Which Factors Change My Broadband Internet Speeds?

Buying a broadband internet package is a confusing process. Not least because providers are not always completely up front about the speeds you’re going to receive. The faster your broadband speeds, the more quickly you’ll be able to open web pages and complete downloads, and the better and more smoothly you’ll be able to stream films and TV programmes, so having good speed is vital to your internet experience. However, providers advertise the fastest speeds that the connection is capable of, and these are rarely the speeds that you actually achieve. If you’ve ever asked yourself, how fast is my broadband really? The easiest way to find out is to go online and look for a speed test site, which will tell you your actual speed. And, surprise, you’re going to find that your speed is nothing like what you expected. So what exactly affects your speed?

internet speed

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Your broadband connection will be transporting data through telephone cables. This means that the further your house is from a telephone exchange, the slower your speeds will be. There’s really nothing that you can do about this. Generally, urban customers get better speeds than rural customers, simply because they’re more likely to live close to an exchange.


Traditionally, broadband connections go through the copper wiring that the telephone line uses. This wiring may be old, or even damaged, and will therefore affect your signal. You could have your house rewired, but that won’t always fix the problem, particularly if the wiring outside of your house between your property and the telephone exchange is also old. Customers with fibre optic broadband rarely encounter this problem, since fibre optic networks are newer and therefore in better condition.


There are lots of ways in which equipment can slow down your connection. Using older hardware such as computers or routers will often slow down your speeds. The best way to overcome this is to use equipment that’s as new as you can afford, or at least to make sure that all the software and firmware on your equipment is up to date. A wireless router will automatically slow your speeds down slightly. If you need to complete a big download fast, it’s usually a good idea to unplug the router and plug your internet cable directly into your computer for faster speeds. Improving wireless router speeds is also possible, but moving the router to a better location, or by adding something that amplifies its signal, such as an antenna. Finally, other electronic equipment can also affect your router, particularly cordless phones and microwaves.


Just like with a road, there are some times when the internet is busier than at others. In the UK peak internet times are usually in the evenings, from around six until about eleven. It’s perfectly normal that during these times your speeds are slower than during other times. If you need to download something big, it’s worth setting the download to run over night, taking advantage of less busy internet times and therefore getting faster speeds.

Your ISP

Different Internet service providers offer contracts with different speed ratings, even over the same cable.

Phil Turner recently changed his ISP to Plusnet broadband, partly because he was dissatisfied with his old provider and partly because he needed a contract that offered a higher speed and more bandwidth.

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One comment

  1. Sometimes router has big factor with regards on the Internet connection. You must check the quality of your router if it is performing well.

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