Warning that your Christmas tree could slow down your broadband

Experts have issued a warning that Christmas lights and the location of your Christmas tree can interfere with your broadband signal.

Nick Baker, broadband expert at Uswitch.com, said: “This Christmas, we will be more dependent on our broadband than ever, as many families keep in touch through video calling and streaming movies and television.

“If you notice that your broadband is struggling during the holiday season, chances are the culprit could be your Christmas decorations.

“Any large object placed in front of your router can block your Wi-Fi signal, so be careful where you put your Christmas tree.

“Christmas lights can disrupt your WiFi signal and potentially slow your connection speeds, so keep them away from your router.”

Nick’s top tips for improving your broadband this Christmas:

  • Believe it or not, other electrical appliances in your home can interfere with your Wi-Fi connection – including Christmas lights! As beautiful as they are, the lights can potentially slow down your connection speeds. Keep them and other electronics such as lights, speakers, TVs and monitors as far away from the router as possible.

  • Likewise, placing large items near your router can block your Wi-Fi signal and slow down the speeds you enjoy, so don’t put your Christmas tree right in front of it.

  • The average family has eight gadgets that use the Internet, five of which are connected to their broadband at the same time[1]. This is likely to increase at Christmas when family members get new devices and start using them immediately[2]. Unplug or turn off all devices that are not in use to reduce the load on your connection.

  • If you are not satisfied with your broadband, run one speed test to check how fast your connection really is. If your provider has given you a minimum speed guarantee and is not complying with it, they have 30 days to resolve the issue or you can switch providers without paying an early termination fee. If you don’t have a contract, you can also switch to a new provider, but time is running out to make sure you can move suppliers before Christmas.

  • Give yourself an early Christmas present and buy a Wi-Fi extender to boost your signal. If you have a large house or thick walls, you may have black spots in your house that your Wi-Fi just can’t reach. Just plug in the extender and let it repeat the signal to all corners of your home.

  • If you plan to stream movies and TV shows over Christmas, but the quality is low or often buffered, you may be trying to watch in too high a quality to handle your broadband. Try changing the settings from ultra HD to a lower resolution to see if that fixes the problem.

  • Are you buying a new Xbox or PlayStation for a loved one this year? Check which internet connection your intended console needs for optimal gameplay. There may still be time to switch providers if you need a faster connection.

  • Is your broadband password secured? If not, your neighbors can use it without your knowledge, which means there are a lot more connected devices for your broadband than you think. It’s an easy measure to improve your safety and possibly even improve your speeds.

  • If you’ve had the same router for years, it may be time for an upgrade. Getting a more modern router is a cheap and effective way to improve your home network and improve Wi-Fi range, get a stronger signal and make it better able to handle streaming, gaming and web browsing .

  • Try to avoid peak times. Networks have invested heavily in their infrastructure to make this less of an issue than it used to be, but there can still be rush hours when many people try to use the network at the same time. If you’re planning a video call with family and friends, try to choose a time outside of the busiest hours in the evening from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM.