The need for physical distancing during COVID-19 means that we are relying more than ever on our home and mobile broadband connections to live, learn, work and play.
To support home Wi-Fi networks across the country we have put together a few tips to get the best out of your broadband.
Tips to improve your performance
The time of day you go online, the number of people in your home using the internet at the same time, and the location of your modem/router, can all play a part in slowing down or improving your connection.
Router location, location, location
A Wi-Fi connection weakens as your mobile or laptop gets further away from your router, so if possible, put your router closest to where you use the internet most.
It is best to place your router off the ground and away from electronics like microwaves, cordless phones and baby monitors.
Plugging your computer, TV or gaming console directly into your modem/router using an ethernet cable provides better performance, but this is not always possible or practical. These cables can now be purchased as essential products at some online electronics retailers.
If you need to be away from your router, consider using a Wi-Fi range extender or mesh Wi-Fi router to improve the signal in rooms that are further away. These can now also be purchased as essential products at some online electronics retailers.
Timing is everything
If you are video calling your friends, family or colleagues and the quality of the call is not very good, consider switching off the video and just using the audio. This will use much less of your internet connection.
You might want to manage your household’s online activity, so that you are not all carrying out data-heavy tasks (like video streaming, gaming or video calls) at the same time.
When watching films, consider downloading the video in advance, instead of streaming them.
Devices like tablets and smartphones often update in the background, so try switching Wi‑Fi reception off on these when you are not using them.
Ensure you protect your Wi-Fi with a strong password. This will not only protect your online security but may also prevent others from using your broadband and slowing it down.
Check whether you are using the latest version of your web browser – newer versions not only provide better security but should also work faster. You can check your browser on the Get Safe Online website.
With more children learning and socialising online, Netsafe also has resources to support parents and guardians to create positive online experiences. Netsafe’s Online Safety Parent Toolkit is a great place to understand the challenges young people face online and how you can best support them.
Need for speed
Search “speed test” online to check out your connection’s performance. These online tests will also capture the performance of your Wi-Fi (unless your device is plugged in) and your device, so try doing a test on different devices in different locations.
You can also check out our independent testing programme: Measuring Broadband New Zealand to compare different technologies and providers’ performance. We are looking for more volunteers to help measure and improve broadband performance. Sign up to be part of the community.
Still not fast enough – time to contact your provider?
If you have tried all the above tips and you are still not getting the performance you need, before you contact your internet provider you might want to do some research online to find the best solution for you and your home.
If you do need to contact your provider try, searching their website or using their online or mobile phone app support in the first instance. If you can access support other than by the phone, please do. This will help keep phone lines available for people who need help most, particularly people in vulnerable situations.
Where to go if you have a dispute with your provider