Is Your Home Slowing Down Your Internet Speed?

You may have heard of internet users not being able to reach the high speeds promised by their service providers. You may also have heard about bandwidth throttling, although there is some debate about whether this really occurs or not. But if you’re having difficulties with your download speeds have you considered it might be your beautiful home causing it?

It is a common myth to think that the length of an ethernet cable could affect internet speeds, but there are plenty of other parts of the home and your router set-up that can slow down your broadband.

Below are some of the things around the home that can affect how fast your internet connection is, and a few things you can do about them.

Switch to fiber

If you have availability and you are happy to pay a little more each month, it is well worth considering changing your home’s internet from DSL or ADSL to fiber optic.

Fiber uses light to transmit data which travels about 80-100 times faster than DSL. Even if you live in a rural area you may be able to get fiber. ISPs such as Broadlinc are expanding and building more fiber in remote and rural areas.

As a bonus, while fiber costs more, having it installed is said to increase the value of a property.

Your decor may need adjusting

Certain objects in a home can affect wireless signals with mirrors being one of them. Mirrors can reflect WiFi signals, which can be used positively but can also cause problems. Also, any mirror with a metal backing will cause electromagnetic interference and can block the signal passing through.

Large plants and trees incidentally can also affect WiFi, but there is another reason why you may want to keep your fauna away from the router. One study showed that wireless signals are strong enough to cause harm and even kill some plants. 

Underfloor heating may block signals

Having underfloor heating installed can help to boost your home’s value, and is a wonderful feature during the colder months. Yet, it could be causing problems with your WiFi. Metal objects block and reflect wireless signals. 

Other devices can impact your WiFi

You may well wish to build a smart home, but some devices can cause wireless interference and impact your WiFi negatively.

All routers will have the option to operate on a 2.4 GHz band. Any average internet user has no real need to understand bands and electromagnetic waves. However, they can be negatively affected by other devices on the same band.

2.4 GHz is popular because while it operates at a slower speed, it travels further than 5 GHz. Unfortunately, standard household items such as microwaves also use 2.4 GHz. Baby monitors and older Bluetooth devices can all cause wireless interference.

The website, wikiHow recommends switching to 5 GHz on your router’s admin page as far fewer devices operate at this frequency. 

Reposition the router

The layout and construction of your home might be the problem, but it isn’t exactly practical to knock down walls just to get a faster internet connection. Therefore, repositioning your router might be the answer.

As someone who loves to make their home look as good as it can, you may want to bring luxury to your walls and decorate them with pictures and mirrors. Unfortunately, concrete can weaken wireless signals more than any other construction material can.

Concrete, brick, masonry block, and timber, can all help to degrade and weaken WiFi signals. Try to position your router near an open doorway if possible. Ideally somewhere central in the home, and high up such as on a bookcase.

You may find you have to experiment a little with different positions before you find one where the router operates best. 

Water can stop WiFi signals

Rain can affect your wireless connection, but there isn’t much you can do about the weather unless you follow the last bit of advice below and move home. Nevertheless, large amounts of water such as that which would be in a big aquarium can block WiFi signals from getting through.

Move home!

This is a last resort obviously, but if internet access is truly vital then you may need to move some less remote. It is clear that many rural locations affect broadband, and investment is being made to try and improve internet speeds for people residing and working in more remote areas. 

Summary

There is a surprising amount of things in homes that can affect WiFi signals. Even energy-efficient windows can weaken the signals sent to and from your router.

Old devices using Bluetooth can cause interference with wireless signals, and your neighbor’s WiFi can also cause problems. Too many people using the same connection can slow things down too. One solution here is to install a second router in your home to help improve WiFi speeds. At least this way you won’t need to knock down any walls or move home.

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