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Make the most of your internet at home

07 Oct 2020

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We all know how frustrating it can be when your broadband, internet, or Wi-Fi isn’t working as well as you need it to be. 

Unfortunately, the performance of your home internet isn’t something the University can do much about, and across the country, people working from home is putting the UK’s broadband networks under considerable strain. There may also be an issue with the speed of your broadband due to the age or quality of cabling within your home, the number of other people or systems using your broadband at the same time, the distance from your telephone exchange, and so on.

Here are some common sense things we can all do to improve the situation in our homes:

  • Whilst you are logged into your device, avoid using it for other non-work-related internet services (particularly streaming audio or video) unless you need to.
  • If you connect via Wi-Fi, make sure you have a good strong signal. Can you move closer to your router, or reduce the number of obstacles between your device and the router?
  • Turn on your radio or watch broadcast TV rather than stream music or video whenever possible.
  • You may be able to improve your internet performance further if you connect your PC or laptop to your router using a network cable. Run a speed test www.speedtest.net and compare between wireless and cable.
  • If you must stream video, can you reduce the resolution? Reducing from 4K to HD, or from HD to SD, saves around 75% of bandwidth each time.
  • Be aware of what everyone else at home is doing on the internet and work with them to try not to overload when you need to work.
  • Some software applications can be very “chatty” - constantly sending and receiving little messages over your home connection - even when they’re not being used. It’s good practice to close everything you aren’t using down and do a full restart of all your devices regularly.
  • Remember that all the Wi-Fi devices connected to your home broadband have to share the same Wi-Fi signal. Think of it as cake, the more people sharing, the smaller the slice – and no one prefers a tiny slice of cake!
  • Understand that domestic broadband services are often shared across multiple homes, so at times of peak usage you cannot always expect to get the advertised speeds.
  • Ensure you are aware of your broadband contract details, any usage limits, make sure you know the contact and account details for your ISP in case you need to talk to them for technical support.
  • If your router has lights on it, take a picture of it when it's working OK. That way, if there’s a problem and you need to contact your service provider this might prove useful information to help speed up finding the problem.

 

You can try to use 3G/4G from your mobile as a personal hotspot if performance on your broadband is poor, but make sure you:

  • understand your data usage limit, and
  • understand if all data in your contract is available for use as a hotspot/tethering, or if there is any fair use limit
  • use your phone to carefully monitor your data use, but check when your data allowances are renewed