You may have paid extra to upgrade your internet connection to a higher speed but if your router setup is not optimized you may not be getting the performance you paid for. This isn’t always the fault of your ISP – Internet Service Provider. If you find your internet speed not as you expected, or if there has been a sudden decrease in speed, follow these 10 simple tips below to optimize your broadband and wireless broadband speed. To make things even easier and more efficient, the tips to boost your broadband speed have been broken down into stages. Each stage represents a certain area on your equipment and set-up:
1. Ensure your router is in the same room as your PC/Laptop.
2. Place the router close to your IT equipment.
3. Ensure your router is clear of other wires and electrical equipment. This includes keeping the router connection cables clear of additional cabling.
Even something as innocent as a wall can reduce the strength of your router’s wireless signal. Multiple walls progressively weaken a signal. Building materials will also affect signal strength if your walls are solid brick, extra thick, or contain a metal infrastructure; this can increase the negative effect on wireless broadband signals.
Any electrical cables, connections, or sockets inside or outside of a wall can also weaken wireless signals. The only way to combat this is to remove the problem entirely and this means re-positioning your router so there are no obstacles between it and your computer equipment.
The closer your router is to your PC, laptop, or tablet, the less chance there is of the wireless signal being compromised by interference from other electronic devices. This check is pretty obvious really, the closer you are to the signal source the more likely you are to receive its full strength.
Electrical Field Interference is not your friend. Some wiring like shielded Cat 5/6/7 Ethernet connection is designed to shield against electrical field interference. Your router, its power cable, and non-shielded cables are not, so any interference will affect your router’s signal and performance. Eliminate this by placing your router in a clean space away from other electrical equipment and cabling. And never overload power sockets.
Router Connections and Set-Up
4. Only use the correct Microfilters.
5. Use the shortest connection possible between your broadband router and phone socket.
6. Ensure the router antenna is vertical.
Most routers will come with a Microfilter as standard (this is the small connector that plugs into your phone socket and allows you to plug in a broadband connector and phone jack at the same time). It may be advisable to invest in a premium quality Microfilter as the standard one supplied with router kits can be budget-grade. Always check with the router manufacturer’s documentation that the Microfilter you choose is suitable for their product.
A shorter path from A to B generally means a faster signal – in most cases. If your signal has to travel an unnecessary distance (if you decide to use that 10-meter cable to bridge a 1-meter gap, for example) there is more possibility of electric field interference, especially if the cable is coiled in a heap. Get an RJ45 cable that is adequate for the distance.
Ensuring the router antenna is vertical may sound pedantic but a tilted aerial has been known to weaken signals. The antennas are designed to stand upright and even if it has movable connections, tilting these so the antenna is pointing towards you can do more harm than good.
Optimize Your Router Usage
7. Secure your wireless connection.
8. Reduce the number of applications requiring internet access at the same time.
9. Schedule large downloads and uploads for off-peak hours.
Securing a wireless broadband connection is not only essential for protecting your private data; it stops neighbors from piggybacking on your unsecured connection and throttling your bandwidth. The more people use your Wi-Fi, the slower it becomes. Also, be aware that there are malicious people who will sit in a car parked near an unsecured connection and use it to perform illegal online activities. If tracked by law authorities and traced, the connection leads straight back to your IP. Use WEP or WAP encryption with strong passwords to secure your connection.
Your internet service provider allocates you a limited bandwidth for uploads and downloads. Every time any application accesses the internet it downloads data and uses up your bandwidth. Too many applications doing this at once and your broadband will slow down. Prevent this by only running necessary applications at any one time. To choose which applications should automatically start when you start your PC, go to Start Menu->Run->Enter ‘MSCONFIG’->Switch to the ‘Startup’ tab and select only the items you want to get loaded automatically when your computer starts.
On the same subject, any large downloads or uploads will hog your bandwidth. Overall, bandwidth in any area becomes more saturated at peak hours as more people go online (early evening, for example, when kids are home from school and adults are relaxing after work). Factor in this reduced connection speed with any large download you are performing and your unlimited broadband connection may become unbearably slow. Set large downloads/uploads to occur as you’re going to bed, so they can run during the early hours when internet usage is minimal and more bandwidth is available.
10. Reboot your router to refresh connections.
Last, but not least, if you have followed the above steps and still have broadband connection problems, try resetting your router and PC/laptop. After a period of continual usage, a router can get bogged down with excess data which creates a bottleneck.
The easy cure for this is to reset the router. Even without any issues, it’s good practice to do this once a month anyway as a regular part of your IT equipment housekeeping.
You can also use software like TuneUp Utilities to tweak both your PC and internet connection for good.
So there we have it. 10 easy steps to help improve your broadband speed. Most of these checks only have to be done once and the others (with the exception of rebooting the router) need only occur in times of weak signal or slow broadband speeds. Hopefully, by following these tips, you will stay trouble-free and get the broadband speed you have paid for.