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What affects my broadband speed around the home?

There are a number of factors around the home that can affect your broadband speed and the quality of your connection. The good thing is, in these cases there’s usually something you can do to make sure you’re getting the best from your broadband.

Select a topic from the list below to find out more:

Use the master socket and avoid extensions


It’s the length and quality of phone line extensions in the home that are one of the worst offenders when it comes to slowing down broadband speeds. This is why we always recommend that you plug your router into your master socket. 

Master socketMaster socket with microfilter


This is the point when the phone line first enters your home. By doing this, you avoid running your signal through lengths of unnecessary telephone wiring.

Find out more about master sockets.

It’s not just phone line extensions that can have an effect on your broadband speeds, other types of extensions can have an affect too.

Find out more about extensions.


Installing microfilters


Microfilters prevent your phone signal from interfering with your broadband signal and vice-versa. In the case of your broadband, this interference can make your connection intermittent or slow. In the case of your phone, this interference can create noise on your line and generally disrupt your call quality.

micro filter

If your master socket is a standard socket (like the one below) you should have a microfilter installed in every standard phone socket you are using around your home. This should be the first thing you plug in before you plug in anything else.

Phone socket with microfilter 

Find out more about microfilters.


Positioning your router


Simple objects like furniture or books can interfere with your router’s signal more than you’d think. This sort of interference can cause your Wi-Fi signal seem weak or the speed to drop off rapidly the further you are from the router. We recommend that you keep your router in an elevated position, free from any surrounding objects.

You should also ensure that your router is pointing into your house or the room you most frequently connect to the Internet in. The signal transmits from front of the router in a conical shape and gives the best possible coverage to all users.

Router with Wi-Fi


Wireless or wired connection


The further away from the router you are, then the weaker and slower your broadband signal will be. Getting closer can help speed things up.

Distance from router

Although it’s not always convenient, a wired connection will typically be faster than a wireless connection. If you are after a little speed boost, try connecting to your router by Ethernet cable.

Ethernet cableEthernet cable connected


Sharing the connection


If lots of people are using the internet at the same time, your speed is going to be slower. That’s because your total broadband speed is shared amongst each device that’s using the connection.

Tasks like downloading, streaming or online gaming can also take a heavy toll. It’s best not to do all these at the same time if you want to get the most from your speed.

For instance, an online gamer is likely to experience a lot of lag if someone else is downloading a movie at the same time.

Devices connected


Electrical interference


Keep your router free from obstacles and in an elevated position if possible. This will allow your router to give out a clear and uninterrupted signal.

Electrical appliances like microwaves and cordless phones can also disrupt your broadband signals – especially Wi-Fi – and cause them to slow, so it’s best to keep your router away from these.

No interference



Slow wireless connection in new buildings


If you live in a newly built house or apartment, it's possible that you may experience specific issues with Wi-Fi because of the way the walls were built.

In theory, Wi-Fi signal is capable of passing through walls and other obstacles relatively easily. However, in reality, some walls are thicker or use reinforced concrete and may block some of the signals. Materials such as drywall, plywood, other kinds of wood and glass can be easily penetrated by wireless signals. However, materials such as brick, plaster, cement, metal, stone, and double-glazed glass may cause problems.

There is an additional problem in newly built homes where builders have used plasterboard to build internal walls. They often use aluminium foil backed plasterboard to improve insulation which acts as barrier to the Wi-Fi signal, forcing the signal to bounce around rooms through doors or ricochet up and down the stairs, which can lead to significant loss of signal strength. 

To check if you suffer from this problem, do a speed test from your computer connected with an Ethernet cable to the router, and then do a speed test over Wi-Fi close to the router and far away from the router (e.g. from the other side of your home). If you notice a significant drop in speed (it's likely to be a bit lower, Wi-Fi is never as good as a cable), it may be because of the nature of your walls.

Tips to minimise the problem:



If after following these steps, you find that the speed is slow or you have a problem, please check your service in the Service Centre.

Visit Service Centre


Alternatively, you can always book a BrightSparks engineer visit where one of our friendly and highly qualified engineers will do all the hard work for you for just £65


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