Excluding the obvious, such as your nbn™ speed tier selection which equates to roughly 70% of the speeds you receive, here are the specifics on what else might be slowing you down.
Let’s go into some more detail on each of above points so you’re up to speed (pun intended) on what to check and how to improve your online experience.
Wireless connectivity has seen a huge surge in popularity over the past 10-15 years, mostly for convenience reasons as users aren’t constrained to one area of the house, ugly cabling is eliminated and multiple users can connect via one access point. However, if you’re fortunate enough to live in a large property, the speeds you receive are likely to drop considerably when the distance from the wireless router increases and thick walls can wreak havoc with your signal strength.
To help manage this, always try to connect the devices which matter directly using an Ethernet cable, e.g. gaming or backup devices and connect other devices via the Wi-Fi. If that’s not an option, consider range extenders and position the router in a location close to where you’ll be using your devices.
Old routers can’t always cope with the new speeds available on the nbn™ network, so if you’ve opted for one of the faster speed tiers e.g. nbn™ 50 or nbn™ 100, it may be time to upgrade your hardware. To check this, a good starting point is to complete several speed tests, one while connected over Wi-Fi and one when connected via an Ethernet cable. If there is a huge drop in performance over Wi-Fi, that’s a pretty good indication that it’s time to buy a new router.
It’s an obvious one, but if you have lots of people sharing nbn’s slowest speed tier on a 12/1 connection (nbn™ 12), it’s only going to get slower. When choosing your speed tier, be sure to factor this in when upgrading to the nbn™ network. If you have opted for one of the slower speed tiers and often have lots of different devices connected at one time, speak with your ISP about changing speed tiers. With SkyMesh, you can easily change Plans via our customer portal, My SkyMesh and upgrade to a faster Plan in just a few clicks.
Without good anti-virus software, you run the risk of viruses, worms and Trojans infecting your computer, potentially using your broadband connection and severely reducing the performance of your device making your broadband feel considerably slower than it actually is.
There are plenty of vendors out there, and while we are no way affiliated with any of them, you may wish to consider PC Mags 2017 anti-virus comparison review and Malwarebytes to clean up infected devices.
I reckon it takes about 15 minutes on average before one of my friends asks for the Wi-Fi code. While I have zero problems with this, I’m certainly not ok with my neighbours, especially the ones with the barking dog, also helping themselves, scrounging bandwidth and dragging down my speeds.
If you have an old router, be sure to keep your connection secure by setting up a password. If you have a SkyMesh nbn™ ready Wi-Fi router, these are shipped with a pre-set password so there’s nothing to configure and one less thing to worry about.
Outdated web browsers can severely reduce your online experience by limiting how you view and see web content. They can also slow your download speeds. Popular browsers like Chrome will auto update which is handy, while others like Firefox prompt you when a new version becomes available to install. Nothing much to worry about there.
The biggest problem, however, is with some legacy browsers, such as IE, where updating needs to be triggered manually and users can’t switch to Microsoft’s latest browser, Edge, as this currently only available on Windows 10. If you’re in this scenario, either upgrade your operating system to Windows 10, or switch to using Chrome or Firefox.
This is something I’d tend to check when using older laptops and devices which have less memory than newer models. The process for checking this varies by operating system. Here’s some guidance on how to disable apps for Windows 8 and 10 to improve performance. If you’re using something different, a quick Google search will point you in the right direction.
A word of caution, only disable what you recognise as an unnecessary application.
It’s not unusual for households to upgrade to the nbn™ network, choose the cheapest 12/1 Mbps (nbn™ 12) speed tier then become deflated about the performance. nbn™ even ran a whole educational campaign last year to help address this issue.
When choosing a Plan, ensure you understand the maximum achievable speeds and that it’s right for your online life, whether that’s online gaming or simply checking your emails. Learn more here and if you need some specific guidance before joining SkyMesh, feel free to drop us a line on 1300 759 637.
Not something to worry about for all fibre-based services, but if you live out in the bush or a semi-rural area and are connecting via nbn’s Fixed Wireless service or Sky Muster™ satellite, should your speeds suddenly drop, it may be due to an obstruction blocking line of sight to the satellite or Fixed Wireless tower.
Not everything speed related is under your control, sometimes there are limitations with the technology that plays a factor. These can include:
So that’s my checklist for steps to improve your broadband speeds. I hope it provides some useful pointers.
Written by Barnaby Lassen
Originally from Oxford (UK), Barney's been with SkyMesh since 2016. Outside of work, you might catch him down his local swimming pool or walking his very-good-girl, Macey.