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Last updated: 21 May 2021
Broadband is so accessible these days that you can even set it up yourself
, but that doesn't mean it always works. When it doesn't It transports us back to the dial-up days where flashing lights on modems were commonplace. But now, our daily lives often rely on instant connectivity and slow or disruptive connections can be frustrating if not detrimental.
Is my internet slow?
Stuck on a loading webpage or constantly watching a buffer dial? If so your internet connection may be slow.
You should first check your estimated internet speeds. Be aware that this will be different from advertised speeds, which are national averages. An estimated speed is far more accurate and is supplied specifically for you by your internet service provider (ISP); contact them to find this out.
Next, run a speed test. Place your computer as close to your router as possible and close down any background programs or software. You may also want to disconnect additional devices that use your WiFi connection.
We recommend you run speed tests several times throughout the day to find your average. If you then learn you’re not receiving your estimated speeds, you can contact your ISP or search for a new broadband provider.
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What causes broadband connection issues?
Broadband connection issues can be caused by a multitude of things. Slow connections can be just as frustrating as no internet whatsoever, so let’s talk through some common causes of limited connectivity.
Traffic at peak times: when more people are on the network, speeds can be slower.
Website issues: sites occasionally crash, so it’s always worth loading several different pages to see if the problem is site-specific.
Additional devices or software: file-sharing and downloading, for example, use a lot of bandwidth.
Line faults: check with your ISP about any faults, maintenance or service updates they may be carrying out on the network.
Malware: viruses or spyware can reduce your computer’s performance, as well as pose other security threats. That’s why it’s critical to stay on top of your internet security.
How to troubleshoot your internet connection
Confirm with Google
When you’re having internet connection problems, you should first check that the issue isn’t website-specific. Try visiting Google or even BBC News, as these sites rarely ever go offline. If you can’t connect, then there’s likely an issue with your broadband.
Similarly, some websites are location-specific, meaning access may be blocked based on your IP address. Parental filters may also prevent access to certain websites.
Check your hardware
Look for any loose cables or switches to see if anything has been dislodged. And then, cliched as it may sound, try turning your hardware off and on again – a reboot can often solve the issue. You should also check that your WiFi router is in a central, unblocked location where signal can be easily transmitted around your home.
Check your software
Ensure your router password is correct and set-up has been completed properly. If you use a dongle to access the internet, you may need to update the program it runs off.
Try pinging Google – that is, sending a small bit of data to test your connection. If you get a reply, your connection is working.
- How to ping Google in Windows: search cmd in the search bar, then type ping www.google.com in the box.
- How to ping Google in Mac: go to Applications > Utilities > Terminal, then type ping www.google.com.
You should also check your IP address. Any valid home IP address will start in 192; any non-valid IP address will start in 169. If yours starts with 169, it means that your router and your computer are struggling to communicate.
- How to find your IP address in Windows: search cmd in the search bar, then type ipconfig.
- How to find your IP address in Mac: go to System Preferences > Network. If you don’t see an IP address listed, you’re not connected to the internet.
If you’ve tried all these steps and are still having internet connection problems, it’s time to contact your broadband provider.
How to get a better broadband connection
First things first: give your router a little love. Don’t hide it away behind thick walls in one corner of your house; move it front and centre so it can easily transmit signals around your home. You may find that simply bringing your router out into the open hugely improves any internet connection problems you have.
If your house is larger or has very thick walls, consider buying WiFi boosters and place them at different points around your home, too.
It’s also possible the broadband deal you have doesn’t serve your needs. If you’re working from home, frequently file-sharing and video-calling in HD, a standard ADSL connection may not suffice for your activity.
Consider upgrading to a fibre optic connection or faster broadband. You can compare broadband deals through us to see which ISPs serve your area and what speeds you can expect.