HEXUS regulars will be well aware that most video streaming sites like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+ have been reducing bit rates / default resolutions of their content in Europe over recent days. These services account for a large proportion of the data which your home broadband, or unlimited mobile contract, must supply to keep the family informed and entertained.
With Covid-19 isolation / distancing measures in place all over the continent people are naturally turning to online pastimes like watching videos and playing PC/console games to pass their time. Today Ofcom emailed HEXUS with some simple advice for households on how to get the most from their existing broadband internet connectivity.
Ofcom has kicked off its Stay Connected campaign and you can see various info videos highlighted on its social media feeds too. It starts by reminding us that broadband and mobile networks are under increased demand because of the coronavirus (Covid-19) before going on to offer seven simple tips to make the most of your connectivity.
One of the first things it recommends is that rather than using your mobile to call people it might be more reliable to use your landline, or turn on Wi-Fi calling if your smartphone settings allow. Alternatively try Facetime, Skype or WhatsApp suggests Ofcom - which reckons more people are using their mobiles to chat and providers are seeing "high demand".
Several of the tips are about adjustments involving your broadband router. For example, it is recommended you de-clutter the area around your router - especially moving away other wireless electronic devices like cordless phones, baby monitors and speakers. Home owners should make sure their routers are plugged into the main phone socket without any extension leads and microfilters are fitted into all sockets (ADSL line users). Lastly, with regards to routers, Ofcom recommends using Ethernet cabling rather than Wi-Fi where/when you can.
One of Ofcom's tips works in concert with the likes of YouTube's and Netflix's latest measures - it recommends lowering the demands on your connection, for now. Pre-downloading videos might work better for you, video calls and meetings could go audio-only, heavy internet use scheduling could be worthwhile - all these and similar things should be considered, says Ofcom.
Lastly, to optimise and get the most from your connection, Ofcom suggests you get to know it better. That means checking your existing speeds, for example, on one of the many speed test websites. Once this is done, you can check any guidance on your provider's website for further help and tips - if you need them.