Your Microwave & 5 Other Things Draining Your Internet Speeds Right Now

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With the UK going into lockdown due to COVID-19, the majority of the nation has had to get used to working from home over the last couple of weeks. Between maintaining focus and trying not eating all the food in your cupboards, working from home is a massive transition. But if there’s one thing that's going to make the whole process grind to a halt, it's bad WiFi. With this in mind, the guidelines published today (March 25) by Ofcom about how speed up your internet connection at home may be just the thing you need right now.

On Monday 23 March, BT's Openreach reported a 20% surge in internet use during the day as millions of UK resident began to settle into a routine of working from home. With so many people logging on at the same time, it's likely many of us will experience slower internet speeds, but there are things you can do to help things run more smoothly. Below are a few handy tips we learnt from our friends at Ofcom. The best part? They don't involve anything too technical.

1. Be careful where you position your WiFi router

Ofcom has recommended moving your router away from “cordless phones, baby monitors, halogen lamps, dimmer switches, stereos and computer speakers, TVs, and monitors” as they can all affect your wifi. Keeping your router on a shelf rather than on the floor is also advised. Most surprisingly of all, Ofcom states: "Did you know that microwave ovens can also reduce wifi signals? So don’t use the microwave when you’re making video calls, watching HD videos or doing something important online." Who knew.

2. Start your meetings at weird times

If you're keen to have a video conference with crystal clear signal, one clever hack Ofcom suggests is scheduling the call at uncommon times. Everyone starts on the hour or half hour, so pick a random time to avoid competing with others' internet usage.

3. Airplane mode is your friend

Switching WiFi reception off on devices you're not using could have a huge impact on your internet speed, Ofcom explains. So try turning your phone and iPad onto airplane mode when you’re not using them.

4. Use audio only

We all love the virtual backgrounds on Zoom, but turning off your video for a conference call may make all the difference on the connection. So, where you can, opt for audio only.

5. Try using an Ethernet cable

Logic would suggest that the more devices that are attached to your WiFi, the slower it will be. If you want seriously fast speeds, you could try using an Ethernet cable to connect your computer directly to your router. A quick Amazon order and you're good to go.

6. Untangle your wires

It sounds too simple to be true, but, as Ofcome states "tangled and coiled cables can also affect speeds."