Broadband Issues and Solutions

When we have spent hours and hours searching for the best broadband deals, have forked out a telephone connection fee and installation fee, and whatever else we have had to spend, we want to ensure that we get the most out of our connections so that we get value for money. 

This article will look through some of the best ways to ensure that there are fewer bottlenecks in your connection.  We’ll look at fibre optic broadband and ADSL broadband and concentrate as well on wireless connections.

The Way You Connect

Once you have chosen the best broadband deal, you normally have the option to either connect wired through an Ethernet cable or wirelessly over our WiFi router.  Most of us in the UK connect wirelessly, getting online on multiple devices around our homes.  Broadband speeds have become better and better with average speeds around 10 Mbps, and this makes it possible for several people to simultaneously surf the internet, stream movies, and do other activities.

If you’re connected on a wired basis then the opportunities for connectivity issues will actually be reduced and you should be looking at the set-up of your connection and the faults that may be the responsibility of your provider.  However, if you’re connecting wirelessly there are other things that you should consider.

Faults from Your Provider’s Side

It’s important to understand that even if you have the best broadband deal available on the market your line will be unstable for a couple of weeks if you are on ADSL.  The reason for this is that your broadband provider will be training your line to find out what connectivity speed it can actually achieve while retaining a stability level that is acceptable and workable.  If you turn off your connection regularly during this 2-week period, you may end up having a line that is slower than it could have been because these drops will be perceived as issues on your line.

Following this period if you find you’re having intermittent connections and issues, it’s well worth talking to your internet service provider and they should be your first port of call.  Call them up and find out if there are any faults on their line that they need to investigate. There may be issues that they know about in the exchange, or on the line, and these may be in the process of being resolved.  Knowing this information can save you a lot of time playing with the set-up and trying to fix things that are outside of your control.

Set-up Issues

There are several key things that you need to get right in order for your ADSL set-up to be correct.  With fibre optic broadband, installation is normally done for you by an engineer and therefore things should be correct.  However, with ADSL the router is often sent to you in the post and therefore you have to do the installation yourself.  One of the most crucial things to consider is whether your WiFi router is plugged in to the main telephone socket that comes in to your house.  If it is not, then the broadband will be travelling down telephone wiring in your home that is certainly going to cause a bottleneck in your connection unless you’ve had it rewired recently.  Indeed, the old telephone line connections that most of us have in our houses are very poor conductors of internet technology.  Normally, the main telephone socket is right near the front door and you can often see the line going in from outside where the engineer drilled the hole through.

Getting Your Microfilters Right

When you see the microfilters in the box of the router, you may wonder what they are and consider them unimportant.  The reality is that they are vital for the stability and speed of your internet connection.  What they do is they split the data and voice components of the line so that the two do not interfere.  Every device that is connected to your telephone line should have a microfilter fitted first.  You can get additional microfilters at most DIY stores and you can even get better ones than came with your router.  If you’re having problems, it may be that your microfilters are faulty or just poor quality.

The Connection between the Router and the Telephone Socket

Some people try to extend the connection between the router and the telephone socket to have the router a long way away.  The reality is that the wire between the two will not be great for conducting the connection and therefore you should ensure that the distance is a couple of metres at the most. 

If you want to get a connection running upstairs and you’re struggling to have the WiFi capacity to do so, then you could buy a repeater or relayer which will pick up the signal from downstairs when the relayer is upstairs and then pass it on to the devices on the upper floor.  This can also work with a basement and you can have multiple relayers for different parts of the home.  They are fairly affordable and do a good job.

Wireless Broadband Issues

Even if you go at the best broadband deals sometimes wireless connectivity is completely out of your reach.  There are a number of things that can infringe on your ability to get connected wirelessly and these can generally be categorized as either interference or obstruction.

When the wireless signal is broadcast by the router, it has to travel through the air to devices.  In the air there are many other radio waves flying around.  If there are waves of the same frequency, they can severely impact the ability for the wireless router to achieve connections with devices elsewhere.  This is why it’s always recommended that your wireless router is connected within line of sight of your connecting devices where possible.

Of course when you’re upstairs this isn’t possible. There may be lots of other wireless connections of neighbours in the airwaves and wireless connections from other devices such as baby monitors. 

Obstructions can be caused by anything that physically gets in the way of the connection.  You should ensure that your router is placed in an elevated position and perhaps on a shelf.  Do not put it in a cabinet.

Walls and ceilings that are sometimes impenetrable to the broadband connection.  Older homes sometimes have chicken wires installed in the walls which can completely block connections from achieving any penetration whatsoever.  Older homes tend to have thicker walls and ceilings that shield the other side from the broadband connection.

Solutions to Wireless Problems

As we’ve seen you could use a repeater or relayer to pass the signal more strongly around your home.  You could also buy a premium router, which has better antennae and therefore will be able to send stronger signals.  A premium router may also work at a different frequency band and therefore counter the issue of interference from other connections and other wireless devices working on the same frequency. 

Some routers actually have several bands on which they operate in order to enable you to change the frequency.  Some standard routers that come with providers these days have this capability, such as the dual band BT hub. 

As well these solutions, you could use a home plug system which sends your internet connection around the electric circuit in your home.  Alternatively you could just run Ethernet cables around your home or be it discretely and tidily.

Tips on Finding the Best Broadband Deals

It’s important to jump online when you’re looking for the best deals as there are a number of tools to help you. 

The first is a broadband postcode checker service where you can see what connections are available around your location. Once you know what connections are available, you can do a broadband comparison and look at the terms and conditions and again if you search on Google for broadband comparison, you’ll be thrown up a number of options through which you can assess different broadband offerings.