When you want to speed up your broadband, it can be somewhat depressing reading information about new superfast broadband services if they are currently not available in many areas. All is not lost! We present five tips on how to get the very best speeds from your Internet connection if you’re not lucky enough to be able to subscribe to superfast broadband services.
With recent announcements from Virgin Media and BT, you could be forgiven for thinking that almost everyone is able to access superfast broadband speeds. Early this year, Virgin Media announced plans to double the speeds for most of its four million broadband customers, offering download speeds up to 120Mbps. This month, BT announced that the maximum download speed of its Infinity superfast broadband service would be increased to 76Mbps (with upload speeds increased to 19Mbps).
Despite these impressive headline speeds, it’s important to realise that superfast broadband services are not available in many areas of the UK, so average broadband speeds are much lower. In its latest assessment of broadband speeds (published in February 2012), Ofcom found that the average broadband speed in the UK as a whole was 7.6Mbps.
Even with significant Government funding, superfast broadband services will still not be available to at least 10% of the UK population even by early 2015, and this percentage could be much higher. Many of us will be ‘stuck’ with ADSL services, so we’ll have to make the most of them! In its February 2012 report, Ofcom found that ADSL-based connections continue to deliver average download speeds much lower than the headline ‘up to’ speeds (which are often used to advertise broadband services). ‘Up to’ 8Mbit/s and ‘up to’ 20/24Mbit/s ADSL connections delivered just 41% and 31% of headline speeds.
Here are five tips proven to speed up broadband:
Tip 1: Connect your modem/router to the BT mastersocket rather than using long extensions. Long extensions can increase noise and interference to your broadband signal, which can have a detrimental impact on broadband speed.
Tip 2: Fit a filtered ADSL faceplate. This can make a dramatic difference to broadband speeds and costs less than £10. The purpose of the filtered faceplate it to separate your broadband signal from the rest of the telephone wiring throughout your house. A filtered faceplate is very easy to fit. For more information, view our ADSL Faceplate page.
Tip 3: Select an ISP that doesn’t ‘traffic shape’. Many ISPs apply so-called ‘traffic shaping’ at peak times, intentionally reducing broadband speeds to avoid having to invest in broadband infrastructure (to cope with the peaks in traffic demand). High-quality ISPs that do not traffic shape include Xilo. For more information, view our Which ISP? page.
Tip 4: Purchase a high-quality router/modem. There are significant differences in the extent to which broadband modems can maintain a connection, particularly with challenging or long lines. Routers such as the Billion 7800N have gained an excellent reputation among broadband users for extracting the best performance possible. For more information, visit our Which Broadband Router/Modem? page.
Tip 5: Tweak the target SNR margin. Some modems (including the Billion 7800N) allow you to tweak the target SNR margin, to significantly increase broadband speed. For example, changing the SNR target margin from 18dB to 1dB could increase download speeds by over 100%. For further information, read our SNR Tweak page.
If you are able to apply all five tips, you are likely to experience dramatic improvements in broadband performance. Good luck!