Broadband News

Top 10 tips on how to improve your broadband speeds

As broadband becomes more important for our day-to-day lives, we've compiled a list of top ten tips on how to improve the speed of your broadband connection. Most of the technical tips apply to ADSL Broadband only (i.e. not cable broadband from Virgin Media etc.)

Selecting the right deal...

  1. Check to see if your service provider has a more up-to-date product—If you’ve been with the same supplier for many years, it’s likely that they have better deals and faster services available and often all you have to do is just ask. Beware however that you may enter into a new 12 month or longer contract.
  2. If you are in an area served by LLU (local loop unbundled) operators such as O2/Be, Sky, etc. then you may be able to switch to a faster ADSL2+ service. If you are already on a faster ADSL2+ service, check to make sure your router supports this or you may not be getting the speeds you should. If you’re getting more than 3 Mbps downstream already, you may find the improvement is significant, but even if you aren’t, it may help the upstream speed.
  3. Check to see if you can take advantage of a ‘bundle’ deal—Companies like Virgin Media and Sky are bundling television/phone services and mobile networks offer broadband/mobile bundles. If you can combine your services, you may be able to save money.
  4. Do you have a friend already on a service you want to use?—Sometimes you (and they) might benefit from a ‘refer a friend’ deal where one or both of you get a discount.
  5. Watch out for short term promotional offers—Sometimes a big £9.95 price label will draw you in, but after a few months the price may rise.

Technical tips...

  1. Run a few speed tests at different times of the day—Find out how your broadband is performing. Early mornings should be the least busy so you should get the fastest speeds.
  2. Make sure all your phone sockets have microfilters attached – Unless you have an “ADSL faceplate filter” in your master socket, you need to ensure every single telephone extension with any device attached (telephone, modem, fax, Sky TV receiver, alarm system, etc.) has a microfilter.
  3. If you have any telephone extensions in the house, you may benefit from installing a BT I-Plate—If you have more than one phone socket connected to the same phone line, the wiring from the master socket (the first telephone socket in the house) to the other extension sockets can cause interference. This can sometimes be improved by installing a small device in the master socket. See our I-Plate Installation Video. If you don’t need the extensions, just remove them.
  4. If you are having problems connecting from an extension socket, try moving your router to the master socket, ideally by removing the faceplate and plugging into the “test socket” underneath. This will remove all the extensions and also help you identify if your extension wiring is causing problems.
  5. If you have problems that occur regularly, try turning off electrical equipment in your home to see if they are the cause of problems. Boilers, treadmills, or other devices with a motor or pump can cause electrical noise or interference which can affect the stability of your broadband. Even Christmas lights can cause issues. Keep your ADSL modem and wiring away from mains power cables.

We hope these help you to make the most of your broadband connection.


"Make sure all your phone sockets have microfilters attached" - Iknow you say it later, but I would edit this to say "phone sockets in use" to spare people filling empty sockets with microfilters that may have a detrimental effect.

  • herdwick
  • over 12 years ago

the title is about faster broadband yet a lot of these tips are about cheaper broadband. The problem is cheap and fast dont often go well together.

  • chrysalis
  • over 12 years ago

Package tips are given to try and get those who've not changed provider for a few years to consider what their options are, e.g. legacy Home 1000 customers

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 12 years ago

What about removing wire 3 (ring wire) from the master phone socket leaving just 2 & 5 to enable phones to work This has been reported on many forums as a way to deliver significant speed improvements.

For example

  • leggielane
  • over 12 years ago

Does removing wire 3 have the same effect as fitting an I-Plate or is is something different. At my previous address a BT engineer cut the ring wire at all the sockets which improved SNR considerably. In my new house, I have an Openreach master socket, so have (most of) the I-plate functionality.

  • dsr48
  • over 12 years ago

As I remember from another forum, removing the ring wire works *better* than fitting an I-plate although I must admit I can't remember why.

  • leshewitt
  • over 12 years ago

I have a ringer in one phone socket and didn't bother fitting a microfilter. Then for some reason (probably by accident!) I put a microfilter in the socket where the ringer is and the reliability of my TalkTalk LLU ADSL went to almost 100%. The router connects via a different socket from the ringer. Just goes to show that relatively minor things can affect the ADSL reliability.

  • leshewitt
  • over 12 years ago

Removing the ring wire should have broadly the same affect, however the I-Plate also contains a radio filter which may assist stability. This is detailed in the bit about fitting an I-Plate to an Openreach socket at the bottom of page 5 here: (PDF)

  • john
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 12 years ago

I looked at my socket (w/ Piper logo) to see if I could remove the ring wire, and was surprised to see that unlike the pics in your demonstrations, my face plate is not connected by any wires to the main plate. I also removed the main plate, though I know you are not supposed to do that. I was surprised again because only the two blue wires were connected and the greens and oranges were loose. Does that mean that a BT engineer has already cut my ring wire? What does it mean that my faceplate is not wired in? Could it be working better?
Thanks for the help.

  • chickpeana
  • over 11 years ago

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