The 4th Utility…

In a slight change to our previous reviews, we met up with Ashley from Hughes to talk about improving broadband speed… that pain in the a*** that shows itself as ‘buffering’ or the dreaded spinning wheel! For many years, having decent broadband at home was nice to have, but increasingly now with more and more… Read more »

by AshleyShorey-Mills 3 years ago

In a slight change to our previous reviews, we met up with Ashley from Hughes to talk about improving broadband speed… that pain in the a*** that shows itself as ‘buffering’ or the dreaded spinning wheel!

For many years, having decent broadband at home was nice to have, but increasingly now with more and more devices “connected”, it has rapidly evolved that your broadband at home has become just as important as the other utilities. This has in turn meant that marketing departments at the big IT firms like to tell you about the speeds that they can send to the exchange on your road, or even to your door now…  But what happens on the other side of your door?  Do you get those speeds across your house?  And more importantly how can you help maintain your speeds across your home at all times of the day?  

I am sure we all experience certain parts of the house or garden where the Wi-Fi doesn’t work, making working, relaxing, watching or listening a struggle.  But why does it have to be that way?  In short, it doesn’t, but there are some key changes or additions you can make to help this, which hopefully I can help with.

Firstly, it is not necessarily openreach’s fault that your house or flat etc is built the way it is.  Sadly, it is a non-joined up way in which we seem to continue to build homes in this country.  Super insulation, certain building materials, and even your microwave can all affect how strong your Wi-Fi signal is. But also, we are to blame… we use Wi-Fi too much, not “hard wiring” devices that don’t have to be on Wi-Fi…  you can’t hard wire your iPad or phone, but you can hard wire your smart tv or Xbox for example.  So what simple changes can we make?

1. Move your router

If possible, move your router away from the front door and get it somewhere central in your house, preferably in an open space.  Imagine your router as the centre of a circle… out the front door gets great signal, but not the upstairs rear of the house.  Moving the router is often the cheapest and simplest way to make a positive change

2. Hard wire everything you can 

This is very easy if you have a home that has a cabled infrastructure built into the walls, but sadly we still don’t have enough forward thinking house builders investing in this, so either you need to run cables yourself, or you can buy devices like home plugs which for simple solutions like where your TV is in the living room, can help remove the need for them using Wi-Fi.  Home plugs start from around £30 so are not exactly expensive, and of course it depends on how many devices you want to plug in, but we have a full range to suit.

3. Upgrade your router 

Often, the free routers you get from ISP’s are OK, but can lack flexibility to work across huge numbers of devices at home (especially WIFI related), so upgrading your router to something more dedicated can have huge impacts on performance, but also security and control…..  As well as boosting your Wi-Fi, why not control when the Wi-Fi can turn on and off in the home to stop people using it at UN suitable times?  Handy in a HMO for example?  Prices vary hugely depending on usage, but routers form £100 upwards will give you far greater performance.

4. Boost your Wi-Fi 

MESH systems are becoming more and more common nowadays, and this is a great way to increase your Wi-Fi spread across your home.  Put simply, imagine it as having multiple routers all-round the home that bounce the signal between each other.  You should still take the advice above and hard wire where possible, but in addition, these MESH systems allow you to get perfect Wi-Fi in the further reaches of the home, without the need for cables being run everywhere.  These start from £150 and I am showcasing to Richard today the 3 point solution from TP Link at £229.99.

5. Cable in a proper infrastructure

The most complete option, but we are often installing a proper wired solution to a customer’s home. In short, running cables from the customer’s router, around the home (often externally) and back in to fit ‘access points’ at various places across the home, garden, summer house etc.  This is the most perfect way to guarantee complete Wi-Fi across your home as it will take that 50mb download you get at the front door, and dot it round your home at every access point location.  A more considered plan of action, as it involved cabling, but certainly if you are in a heavy traffic home with lots of devices and lots of people using them all at once, this is the way to prevent the standard issues of slow speed, internet drop out, and just generally the hassle of moaning about the WIFI.  Prices vary hugely in this market, but access points start from as little as £99.99, but will require cabling, other suitable products and professional installation.

Ultimately, all the above pieces of advice will have an impact to some degree so any are worth a try if you are experiencing issues that we all get from time to time.  Of course if you need help, then you know where to contact us.