Top 5 tips for getting the most out of your home broadband connection

Every day of the week, Clear’s support team fields calls and emails from users who are having problems with their Internet connection. Maybe it’s slow. Maybe it’s not working at all. And most of the time, the problem is in the home!

So here are our top five tips for making sure you’re getting the most out of your home broadband connection…

1. Pick a decent router

If you want good speed and great coverage from your home WiFi network, you’ll need a router that is up to the task.

First of all, decide if you want a modem router or just a router and what is going to work best with your home set-up. You need a modem to connect to the internet, and then you need a router to connect your devices in the home to the internet. A Modem/Router combination is a device that is two-in-one. It has routing functions as well as modem functions. Typically, Clear customers have one of these.

At Clear (like most ISPs), it is best when our customers use the WiFi router(s) we recommend at sign-up. This is the hardware we know best and can best support. Some customers with “exotic” tastes may prefer more expensive WiFi routers, as a personal preference, but remember to always have our original hardware around for troubleshooting purposes.

2. Make sure you have up-to-date firmware

Updating the firmware on your router is a great way to get the most out of your connection. A manufacturer’s firmware updates will often fix bugs or other problems with your router, or may even patch security vulnerabilities.

Pro tip: if possible, set up auto-updates on your router so that your router flashes when the latest firmware is available so you can always be up to date. (How this auto-update features works will depend on your specific router.)

3. Configure your home router via Ethernet first

During troubleshooting, our support team will always ask users to connect via Ethernet cable to the router. This narrows the scope of possible issues by eliminating WiFi as a possible culprit. Similarly, when you’re first setting up your home WiFi router, you’ll be instructed to connect to the router via Ethernet cable first, check that the connection to the internet is working, and only then configure WiFi.

Technically, you’re dealing with two networks: the public internet, along with a private network in your home, with the router as the “bridge” between the two. It’s important to make sure you’ve got a good connection to the internet from your router before troubleshooting the performance of your internal/home network. Still following?

4. Choose the best location for your WiFi router

When choosing a location in the home for your WiFi router, firstly decide where your family is going to be accessing the internet the most at home. It’s best to make sure there are the fewest number of walls between the router and the main area/s where you would like the best connection. Where you just can’t get your router’s signal to reach, consider using a range extender, which repeats/strengthens the signal so that it will reach more remotes areas of the home.

5. Use your router’s in-built network monitor

Your router’s built-in network monitor is great for seeing the bandwidth usage of different devices. A good router will show you in real time which devices are connected to the internet and maybe even details of the kind and volume of data they’re transferring.

It’s great to be able to diagnose if one device is using a large amount of data at a given time. Some smarter modems will allow you to prioritise specific traffic like video and audio content, or a specific device ahead of others, but in so doing can slow down the network for the rest of your devices.

Did we miss something?

We didn’t talk about interference from microwaves. And we didn’t give you tricks for getting kids off the phone when they should be sleeping. Maybe that will be another post. Meanwhile, anything you want to add that helped you? Drop us a comment!

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