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Getting the most of your internet when everyone is home

Bridget Gourlay
Jun 1, 2020 · 6 min read

With entire households staying home it can be challenging upholding a connection, especially during internet peak times when everyone is tiring the Wi-Fi out.

Different platforms and devices use different amounts of data. Online activities like gaming, streaming movies, and music services can take a lot of data and slow down your internet connection.

Understanding the factors that might be interfering with your home network and learning a few tweaks can help you get the most out of your internet while everyone is home.

Maximising your connection

Bandwidth is the amount of data that can be transferred from one point to another within a network in a specific amount of time. If all your download or upload bandwidth is in use, speeds are impacted.

You’re likely to start experiencing slower speeds if your entire household is at home and using the internet at the same time. It happens because your network speed capacity is shared with all devices connected to the network.

The type of internet connection available at your home and the plan you choose will determine how fast your connection is. If you’re you currently have an ADSL connection, you can check if nbn is available and switch over. If you’re already on an nbn plan, you might be able to bump up your speed.

The ‘Internet’ sends signals to bandwidth lanes. One lane’s speed slows when lots of devices are connected to it.
The ‘Internet’ sends signals to bandwidth lanes. One lane’s speed slows when lots of devices are connected to it.

Switching up the frequencies

Facing technical difficulties when video conferencing? You can jump into the modem’s settings and manually configure which devices in the house are a priority.

2.5GHz and 5GHz have different strengths and capacities, offering signals compatible with the purpose of using the network. You can organise with your housemates, or family, that the 2.4GHz frequency is for them, while you use the 5GHz frequency during work hours.

If you have a look around in your modem settings, you can switch to a frequency that has less traffic and devices connected. The less interference means you’ll get faster speeds.

In the centre, a modem sends signals to both ‘Game channel’ and ‘Work channel’.
In the centre, a modem sends signals to both ‘Game channel’ and ‘Work channel’.

Remove devices connected

Having too many devices connected to the same network can bring upon a loading circle of impatience, AKA super slow speeds.

Remove these devices if they’re not being used anymore, or if they shouldn’t be connected in the first place. Reducing the devices and traffic on the home network can increase speeds and connectivity in general.

Hide your SSID name from appearing when people are looking to connect. You can change the password too; this preventative safely secures your network from any unwanted Wi-Fi leeches.

Belong offers instructions to remove the devices based on the different models of the modem.

The modem is inundated with too many devices (laptops, cameras, mobiles etc) connected causing the modem to overload.
The modem is inundated with too many devices (laptops, cameras, mobiles etc) connected causing the modem to overload.

Back to wired connection

Another easy way to improve your speeds is to section devices into either Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection. Ethernet cable connections might sound old-school but are usually faster and reliable.

The more devices you wire, the faster and less congested your wireless will get. Using the Ethernet connection requires a modem or switch device that allows a two-way communication process with those connections.

A Modem and Device show the wireless signal from one to another. They then connect through an ‘Ethernet’ cable for internet.
A Modem and Device show the wireless signal from one to another. They then connect through an ‘Ethernet’ cable for internet.

Modem position

Where you put your Belong modem may be restricted by the location of the nbn box on your wall, but if you can, try to position the modem in a central and high place for greater Wi-Fi coverage.

Your modem’s positioning can impact the entire performance of the network. Household items like microwaves, televisions, thick walls and fridges can be a detriment in the Wi-Fi’s signal as it conflicts with the radio waves.

For more instructions on where is the best position, and what may interfere, check out ways to optimise your Wi-Fi or see what else might be affecting its performance.

Update your modem’s firmware

Firmware updates, otherwise known as ‘flashing the firmware’ can help a modem reboot speed issues and sometimes repair potential bugs impacting the modem itself. Most new modems will have an automatic firmware update, but if you want to be sure, you can log into your internet service provider’s gateway or admin page and manually alter the settings there.

Or if you Google search your modem’s model number; it can also lead you to a manual guide of how to update your firmware. For Belong customers, it’s all automatic - we’ll do it when we update our systems for you. We got your back!

A labelled Modem sends/receives a signal from a rotating system labelled ‘Firmware Update’.
A labelled Modem sends/receives a signal from a rotating system labelled ‘Firmware Update’.

Just in cache

All devices that browse the web have a storage space called a cache. The cache absorbs copies of graphics, files, and scripts that you’ve viewed and holds it in its pocket for next time. In turn, this helps load the pages faster. But, the more you use a device, the more it accumulates clutter from those pages. This can impact the development of loading new changes to websites or apps.

While you’re there, you might as well clear your cookies. Cookies are small pieces of collected data from the sites you’ve visited, helping the websites recognise what you’re interested in.

In most browsers, to clear the cache and delete cookies press Ctrl + Shift + Delete (Windows) or Command +Shift+ Delete (Mac) which will invoke the menu. Or, for other web browsers see here: Safari, Chrome and Internet Explorer.

Devices send signal to a box which expands called ‘Cache’. When it’s full a trash can lifts its lid to capture the signal.
Devices send signal to a box which expands called ‘Cache’. When it’s full a trash can lifts its lid to capture the signal.

Lowering streaming resolution

Watching movies or TV shows in high-resolution on streaming video services can play a significant role in slowing down your internet connection. Adjusting the resolution will help lower the data rate and speed up your internet if you choose a lower setting. Wanna know how? Our favourite streaming services have provided this info for you: Netflix, Stan, Apple TV, KayoSpots, and Disney +.

Many of these services are beginning to reduce the quality of their videos to “standard definition” or 480p by default, helping ease the bandwidth strain on the internet’s infrastructure around the world.

Radar named ‘Resolution’ shows image quality decrease and become unclear. ‘Bandwidth Strain’ also decreases on the radar.
Radar named ‘Resolution’ shows image quality decrease and become unclear. ‘Bandwidth Strain’ also decreases on the radar.

Hot tips

· Increase your speed plan by changing your plan online.

· Some video streaming services offer downloadable content for offline viewing so it might be a good idea to pre-download TV shows or movies during off-peak times.

· Run a speed test on Wi-Fi and then on an Ethernet cable to determine where the compromised speeds are coming from.

· Look into more ways to optimise your Wi-Fi and see what might be affecting your home network.

· Reduce the number of software or apps that are still running on your devices like — Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive can automatically sap download or upload bandwidth.

Conclusion

These tips and tricks are aimed to help get the most out of your internet while we’re working, studying or staying in our homes. Whilst it may not fix speed or drop out issues, you’ll know how to prioritise your video conferences, movie night, or game downloads.

For additional information on troubleshooting and other enquires you can find out more here, or for additional support on COVID 19.

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