Slow broadband loading screen on a tablet

Are you happy with your broadband speeds at home?

There are loads of ways to improve them if not.

Research published this morning by Switcher.ie shows that three in five of us are now happy with our broadband speeds at home, compared to just 44% last year.

However, the urban/rural divide is still very much evident, as a third of people in Connacht/Ulster say they’re unhappy with their speeds at home, compared to just 16% in Dublin.

And, while the National Broadband Plan - which aims to provide all home and businesses with speeds of at least 30Mbps - has been in the papers a lot recently, many aren’t convinced that it’s going to sort out their broadband issues.

Why is my broadband slow?

Speed tests taken on Switcher.ie in the first six months of this year show that two-thirds of people are still receiving speeds of less than 30Mbps.

If you’re stuck with slow speeds, there could be a number of reasons for this. First of all, your speeds will be lower if you signed up to a plan with a low ‘up to’ speed. Some types of broadband connection - such as ADSL and satellite broadband - will be slower than others, like fibre.

Remember also that providers advertise their maximum available speed, so - despite paying for 100Mbps broadband, for example - there’s no guarantee that you will actually get this speed.

The actual speed you get can be affected by a number of factors, including the type of connection being used and where you live. And the speed received will be impacted by things like whether or not you’re using WiFi or plugging into the router, the type of device you’re using and the time of day you’re online.

How can I improve my broadband speeds at home?

If you have a plan with a decent ‘up to’ speed, and you’re still struggling with the actual speed into your home, the best bet would firstly be to move your router out onto a surface where the signal is not being blocked by anything around it.

Ideally, the router should also be in the room where you use the internet most, and shouldn’t be near devices that could interfere with it - like microwaves, baby monitors or cordless phones.

If you can, plugging the device directly into the router, rather than using WiFi, will also make a massive difference - our speed test data shows that consumers saying they tested using a wired connection had average speeds of almost 45Mbps, while those connecting through WiFi had speeds closer to 27Mbps.

If these changes don’t make a difference, try speaking to your broadband provider - they may be able to help by calling out to check your connection, or providing a new router, which could improve things.

More tips for improving your broadband speed

Is it worth shopping around for a new plan to improve my speeds?

If you haven’t changed your broadband plan for a while, the short answer to this is yes.

The likes of eir, SIRO and Virgin Media are continuing to rollout superfast speeds across the country, so there could be plans available where you live with higher speeds than what you signed up to.

The main thing to consider is the type of connection you’re signing up to. If you shop around for broadband and can only get a plan with the same connection type that you currently have, it’s likely you won’t see much of an improvement, however switching from an ADSL or satellite connection to a fibre one should make a big difference.

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