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Working from home? How to get the most from your broadband or mobile connection

In the past month, working (and home) life has changed dramatically for millions of us. Many people are now working or studying from home — often with partners and children doing the same.

From voice calls and virtual meetings, to link-ups with cloud services and video streaming, this is putting more demand on broadband and mobile connections.

If you’re struggling with slow speeds, these tips from Ofcom will help you get the most from your connection:

1. Use your landline or Wi-Fi calls if you can

More people are making calls on their mobile during the day. Because of this high demand, you might get a more reliable connection using your landline. If you do need to use your mobile, try changing your settings to turn on ‘Wi-Fi calling’. You can also make voice calls over the internet using apps like Facetime, Skype or WhatsApp.

2. Move your router clear of other devices

Keep your router as far away as possible from other devices, and those which operate wirelessly. Cordless phones, baby monitors, halogen lamps, dimmer switches, stereos and computer speakers, TVs and monitors can all affect your Wi-Fi if they’re too close to your router, Ofcom explained. And did you know that microwave ovens can reduce Wi-Fi signals? Try to avoid using the microwave while making video calls, watching HD videos or doing something important online.

3. Lower the demands on your connection

The more devices attached to your Wi-Fi, the lower your speed. Devices like tablets and smartphones often work in the background, so switch off Wi-Fi reception on these when you’re not using them. If you’re taking part in video calls or meetings, turning off the video and using audio only will use much less of your internet connection; or try starting them at less common times, rather than on the hour or half hour. You could also try managing your family’s online activity, so that different people aren’t carrying out data-heavy tasks (like HD streaming, gaming or video calls) all at the same time. Downloading video in advance, instead of streaming it, can also help.

4. Try wired rather than wireless

For the best broadband speeds, use an Ethernet cable to connect your computer directly to your router rather than using Wi-Fi.

5. Plug your router directly into your main phone socket

Telephone extension leads can cause interference which could lower your speed. If you have to use an extension lead, use a new, high-quality cable with the shortest possible length.

6. Test the speed on your broadband line

You can run a speed test using Ofcom’s mobile and broadband checker. If possible, carry out tests over a few days and at different times of day.

7. Get advice from your broadband provider

If your connection still isn’t working as well as it should, get advice from your broadband provider’s website.

Protect the equipment you’re using for working or learning at home with gadget insurance from Gadget Cover! Our great value cover offers protection against accidental damage, liquid damage, breakdown and more.

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