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Useful information on Home Broadband
Just about everyone has broadband at home now. We need to stay connected to web services, to access social media and messaging, and increasingly, to run our day to day lives – for banking, paying bills, connecting with our local council services, for example. We increasingly shop online, and we also use our broadband connection for entertainment services – for television and audio streaming and gaming.
We also want to access the Internet on multiple devices, from all over the home. On our mobile phones as we move around the house and on TVs and gaming consoles in bedrooms, and on work computers. A growing number of people are working from home regularly now and making use of video conferencing and collaboration tools.
All of this is increasing the demands on home broadband and making it more important than ever to have a good, fast, reliable service in the home.Back to top
Choosing a home broadband service
It’s easy to assume that fastest is always best, but with home broadband there are quite a few factors to consider.
First of all, what do you need or want to do with your broadband? Do you just need a basic connection, or do you want a package that includes an entertainment bundle as well? Do you want additional Wi-Fi coverage? Some packages offer this not only in the home, but also when you are out and about looking to connect to local hotspots.
On some packages you can also add a mobile phone SIM and data allowance as well. Others also include anti-malware protection and ability to apply parental controls. Just about all contracts come with a voice line as well – and some will offer free weekend calls as part of the deal. Most contacts today also offer unlimited downloads – but is always worth checking that this is included.
If you want more than just broadband, you will probably be better off signing-up for a deal that packages everything into one. This will be better value overall.
You will then have to consider what speed of service you need. In most areas of the UK today, you can already get super-fast or ultra-fast fibre-based services. These offer speeds of up to 300Mbps, which is very quick indeed.
While you might imagine that this is more than you will ever use, if you have several people in the household and you are all using TV services, playing interactive games, and taking part in video conferencing calls (and especially if you are doing this at the same time), you will soon eat up a lot of that bandwidth.
If you have simpler needs, you might not need something quite as fast. But do keep in mind that we are all doing more online all the time, so if you think you will need more capacity during the contract term, it may be worth stepping up to the next level. Most home broadband deals run over two years.Back to top
BT broadband services
BT is the first supplier everyone will think of when it comes to home broadband. It offers a good range of services to suit all requirements, from ultra-fast, all-inclusive bundles that come with TV services, Wi-Fi connectivity allowances, and mobile options, to simple connections that offer enough speed for everyday use at an affordable price. BT is a trusted name and its services are available in every part of the UK.Back to top
Watching TV streaming services
Most of us now tune into online TV services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, BT Sport, Sky, and others. These have become part of everyday life and while you can get them bundled in packages that are sold by various providers, there are also other ways to access these offerings – through so-called ‘over-the-top’ services and plug-in devices.
Providers will try and tempt you with packages that commit you to all their services for the contract period. This is only to be expected and if it suits you to have your broadband, mobile and TV package all rolled-up into a single ‘triple-play’ offering, that’s your choice. But you do have a choice, so make sure it’s the right one for you.
Another factor worthy of consideration is the quality of the streaming service you want to access. Many broadcasters are now providing high-definition (HD) content and a lot of games also use very high-definition graphics. For interactive gaming, it’s also important to have fast response time. If HD and responsiveness are important to you, it might be worth investing in a higher-speed broadband service.Back to top
Staying connected with Wi-Fi around the house
As we use the Internet for just about everything now, we also need it just about everywhere. The chances are your mobile phone is the first thing you will look at when you wake up in the morning –to check on the latest news, weather and what’s happening on social media. Wherever you are in the house, you will want to connect to your broadband service and the way we do that now is with Wi-Fi.
If you live in an average-sized or small house, or a flat, the router that comes with your broadband service and also provides you with Wi-FI, should be adequate. However, it is worth checking that the standard router provided with your service is up to date and supports the latest wireless technologies – or is at least fast enough to support your needs.
If you live in a bigger house or apartment, or an old building with very thick walls and other physical barriers that may interfere with the wireless signal, you may need to add other accessories to boost the signal. You can buy simple Powerline Wi-FI extenders that use your electrical circuit to carry signals, or dedicated access points. You can also get something called a Mesh system, which helps to both extend the range of Wi-FI and smooth out performance, so that everyone gets equal access to the broadband wherever they are in the house.
You may be happy setting these up yourself, but any third party IT reseller or retailer will also be able to help.Back to top
Connecting multiple devices
We all have laptops, tablets, and smartphones and we’re also now connecting our TVs, smart speakers, home hubs and even IP security cameras and thermostats to the broadband. The number of devices we connect keeps on growing. This uses up even more bandwidth – and it also puts greater strain on the Wi-FI connection on your router.
As a general rule, on most home routers, you should be fine with 12 or so devices connected simultaneously and making use of the broadband. But if you go much beyond this (or if some users are consuming particularly large amounts of bandwidth), the performance will start to degrade.
Your service provider should be able to offer you an upgraded router that will give you better performance. If they can’t, it may be worth installing additional Wi-FI access points or a Wi-FI Mesh system – as described in the section above on Staying connected with Wi-fi around the house.Back to top
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