So, you've sorted your student broadband, with help from our student broadband guide, but you're having speed issues and your internet connection isn't as good as it should be. 

Let's go over some common broadband speed problems and the surprisingly easy ways you might be able to fix them.

First step: Is this a problem with the broadband network?

If your entire house is getting unusually slow speeds, or no connection at all, check to see if your broadband service is actually up and running. is a great resource that tracks problems with all kinds of service provider, not just broadband. 

If the whole broadband network is having problems, you won't see any improvements in speed from at-home fixes. You just need to get in touch with your provider or check their website to see if they have updates.

Second step: Do a broadband speed test

Next, use a broadband speed checker with your wireless connection and with one of your devices plugged into an ethernet cable. If the speed is slower than the minimum guaranteed by your provider, that's a problem!

Important: The guaranteed speed isn't the same as the maximum speed. Usually you'll see "Up to" speeds when you're browsing e.g. Fibre broadband speeds up to 1GB/s. This is the fastest your connection can possibly be. The guaranteed speed is what you need to get from your broadband provider as the bare minimum, even at peak times. 

If it's just a Wi-Fi signal problem, you can usually get faster speeds with a few easy adjustments!  

What's an ethernet cable?

An ethernet cable carries broadband signals directly to your laptop via a cable. It means you don't need to rely on patchy wireless signals. Instead the broadband is connected directly to your laptop. There are tons of different types, so make sure you have one that matches the minimum speed of your broadband service so that you get the most out of it!

Third step: Check for common slow-broadband-speed culprits

  • Is anything blocking your router?
    If there's anything in front of your broadband router, you might be blocking the signal and causing problems. Weak Wi-Fi signals can be caused by tons of common materials, so if your Wi-Fi router is hidden in a cabinet or in a weird alcove surrounded by concrete on all sides, you might be giving everybody in the house slow Wi-Fi speeds for no reason.

  • Make sure you've found the best place for your WiFi router:

    • In the centre of your house (if you can): WiFi signals come out out of your router in a circle so central works best to get equal(fish) signal in every room. This can be tricky if your master socket is in a corner somewhere, though, so do your best.
    • Away from the floor: Your floor absorbs a ton of signal, which means slower speeds/ 
    • Away from mirrors and tiles: Mirrors scatter the signal and tiles are really good at blocking them, so you'll lose out. Fish tanks are a really common cause of poor signal, out for those too. 
    • Away from other electrical equipment: Weirdly, electronic devices like cordless phones and microwaves can mess with your broadband signal. LED fairy lights also emit signals that can mess with WiFi, especially dimmable ones, so keep an eye on that 👀

  • How far away from the router are you?

    Even if you have the speediest broadband money can buy, and your router is in the perfect spot, you can still end up with a slow connection if you're too far away.

    Wireless routers send out signals at different frequencies, and some are better at transmitting over long distances than others.

    A 5 Ghz router sends stronger signal over shorter distances, so if you're too far away you could see a slow internet speed, or an unreliable connection. If you're in the same room, it'll be great, though.

    A 2.4 Ghz router is a weaker signal over a better area, so you'll get more reliable WiFi speeds, all over the house, just maybe not the fastest. Your internet provider should tell you which type of router you have.

    For more info on the technical stuff, check out our student broadband guide.

  • Is the problem specific to one device?
    If you're only having issues with one device, even if you're right next to the router, it might be something to do with the device itself, rather than your internet. Ask your housemates if they're having similar issues in the same spot, or use your laptop or mobile to see if you're having trouble with those too.

    Try the ol' reliable trick and turn the problem device off and on again. If that doesn't work, there might be a hardware fault with the internal wiring or something else. Either way, it's worth checking that your electronic device is all good before you get on to your internet service provider.

  • Play it safe: Change your Wi-Fi password
    Changing your password can help if one of your neighbours is sneakily using your Wi-Fi. This can siphon off a surprising amount of bandwidth, especially if their whole house is using it. It's not super common, but it can happen, and it's easy enough to change.

Do you have the right internet speed for your student house?

It's tempting to go for a cheap deal when it comes to broadband; student life means money is tight. BUT a cheap deal can end up being money wasted if you don't have the speed that actually works for you and your housemates. If you overload a low-bandwidth broadband service, you'll end up with a super slow connection and waste half the year buffering, or have to rely on mobile data instead.

How to figure out the perfect broadband speed for your student house:

  1. Think about how many people you'll be living with, and how many devices they have each

    Consider everything you and your housemates will be using to go online. That means both wired connections and wireless devices. It doesn't matter if your gaming setup uses an ethernet cable and your other devices are all on the wireless network, you're still using the same broadband connection, which could mean slower speeds if you don't have enough bandwidth.

    Your bandwidth is cut into smaller chunks every time a new smart device is connected. If you don't have the bandwidth to deal with that, you'll be slowing your speeds (and upping your buffering time) every time something new connects. It's a good idea to disconnect any unnecessary devices when you're not using the internet for this reason.

    Example: 5 housemates with a laptop and mobile each is 10 devices already. Then if you have smart speakers or consoles, or a smart TV, they also take a chunk of your connection speed.  You could end up with 15-20 devices using your broadband, even if there are only 5 of you in the house. 

  2. Think about what you usually do online
    If you're all big on streaming video content like Netflix or TikTok, or both at the same time, you'll use more data than a house full of people who are more into podcasts and playlists. Obviously most houses will do a bit of everything online, but if you know you're all going to be doing a lot of data-intensive stuff online, you'll need a bigger download speed. If you live in a house of streamers, you'll need to keep an eye on upload speeds too.

    There's a full explanation on how to choose the right broadband speed, including what a download speed even is, in our student broadband guide.

Become a pro at setting up other services for your student house with our student bills guide. OR, you could find the perfect broadband deal, plus bill splitting and Unlimited Energy with a Fused bills package