Sky Broadband shares invaluable tips to boost speeds, and the timing couldn’t be better
As the nights draw in, more of us will spend our evenings cosied up inside with a cup of tea, a biccie and a good boxset. For most of us, those plans are reliant on a strong internet connection. Thankfully, with the clocks now turned back and the temperatures in free-fall, Sky has shared some crucial advice for broadband users to boost speeds.
Of course, this isn’t the first time that a major broadband supplier has offered some helpful tips to boost connection speeds. However, these usually follow a similar pattern – ensure your router isn’t tucked into the far recesses of a cupboard under a pile of boxes, and remember to turn your devices off and on again.
What makes the latest advice from Sky so interesting is that it’s all specifically tailored to the time of year and the issues you’re likely to run into right now, compared with the summer months. It’s reminiscent of when Virgin Media warned customers that spiralling temperatures in the summer months could result in sluggish download speeds.
First up, Sky cautions its customers that “we all ask more of our Wi-Fi in the winter months” as people are more likely to socialise indoors at home, rather than out-and-about during the long summer nights, when you’re more likely to run into trouble with your 4G or 5G connection on your smartphone as you try to stream music to a portable speaker or make video calls to friends. With more people at home more of the time, your Sky router will be dealing with more devices in the home trying to connect to the internet.
It’s possible that you need to invest in more bandwidth. If you’re got a busy household with multiple people trying to download next-generation video games on PS5 or Xbox Series X, streaming boxsets in 4K Ultra HD in rooms around the house, making video calls and backing up their photo library.
If you can’t get any faster speeds or don’t want to pay any extra for your monthly bills, Sky recommends turning off all work devices in the evening so no unexpected updates are eating away at your Wi-Fi signal, such as laptops and work smartphones. As millions settle into the second winter with hybrid working enforced, staying aware of how many devices are connected to your home Wi-Fi, and what each of them is doing, could help keep your connection strong.
The inverse can be true too. If you’re struggling with slow broadband during work hours, you should turn off any devices using Wi-Fi when you’re not using them, like games consoles, smartphones, connected speakers, or smart home devices. These could be downloading updates in the background slowing down your Zoom or Microsoft Teams calls.
Another interesting tip from Sky – smart heating systems, while great at warming up your home to a nice toasty temperature while you commute home, can impact your broadband speeds. Yes, really. Placing your smart heating devices too close to your router can affect your Wi-Fi. This is because some smart heating devices require the boiler to use high frequencies that can cause radio interference and affect connectivity.
To avoid this, Sky offers a pretty simple fix. First up, most smart heating systems come with a bridge that connects to your router, and communicates with your smart thermostat over Wi-Fi. Make sure to keep 30cm or more of space between your smart heating bridge and your router to avoid any interference. Ideally, you should connect your smart heating bridge to the router with an ethernet cable, while keeping that 30cm distance between them.
OK, what if you don’t have a fancy new smartphone-controlled heating system.
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According to the engineers at Sky, it’s not only newer smart heating systems that can affect Wi-Fi. If you start to experience slow Wi-Fi or dropouts in winter, check if they’re happening at the same time your winter heating is set to come on – for example, if you always see a slow down at 6pm, the same time you switch on your heating as the sun goes down. A faulty thermostat can affect Wi-Fi in the home too, so if you’re having issues as you turn up the heat make sure to get your system checked for faults.
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