Despite broadband providers’ promises of “superfast” internet, millions of us still suffer frustratingly slow speeds.

Rural internet specialist Gigaclear has listed eight of the most common causes of sluggish connections.

1. Your neighbour’s Wi-Fi

If a neighbour happens to be on the same Wi-Fi channel, it can affect your connection. To fix this, keep changing the channel until you find one that maintains a strong signal. 

2. Old devices

If you have an old laptop using the same connection as the latest iPhone, you will compromise your internet speed. Try removing old devices from the Wi-Fi or putting them on aeroplane mode at peak times.

3. Faulty ethernet cable

If your cable is bent you can try straightening it out, but the wire inside may be broken. If wiggling the cable solves your problems, the plastic port may be the culprit.

4. The weather

Heavy rain, snow and hot weather can destabilise a connection. Internet delivered via satellite is most susceptible to changes in the weather, followed by ADSL, which uses copper wires, often overhead.

Fibre-optic connections are rarely affected by weather as the cables lie underground.  

5. Birds and squirrels

Rodents can chew through cables and birds can cause reliability issues when they sit on them. Check to see if your cables run under or over ground.

If it’s above ground, take a walk and look at pylons and overhead cables around your house. Protect installations using bait boxes, cable guards and ultrasonic units.

6. Too many devices

There may be devices that you don’t realise are using your bandwidth, such as an Amazon Echo, TV or speaker system.

Ensure that unnecessary devices are disconnected from the Wi-Fi. You could also try getting a second router to distribute the load. 

7. Household appliances

Seemingly innocuous household appliances may be operating on a similar radio frequency and fighting for airspace alongside your smart devices. Try leaving extra space around your router to help spread out the signal and keep your router high and away from window sills.   

8. Unsecured network

You might trust your neighbours, but they could still be slowing down your connection by joining your network. This might not be done on purpose, as many phones automatically join any network they can find. Make sure your Wi-Fi is secure.

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