Troubleshooting Common Broadband Problems (ADSL)
Ensuring that your broadband is connected and up to date with physical equipment.
How is my broadband speed affected by the way I connect in my home?
The way you connect to your broadband at home can significantly affect the broadband speed you experience.
1. Position your router to avoid electrical interference
Did you know that everyday items such as TVs, lighting and power cables produce electrical interference that can affect your broadband speed?
With the upcoming Christmas holidays you should note that Christmas lights can cause a lot of problems on broadband services. You want to ensure that your router is as far as possible the Christmas lighting.
You can reduce interference by making sure that your Hub or router is on a desk or table, not on the floor. You should check that all wires are firmly connected and secure.
Also check that all electrical devices that cause interference
are at least five feet away from the router and its
The worst offenders are:
- Flashing Christmas lights (especially cheap ones)
- Halogen desk lamps.
- Electrical dimmer switches.
- Stereo or PC speakers.
- Televisions and monitors (especially older style ones)
- Low quality 900MHz cordless telephones.
2. Microfilters not used properly
You need microfilters for broadband to work properly over the same line as your telephone service. Without microfilters you may hear a noise on the line when you make or receive a telephone call, or you may have broadband connection problems.
You need a microfilter for every telephone socket in your home that has equipment plugged in. (It's recommended you have a maximum of four extension sockets with microfilters attached for each telephone line you have.)
You can get microfilters from most high street electrical shops, or can be purchased from Internet Central. 01782 667788
Equipment that needs a microfilter includes:
- Broadband modem or router
- Answer machines
- Digital TV boxes
- Fax machines
- Alarm systems
Plugging in your microfilters
At each phone socket where a device plugs in:
A. Unplug the device from the socket
B. Plug a microfilter into the socket
C. Plug the device you have just unplugged into the microfilter's phone socket, and plug your broadband equipment into the computer's socket. The microfilter will usually have a diagram on it to show you which socket is which.
3. Not using the main phone socket
Try to connect your Hub directly (using a microfilter) to your home's main phone socket instead of an extension socket. This will reduce the chances of you getting electrical interference and take your home wiring out of the loop.
You'll probably find the main socket in your front room or hall, near where
the phone line enters your house.
If you don't want to move your computer, you can think about connecting wirelessly instead.
4. Out of date wireless router
If you have upgraded to a faster broadband service but still have an old wireless router, it may not be able to provide the broadband signal as fast as a more up-to-date router.
There are broadly three types of wireless router:
Wireless-B: routers can provide speeds of around 5-6Mbps
Wireless-G: routers can provide speeds of around 20Mbps
Wireless-N: routers can provide speeds of around 100Mbps
If you check your router, you may find you aren't using the most up-to-date way of connecting to broadband.
Please note - the wireless Mbps speeds quoted are maximums and the layout of your home and distance of your PC from your wireless router will affect actual performance.
5. Wireless interference
If you're using wireless broadband in your home, make sure you place your broadband router away from barriers that may block the signal, including thick walls or ceilings, large metallic surfaces such as radiators, mirrors and refrigerators. Wireless works best when there's a clear space to your computer.
Although a wireless connection gives you more flexibility to
position your devices around your home, it can occasionally
suffer from interference, which can affect your internet
browsing. An Ethernet cable is generally not affected by
interference so may give you a faster, more reliable connection.
And if you
use a USB cable to connect your computer to your router, the speed of the connection can be affected by other USB devices, such as your keyboard, mouse and webcam all using USB at the same time.
You can stop most wireless interference and improve performance just by taking a couple of minutes to change the wireless channel that you're using.
6. Other users in your home
It's worth remembering that the number of people sharing your broadband connection will affect your speed.
Is your download speed continuously lower than your IP profile, but not by much? If so, you should check the number of devices (such as smartphones, computers and games consoles) that are connecting to your Hub or router. You can then ask other users to consider using your broadband at different times, so your speed increases.
7. Using an old computer
If your computer is more than five years old you may not get the maximum broadband speed you can receive. So it's worth checking that your computer meets the minimum system requirements needed for BT Broadband. If your computer's too old and slow, you may need a new one.
You should also check you have the latest version of your internet browser software installed. Older versions might not be able to handle all of the types of content on newer websites, and can cause pages to download slowly.
If you're using an old operating system, such as Windows 95, then this will significantly affect your broadband speed.
8. Avoid heavy traffic
The speed you'll get from Broadband isn't fixed. It depends partly on how many people are using the network, with busy times causing a general slowdown for everyone. The peak period is 5pm to 12 midnight.
If you can, try to identify the internet activities that don't have to be carried out at peak times and do them at different times of day. You'll then be able to share your connection better between your home users and the rest of the online community.
For example, if someone uses peer-to-peer software, find out how to turn it off at times when other people at home want to use the internet.
Can I get an I-Plate/Broadband Accelerator to improve my broadband speed?
Your broadband service can slow down if your telephone extension
wiring picks up electrical interference from TVs, lights and
other everyday equipment. Fit an accelerator to your phone
socket and it will filter out this interference, helping
improve your connection. The result should be a faster, more
You could benefit from an accelerator if:
You have more than one working phone socket in your home. The extension wiring that connects the sockets together is what can pick up electrical interference.