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Boost your internet and Wi-Fi: Top 5 tips for faster broadband

1. Secure your Wi-Fi

If your Wi-Fi is not password protected, anyone can use it. This means that people might be logging onto your network without you knowing, causing speeds to drop as a result.

Fortunately, most providers now automatically supply you with a password-protected router, but if you don’t have one set up, or have turned the password off, secure your network immediately.

To do this:

  • Open up your router settings by entering its IP address into your web browser. That’s a number that will typically be printed on the router itself somewhere, and look like this:192.168.0.1.
  • You may need to log in – the admin password and username will also often be printed on the router, but if it isn’t, check with your provider for further instructions. From your settings you can set up a password and secure your Wi-Fi.

If you want more information about Wi-Fi, we have a whole guide on the subject:

2. Move your router

Lots of things can impact the strength of a wireless broadband signal – walls, doors, even interference from things like baby monitors. So if you’re suffering from slow or unreliable Wi-Fi, try moving your best wireless router. Ideally, it should be positioned high up – on top of a bookshelf, for example.

If you want to maximise coverage across the whole house, try sticking it somewhere central, maybe at the top of the stairs. Whatever you do, don’t stick your router in a cupboard – you’d be surprised how common a mistake that is!

You could also try getting a ‘smart’ router that automatically adjusts for interference, such as the BT Smart Hub.

3. Clean up your computer

There are tons of applications on your computer that could be using the internet, possibly some without you even knowing it.

Windows updates, security scans and updates, media player pop-ups, instant chat applications, Skype, open website tabs and more – all these things can eat away at your broadband speed.

To boost your speed, shut down services you don’t want, as well as any bandwidth-heavy streaming services like BBC iPlayer and Spotify when you’re not using them. To do this:

  • On PC, press ALT + CTRL + DEL to bring up task manager to see all programs running and close the ones you don’t want.
  • Open Activity Log to see a list of everything running. Close down the ones that aren’t essential.
  • update to best wifi extender

You should also delete old files, and clear your browser history – you can do this from your web browser options menu.4. Get a powerline adapter

Powerline adapters use the electricity power lines in your house to boost your signal from room to room. These are particularly useful if there are rooms in the house where your wireless signal is weak.

Some providers, including TalkTalk, can provide powerline adapters, although you may have to pay for them.

Should I Buy a Chromebook? Buying Guide and Advice

A Chromebook is a laptop of a different breed. Instead of Windows 10 or macOS, Chromebooks run Google’s Chrome OS. These machines are designed to be used primarily while connected to the Internet, with most applications and documents living in the cloud. Chromebooks have done quite well in the education market, but their appeal has broadened.

How Much Do Chromebooks Cost?

For the most part, there’s a pretty narrow price range for Best Chromebook, and it’s on the more affordable end of the spectrum. You can pick up the affordable and light Acer Chromebook R11 — which has an 11.6-inch HD display, an Intel Celeron N3150 CPU and 2GB of RAM — for $169. Rare models ask you go go higher, such as the $549 Samsung Chromebook Pro, a stylus-equipped 12.3-inch notebook with a 2400 x 1600-pixel display, an Intel Core M3 processor and 4GB of RAM.

Apps

The story of apps on Chromebooks is getting better every day, but these machines were still originally optimized for Google’s apps, such as Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Drive. This deep integration can be either positive or negative, depending on how you use a PC. Chromebooks will be easy to set up if you already use those apps.

Android apps are now coming to Chromebooks, however, only a select few systems can access the Google Play store at this time. The idea is to give Chromebooks access to more games, productivity options and other apps to make these machines more versatile, though the apps are seemingly run via an emulator, with mixed results. Unfortunately, not all Android games run on Chrome OS.

Currently, Android-capable Chromebooks include the Samsung Chromebook Plus, Asus Chromebook Flip, HP Chromebook x2, Dell Chromebook 3189 and Google’s own Pixelbook. If you’re looking to take a Chromebook to school with you, make it one of those, or one of the models listed here.

Unfortunately, popular software applications, such as Adobe Photoshop and the Microsoft Office suite, aren’t available on all Chromebooks. However, the Android version of Office is rolling out to those Best Chromebooks with access to the Google Play Store. If you need Office, but your machine doesn’t have Android apps yet, you’re limited to Microsoft Office Online, the free cloud version of Office via the Chrome browser.

Android apps

It may be best to stick with the Office Android apps or Office Online if you already have a lot of Office files that you’re bringing over to your Chromebook. There are often formatting issues when importing third-party documents into Drive. Fortunately, Google Drive allows you to save documents to Microsoft formats, so you’ll still be able to share files with non-Chromebook users.

On the other hand, there are a handful of photo editors available for Chrome OS, including Pixlr(free), which looks a lot like Photoshop. But those with existing files are out of luck — there is no Chromebook app that can edit Adobe’s .PSD files.

If you’re familiar with Linux’s applications, you’ve got more options coming soon. Early, pre-release builds of Chrome OS revealed that Chromebooks will support Linux programs, satisfying demand from some of the more tech-savvy Chromebook owners.  The Pixelbook is the first that will get this option, and others will gain this feature later.