Help & Support

How to boost your fibre optic broadband speed

Is broadband speed one of those subjects that leaves you scratching your head? The brilliant news is that there are lots of things you can do to boost your broadband speed right now. Check our top tips below for details.

First a quick note about speed tester websites

Web-based speed testers have their place - they can be a quick and easy way to check your broadband is running in tip-top condition. However there are reasons that may make their results inaccurate. Click here to find out more.

Top tips for boosting your fibre optic broadband speed

  1. Download and run the free Digital Home Support Hub
  2. Reboot your computer and broadband equipment
  3. Check your wireless setup
  4. Check what and when you are downloading
  5. Use Ethernet rather than USB
  6. Call the Digital Home Support number (0800 014 7398) and speak to one of our technical experts
  7. If you're still not getting the speed you think you should be, check out our Help & Support forums

Why not check out our help video where Sam will explain some of our top tips for improving your broadband speed

1. Download and run the free Digital Home Support Hub and get instant access to a free PC toolkit, including PC new Healthcheck and tune-up software to keep your computer purring.

PC Heathcheck covers the following areas:

  • Protection against viruses
  • Personal data protection
  • Protection against internet nasties
  • Protects your wireless
  • Keeps clutter off your PC
  • Speeds up browsing and surfing
  • Faster broadband connection
  • Speeds up your PC
  • Keeps your PC up-to-date

Download and run the PC Healthcheck tool for free from the Digital Home Support Hub from

2. Reboot. Electronic equipment and software can sometimes run into problems, like “freezing” and “hanging” - rebooting allows your equipment to perform diagnostic checks and forces it to reset and restart, often fixing the problem.

If you are using a modem, or a modem and router, check out our How to check and reboot the modem and broadband equipment article.

If you are using a Virgin Media Hub, check out our Troubleshooting the Virgin Media Hub article, and follow the steps in the Restart the Hub and your computer section.

If you are using a Virgin Media Super Hub, check out our Troubleshooting the Virgin Media Super Hub article, and follow the steps in the Restart the Super Hub and your computer section.

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3. Check your wireless setup. There are loads of benefits of using a wireless internet connection, including being able to access the internet with lots of different devices, from anywhere in your home. Because of the way wireless and broadband technology work together (this is all wireless technology, not just that from Virgin Media), the downside can be a slight reduction in your speed when you go wireless (compared with connecting directly to your modem/router via an Ethernet cable). There are several things you can do to minimise this:

  • First, try connecting your PC directly to your modem or Virgin Media Hub to see if it is in fact your wireless setup that is causing an issue with your speed.  Find out how to do this for a modem here, for a Virgin Media Hub here or for a Virgin Media Super Hub here.
  • If you’re still having problems, you can check these other things that might be impacting your speed:
    • The position of your router within your home
    • Check the total number of users using your connection - if you’re in a multi-user household, check that no-one in the house is using lots of your bandwidth.
    • If you are on the XXL (50Mbps) broadband package, make sure you have a Wireless “N” router and USB adapter. These are capable of much faster speeds than a Wireless “G” version.

    • If you are using a wireless adapter, you should make sure that the drivers are up to date (have a look on the adapter manufacturer’s website or the internet for details of how to do this).

4. Watch what and when you’re downloading.  Like all popular things, the internet has peaks and troughs and is in high demand at different times during the day. If you have a particularly large file to download, why not schedule it to download late at night when there are fewer users online?

  • Also, remember that some downloads run in the background, even when you are not aware of them. They can consume considerable amounts of your connection speed. These include file sharing programmes (also known as Peer to Peer software or P2P), like Kazaa, BitTorrent, iMesh, eMule, Vuze, Limewire, Ares and eDonkey. It’s a good idea to remove P2P software given the impact it can have on speed and the security and legal issues it generates.
  • Even if you are not using these, someone else in your household may be, so it is worth checking to make sure they are scheduling downloads for times when other users in the house are not online.
  • To disable or remove Peer to Peer software or bittorrents, why not have a look on the internet for instructions on how to do this for the software you’re using.
  • If you think you might be a heavy user, you will need to be aware that we have a Traffic Management policy that kicks in at peak times and is there to ensure we can provide the best possible overall experience for all our customers by making sure everyone gets a fair share of the bandwidth available.

It does only affect the top 5% of users on a daily basis  - have a look here if you think you may be one of them.

5. Ditch USB for Ethernet. To give yourself the best chance of reaching top speeds, make sure you connect via Ethernet. There are many reasons to do this - Ethernet is technically more reliable than USB for networking, Ethernet doesn’t require you to install device driver software and it supports higher performance networking. To find out more about Ethernet and USB, take a look at our Ethernet vs USB page.

6. Call the Digital Home Support number (0800 014 7398) to speak to a Tech Expert.Digital Home Support is 24-hour technical care for you, your computer and all your digital gadgets. If you have a question or a crisis, morning, noon or night, our Tech Experts are on hand to help.

If you are stuck on any of the steps discussed above, or are after some further help, why not use the Live Online Help tool in the Digital Home Support Hub or call 0800 014 7398 to speak to one of our Tech Experts who can help.

The Tech Experts can answer your questions and if necessary, with your permission, take-over control of your computer to fix things for you.

Please note that remote fixes are a chargeable part of the Digital Home Support service, but don’t worry, initial diagnosis is free and we wont proceed unless we agree the fix and associated charges upfront.

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7. Check out our Help & Support forums. You can get help from other customers, share your experiences and add your own answers on our customer forums.

If you haven't downloaded and run the Digital Home Support Hub yet, here are a few additional steps that you can try…

1. Tune up your PC’s settings.

If you are a Vista/Windows 7 or Mac OSX user you don’t need to do anything – your operating system is already designed to automatically optimise your settings.

If you’re using any other operating system, check the system’s help section or browse the internet for details on optimising your system.

2. Make sure you check how secure your wireless connection is. Make sure no-one else is sharing your connection and slowing you down.

3. Make sure you have an up to date security package on your PC. Read more about Virgin Media Security and the benefits of a good security package here.

4. Make sure your computer’s hardware and software are up to date. The more recent they are, the more likely you’ll be able to experience faster broadband. You should be sure you have the latest versions of your favourite browser and operating system.

Windows users should check for any Windows updates on a regular basis here.

Windows users should also ensure that Windows Update is enabled. This will ensure they are patched with the latest security and performance patches from Microsoft. (Windows Update Is enabled by default after Win XP SP2).

To ensure your hardware is up to the task, check out our minimum specification.

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