In the summer of 2019, super fast broadband finally arrived in Warnford. Hip, hip, hurray...!
This is distributed from a green roadside cabinet on the verge of the A32 just north of River Lane. The current maximum speed that is obtainable from this cabinet is 67Mb however, as final the leg of the journey from the cabinet to your house is via the old fashioned phone line, this rapidly slows down the further away from the cabinet you are. The formal definition of "super fast broadband" in the UK is anything that exceeds 24Mb so bear this in mind when you are looking at deals from different suppliers. Many will now give you a guaranteed minimum speed, although this will still carry many caveats and you should be aware of what these are if constant high speed is important to you.
Domestic internet connections work by sharing a common connection back to the service provider. This means at times of high usage the internet simply slows down because it is being overloaded - this is called "contention" as everyone contends for the service. It's the same as water pressure dropping if everyone turned their taps on at the same time or the voltage dropping on the electricity supply when everyone puts the kettle on at half time in the cup final! Generally the internet slows during the early evening when people return home from work/school and start video streaming.
Within your house you can also experience vastly different speeds. The fastest connection will always be one that is connected by a cable directly to the back of your router. Devices connected over WiFi will also suffer from "contention". In a busy household with multiple computers, TVs, phones, etc all permanently connected by WiFi it is easy for the speed to drop by more than half. There are a number of ways to check on your internet speed, an online speed checker can be found here.
To improve the broadband speed within your home there are a number of options:-
- Connect any fixed devices close to your router via a network cable, particularly things like TVs or games consoles which can use a lot of data. If you have a particularly large file to download onto a laptop, connect it via a cable until the download is complete, then revert to WiFi.
- Many of the latest routers have two independent WiFi systems operating at different radio frequencies. Connecting your devices that are heavy data users (e.g. video games) to the 5Ghz WiFi connection will take the strain off the standard (2.4Ghz) WiFi connection. Although this has quite a short range and may not be available all over your house.
- Using a "WiFi extender" helps to improve the signal strength in the parts of the house furthest from the router, however it will not necessarily improve the speed if the same number of devices are still connected to WiFi. Using it to extend the range of the 5Ghz WiFi signal could allow devices to connect to this which otherwise might have been out of range.
- Try using a "powerline" distribution device in your house. This is a device that plugs into the mains and connects to your router via a short cable, sending the internet signal through the domestic electricity supply.. You can use another similar device elsewhere in the house to extract the internet again and distribute it locally, either by a new WiFi or a wired connection. Best results are obtained if both devices are on the same "ring" circuit (generally houses have separate upstairs and downstairs circuits). The signal will not pass through your meter and escape from your house, so don't worry about providing your neighbours with free internet!