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20th August, 2020

Internet connection problems

Max Beckett
Max Beckett

Broadband expert

Having a working internet connection is something that most of us take for granted…until it stops working. In a world of pings, routers, ISPs and DNS – knowing where to even start if you have internet problems is hard.

That’s why we’ve put together this quick guide to fixing broadband connection problems. 

How to fix broadband connection problems

The first step to fixing your internet problem is to find the culprit. Below we’ve listed some of the most common problems and how you can go about fixing them. 

Problems with slow internet

Has your internet slowed right down? Are you constantly staring down the buffering wheel, waiting for content to load? 

Most people assume that the problem must be with their Internet Service Provider (ISP), but sometimes the cause of slow internet can be closer to home… 

Check your internet speed

The first thing you should do is actually check what broadband speed you are getting by trying our Broadband Speed Test. If you are getting a speed that’s consistent with what you would normally get but your internet still feels slow, your computer might be slowing something down. If your broadband speed has dropped, it could be a problem with your broadband service. 

Could background tasks be slowing your internet down without you realising? 

If your internet slowdowns are unpredictable, you might want to see if it’s due to any background tasks that are hogging your bandwidth. Things like automatic software updates or game consoles downloading game updates in the background can have a significant impact on the speed of your internet connection. If you notice this, try pausing these background tasks and your internet should speed up.

Your router could be positioned badly

Did you know that where your router is physically positioned in your house could make a difference to how fast your internet feels? Or even how far your Wi-Fi stretches? Here’s our quick checklist to make sure that you’ve positioned your router at home for the best signal:

Don’t hide your router away  

We know that routers aren’t the most pretty of objects, so the temptation to hide them away in a cupboard or cabinet can be tempting. But hiding your router from sight can negatively impact how well it does its job. 

Position your router centrally

Most of us tend to put our router in busy places in our home, like the living room or kitchen. But the best place to put your router is the most central room in your house. This gives the signal the best chance of evenly covering your house.

Did you know that the closer your device is to the router, the stronger connection and faster the internet will feel? That’s why it’s a great idea to put your router in the most central position possible. 

Wireless internet connection problems: connected to Wi-Fi but no internet connection

If you are connected to the Wi-Fi just fine but still can’t access the internet, the first thing you need to do is see if all devices connected to the Wi-Fi can’t get onto the internet, or if it’s just the one device. 

If it’s just one device, the problem most likely lies with that device, not your wireless internet connection. If none of your devices can get onto the internet after connecting to the Wi-Fi, try the following:

Check your router’s lights

Almost all routers have a series of lights on the front that help you determine if it’s connected properly. For the vast majority of routers, a green light usually means that everything is working fine – either a solid light or flashing.

However, if your router has a different-coloured light that’s slowly blinking or flashing – that could indicate a problem. If you aren’t sure what the lights mean, dig out the router’s instruction manual or call your ISP for advice. 

Please note: all routers are different! A solid red light on your router might mean that your connection is just fine. Check with your router manufacturer or ISP if you are not sure. 

Restart your router

Yes, turning something off and on again – it’s the oldest tech support trick in the book. But it’s a cliché for a reason, because it can, and does often, work. So, if you haven’t already, turn off your router, unplug it and wait 60 seconds. Then plug your router back in and turn it on. Hopefully, this simple fix might have done the trick.

Check the wiring

Double-check that all of the router cables are plugged all the way in and are where they should be. Also, check that the wires to your master phone socket or ADSL filter are connected correctly.

Check the phone line  

You can see if the line is working by plugging a phone into your broadband wall socket – if you hear a dial tone, you know that the line is working. If you don’t hear a dial tone, you will need to call your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

Check if the service is down

You might not be alone in experiencing problems with your internet, your ISP might be experiencing problems in your area. To check, visit sites like Down Detector or Is The Service Down using your mobile.

Call your Internet Service Provider (ISP)

If all else fails, calling your ISP is your best bet. They are much better placed to help resolve any issues that you have – especially considering that the majority of people will be using routers/modems that came bundled with their broadband deals. 

Who has the most reliable broadband? 

If you’ve suffered through the pain of trying to fix your internet problems yourself – you might have decided that enough is enough and that you need to find the most reliable broadband provider in the UK.

According to Ofcom’s latest report, the broadband provider with the most reliable service is EE – with 87% of its customers saying that they were satisfied with the service. Close behind EE is Plusnet, with 86%. Virgin Media rounds out the podium with 85%, followed by Sky (83%), BT (80%) and TalkTalk (73%).

However, the overall satisfaction with broadband providers is actually pretty high, with 83% of us happy with the service that we receive. In fact, complaints about broadband suppliers have fallen every year.

Which broadband provider has the best customer service? 

If something does go wrong with your internet service and you need help, waiting on hold endlessly while you wait for a technician to talk to you can be extremely frustrating. 

In fact, only 51% of people who made a complaint about their broadband were happy with the way it was handled. So, making sure you pick a broadband supplier with good customer service could save you a lot of frustration.

Top of the customer service satisfaction charts was Sky – with 54% of their customers feeling satisfied with how their complaint was handled. 

TalkTalk was bottom of the table again, with 44% of their customers feeling satisfied with how their complaint was handled. However, TalkTalk does have the lowest call waiting time in the industry of just 33 seconds, compared to the industry average of 1 minute 37 seconds.