Check your internet speed for Christmas
We know that busy homes demand a lot from their broadband, especially at Christmas when the house is more packed than normal and everyone is online at once.
To help you make sure you're getting the most from your broadband we've pulled together some top tips that you can do yourself at home. In fact, TalkTalk research found that millions of homes around the country could boost their speeds by up to 4Mbps by making some simple changes like the ones below. Happy Christmas and happy browsing!
- Make sure you're using the master phone socket
- Have you got filters on your connections?
- Working wirelessly?
- Is your security up to date?
- Clear your cache
Always plug your router straight into the master telephone socket. This is usually found at the point where your phone line enters your home, so its often in the hallway or by the window in the front room i.e. it might not be the one in your living room by the TV aerial.
Even if it might seem a little bit strange to put your router in the hallway away from where you use the internet, the master socket has the strongest broadband connection you can get. There are different kinds of master sockets, but most are made of two parts - one on top of the other - and may have a BT logo on them, just like the one to the immediate right. (See the picture - click to enlarge!)
Micro filters, like the one in the picture, plug into the phone socket and separate your phone signal from the broadband signal. They are small, but important. Without them you might have a noisy telephone line or problems with your broadband. Every phone socket needs one – even the one you plug your set-top box into.
The only exception is in some new homes where the master socket looks like the one on the far right, which already has a micro filter built in. If you've got superfast fibre broadband you also don't need to worry about filters.
Working wirelessly has lots of advantages (and if you're using a tablet it might be your only option!) but for the fastest, most reliable speeds plug your computer in to the router using an Ethernet cable, especially if you're downloading something or watching TV online. Remember that the speed of your internet is shared across all of the devices, so if you're downloading on one device then the internet might be slower on another one.
Finally, it is possible that a neighbour or some other device nearby is using the same wireless frequency as the your router. You can change the WiFi channel to stop this interference – your broadband provider should have information on their website to help you do this.
Not only can computers infected with viruses be a security risk but they can also slow down your connection. Make sure you've got security software installed – most big broadband companies like TalkTalk offer this for their customers, often for free – and also that your computer's operating system, like Windows, is up to date as well.
If you're with TalkTalk you can also set up HomeSafe™ - a free security service that's built into your broadband connection – in about a minute. It's worth it for the piece of mind.
Computers store a record of all the web pages you visit so they can load quicker next time; this is called a cache. Sometimes this can get too big and slow your computer down. It's worth clearing your cache about as often as you buy a new toothbrush! You can do this in your internet browser; just look for the clear browsing option.
TalkTalk customers can get more help and tips, including on setting up new gadgets, at talktalk.co.uk/selfhelp.
Last updated: about 3 years ago