Networking frequently asked questions

We only realise how important the internet is to our everyday lives when it doesn't work the way we want.

It can be frustrating and difficult getting things sorted, especially when routers and networking are usually perceived to be difficult to fix.

We have created this guide to answer the most frequently asked questions that our staff and Knowhow experts face. It is designed to make things clearer and provide a solution to whatever situation you find yourself in.

If we don't manage to solve your query, why not visit one of our stores? We have a team of well trained, knowledgeable staff who will certainly be able to help you.

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My internet is slow. How do I speed it up?

There are a number of reasons why your internet may be running slow. The first thing to do is check that you are receiving the speed quoted by your internet service provider.

There are a number of free websites that provide this service.

The UK average is around 9 Mbit/s, although will vary depending on your location and service provider.

If you find you are not receiving a satisfactory internet speed, contact your service provider or if possible, consider switching to fibre optic broadband. While it costs more, a fibre optic connection offers the fastest speeds available - potentially over 60 Mbit/s.

If you are receiving a satisfactory speed but still suffering poor connectivity, consider replacing your router for one with a higher rating.

Click here to find the perfect router for your household.

My internet connection is unstable

Does your computer regularly disconnect from the internet, requiring constant router resets? If so, your router is probably not up to the job any more.

Routers get clogged up by the large amount of information they transfer from the phone line to your devices. Like passing rushing water through a funnel, the speed of the water is determined by the size of the outlet. As if using a larger funnel, a faster router allows more information through at a higher speed.

If you are a Sky broadband customer, you cannot replace your router as it breaks Sky’s terms and conditions. However, you can connect your existing Sky router with a new cable router.

However, there are a number of solutions available such as powerline kits or range extenders.

Connecting to the internet

Why does Smart TV slow my internet down?

Many new televisions now come with Smart TV. The wealth of information and exciting media constantly at your finger tips comes from a permanent internet connection.

This itself isn’t a problem and only slows down your internet when your router struggles to provide the speed Smart TV requires.

With the right router, there’s no reason why your family can’t enjoy catch-up programming on your TV, online gaming from a console, music streaming on a computer and browsing on a smartphone all at the same time. Higher end routers prioritise bandwidth streams, so if someone is using the wifi for the Smart TV, and another person is using the wifi for internet download, the router will know to prioritse the Smart TV over the internet download.

You can also use a powerline and leave the wifi free for all your other devices.

Click here to find the right router for your family's needs.

How many devices can I connect to my router?

Routers are rated differently based on their performance and if your router has low rating, it may not be able to support all the devices you use at home.

When choosing a router, bear in mind that it’s not just computers that connect to the internet. Smart TVs, games consoles, printers and mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets all connect to the router too.

N300 routers are suitable for 2 to 4 devices and are fine for web browsing, downloading and occasional streaming and gaming.

N600 and N900+ are suitable for 4 to 8 devices and are ideal for small households that require a stable connection for Smart TVs and games consoles.

AC routers are perfect for 8 or more devices and offer the fastest wireless connection speeds currently available. The most common AC router is the 802.11ac, which provides longer and faster ranges and is 3 times the speed of the previous generation 802.11n router. The new Apple Macbook Air now uses the latest 802.11ac technology.

WiFi and Beamforming technologies

How do I connect my device to the internet?

There are three main ways of connecting your device to the internet:

Network cable / Ethernet cable

Using an Ethernet cable provides a quick, stable connection though requires the cable to be constantly connected between your device and the router. A cabled connection is ideal for desktop computers, games consoles and other non-portable devices. It is also the cheapest and easiest connection to set up.

WiFi

You can connect your device to the internet completely cable free by using built in WiFi or a compatible wireless adapter.

However, most devices with online features now have built-in WiFi, making it the ideal way to get your smartphone, laptop or Smart TV online.

Click here to find out more about connecting wirelessly to the internet.

Powerline kits
A powerline kit uses your electricity ring circuit to transmit data, providing a stable connection without excess cables. Simply plug one into a plug socket near your TV and connect an Ethernet cable between it and the TV. Another one is placed by the router and connected the same way. This provides a more stable connection with better streaming and less buffering - perfect for watching catch-up TV and other online content.

Click here to find out more about powerline kits.

I have thick walls/poor coverage in my house. How do I boost my internet signal?

The easiest way to improve the connectivity in your house is by replacing the router with a more powerful unit.

You can find out more about the types of router here.

If you’re already using a powerful router or circumstances prevent replacing it, consider using a range extender or powerline adapter.

Range extenders are powered devices that re-transmit your wireless signal at a longer range. Like the middle person in a three-person game of catch, they take the signal and pass it on further than is directly possible.

Powerline kits send your wireless signal through the electrical ring circuit of your home and are perfect for demanding or wired devices. Due to being a wired connection, the wireless rating of your router is not an issue.

Click here to find more about range extenders or click here to find out more about powerline kits

Alternatively, you can use a wireless powerline kit with a build in range extender. This kit builds on a new wireless signal, rather than using the router's existing signal, so it cuts out the middle man completely (which is the electrical wiring).

Can I wirelessly connect my laptop to the TV?

Most computers and TVs now come with HDMI ports. This high definition connection delivers the highest quality picture possible from your computer to the TV.

There are a number of products that create a wireless connection between HDMI ports. From TVs and Blu-ray players to games consoles and laptops, they work with any HDMI compatible device.

Click here to view our wireless HDMI adapters.

Some computers and devices feature WiDi technology. WiDi provides a wireless connection between compatible computers and TVs and can stream all your digital content from your computer directly to the TV.

It comes built-in to a number of computers although can be added to both computers and TVs using the NETGEAR Push2TV adapter.

How do I set up a powerline home network?

A powerline kit is a sender and receiver. It takes your internet signal and sends it around your house to wherever is needed. There are no limits to the number of receivers you can use and different brands work together too.

There's no software to install or set up with a powerline kit. Simply connect the sender unit to a spare plug socket near the router and connect an Ethernet cable between them. Plug a receiver unit into the required plug elsewhere in the house and you're ready to connect any nearby devices with an Ethernet cable.

Click through to our Powerline Kit page for more information.

PLEASE NOTE: Powerline kits will not work on different ring circuits around your house. If you have multiple home power circuits, usually a result of a large home or an extension, the signal cannot pass from one to another so another solution will be required. Consider using a range extender or replacing your router for a higher rated unit.

Using a powerline kit with a surge protected multi-socket will significantly reduce the speed of your connection though this can be avoided by plugging the multi-socket into a powerline adapter with pass -through.

Can I use a range extender with a Sky router?

How can I remotely monitor my home?

We offer a number of products that allow you to wirelessly connect a camera to an iOS or Android device. You don’t even need a computer as the camera can be viewed and managed via an app directly on your phone or tablet – perfect or keeping an eye on your home, wherever you are. Get alerts send to your mobile phone or tablet as soon as motion is detected in your home, or even remotely switch on your lights.

Click here to view our range of WiFi cameras.

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