• Resolving a Problem

    Broadband is becoming almost essential for our daily lives, and that can make it even more frustrating when things go wrong. But go wrong they can, and from time to time we are all likely to suffer problems with our broadband connections. Not being able to connect to the internet can be incredibly frustrating, but it can also prove critical if you are awaiting an important email or depend upon a good connection for your work. It is therefore always important to get the problem fixed as soon as it arises.

    Prevention

    Prevention is always better than cure, so if you can decrease the chances of something going wrong in the first place you’ll save yourself a lot of time and frustration.

    Choose a Good ISP

    Before you’ve even got your broadband connection up and running, you can help to prevent future problems by choosing a reliable ISP (Internet Service Provider). Problems can and do occur with all ISPs from time to time, but by choosing one with a good track record you can keep them to a minimum.

    When choosing an ISP, get recommendations from other users and read as many reviews as you can on the internet. You’ll soon be able to build up a good picture of the ISPs to avoid.

    You will also want to find out about the quality of service for when things do go wrong. Try to find people who have experienced problems that needed to be fixed and find out how easy it was for them to sort this out. Always try to find out about the quality of service rather than just shopping by price; although cheap deals can be tempting, if the service is no good then you’ll end up regretting it.

    Anti-Virus Software

    Another essential measure to take before connecting to the internet is to download antivirus software. Some new computers come with this already installed for a free month’s trial, so as soon as you connect to the internet you will be protected. But if not, then you should seriously consider buying some antivirus software because viruses and other nasty things can seriously affect your broadband experience. Some of the biggest names are McAfee and Norton, and AVG provides a free version for home use.

    Problems and Solutions

    There are numerous things that can go wrong with your broadband connection, but the two most common are a failed connection and a slow connection. Below are details of the most common solutions to these problems.

    Failed Connection

    If you cannot connect to the internet at all, and you are not just having difficulties accessing one particular site, then something is wrong. Here are a few steps you can take to try and resolve the situation:

    • Check that your login details are correct
    • Check that all the wires are connected correctly
    • Unplug your router and then plug it in again after 30 seconds. This can solve a surprising number of connection problems
    • Visit your router setup page if you can, as from here you can usually do a ‘check connectivity’ test
    • If running Windows, go to the ‘Network and Sharing Centre’. From here you can run a few checks to try and diagnose the problem, and Windows can often fix these
    • If you use ADSL, check the phone line is working properly
    • If you think there is a problem with the phone line, contact BT for advice
    • If there is a noise on the line it could be a microfilter problem, for which you may need a technician
    Slow Connection

    A slow connection can be a real frustration, but is sadly quite common. If you are suffering from a slow connection, it could just be down to a high level of traffic on the network, for which there is nothing you can do. However, you could try the following steps to resolve the situation:

    • Perform a virus check for any viruses, spyware or malware that has found its way onto your computer as these can slow it down significantly
    • If running Windows, go to the ‘Network and Sharing Centre’ which can sometimes analyse the problem and find a solution
    • Reboot your system and switch off the modem – this can sometimes solve the problem
    • Run a speed test – phone your ISP and they will be able to do a speed test to clarify whether it is a problem at their end. If it is their problem then they should be able to resolve the situation
    • If you can’t find any solution to the problem, you’ll probably need to call a technician

    Contacting Your ISP

    If you have tried to solve the problem yourself and think that it must be the ISP, you will have to contact them to resolve the situation.

    All ISPs will have a phone number or e-mail for technical assistance. Many will also provide a detailed FAQ section which could provide the answer to your problem. However, if they do not solve your problem in a timely manner then you should send in a written complaint to get things moving. You don’t want to be hanging around without a broadband connection, so be firm and try to get answers quickly. This is where choosing a reliable ISP in the first place becomes very useful.

    Get Backup

    No matter what precautions you take, things can go wrong. If you rely on broadband then you can get a form of internet backup to offer a short-term solution to the problem.

    • Mobile Broadband – purchasing a PAYG mobile broadband dongle can provide you with a good backup solution should your internet connection go down or face problems, as long as it is not a problem with your computer
    • 3G Mobile Phone – a mobile phone with 3G will allow you to at least check your emails and get important information should you become stranded
    • Dial up – although broadband has taken over the internet landscape, dial up could still be useful in an emergency
    • WiFi – if you are in a town or city there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find a WiFi hotspot nearby, which is a short-term solution if you access the internet from a laptop or netbook