Restart your Wi-Fi router now! Issuing vital advice for broadband users

With millions of us staying home for Christmas, this is one of the busiest and most stressful times of the year for Wi-Fi. Downloading games, streaming movies, playing music, and setting up freshly unwrapped smartphones will take a serious dent in your broadband speeds, so before the big day arrives, now is a good time to check your router and make some simple changes.

BT’s Openreach, which provides broadband infrastructure across the UK, has already warned that UK broadband usage is set to break records this week.

The company’s annual broadband update — which is based on the online consumption of millions of homes using providers including BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone — shows last year’s total of 62,700 petabytes of data will be crossed on Christmas Day 2022.

So if your home is about to be invaded by relatives and friends all asking for that all-important Wi-Fi password, here’s how to make sure your broadband can keep up this Christmas.

Restart your router

If you haven’t reached behind your router and hit the off switch in a while, now is a very good time to restart things.

A quick restart can clear out any issues that may have built up over time and you can find that turning things off and back on again instantly speeds things up.

To perform a reset, simply turn off the router and then wait for about a minute before pressing the power button.

A complete reboot will take about 5 minutes, so make sure no one needs internet before you perform the reboot.

Check your tree

It may look pretty but your Wi-Fi won’t think much of the Christmas tree. Festive decorations and metallic ornaments can wreak havoc with download speeds, so make sure your router is well away from the branches.

Explaining more about the problems with trees, Virgin Media said, “Did you know that fairy lights can actually block your router’s wireless signals? Yes, if your router ends up stuffed behind a tree, you will likely see a decrease in Your WiFi speeds.To make sure you get the usual service, put the router in a place with a little breathing room.”

Attitude is key

It’s not just the Christmas tree that hates Wi-Fi. Placing that flashing black box in the kitchen is also a terrible idea because appliances like microwaves will cut off the signal. Metal can also wreak havoc on your connection and kitchens are often full of heavy appliances such as refrigerators and stoves.

Placing the router in a closet or behind the TV can cause broadcast interruption. In fact, if you want to have the best experience, you need to place this device as open and central as possible in your home.

Consider an aquarium

If your home is full of fish tanks and mirrors, don’t expect super fast internet speeds.

These accessories and pets can also kill your Wi-Fi network. If you want some water traffic in your living room, make sure the router is not nearby as water seriously affects the signal.

Leave your router on

We’re all trying to save power now but one thing you don’t want to turn off is your router.

Most of the UK’s largest internet service providers, including BT and Sky, recommend that their Wi-Fi equipment be left on 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. That’s because endlessly turning the router on and off can send signals to your provider that there is something wrong with the line.

When this happens, ISPs can place emergency limits on service speed to make sure the customer stays connected.

“Continuously turning off the hub makes the line appear unstable, which means your speed may be automatically reduced to improve the reliability of your broadband connection,” BT explained.

In addition to making things slower, pressing the power button can also mean that your Wi-Fi becomes easier to hack. That’s because most ISPs push out vital upgrades overnight and if the router is down it won’t receive the changes.

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