How to improve your broadband speed
The ultimate and most expensive way to increase the speed of your home internet connection is to invest in a high-performance mesh network. Mesh systems work by eliminating Wi-Fi black spots, placing a network of range extender nodes around the home. This provides full coverage, faster speeds and better stability – and you’ll still only need one Wi-Fi password as they act as a single router.
They are the best solution for large homes and older buildings with thick stone walls, and their convenience and performance cannot be overstated. Costs are obviously higher than anything we’ve covered so far, and prices vary depending on the model you choose and how many nodes you think you’ll need for full coverage.
Netgear’s Orbi RBK852, for example, is one of the priciest offerings on the market, but there’s no denying the superb performance on offer.
It’s time to go mobile
If you’re in trouble with horribly slow options from all ISP providers, you can take matters into your own hands.
If you’re in an area with a strong 4G or 5G signal, you can get a SIM-enabled router that can deliver surprisingly fast speeds, without the faff and hassle of running cables through your house. Not only will you enjoy faster speeds, but you can place them anywhere without any restrictions, making optimal positioning a breeze.
Although you can get 5G SIM routers, they are still quite expensive. Something like the TP-Link Deco X20 4G will serve you well, and you can even pick up one of its siblings for half the price if you’re not looking for the latest and greatest speeds.
The best part though is the option to opt for a rolling monthly SIM contract, allowing you to test different networks to compare speeds, for maximum flexibility.
If you only have basic security on your router (or even worse, no security at all), there’s always a chance that someone else will piggyback on your network without you knowing. You might have a cheeky neighbor using your bandwidth without paying for it, but far more dangerously, you might have a nefarious intruder who is of no use.
First, look on your wireless router for a sticker with its login information. Then grab an internet-enabled device and navigate to the given web address – it should be an IP address in the format 192.168.1.1 or similar – and enter the username and password. In the wireless security settings, there should be an option to use a WPA2 password, which is generally more secure than WEP.
Then go to this password generator, choose “Bare Minimum Security” and click “generate”. This will create a 20 character password that will be much harder to brute force than standard 8 character wireless passwords.
If you want to be super secure, go for a 63-character password. It’s obviously going to be a little fiddly to get into a games console using a controller, but hey, you’ll be as safe as possible without turning off Wi-Fi completely and donning a tinfoil hat.