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by Anthony Weaver

WiFi hungry neighbours are slowing down your internet

99% of UK adults are unaware of all the factors that could be slowing down their WiFi

·         These include their fridge freezer (90%), and neighbours’ routers (76%)[1]

·         Over a third (36%) believe it takes more than a month to switch broadband providers

UK, 21 June 2022 – Brand new research from Zen Internet reveals the UK’s WiFi woes. When it comes to broadband, almost all UK adults (99%) are unaware of all the common household items and scenarios which could potentially be interfering with their connectivity.

Zen’s findings reveal over three quarters (76%) of people surveyed in the UK with broadband don’t know their neighbours’ broadband router may be hindering their own connection. Other routers on their road, or the dozens in close proximity within an apartment block, could be blocking their own WiFi signal due to too many operating on the same channel, or their frequency bands clashing. Within the house, 90% didn’t know their refrigerator could also be drowning out WiFi connections due to interfering radio signals if positioned too close to the router.

Myths busted

Almost a quarter (23%) of surveyed UK adults with broadband think devices must be placed next to a router to get the best connection. Surprisingly, almost one in seven (14%) also believe turning their router off at night can enhance its effectiveness the next day, with some perhaps turning it off for energy-saving reasons amidst the ongoing cost of living crisis.

Nearly a third (29%) also believe hot spotting off a mobile device will give a better connection than connecting to WiFi when a reliable broadband connection should be a superior option. When it comes to the location of your router, over half (54%) don’t realise that elevating your router can enhance your connection. Whilst positioning your router as centrally as possible in the house will help improve the range across the household, where this is not possible, positioning your router in a high location will help the signal spread out further.

Last resorts to fix WiFi woes

It appears that UK households are facing plenty of WiFi troubles, with some resorting to other means in an attempt to boost connectivity. In fact, almost a third (30%) have been forced to connect to 4G or 5G networks when their WiFi network hasn’t been up to speed.

For those suffering from longer-term connectivity issues, perhaps due to living in an older house with thicker walls, almost a quarter (23%) have invested in a WiFi extender, which generally improves the connection. Almost one in six (16%) have avoided switching broadband provider due to fears of internet downtime caused by switching.

Paul Stobart, CEO at Zen Internet, said“UK households continue to rely on broadband for both work and play – it has become essential to our daily lives. This means that having a fast, reliable connection has become an even bigger non-negotiable. But even with the best internet service, there are a multitude of hidden inferences within the home, the adverse impact of which many of us are completely unaware. We hope that by exposing some of these myths and common misconceptions, as well as providing practical solutions, we can help households improve their experience and make the most of their WiFi.”

In a bid to help consumers get the most out of their broadband connections, the Zen technical support team reveals some common myths, and solutions to help enhance your connection.

Top Broadband Myths Busted by Zen
MythBustedAdvice
Devices must be placed next to a router in order for them to work effectivelyModern-day routers are able to provide sufficient connectivity for devices spread across a house.Try to position your router in as central a location as possible to provide even coverage. Ensure a router is placed flat so its antenna can emit WiFi correctly. Keeping it about waist height in an electrically isolated space (i.e not behind a TV or next to an appliance) with clear line of sight to walls, ceilings, and floors to bounce around the signal will help. Having a router concealed or next to an appliance can cause the signal not to emit correctly around a home.For more information on ideal router positioning, see here.
Turning your router off at night means it works better the next dayYour broadband router can be kept on 24/7, without any adverse impact on its efficacy or energy usage. Turning the router off at night can, in fact, disrupt the signal, ultimately slowing down your connectivity.To mitigate any risk of WiFi outage and limiting the buffering time from restarting your router each day, avoid turning it off.
It takes over a month to switch broadband providerIt is possible to switch broadband provider in two weeks or faster without losing connectivity during the transition.Don’t be afraid by the prospect of switching! A new provider may offer you a better package, without any interference in the process.
Your neighbours’ WiFi can’t interfere with your WiFiOther routers on your road or in an apartment block in particular could be blocking your own WiFi signal due to too many operating on the same channel, or their frequency bands clashing. People should ensure their router is connected to the channel with least interference from neighboring households, thereby ensuring WiFi networks can co-exist in harmony.
Refrigerators can’t interfere with your WiFiIf positioned too close to your router, refrigerators and other electrical devices could be drowning out WiFi connections due to interfering radio signals and electrical interference.If possible, avoid positioning your router within close proximity of your refrigerator, or other electric appliances and devices, as they can act as a physical block and lead to interfering radio signals and electrical interference over time. For more information on overcoming electrical interference, see here. 
Using 4G/5G will give you a better connection than WiFiBroadband is the most reliable, high-speed connection available to households, and the best option to support with tasks such as streaming, gaming and video conference calls.Always stay connected to your broadband. Reverting to 4G/5G will not only offer potentially unreliable connectivity, but it will be a huge financial drain when doing such tasks, unless part of your package.

-ENDS-

NOTES TO EDITORS

About the research:

The research was conducted by Censuswide, among a sample of 2,001 UK adults (aged 16+) that have broadband. The data was collected between 05.05.2021 – 10.05.2021. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

About Zen:

Zen Internet is the largest B Corporation certified telecommunications and network connectivity provider in the UK. Zen provides a full range of broadband, data, voice, hosting and infrastructure services to homes and businesses across the country.  The company also delivers complex network and cloud solutions for a wide range of large businesses and corporate customers through its strategic partnerships with AWS and Cisco.

Zen also works indirectly through a network of channel partners and as an ultrafast pioneer has built a reputation for providing the highest quality network and service to its customers including wholesale access to this network to other service providers.

As the only Which? recommended provider for broadband 2021, Zen is renowned for delivering excellent customer service and technical support and has been awarded Best Broadband ISP in PC Pro’s Technology Excellence Awards for 18 consecutive years. Other accolades include Sustainability Winner in Comms National Awards 2021 and Highly Commended in CRN Tech Impact Awards as Sustainable Vendor of the Year.

As a proud member of the B Corp community – balancing profit with people and the planet – Zen is carbon neutral and is working towards achieving Net Zero status by 2028. The company is also a recommended Best Buy in Ethical Consumer’s latest guide to broadband.

Zen has offices in Rochdale and Leeds and employs more than 500 people. The organisation puts great emphasis on maintaining a people-centric business and was named a Great Place to Work in November 2021.

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