Maybe your mobile broadband router seems a little slower than usual, or maybe you just want to make sure you’re getting the best Wi-Fi speed possible. Either way, we have some tips that will help.
First of all, make sure your router is set up correctly. Click here and find your Three router for a full set-up guide.
Next, we recommend testing your current internet speed - if possible measure your speed at different times during the day. Your internet connection is part of a network after all, meaning that we all share the network. At certain times of the day, such as after midnight, your connection may be faster because fewer people are online. You can check your speed at http://www.speedtest.net/
Once you’ve set up your router correctly and tested your connection, here’s some tips on how you can optimise your speed to its fullest:
Position your router correctly
It may sound simple, but the position of your router can be important. Generally speaking, the higher up and closer to windows your router is the better, as this allows for the least amount of obstacles between your router and your network site. You’re more likely to receive higher speeds if your router is in an upstairs room with a few windows than in a basement behind a sofa. We recommend placing your router near a window facing your area’s dominant site. You can find your dominant site on ComReg here.
You should also move your router away from other electrical appliances and gadgets that may cause interference; such as microwaves, cordless phones, wireless keyboards and computer mice.
Don’t use too many devices at once
When there are multiple devices using the same router, you might find that your internet speed is reduced. Each router has a recommended maximum number of devices that should be connected at one time, so it’s a good idea to disconnect devices that are not in use. You can check how many devices should be connected to your Three router here.
Beware of people in your house streaming TV shows and downloading large files – these activities require more bandwidth than simply browsing Facebook or sending emails, and this can affect your Wi-Fi speeds.
All mobile broadband routers run on firmware (this is a form of semi-permanent software – or so our engineers tell me!), and this firmware needs to be updated every so often to keep your broadband running at optimum level.
Here’s how to check if you need to update your router’s firmware:
Log on to your router’s online dashboard, which allows you to manage your account. You can access the dashboard at http://3.home/, but you need to be connected to your mobile broadband for this. The dashboard is free to access and won’t use up any of your data allowance.
From the home screen, click the ‘Update’ tab.
Click ‘Check for updates’. If you need to update your firmware, you’ll then have the option to do so.
For more information on using your dashboard, such as how to log on for the first time, see here.
Use an Ethernet connection
If you’re the only person connecting to your broadband, you may get a faster connection by using the Ethernet port if your router has one. Check here for the full list of routers and their specs. By using an Ethernet cable you are connecting directly from the router to your laptop. This will reduce any possible interference and provide a more consistent connection. Note: this is only to connect one device and is not a Wi-Fi connection.
Many of Three’s routers come with USB cables – these cables can also be used to directly connect to a PC or laptop.
Optimise your devices
It’s important to check your phone, tablet and computer’s software too – it may need some updating or a spring clean. Make sure you have the most up-to-date version of your browser (for example Firefox or Chrome) as the latest versions of these are usually the fastest. You should regularly clear your browser’s cache and cookies, as both of these can take up space and cause it run slower. For information on how to do this, see here.
If you use programs or apps such as Skype, Dropbox or music streaming services, check your settings to ensure they don’t run automatically when you’re not using them. This can impact your internet speeds. It may also be worth turning off automatic software updates if you have them enabled – that way you won’t have to deal with a 10GB update downloading when you’re trying to stream the latest episode of your favourite TV show!
If you’re having issues with your mobile broadband, you can find set-up and troubleshooting information for your router here. Alternatively, join the community and drop us a PM.
To get started with mobile broadband on Three, check out our range of routers and plans.