If your broadband seems slower than usual, there can be a variety of reasons for this. It can be as a result of your setup or wiring. It might be that your wireless channel needs to be changed, or it could be interference from another device in your home. These are just some of the many factors that can affect broadband speed. In order to get the right answer, we need to try a few troubleshooting steps. These steps are presented in the order you should complete them.
New or upgraded subscription
Have you recently switched to Sky Broadband, or upgraded your package? If you have a new Sky Broadband product, we test your connection over 10 days, gradually bringing it up to fastest speed it can support while still giving you a stable connection. During this time, your speed will fluctuate. Please leave your Sky wireless router turned on for the first 10 days to help us test your connection speed.
If you're a Broadband Lite or Broadband Unlimited customer, you can check whether we are testing your line - sign into My Sky and follow the View my details link in the My Broadband section to see the Your Service Details dashboard. Look in the Your Connection Details section for information about line testing.
Checking your connection speed
First, we need to check whether there's a problem with the connection from the exchange to your router, or if the problem is between the router and your computer.
When you bought Sky Broadband, we will have given you an ‘Estimated Access Line Speed’ before you agreed to sign up. This is an estimate based on information including the length and quality of your phone line, and refers to the download speed that we believe a Sky Broadband connection could achieve between your router and Sky's broadband equipment in the local telephone exchange. We sent you a letter with this estimate on when you signed up but you can also view your speed estimate by signing in to My Sky and selecting My Broadband.
The actual download and upload speeds that you experience when using the internet will be slower than the Estimated Access Line Speed for your line. There’s a variety of reasons for this. If you are using a wireless connection between your computer and your router then your connection can be affected by interference from thick walls in your home, other electrical items (such as baby monitors or cordless phones), and local congestion if there are a number of wireless connections using the same wireless channel as you in your neighbourhood.
Now that your broadband is all set up, you can get your ‘Actual Access Line Speed’ and see what speed you’re really getting into your home.
To check the Actual Access Line Speed of your broadband connection, open a web browser window (e.g. Internet Explorer/Firefox), enter http://192.168.0.1 in the address bar, and press Return. In the login box, enter the username admin and the password sky. Click Maintenance and then Router Status, you will then see a screen which shows your Sky Broadband Access Line (Connection) speeds.
It looks like this. On the right hand side is a helpful info box that explains what each number means.
Find your throughput speed
The Throughput Speed is the actual speed that you experience when using your broadband connection.
You can use an online speed checker to find your ‘Throughput Speed’. We like the BBC’s iPlayer speed checker page but there’s a huge variety of speed checkers online that you can use.
A big difference in your Actual Access Line Speed and your Throughput Speed might mean that the problem is in your home somewhere and related to your setup. Later in this article we’ll cover some tips on how to overcome some setup issues.
Reset your Router
Have you tried turning it off and on again? It’s the first thing everyone says isn’t it? The reason we do it is that often, it can fix a lot of things. The same way you reboot your computer if it’s not working, we’re going to reboot your router. Doing this will interrupt your internet connection, so if you’re currently downloading anything, you may want to wait for it to finish before trying this step.
Switch your Sky wireless router off, leave it for 30 seconds, then switch it back on again. Don't press a pen into the little reset button on the back just yet because this will cause your router to lose all it’s current settings. If this doesn't help, the next step is to check the phone points in your home.
Check your Microfilters
Microfilters are needed for Sky Broadband Unlimited, Lite and Connect customers. Sky Fibre Unlimited customers will have a new master socket installed by the Openreach engineer which means you won’t need microfilters.
This is what a microfilter looks like. They've got two entry ports on them.
One for the grey cable that came with your Sky router and the other for your house phone to plug into.
Although only small, Microfilters have a huge part to play in the correct set up of broadband within the home. They stop interference between your broadband signals and signals from other items that use your phone line, such as Sky boxes, telephones, faxes and games consoles. Connecting one of them to every telephone socket in the house that you use will help to ensure that your broadband runs as fast as possible.
Microfilters are small white boxes with a phone lead or connector on them. We supply them with your Sky Broadband router. It's really important that a Microfilter is the first thing plugged into each telephone socket. No other connectors, splitters or devices should be directly connected to a telephone socket. Every one should be connected via a Microfilter.
Plug one end of the grey cable (supplied with your Sky router) to the part of the microfilter that is marked MODEM and the other end of the cable to the back of your Sky router marked ADSL.
Once we’ve done that, we know that our router is set up properly.
Sky Broadband Connect customers
If you are a Sky Broadband Connect customer, certain online applications may run more slowly during peak times. We give priority to browsing, email, streaming, instant messaging, gaming and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). So high-bandwidth applications such as peer-to-peer file-sharing, large file downloads and newsgroups, may run more slowly. We monitor bandwidth to avoid anyone's use having a negative effect on other customers. A small number of customers who regularly download large files at peak times may have restrictions placed on their account to reduce download speeds, but we remove these restrictions when the Connect network is not busy.
Exceptionally hot or cold weather can affect the speed of your broadband. On particularly hot or cold days you may notice an effect on your broadband speeds, but this is rare.
It's possible that a physical obstacle is interfering with your wireless signal. To get the strongest and most reliable wireless connection:
Put your router in or near the room where you're most likely to use your computer.
Don't put your router in the corner of the room or on the floor.
Use your computer in a position where, if you imagine a straight line from your router to your computer, there are no thick or shiny objects in the way.
Your wireless signal will pass through most obstacles, but dense objects such as brick, stone, concrete and metal floors and walls can weaken your wireless signal. Some reflective household objects, such as mirrors, fish tanks and metallic decorations can deflect the signal, so move your computer and router away from these objects.
Phone Line Issues
Pick up you phone receiver and listen. If you hear crackling or silence then contact your phone provider (hopefully that’s us!). We’ll need to do a line test to check everything’s working ok. A faulty phone line can cause problems with your internet connection, even if you can still make phone calls. If your phone sounds fine, you can still test it to see if it’s affecting your broadband:
Remove the face plate of your master socket to get access to the test socket.
If you have Sky Broadband Unlimited, Lite or Connect, plug a microfilter directly into the master socket and then connect your router to the microfilter.
If your broadband connection is fine when you're connected to the test socket, then the problem isn’t with the connection between your home and the telephone exchange. There may be problems with the phone wiring to the other sockets in your house.
You could also ask a professional to check your internal wiring or report the fault to your telephone provider.
Cabling, extension cords and telephone sockets
Check any telephone extension cords carefully for any damage, and make sure that all the telephone connections are firmly plugged in, and fitted with microfilters. Old or damaged telephone or master sockets should be repaired or replaced. Using a telephone extension cord more than 10 metres long between your telephone socket and your Sky router can slow your connection. Try using a shorter or better quality cable. Check that the wires have not been damaged or frayed, this will slow down or stop your connection.
Your wireless router can broadcast on several different channels, sort of like radio frequencies. A nearby wireless connection may be broadcasting on the same channel. If your neighbour’s WiFi is broadcasting on the same channel as yours, this can interfere with your signal. It's really easy to select a different channel in your router settings which will resolve this. You may also find that one channel is clearer in your home than others.
Do you use a wireless adapter or other wireless gadgets and devices, including baby monitors, wireless printers or peripherals (keyboard, mouse etc.) or cordless phones? If so, it might be worth trying a different wireless channel, or considering moving your router or the equipment causing the interference.
If you have picked up a virus or other type of harmful program, this can slow your computer down and affect your browsing speeds. Learn more about the tell-tale signs of this kind of 'malware' infection, and how to protect yourself with McAfee Internet Security software, in our Security Centre.