Why is my broadband so slow? What are the likely causes?

These days, so much of our home and working lives are spent online that it's pretty much vital for us all to have a fast broadband connection.

If you have slow broadband, it's useful to understand some of the likely causes, because that will help you decide if it's time to switch to a new type of broadband service.

Here are some of the most common causes of slow broadband.

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What causes slow broadband?

A temporary router glitch

It may sound ridiculously simple, but try turning your router off and on again. Restarting your router can often solve performance or connectivity issues you may be experiencing.

So, power off your router and wait for a minute. Then power it back on and wait for it to fully restart and set itself up (this may take a couple of minutes). You may well see an instant improvement.

Check your WiFi

It comes as a surprise to many that a lot of slow broadband issues can be due to poor WiFi coverage. If you find your internet connection runs fast in some rooms but not in others (and particularly rooms further away from your router), then you most likely have a WiFi issue. This is most common in larger properties, or ones with thick internal walls.

First off, check the positioning of your WiFi router. You don't want it tucked away in a cupboard or corner, or should it be positioned right next to a large metal appliance, such as a refrigerator.

But if repositioning your router doesn't fix things, it’s still something that can be sorted out quickly and easily. Check out how to make sure you have whole home coverage by extending your WiFi here.

Extending WiFi Range

Check how many are using your broadband at the same time

The broadband connection coming into your property is there to be used by all family members (if permitted). That’s what a router does – it shares out the incoming broadband service over both WiFi and ethernet, so it can be used by several devices at once.

But if you have two teenagers upstairs both streaming HD movies and someone else is on a Zoom call, then if you run a speedtest on a different device, you’ll inevitably see slow speeds reported. It’s very much like having good incoming mains water pressure – but internal taps running slowly if everyone’s running a bath at the same time.

If this sort of connection overload is happening to you, then either look at getting a faster incoming broadband service if available where you are. Or even consider getting a second broadband connection perhaps reserved for parents and working from home.

Check your background usage

It’s well worth looking at what applications or programmes on PCs, laptops, tablets, game consoles or smartphones may be constantly running in the background and hogging the overall bandwidth of your broadband connection and making broadband slow for every device on your network.

Or it could be that your slow broadband issue just affects one device. If you’re seeing slow internet on say a laptop, but your broadband speed is fine when you run a speed test on a tablet or smartphone, then you need to look at the specific device that's showing poor connection performance.

There's a long list of reasons why one single device might be showing it has a slow broadband connection. The most common are automatic online processes running in the background, which will slow up that device’s overall connection. These can be things like auto-back up and syncing of files into the cloud, automatic updates or possibly even a sign of adware or virus infection. All of these can interfere with that particular device’s broadband speeds and you should check for these.

...or is your landline degraded or just too long?

If your broadband is always slow and your ISP has told you there's nothing it can do about this, then it’s most likely that the telephone landline running to your property from the streetside cabinet has become degraded – or you’re simply too far away from the cabinet serving your home or business.

Both things will cause frustratingly slow broadband. And there’s no quick fix, because either your phone line will need physically replacing (since it’s also used to carry your broadband service), or a new cabinet will need to be put in much closer to where you are.

If it is your landline that is causing your slow broadband, you've only got two options. Either wait and hope that Openreach upgrades the infrastructure in your particular location (which is liable to take ages , but if you’re in a more rural location, it’s unlikely to take place at all). Or you’ll need to start looking at alternative connectivity solutions to sort out your slow broadband

So, if you've tried all the suggestions above and are still struggling with poor internet, then just get in touch and we'll sort your slow broadband once and for all.

The 4G internet solution to slow broadband

4G broadband uses the 4G network to provide a primary broadband connection to a property, instead of using a fixed line like a phone line. So, a 4G broadband is a wireless service.

This means that you won’t be dependent on a landline that is simply incapable of delivering adequate broadband speeds and instead you’ll be connected via a faster and more stable wireless service.

In fact, it’s now been widely recognised that a wire-free service like 4G broadband is by far the most cost-effective and quickest way to solve slow broadband problems for properties most in need.

Fast 4G Broadband

And what if you haven’t got good 4G coverage where you are? Not a problem. An external high gain 4G antenna can be fitted to properties where necessary. This will latch onto available 4G signals and amplify them, before piping them down to a router inside the home or business. The result? A fast and stable 4G broadband service, even where next to no signal is being shown on mobile phones.

4G For The Best Rural Broadband

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at enquiries@national-broadband.co.uk – or just fill in the enquiry form at the top of this page