How to improve your internet connection during lockdown

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As people across the world stay at home in an attempt to stop the spread of coronavirus, many are finding themselves especially frustrated by troubles with internet connection and wifi dropouts.

Relying on the internet for working, studying and entertainment can very quickly exacerbate any issues you might always have had with the speed or reliability of your internet connection, and with many Virgin Media and TalkTalk customers struggling with on-going problems, it can make working from home near-impossible.

But there are some changes you can make that might make your connection quicker and more dependable.

A number of things decide your internet speed, which you can’t do anything about. If you’re a long way from the telephone exchange, for instance, there’s very little you can do apart from move house or hope that the infrastructure is updated.

But there’s plenty more besides that that you can actually do something about. Especially when it comes to your device’s connection to your router – rather than your router’s connection to the world – some small tweaks can make a world of difference. You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

The dream fix for a bad wifi connection is not to rely on wifi at all, as much as possible. If you can, try plugging in through your ethernet connection rather than wirelessly – that will do away with any problems of interference and should speed up your connection to the router.

In many cases, however, that won’t be possible. Many times it is impossible to drill through walls and run cables all around your flat or house, and many devices – such as phones – don’t have anywhere to plug in an ethernet connection anyway.

In that situation, the best response is simply to ensure that the wifi signal can get to your device as cleanly as possible.

In order to do this, the first thing to do is to find anything that might be interfering with your wifi signal. This can be just about anything: certain kinds of lamps, dimmer switches, speakers, power cords and especially microwaves can get in the way. Anyone else trying to use the wifi will also be fighting for your connection, so see what you can do to limit that as much as possible. Put a password on your router so that strangers are not able to squat on your network and borrow your bandwidth, and ensure that anyone doing heavy work on the computer – such as downloading large files or playing games – tries to do so at times when the demand isn’t too high.

If all of that doesn’t work, then it might be time to add some new hardware. By giving your router a boost, you should be able to improve the connection and speed you get, in turn meaning you can work, stream and do anything else on your network more quickly.