Guide to broadband
Broadband performance depends on many things. Find out what you can do to improve yours …
Do you have a copper or a fibre line? How far are your premises from the street cabinet? How far is the cabinet from the exchange? How good is your internal wiring? Is there anything that could interfere with the wireless signal from your router? And so on …
Have you just had broadband connected?
Before we go any further, though, if you’re within the first 10 days of starting a new broadband connection, be patient. The speed fluctuates within this period while the equipment at the exchange works out the maximum consistent speed that your line can support.
OK, let’s assume you’ve had your broadband for some time and the performance is no longer cutting the mustard. This guide will give you some handy tips to help you get back up to speed, one way or another.
Check your speed
First, you’ll need to know what speeds you’re getting, not just for the broadband itself, but for broadband over your wireless connection.
Check the broadband speed at http://speedtest.btwholesale.com/
And you can download the Ofcom Wi-Fi checker, which will tell you if your wi-fi is likely to be slowing down your broadband.
If your broadband speed is below the bottom end of the speed range that you’re paying for, have a word with your broadband supplier. But if it’s within the range and dragging its feet, there are some simple things that may improve the situation.
Optimise your current set-up
1. Check where you’ve positioned your router
Routers are affected by electrical interference so make sure yours is at least five feet away from TVs, monitors, dimmer switches, PC speakers, halogen desk lamps, and so on.
Wireless works best when there's clear space between the router and the computer. That means no thick walls, ceilings, radiators, and anything else that could get in the way of the wireless signal. The more obstacles that are in the way of it, the weaker the signal will be when it finally gets to your device.
2. Clean up your computer and empty your cache
No, put the screen wipe away. Not that kind of clean up. If your computer is clogged up with files, it can affect its speed and the speed you can browse the internet, so just go to your System Tools and run Disk Clean Up and Disk Defragmenter.
Then, empty your cache. If you’re not sure how to do this, we’ve got an FAQ: how do I empty my internet cache or cookies?
Computers get old pretty fast. If yours is more than three years old, you'll probably find that it's running slow compared to a modern machine. Now might be the time to invest in a new one.
3. Change your wireless channel
Wi-fi uses the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz radio frequencies. If you have several wireless devices on the go at the same time, you may experience some interference that can affect your wireless performance. And if you have close neighbours, their devices may be causing interference.
Try changing the channel on your router to see if that peps things up.
If you’re not already using one, try a router that uses both frequencies, not just the standard 2.4 GHz. The BT Business Smart Hub is dual-band, with both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, which helps reduce interference and connection drop-out.
4. Use an Ethernet cable instead of wireless
You'll get a faster speed connecting your computer directly to the router using an Ethernet cable. Ethernet is always the best way to connect computers to a router. However, this isn't always practical. In which case, you'll need to make sure the wireless router works efficiently, so...
5. Use a Powerline adapter to extend the range of your broadband
Powerline adapters use the electrical cables in your premises to transmit your broadband without any loss of performance.
The adapters come in pairs. Plug one into an electric socket near to your router. Connect the adapter to the router with a LAN cable. Then plug the other adapter into an electric socket near your computer. Same again, just connect the computer to the adapter with a LAN cable. And that’s it; your computer will connect to the internet as if it was plugged directly into the router.
You can get powerline adapters from BT Business Direct
6. Use a micro-filter on all equipment plugged into the broadband line
If you're plugging any item into a socket on your broadband line - phone, router, modem, fax, alarm, TV, whatever - you must always plug it into an ADSL micro-filter before plugging it into the line socket.
You can get micro-filters from BT Business Direct
7. Plug your router into your main phone socket rather than an extension
If this is an option in your premises, give it a go. And make sure you use a micro-filter.
If none of these ideas works for you, you may want to think about changing your broadband service.
Change your broadband
Fibre broadband is significantly faster than standard broadband. You can see if it’s available on your line by running a quick check on your phone number
If fibre isn’t available yet, take a look at the Openreach website to see when it’s due to arrive.
Upgrading to fibre is easy and may well be cheaper than you think. You can upgrade to BT Business Infinity fibre whenever you want, with no financial penalties if you’re still within your standard broadband minimum contract term.
A different way to get on the internet is through an ISDN line. The thing with an ISDN line is that you don’t need to be in a fibre-enabled exchange area to get it (which you do if you’re after superfast fibre broadband).
ISDN lines are high-performance voice and data lines. They’re often used by shops to connect their electronic tills to their payment systems because they need a continuous and reliable data transmission. Some businesses use them to run high-definition video-conferencing.
We provide ISDN2 and ISDN30e in pairs of channels, which you can combine to build up the bandwidth that you need for whatever applications you’re running.
If you can’t get fibre broadband, take a look at our ISDN services
A leased line is a private line that gives you access to the internet, with guaranteed upload and download speeds.
You don’t share the bandwidth with anyone else so you decide how you use it: you can increase and decrease the bandwidth if you’re in a seasonal business. So a school could drop it down in the summer holidays (and pay less) then turn it back up in term time. Or maybe you’re running an internet-based toy business – your bandwidth demands in the run up to Christmas are going to be way higher than in the less frantic months following the New Year.
Leased lines come with symmetric speed choices ranging from 2Mbps to 10Gbps (and no, that’s not a typo). They have resilience options so they’re incredibly reliable, which is ideal if you’re running an internet-based business. They also feature ultra-low latency, which is what you need for time-critical activities like financial trading and high-definition video-conferencing.
Take a look at our BTnet Leased Line options
Boosting your broadband in a nutshell
Many factors can affect your broadband speed.
Environmental factors such as the proximity of your premises to the cabinet, or the position of your router can limit your speed.
Your broadband performance can also be affected by the equipment you’re using, and by the physical network in your premises.
Remember, data-hungry businesses need an appropriately fast connection. So if your broadband is slowing you down, it’s time to consider an upgrade.