possible speed.
4. Boost your WiFi signal
Make sure that your router is connected to the main telephone socket or cable connection – usually the one closest to where the telephone line or cable enters your home.
This gives the clearest signal, bypassing any old internal phone wires that can slow speeds.
Try fitting a Broadband Accelerator over your main telephone socket. This reduces interference from your home phone wiring, thus boosting broadband speeds.
Find out more about WiFi.
5. Move your router
Being too far away from your router can cause slow broadband speeds, so try moving your computer closer.
Wireless broadband signals struggle when blocked by thick walls, doors, furniture, mirrors and metal objects, so relocating your router can be an easy fix for slow web surfing.
For the best coverage, place the wireless router somewhere central and ideally high up – on top of a cupboard or bookshelf for example. Keeping it dust-free and well-ventilated helps, too.
6. Change WiFi channels
Interference and digital noise from your neighbour’s WiFi network can cause problems.
During set up, your router automatically chooses a channel frequency to broadcast on. If other routers nearby use the same frequency, things can slow down as interference can degrade the WiFi signal.
Changing the channel that your router uses can help improve its speeds.
Read the router manual or contact your broadband supplier for advice on how to do this. But it’s usually a process of logging onto your wireless router via your web browser, choosing a new channel, and restarting the router.
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7. Secure your network
If your wireless network isn’t secured with a password, neighbours and passers-by can tap into your broadband connection to access the internet, without your knowledge.
Not only is this a security risk, it can slow down your broadband speed as other people use up your bandwidth.
Set a strong network password made up of letters, numbers and symbols, and stop your router from broadcasting your wireless network’s name, effectively ‘hiding’ your wireless signal. This deters anyone searching for a network to piggy-back from trying to connect to yours.