A little bit of reading may be required……..
‘Our internet is really slow’, is just one of the comments we regularly here from our customers. To understand what’s really being said, we need to recognise the following 3 processes, (Internet, Broadband & Wireless) which hopfully are explaind below that make up your ‘internet’.
So what can we do?
In many cases your internet, or lack of it! maybe just down to the location/distribution of your Wi-Fi. We have many devices (switchers, power adaptors, access points & internet bridges) which could improve your network system along with your wifi connection.
Contact us on 01205 461482 or email firstname.lastname@example.org For a free no obligation HOME NETWORK survey
Please note the following is our interpretation, and is not the be all and end all, please feel free to seek other advice.
What is the internet?
The internet is an immense network of computers, servers and other devices, the term ‘World Wide Web’, (www) describes it perfectly it’s a vast web of interconnected devices from all over the world.
Most web pages you visit, such as this one, are stored on large servers (huge computers with lots of storage) which are owned by companies such as Google, Amazon etc, this service is known as hosting.
It’s very rare that the internet breaks down or goes slow. However, with that said it has been known for webpages/servers to crash, (like of when tickets for a popular band go on sale). So, the odds are, the internet is not to blame for your slow connection.
What is Broadband?
Broadband is the name of the technology which is used to connect you to the internet. It is called Broadband because the bandwidth used is wide, which allows multiple signals at once.
This basically means it is quicker than a non-Broadband connection.
Do you remember the internet when you had to dial in, and no one could be on the phone at the same time? That was not Broadband, but everything since has been.
Broadband can use different methods of connection including but not limited to: Fibre Optic and Copper Cabling, (copper being the most common). 4/5G routers along with Satellite are also available, however these could be affected by the weather and location, (so this could be a reason why you have slow or no internet).
Whis is Wi-Fi?
Wi-Fi is a type of Wireless Connection, (it is like having an invisible cable connected from your devices to your router) it allows your phones, tablets, laptops, printers, TVs, doorbell etc to connect to your router, which then connects to the internet, via the broadband.
Your router is the box which your internet provider (BT, Vodafone, Virgin etc.) gave you. It is a combination of a Modem, Router and Access Point, but is commonly referred to as just a router.
Wi-Fi is often blamed when the internet connection is not working or just slow, when in fact its not the Wi-Fi it’s either, the internet connection from the router, (Broadband) or most likely the position and limitation of your router wi-fi, which was supplied by your provider.
Let’s blame it on the Wi-Fi
Before setting blame solely on the Wi-Fi, you need to ask yourself honestly the following:
- My internet is ALWAYS slow.
- My internet is SOMETIMES slow.
- My internet is slow in certain parts of the house.
Always Slow, (be honest)
This could be the worst case scenario, if your internet is always slow, and slow on all your devices, then it is likely that the internet connection, (Broadband) provided by your Internet Service Provider (BT, Virgin, Vodafone etc.), isn’t very quick.
The best way to test this, is to stand a close as you possibly can to your Router (the box given to you by your Internet Service Provider), ensure you are connected to the WiFi and then run a Speed Test. If your download speed is below around 54Mbps then your connection is slower than the average UK, anything under 20Mbps is slow and under 10Mbps will be painful for anything other than browsing.
Your internet speed appears to fluctuate during the day? To a certain extent this is expected, but if the differences are dramatic there may be other reasons.
A lot of people sit down at 8-9 pm at night to watch TV and this can often be something like Netflix or BBC iPlayer. All these people simultaneously streaming means extra demand on infrastructure, which can cause speeds to slow. This will be more noticeable in some areas than others and there may be some variance between providers.
Your internet service provider will likely use a technique known as Load Balancing to manage this traffic. You may find that when you complaining to your Internet Service Provider you see an improvement for a while because they temporarily assign you more bandwidth, but this is not a long-term solution.
However, it is worth speaking to your internet Service Provider (ISP) about increasing your download speed (if possible) so the peaks and toughs have less impact. Alternatively, you could switch providers (provided you are out of contract).
If you work from home or have a business registered at you address you could consider a Business Broadband Package, they are more expensive but there are far less users on the same line so speeds are much more consistent.
If lots of people in your house are using the internet at the same time you may find that your internet starts to feel sluggish, particularly if everyone is streaming high quality video.
To combat this, you can try downloading things at quieter times of the day and watching them later or watching things together in the same room. On some devices you can reduce the streaming quality so there is not such a demand on the internet.
Your Routers WiFi connection takes turns to talk to the devices in your home and, although these conversations are only fractions of a second long, the more devices it needs to talk to the longer this takes.
Fortunately, there are a few ways around this. Firstly, you can connect devices to your router using an Ethernet Cable. (cable is king). This is a great way to take devices such as TVs or PCs off your WiFi network.
Secondly you can add extra WiFi points to help share the WiFi traffic. There are lots of options: WiFi repeaters (not one we like), Power-line Adaptors with or without Wi-Fi (better) Mesh Systems (great for a lot of people) or wired Access Points (the best).
My Internet is slow in certain parts of the house
To combat this, you can install additional WiFi points to improve the coverage across your home. There are a few options, and each has its own pros and cons. Click below to find out about each one.
WiFi repeaters (sometimes call WiFi extenders or WiFi range extenders) are cheap and easy to install. However, they are also the worst option in our opinion. They tend to be unreliable and slow your connection. If you do decide to use a repeater, then be very careful with placement. Do not put them in the area that has weak WiFi, put them halfway between that point and your router. Think of them as a bridge point.
All repeaters are doing is rebroadcasting the signal they receive. If they are receiving 1 bar of signal, all they’ll do is rebroadcast that.
In principle Powerline adaptors are a great idea, they use your homes electrical circuits to transmit data to other points around the house and increase your WiFi Signal. For some people they work really well, however they are inconsistent and dependant on the electrics in your home.
Mesh is, more or less a plug and play system which uses a series of hubs to create a ‘mesh’ of signals around your home. These systems can be excellent and are the best value for money for many people. They don’t work so well is in properties with lots of thick walls or underfloor heating.
Wireless Access Points are the system you would normally see in large offices, museums, schools and other places with big distances and lots of users (clients). They broadcast WiFi but used a cable to communicate with your router. Using a cable means the connection is amazingly fast and very reliable and is able to penetrate thick walls. They are really the gold-plated solution to WiFi issues.