Broadband is one of mankind’s greatest innovations, allowing people instant access to the world’s collective knowledge on just about any subject imaginable.Broadband is often advertised as being ‘plug in and play’; someone comes and sets up your router and then you’re ready to go.
What isn’t mentioned, however, is the fact that maintaining optimal broadband performance requires a lot of ongoing maintenance. Not difficult maintenance by any stretch, but regular checks to make sure everything is running as it should.
Below is a quick checklist of maintenance tasks to carry out to ensure your broadband is running to its best.
Change or upgrade your router
A few months ago, my broadband connection randomly dropped out; one day it was working, the next it wasn’t. I tried every fix in the book, until finally I bought a new router and swapped it out.
Like other technology, routers have a shelf life and their performance degrades over time. If you’ve had the same router for a number of years, and you’ve noticed a significant downturn in performance, then you might want to consider a change.
You have two options when it comes to upgrading your router: choose and buy a new one, or request a new model from your broadband supplier. The latter is the cheaper of the two, but be wary of suppliers who’ll try and get you onto a new contract in exchange for a new router!
Check your cables
Most people use a wireless broadband connection, so cables don’t usually come into their thinking. However, cables are still a massively important part of a broadband connection, especially the one connecting your router to the line.
Changing the Broadband cables itself won’t make much difference (unless the cable is broken!) but checking the connection ports (to ensure they aren’t loose or faulty) is always a good idea. If you haven’t already, it’s worth investing in something like an iPlate, which can have a significant effect on speed.
Run regular speed tests
One of the biggest gripes among broadband customers is falling speeds. Yet many customers aren’t even aware their speeds are falling, and so continue paying their provider for a sub-standard service.
Running regular speed tests on your broadband connection ensures you’re getting the best possible service from your provider, as well as getting the best possible connection for your money. They allow you to diagnose any issues and question your supplier as to why this might be, and also act as good starting point for any future investigations.
Their are many Broadband speed test sites, but speedtest.net is the best Site for testing Broadband Speed.
Reposition your router
The position of your router has a massive impact on broadband performance. The most obvious hindrances are walls and doors; if your router is in a different room to the device you’re using, you’ll experience lower speeds. Try and limit the amount of physical blockades to your broadband signal.
Your router’s proximity to other electronic devices will also impact on its performance, so keep it clear of your TV and any other devices you might feel inclined to place it by.
If you start using your broadband in a room other than the one your router is located in more often, relocate your router to get the best speeds.
Tweak wireless settings
Although wireless broadband often appears to be as easy as plugging in and playing, there are a lot of router settings that can affect performance.
Changing your settings tends to be a complex process, so make sure you properly research any changes you plan to make and always refer to your router’s manual.
If your router isn’t secure, someone could be stealing your connection and slowing you down. Most routers will have some kind of password protection and firewall as standard, but it’s always worth checking that these features still work. If they don’t, set up password protection and make sure your connection is secure.
Consider changing your plan
Many people are simply on the wrong plan for their requirements; if you’re a gamer, for example, a limited data plan is not going to be right for you. If you don’t use your broadband that often, it’s not worth splashing out on a fibre-optic connection.
Every six months, assess your broadband usage. Determine how much data you use, and any performance issues or slowdowns you experience on a regular basis. This will help you make an informed decision on a new plan.
Keeping your broadband’s performance up to scratch is a simple yet essential process, so make sure to schedule in some regular checks!