The UK had to adjust to a more digital or ‘virtual’ way of life in 2020, and as we go in to 2021 many of us will still be working from home for the foreseeable future.
For those who hoped they might go back into office sooner rather than later, now is the time to upgrade the slow WiFi you have put up with for the past year.
Others will likely have found various issues with their broadband too, whether that be speed, connection or ease of use.
To help those with WiFi issues start the year right, This is Money – with help from Nick Baker, broadband expert at Uswitch, the comparison and switching service -investigated the most common WiFi woes at home and how to fix them.
Many people will have experienced issues after working at home for months on end in 2020
Why is my internet so slow?
If you have found yourself suffering from painfully slow internet speeds, it could be down to a change in your household usage habits.
Video calls have become the everyday norm in makeshift home offices, and basic broadband strengths have struggled to keep up.
This will be made worse if there are multiple people relying on the same router.
The number of gadgets using the internet to play games, chat with friends and stream films has also soared as people look to entertain themselves, which can slow your WiFi down even further.
One way to resolve this is to run a speed test to see whether your broadband is running at the pace it should be.
If it’s not, try resetting your router – and if that doesn’t work, have a chat with your provider.
If a problem is identified and not fixed within a certain time, firms that have signed up to Ofcom’s Automatic Compensation Scheme will provide compensation for delayed repairs following a loss of service; missed repairs or provision appointments; and delays to the start of a new service.
Find out more here.
If your internet is slow, it may be worth doing a speed test and contacting your provider
Why does my WiFi drop in certain rooms?
If there are certain areas of your home where you find your signal drops, it may be due to a blockage.
Large objects can often obstruct a connection, so it’s best to keep your router off the ground and away from larger items.
Steer clear from putting your router behind the sofa or a door – although it looks tidy, it could impact your connection.
You should also keep electronics such as lamps, speakers, TVs and monitors as far away from the router as possible.
Why am I having to fight another device for WiFi strength?
Although it has been a while since the days of dial-up internet, when you had the option of using only the internet or your home phone at one time, so many households are still at war over the WiFi.
The average UK family has eight internet-guzzling gadgets – five of which are always connected to WiFi.
As technology improves year on year, that number is bound to increase.
If members of your household are seriously into gaming, they will be a major culprit in the hunt for who’s hogging the internet.
Check what internet connection is required for their console, and remember that some games will take up more bandwidth than others.
Disconnect any devices that are not being used or do not need to be connected to WiFi. Even if your tablet has been tucked away not being used, it may be using the internet as part of its ‘background refreshing’ process if it is still switched on.
Computer gaming can contribute to slower internet speeds, especially if downloading
New year, new broadband
If your connection issues aren’t going away, it’s worth making switching your broadband provider a priority for the start of 2021.
If someone in your house got a new games console for Christmas, or if you’re finding yourself on back-to-back video calls now you’re back at work, consider purchasing a WiFi booster to help maintain a stronger connection on more devices running simultaneously whilst you wait for your broadband switch to happen.
It could also be worth using price comparison sites to see if you could save by changing your provider.
Many suppliers keep their best deals for new customers, known as the loyalty penalty, so you may be able to reduce your bill.
How to get faster broadband?
There are two types of broadband available in the UK: ADSL broadband and fibre broadband.
Fibre broadband is much faster, with speeds ranging from 35Mb to 362Mb compared to ADSL’s typical speeds of 10Mb to 12Mb.
However, prices are often more expensive to reflect the quicker speeds – so compare packages before committing to a new deal.
It may be that larger households, those with many devices or those who regularly stream or download content will benefit from fibre the most.
Quick fixes for router problems
Below are four top tips to resolve internet issues:
1. Reboot your router: Unplug it, leave it 30 seconds and plug it back in.
2. Relocate your router: If your router is located further away than it needs to be, try moving it to the room you’re most active in or the centre of your home.
3. Disconnect unnecessary devices: Although you may not be looking at your tablet every night, it’ll be using the internet to refresh in the background, so it’s worth turning it off to both save power and salvage some broadband strength for other gadgets.
4. Run a speed test: This will determine whether your router is running at the speeds you signed up for
5. Purchase a WiFi extender or ‘booster’: This will optimise your broadband for faster and stronger connections
If you believe you’re in need of better performing Wi-Fi, check now to see what alternatives are available to you.
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