How can we obtain a faster broadband speed?

Q: We have six internet connected devices and as a result our broadband speed has slowed. Is there anything we can do and, if not, can we find out if improvements are planned for our local exchange?

23 December 2016
By Oliver Rowland

Q: When we first had our broadband it was a luxury. Now we use it to shop, bank, make skype calls to family and friends and we link our mobiles to it so we can make calls over the VoIP service rather than the mobile network. We now have six internet connected devices and as a result our speed has slowed. Is there anything we can do to get a faster speed and if not can we find out if improvements are planned for our local exchange?

A: The demand for faster broadband is getting stronger every year. However the main thing which determines speed is the length of the telephone line between your local exchange and your home – the greater the distance the slower the speed. Whilst you cannot do anything about the effect on speed this has, there are several things you can consider that could make things better.
First do make sure that you have the ideal location for your modem if using wifi. The wifi signal is sent out radially and downwards, so the higher the location the better. In addition, the closer it is to the first telephone point into your home the better. Do not locate it near microwaves and other kitchen white goods as they will interfere with its operation. Similarly keep it away from TVs and mirrors. Do not forget to use the modem’s security code to stop unauthorised people using it and slowing your service down.

Next where possible use an ethernet cable to connect devices to the modem as this will always be quicker that wifi. Most modems will allow four pieces of equipment to be connected this way. When you do use wifi remember to disconnect it when you have finished your session as the more that are connected the slower the speed.

If these things do not help see if the wifi band being used is congested. All modems have many wifi channels but are sent out with one of typically three pre-programmed in. If there are many around with the same channel selected this will become congested and the service will stop working. A short-term way to overcome this is to reboot your modem. Unfortunately after a while the same problem will be experienced. Your provider will be able to help you change your wifi channel giving a more permanent solution. Indeed many of us can do this remotely for you.

Local exchange improvements are often taking place and your broadband supplier can update you on their service improvements. You can also ask your mairie if there are any plans as other broadband suppliers may be installing their own equipment in the exchange and they will have been notified. Such improvements will be overtaken by the big investment in the national network being rolled out at the moment. By the end of 2018 new lines will be different with all calls going over the broadband service and from late 2020 existing lines will be upgraded.

This article was written by Bob Elliott of telephone and broadband provider UK Telecom

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