Home Wireless (wifi) and Broadband Advice

Students and Staff who study and work from home can refer to the following advice to optimise and improve their home broadband and wifi networks.



Home Wireless (wifi) and Broadband Advice

With more people studying and working from home, home broadband and wifi networks are going to come under increasing strain. 

If you're living in private accomodation and think your wifi isn't as quick as it should be, follow the guidance below. For students, if, after following the advice, your wifi still isn't good enough for your studies, the University maybe able to provide an O2 4G dongle. Contact your school of find out more. O2 provide a coverage checker to see the level of signal in your area.

If you're living in University accomodation, your residence can give you an Ethernet cable and adaptor so you can connect directly to the wired network. If you're wifi isn't working at call, contact the IT Service Desk. 

Cartoon of a house with tips for making the most of broadband (detailed in the text below)

Who's responsible for your internet? 

If you're living in private accommodation and internet is included in your rent contact your landlord and find out what they can do to resolve the problem. Can they improve the internet speed into your residence? Put extra wifi points in? Or provide you with a wired connection?

If you're living in private accomodation and internet access isn't included in your rent, talk to your Internet Service Provider (BT, Virgin etc.). Money Saving Expert has some tips on negotiating with your Broadband supplier. Make sure you've got your broadband contract details, any usage limits, etc., to hand. 

Remember - domestic broadband connections are sold as a shared service which are designed to have contention (capacity shared between lots of households). At times of peak usage you should not always expect to get the advertised speeds.

I can't get fast broadband in my area

Consider using a 4G Dongle, though be sure to check network coverage in your area first (this information is usually available via provider websites). If it's cheap, it may be because they only have limited coverage. 

How good is your broadband? 

Important: The University is not responsible for the safety or security of any external services.

Reboot - but not too often

I've got great broadband but my wifi is slow

Get a wifi extender

Go wired

How many people are using your broadband? 

Using mobile data instead of broadband

In some situations, it might be necessary to use your phone/4G signal configured as a personal hotspot, if performance on your wired broadband is poor. However, there are some things you should check:

There are some excellent 4G, and emerging 5G, home broadband services provided via a number major service providers. The speed you can expect to achieve with these services will depend upon the providers capabilities in your geographic location and the number of other users accessing their services concurrently. In some cases, using an externally mounted 4G/5G antenna can greatly enhance speed and reliability.

More information

Which? has provided a guide to Broadband Speeds which can help you understand more about your Broadband and what other options there are on the market. 

"Speed is a crucial consideration when you're deciding which broadband package is right for you. Too slow and you'll struggle to do the things you need to do; too fast, and you may be paying for a service you don't really need. The best speed for you depends on a couple of things: how you use the internet and where you live." 

Broadband Download Speeds

The table below gives some indicative download speeds for different media types over broadband connections of different speeds.

 Music Album (10 songs)200 Digital Photos A TV Show A Movie 
 5Mbps (Standard - Slow) 1m20s5m20s 10m50s 23m9s 
 8Mbps (Standard - Med) 50s3m20s 6m46s 14m28s 
 16Mbps (Standard - Fast) 25s1m40s 3m23s 7m14s 
 38Mbps (Superfast) 11s42s 1m25s 3m3s 
 76Mbps (Superfast Extra) 5s21s 43s 1m31s

Based on a an MP3 song of 5MB; Photo size of 1MB; TV Show of 406MB; Film of 858MB

Check if a service is unavailable 

Sometime ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and other web services encounter problems and cannot be accessed for a period of time, this can be very inconvenient and worrying.

Downdetector shows the service status of most ISPs and web services. If a service you would normally use is not connecting or responding or your wifi connection is not working, it is worth checking this site to see if that service is not currently working.

Important: The University is not responsible for the safety or security of any external services.

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