Broadband - Tips, Tricks and Tweaks

By: Liam G

As the popularity of broadband has soared, so has the desire for faster download speeds, with consumer expectations ever increasing.

Although the speed of your connection is limited by your chosen broadband package and the distance from your home to your local telephone exchange, there are a number of measures you can take if you feel your broadband is underperforming.

Firstly, if it is simply your connections browsing speed you are unhappy with, then chances are you would see the benefit of using an alternative browser. If for instance, you are using Microsoft's default IE, then consider switching to Mozilla's Firefox.

Along the same lines, nearly all of the major browsers have settings that can be altered, which should help to speed up page loading times.

Background applications can have a dramatic effect on your connections speed. Such applications you may only use once, but from then on in open every time you start up your computer, adding to your bandwidth overhead. Not only do such applications slow down your connection, but they are likely to add to your monthly usage.

As well as keeping out unwanted traffic, firewalls are an excellent way to monitor which applications are using your connection. It's important to note though, that an improperly configured firewall can actually add to your download delays.

Moving away from the software side of things and onto the more physical aspects of your connection and you will find there are a few things you can do here that should make a positive difference.

To begin with simply reducing the distance between your main socket (where the broadband enters your home) and your broadband router can dramatically increase your connection's speed, with increases of up to 3Mbps possible.

Although a more costly option, upgrading your router may prove useful, especially if you are currently using out of date hardware, which may be faulty.

If you connect to the internet through a wireless connection, then the closer you are to the router the better. If there is no way to get closer then purchasing a larger antenna will boost the signal's strength.

If all else fails then it may be worth calling your broadband provider, to see if there is anything they can do to help speed things up. Performing a broadband speed test is an excellent way of discovering your actual connection speed, and if this differs highly from what your ISP states, then it may be time to switch to a different broadband provider.

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