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Last updated: 03 September 2021
Internet connectivity issues can be an absolute nightmare. Maybe you've paid top dollar for the fastest and best broadband around, but your connection speed is suddenly barely good enough to stream something on Netflix. Or maybe your connection has cut out altogether. Either way, it's not fun.
We've put together a list of solutions to common problems that you might face, to save you from throwing your router out of the window in frustration.
Have you tried turning your router off and on again?
An infuriating refrain no doubt, but often the simplest solution genuinely is the right one. You’d be surprised at how many times problems with internet connections can be resolved by actually just checking that the router is plugged in. And if it is plugged in? Turning it off and on again will fix any issues a (frustratingly) large percentage of the time.
Intermittent or jumpy connections: Router problems
Your actual download speed will depend on which broadband deal you've got. And so if your connection is consistently slow, the chances are that the fault is with your provider or their infrastructure. If your connection is cutting in and out though, or if it's better or worse in different parts of your house, the chances are the issue is with your router.
Problems often occur when your connected device is too far away from your router. The simple solution here is to work out in which room you use internet the most in and move your router as close as possible. Obviously this isn't always possible, so instead you might want to think about investing in some boosters or signal extenders. Boosters can be plugged in around your house and give your router a bit of extra reach.
Use our broadband speed test tool and keep an eye on your Ping and Jitter results - these will give you a good idea of whether or not your router is causing you problems.
Lack of bandwidth
Sometimes, broadband connections become strained when too many people are using internet devices at the same time - even fibre broadband connections can sometimes struggle if everyone in a home is using a lot of data. This is often an issue with bigger families or in student houses. Unfortunately there's not much you can do about this other than limiting how many devices are connected at once, which isn't really viable in a big house. The best you can do is ensure you really have got the best broadband package that you can find in your area - go for a fibre connection with unlimited downloads if possible.
Can firewalls slow down your connection?
Firewalls are intended to protect computers from unwanted network traffic interfering with its operation. Unfortuntately they can sometimes be a bit over eager, and if you have two pieces of software-a firewall and a third-party product-they can sometimes clash and contention between the two can block traffic. Certain firewalls will cause issues whereas others won’t. If you experience connectivity issues it’s worth temporarily pausing your firewall to work out if it is the issue.
Slow connections at peak times
There are going to be times especially in the evening and late at night where a lot of people in your local area will be using the internet. This can put a strain on your connection by pushing your bandwidth to its limit (see above). Again, getting the best connection is your best defense here. If you want to upgrade your internet speed then use our broadband comparison service to search for the best deals for you.
Some providers will operate traffic management or fair usage policies and will throttle connections across their network at certain times of day, or just for you when you've used a certain amount of data each month.
If you browse without a firewall there is always a chance you will pick up viruses or malware. These come in many shapes and sizes but often they're designed so to let someone piggy back on your network to either take data from your computer, or to use your computer to take data from elsewhere. Either way, this will put a strain on your broadband connection. To prevent this, download anti-virus software, which will include a virus scanning tool. This will detect and remove any malicious software you may have unwittingly picked up. Some of these issues can be resolved by changing your broadband provider and getting a higher speed package.