Broadband providers share ways to increase speed during the coronavirus outbreak

With millions of us now working from home and having kids outside of school, having a reliable broadband connection has never been more important. While Ofcom has stated that broadband providers are generally confident of meeting this surge in demand during these unprecedented times, there are more people at home in every household during the daytime, and trying to get them all online at the same time can slow your connection.

To help you, Ofcom worked with telecommunications companies to share some top tips to get the most out of your broadband – from simple steps like setting up your router and holding other devices to the more unusual tip not to use your microwave to use when a fast connection is required.

See our Increase the broadband speed Instructions for more ways to improve your broadband, including how to test your speed for free.

How to increase your broadband speed

Ofcom tips to help you stay connected include:

  • Move your router away from other devices. Cordless phones, baby monitors, halogen lights, dimmers, stereos, speakers, televisions, and monitors can affect your signal if they’re too close to your router. In addition, surprisingly, microwave ovens can also reduce Wi-Fi signals.
  • Turn off Wi-Fi on devices you don’t use. The more devices connected to your WiFi, the slower the speed will be. So check the tablets and smartphones that you are not using as they are often turned on in the background.
  • Just use audio for work meetings. If you’re having problems with video conferencing, turn off the video and just use audio as it will take less strain on your connection.
  • Go for a wired connection if you can. For the best speed, wired connections are faster than Wi-Fi. Use an Ethernet cable whenever possible.
  • Plug your router directly into your main phone wall jack. It is also worth plugging in “microfilters” in every telephone socket – these are the small white boxes that split the telephone and broadband signals.

My broadband speed is still slow – what can I do?

If you’ve tried all of the tips above and still don’t see any improvement, contact your supplier and they will be able to check if there is an issue with your line. If your problems still cannot be resolved, or your connection just cannot keep up with your internet needs, consider a new deal.

From the contract? You are free to go – and you will likely pay too much anyway, as most providers will increase the cost once you leave the promotional period. See our How do I get cheap broadband? Instructions for switching and ours Unbundled broadband Tool to compare the best deals.

For most, moving shouldn’t be a problem during the current crisis, as your move can often be done remotely without anyone needing access to your home. The only problem is when you switch from a cable provider (i.e. Virgin Media) to a provider that uses the Openreach network (like BT, Plusnet, TalkTalk, Sky, and Vodafone) as the Openreach engineers no longer make people’s homes visit install a new line so you will have to wait for the current restrictions to be lifted (Virgin Engineers are currently still making visits).

Still in the contract? There might be a way to switch for free if you’ve been on a contract since March 2019. As part of Ofcom’s voluntary code, BT, Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media now give you a minimum speed guarantee before you sign up. If it falls below this on three consecutive days, you can ask your provider for help. If the problems remain unresolved for 30 days, you should be able to release your contract – see complete voluntary code info. Note: We are currently checking at Ofcom that the rules have not changed during the current crisis.

Reggie S. Williams

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