My internet connection is slower than I expected
The broadband speed you receive can be affected by a
number of issues within your home. If the speed checkers
return download speeds below that predicted on the BT website you
can try some of the following:
BT extension sockets
Try connecting your modem to the main (master) BT socket.
A broadband service at 4.5Mb connected to an extension
became 8Mb when connected to the main socket.
Use of micro filters
Micro filters are small devices that should be plugged into
every telephone socket used in the property. They have two
output sockets, one for a telephone and one for data.
If a telephone is missing a micro filter then it will cause
interference to broadband, leading to a loss of speed.
Make sure all telephone sockets have a micro filter. These
cost about £2 each.
Interference from electrical wiring / older electrical
In some cases older electrical wiring or older electrical
devices such as freezers or washing machines can cause interference
on your BT line – this doesn’t normally affect your voice calls,
but can affect broadband.
BT advertises the BT Broadband Accelerator (formerly know as the
iPlate) which provides additional shielding from interference
within the BT box.
Some households will find it improves broadband speed and some
will find that it doesn't help at all.
Visit the BT website for more information.
Using a wireless router / wireless-enabled laptop
Wireless networking is extremely useful for enabling you to work
in any room in the house (or in the garden for the few days of
summer every year!). However, wireless signal strength (and
potentially the broadband speed you experience) is affected by
walls, floors, trees etc.
If this is the case, there are solutions such as
“Ethernet over Power” plugs that enable you to get
a wired network using electrical sockets around the house – a pair
of such plugs costs about £50.
Check your broadband speed with the laptop next to the router –
if this is faster than elsewhere in the house consider an
alternative such as “Ethernet Over Power”.
Traffic shaping is a technique used by some Internet Service
Providers (ISPs), notably BT and Plusnet, to make sure that
everyone maintains a connection at times of high demand.
Normal browsing traffic is given priority over downloads and
other activities, particularly peer-to-peer traffic.
If your ISP uses traffic shaping, consider changing to one that
These are actually out of your direct control. It could be
- your house is too far from the telephone exchange – the longer
the length of BT wire, the worse the broadband signal
- you are served at least in part by overhead lines, which cause
broadband signals to deteriorate faster than underground cable
- you are served by old or damaged cabling
- your ISP assumes that a number of broadband customers can share
the same bandwidth from the exchange because they aren’t all online
at once (referred to as 'contention'). This can cause
significant slowdowns at busy periods.
All you can do is ask your ISP to investigate, and maybe contact
BT to complain.