How can I improve my home broadband?

Dony

Distinguished Member
I have a BT broadband package (previously I've had Virgin and Talk Talk) and the best I can get out of is 2.5Mbps download speeds.
I live in an area that doesn't have cable or BT Infinity etc, so am pretty much resigned to these speeds for the foreseeable.

In some parts of the house (upstairs mostly), the kids tablets don't connect to the wifi. I've heard of homeplugs, but no experience of them. Will they sort this issue out? My sons PS3 seems to connect fine in his bedroom, but a Kindle and Hudl struggle. Is this as much to do with their internal wifi capabilities?

One other thing, I can get 4G in my house, and running a speedtest on my phone I'm getting 25Mbps. Is it possible to ditch BT for 4GEE? I would be prepared to spend a bit more in order to be able to take advantage of streaming services, possibly ditching Sky along the way too.
 
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Dony

Distinguished Member

Thanks, I'll have a read up on that. I hope to call into my local EE shop tomorrow so will ask some more. I've always had unlimited broadband, so unsure what 15GB per month will be like.
For those who use devices like android boxes, would this be enough?
 

IronGiant

Moderator
Do check that you have good 4G coverage on their site's coverage checker. I took one on Holiday to Norfolk and never even got a 2G signal. At home we struggle to get 3G indooors on any network.
 

IronGiant

Moderator
A lot of Rural N.I. gets:

4G

For internet

Download music, stream video and keep in touch at superfast speeds.

Weak outdoor coverage, no indoor coverage

3G
For internet, calls & texts

Handles internet in areas without 4G as well as all your calls and texts for phones.

Good outdoor coverage, weak or no indoor coverage

2G
For calls & texts
Handles all your calls and texts for phones.

Good outdoor coverage, variable indoor coverage
 

Dony

Distinguished Member
4G
For internet
Download music, stream video and keep in touch at superfast speeds.

Excellent coverage for outdoor and indoor usage.

I'm getting it on my Windows phone now, 4G coverage in my area is surprisingly good.
 

IronGiant

Moderator
Excellent news :clap:

I'm jealous :D
 

Dony

Distinguished Member
Excellent news :clap:

I'm jealous :D

It's 10 times faster than my home broadband! Just need to see if that Osprey box mentioned above will work for us.

Any other ideas? Will homeplugs help me in the interim to throw the signal to all rooms?
 

phillyd1981

Well-known Member
something like this would solve your issue upstairs.

BT Mini WiFi Hotspot 500 Powerline Adapter Kit - Twin Pack

Home plugs use the copper wiring in your electric mains to shift the data signal from one plug to the other with the receiving plug being wifi enabled.

Do you stream a lot of tv/music kids watch a lot of youtube etc as I don't think 15gb is enough for a family!

My home plug set worked great for me but it does depend on the state of the wiring in the home.
Have to tried moving the router around into the center of the home the further the distance and the more walls and solid furniture will degrade the signal.

Does your router give out 2 signals? one will be at 2.4ghz and the other is a 5ghz one.
 
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Dony

Distinguished Member
Cheers for the link, I'll check it out. I'm using the BT supplied router, and would rather not have to move it from my office. The main point for my phone line is in the office, and the router is plugged into that.

Because of our restrictive broadband speeds, we don't stream much to be honest, apart from a bit of youtube and the odd time I'll watch something on iplayer. I have Kodi installed on my pc, but no idea how much bandwidth Kodi uses.

I would like to move away from Sky and use more streaming services, but it seems 4G is my only option.
 

faiz0

Distinguished Member
Try home plugs Dony, Amazon do decent ones at a good price. I've used them in the past to connect my Sky box in my lounge to my router upstairs. Worked flawlessly for me.
 

IronGiant

Moderator
Interesting thought. I doubt Currys would so you'd need to go to an EE shop. Newry one is here:
Unit 25A Buttercane Shopping Centre
NEWRY
Northern Ireland

0845 0971 270


Ring them and have a chat?
 

Dony

Distinguished Member
Interesting thought. I doubt Currys would so you'd need to go to an EE shop. Newry one is here:
Unit 25A Buttercane Shopping Centre
NEWRY
Northern Ireland

0845 0971 270


Ring them and have a chat?

I need to call in anyway to sort out my sons broken phone and have a look at our phone contracts which are coming to an end. Hopefully I'll have time tomorrow, otherwise it'll be next weekend.
 

IronGiant

Moderator
They also do a bigger version of the Osprey, that may be more suitable for home use?
 

nvingo

Well-known Member
We are in a similar pickle.
Not so much the speed (usually reported as 6Mbps).
When dad bought his laptop (actually a previous one) it was with a 3G dongle to replace a landline modem data connection. Trouble was, there was inadequate 3G in the home so that laptop/dongle went back within about a week.
3G does sometimes work (I've fallen back on it - using a mobile - when broadband/wifi was particularly weak) but nearest 4G coverage is many miles away.
We've since had broadband from BT, Tiscali/TalkTalk, then BT again. Until the latest change to BT, our data speeds were reducing to around 0.5Mbps (we should have been getting "upto" 8Mbps.
The current problem is, we seem to be getting the speeds, but streaming (Youview box, iPlayer etc) are still constantly buffering. With both the BT Homehub 4 supplied at last year supplier change, and the Belkin ADSL/AS1800 we've substituted it with (which has improved wifi coverage in the home), there are constant WLAN disconnections which of course break any occurring downloads.
Can't have cable or fibre (yet - fibre is being installed in the area but predictions suggest it is bypassing our house), but the copper cable has been here since the copper had a telephone installed (house was built around 1940 as the village bobby's home ;)) though I can't see why it can work well but often doesn't.
Since we have several local devices (on both wired and wireless network, plus a homeplug connected wired node) we can robustly differentiate between WiFi issues and broadband ones.

Oh and this is in Norfolk.
(whilst I was editing this, the Belkin software in Windows popped up with a "internet connection was lost" message).
 
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SteveCritten

Distinguished Member
I was getting 2.5 to 5 Mbps and should have been getting 15mbps I contacted my supplier and complained they had to go through the motions of sending a new router to test then sending an engineer to test to see if 15mbps were coming in then they sent a different engineer(the first one wasn't qualified) to change the incoming face plate. I now get 12 to 15mbps.
Thanks to @BB3Lions for helping with that.
 

RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
If you can find a suitable 4G contract then replacing the BT router with one capable of supporting 4G may be a better bet than a MiFi device like the Osprey. If you're struggling with coverage now I'd be surprised if that isn't made worse with the smaller antenna in such a device.

Once free from the BT socket you could also move the router to a more central location which may solve the existing coverage issues.
 

Rorifett

Member
Thanks, I'll have a read up on that. I hope to call into my local EE shop tomorrow so will ask some more. I've always had unlimited broadband, so unsure what 15GB per month will be like.
For those who use devices like android boxes, would this be enough?
If you do streaming or downloading of any sort, no, not really.

Being out of the house and only watching stuff during the evenings and weekends, and not constantly, I was racking up closer to 40/50gb for the past couple of months while I've been waiting on BB getting connected.

If you can guarantee no streaming of video content (no Youtube, no Twitch, no catch up services, no Sky downloads, no android streaming boxes etc) then you'll be fine with 15gb for general usage but I honestly think in this day and age with kids especially you're going to struggle with less than 50gb/unlimited (whatever unlimited actually means these days!)
 

FZR400RRSP

Banned
We had terrible broadband issues at home with BT (can't get anyone else for 'technical reasons')
Tried my own router, no change.
Eventually just kept at BT, they eventually sent me one of their latest routers FOC and we've been great ever since.
Sitting around 6MB, which is fine for our use and par for the course for the area.
No issues with kindle/PS3/ipad/iphone or Sky 'on demand' dongles connecting with the router either.
 

Rorifett

Member
One thing that made a massive difference in my last house and current - new pairs used from the cabinet to the house. Went from ropey 2-4mb to 10-12mb, definitely the biggest and best improvement I've ever managed to do on my generally ok ish lines

2.5mb 'should' be ok for streaming too by the way, iplayer was the one thing that caused us issues previously at that speed but everything else was ok to go.

If you get much faster speeds you might find you use streaming services a lot more, especially if you ditch sky, and you'll eat up your data allowance in no time. Unlimited is the only thing I'd look at personally. Would leaving an android phone on as a tethering point semi-permanently be ok from a constant-use point of view?
 

imightbewrong

Distinguished Member
4G
For internet
Download music, stream video and keep in touch at superfast speeds.

Excellent coverage for outdoor and indoor usage.

I'm getting it on my Windows phone now, 4G coverage in my area is surprisingly good.

Had to laugh - here in London I can't get so much as a text message without sticking my arm out the window. To be fair the pretty fine-grained coverage map says that. Good thing the local councillors are campaigning against increasing the size of the local mast...

Luckily in the age of WhatsApp and Facebook messenger it's not critical :)
 

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