Whether you’ll be sunning yourself abroad or enjoying a Pimms from the comfort of your garden, many will be counting down the days until the start of summer.
While thinking about boarding passes and barbecues, it’s easy to forget about your broadband. Yet whether it’s your Wi-Fi slowing down as the mercury rises, or connected devices at home adding to your bills while you hit the beach, it pays to be prepared for the new season.
With that in mind, we've put together 8 tips to help you save money and make the most of your broadband and gadgets this summer.
Keep it cool
Like any mobile, laptop or tablet, your Wi-Fi router is prone to overheating in warm weather — especially if it’s sat in direct sunlight.
To ensure your broadband is performing at its best, place your router in a cool location out of the sun, as this will allow the device to better regulate its temperature.
Also avoid tucking your router behind big objects, like sofas, or in small spaces, as this could also lead to overheating.
Switch off, shut down and unplug
You wouldn’t leave your lights on if you’re not at home, so why leave all your gadgets running?
Go through your gizmos and see what you can turn off that doesn’t need to be connected to your Wi-Fi while you’re away. Smart speakers are a prime candidate — Alexa can take a break too. This will help to lessen the strain on your router during the hot weather, and it will also prevent your energy bills creeping up too much during your holiday.
…But not everything
While it may be tempting to turn off your Wi-Fi router before you jet off, this is not advised.
Except for upgrades requiring a reboot, routers are designed to be in use permanently, and switching it on and off regularly could cause problems with your broadband speed.
The cost of leaving your router on, even for a fortnight, will be minimal, so treat it like your fridge and freezer.
Another good reason for leaving it running is security. Wi-Fi-enabled doorbells and cameras can be a major deterrent for thieves who might try to target your home while you’re away.
Check your router for updates to boost security
Make sure your router has all the relevant updates, as an outdated device can make it vulnerable to hacking. This will also ensure that you’re getting the strongest signal and optimal performance from your broadband.
Usually, your router will update automatically, but it’s good practice to check it manually from time to time.
You can do this by checking the manufacturer’s website for any available updates, or type in its IP address — usually printed underneath — into your browser to access the admin controls.
If you're unsure how to do this, we have a guide on how to log in and adjust your router settings.
Take a streaming pause
For those who are jetting off for a fortnight or more, it may be worth putting your streaming services on hold.
Each streaming service will have a different policy — with some giving the option to pause contracts — but because most are monthly rolling contracts, it won’t cost you anything to cancel and then sign up again when you’re home.
If you’re worried about losing your profiles or watch lists, Netflix promises to keep your membership for up to 10 months after you cancel, so you wouldn’t have to start from scratch.
Download before you travel
If you need to occupy the kids or kill some time while travelling, it’s worth planning ahead so you can use your home Wi-Fi to download shows or films to a device before you go.
If you have to do it while on the move, a long movie could take up a big chunk of your mobile’s monthly data allowance or see you rack up extra costs on your bill. As the majority of mobile providers changed their roaming policy last year, you may also face heavy charges when using your mobile data abroad.
Tidy up your TV deals
Another way you could cut the costs this summer is to tidy up your TV deals.
If you know you’re going to be spending more time outdoors enjoying the sunshine rather than binge-watching a series on the sofa, it could be worth getting rid of any extra channel subscriptions or TV add-ons that you won’t use.
Some providers, such as Virgin Media and Sky, have services that allow customers to add or remove extra channels or subscriptions easily.
If you’re working from home on a hot day, you may be tempted to take your laptop and move outside. But your plans could be thwarted if your broadband signal won’t reach your device.
To give it the best chance, make sure your router is in the centre of your home and not obstructed by too many objects, walls or doors as this will weaken the signal.
If the signal is still falling short you could also try a Wi-Fi booster. There are plenty of cheap and cheerful models on the market or you could use a much more powerful mesh system that uses a network of devices around the home
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