Making the most of Broadband

We recently discovered that Burton will receive superfast broadband in the next 12 months or so.  The exchange at Badminton has already been upgraded and is “taking orders”.  Sadly we can not make an order as yet.  The next stage in providing the new service to Burton involves laying fibre cables to our nearest BT cabinet (I’m not actually sure where this currently is – does anyone know?).  Once that has been done we all potentially have access to speeds of 30 to 70Mbits/sec.  I say potentially because as many of you will know the current service can vary between 1 and 8Mbits.  But why is that?

…Well, there are many factors that can affect your service.  Always remember that the final stretch of cable between the Broadband provider and your house is the copper telephone wire that may have been there for decades.  To get the fastest possible broadband speed you need to make sure that nothing interferes with the signal travelling along that very thin cable.  I am fortunate in that network performance is one of my professional skills.  By a combination of badgering BT and making various changes at home I am lucky enough to get the full 8Mbits.  There is no reason why everyone else in Burton should not be able to get similar speeds so here are my top tips for getting the most out of broadband…

  1. Do you notice any crackling on the line whenever talking to someone on the phone?  If so there may be a loose connection between you and the exchange.  You should call your service provider to ask them to fix this.  It should not cost anything (to you) and will improve the speed that data can be transmitted to your house.
  2. Do you have more than one phone socket in the house?  One of these will be the main consumer socket (the one that is directly connected to the telephone line).  The other sockets in your house will be extensions connected to the main consumer socket.  You must ensure that your broadband router is connected to the main consumer socket to get maximum speed.
  3. If your main consumer socket is metal have it replaced with a standard plastic socket (your service provider should do this).  A metal plate covering the socket can halve your broadband speed!
  4. Make sure you locate your router away from any equipment that might emit a strong magnetic field (old style TVs, loudspeakers, etc).
  5. Use a shielded data cable between the socket and your router (and get the shortest one that will comfortably reach from the socket to the router).  Make sure the route from the socket to the router avoids any strong magnetic fields (see 4).

The bottleneck between you and the Internet will always be the connection to your router.  Within your house, the connection between your PC, iPad, phone or whatever and the router will always be faster than the connection to the Internet so following these tips will improve the connection for everyone in your household.

…Next time – how to keep your connection secure.


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