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Broadband doctor: Will switching to a different router do the trick?

3 min read

27 March 2017

In our latest broadband doctor instalment, guru Andrew Ferguson tackles a question relating to slow internet speeds and the possibility of switching router.

Question: If my broadband speed is low will it help any if I buy a different router?

Answer: Even on the old slow ADSL2+ services, switching to a different modem/router or even just changing its firmware for the latest version could give a speed boost of 1 or 2Mbps, and this applies to FTTC (also called VDSL2 sometimes) services as well.

For the full fibre (FTTP) services the connection speed is fixed, so this issue is usually not a factor. For FTTC, while not every cabinet out there supports all the various enhancements, there is no harm in ensuring your FTTC modem works with technologies called G.INP (G impulse noise protection) and Vectoring (noise cancellation – i.e. cleans up signal by working with street hardware to give more speed).

As a general rule, a FTTC modem that is based around a Broadcom DSL chipset will offer that, but you need to be careful as hardware manufacturers don’t use the same chipset in all their range, so it can take some detective work. If your FTTC service is already running at the maximum speeds that you are paying for, or is at least above or close to the top end of the estimate given to you, then playing with different hardware, while a nice Friday afternoon diversion, may produce no benefit.

If you use a wireless connection in the office and don’t have a dual band (802.11ac standard) wireless router, then you should invest in one, since moving some devices onto the higher frequency 5GHz band means there is less congestion and hopefully devices will behave better.

However the best advice is, if something has an Ethernet socket, use this to connect it to the broadband router. Ubiquiti are a go-to name for business grade wireless access points. You pay a little more but you are generally paid back in terms of reliability, plus they are designed for wall/ceiling mounting, which gives better coverage of office areas.

Buying a whole new router may help increase your broadband speed, but make sure you check before you switch that the slow speed is not due to the broadband connection itself, i.e. if you only are paying for a 10 Mbps service spending money on wireless kit that claims to support several hundred Mega bits per second (Mbps) may not a good investment.

This article is part of our Real Business Broadband campaign, which seeks to provide a mouthpiece for business leaders to vocalise the broadband issues preventing their businesses from reaching full potential. We’d love to hear your take on the debate and where you think the UK needs to make drastic changes – and feel to ask us your broadband queries. Get in touch via email (shane.schutte@realbusiness.co.uk) or join in on the action using #rbBroadband.

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