How to improve your internet speed

There are many ways to help improve internet speed and make the most of your broadband connection. Follow simple tricks such as updating your router, using ethernet for stationary devices and closing down unnecessary apps running in the background, to get back up to speed and enjoy your online activities.

15 Aug 2023
Read Time
4 minutes

What is internet speed?

Internet speed tells you how fast data travels between your device and the web. It's how quickly you can surf, stream, download, online. Sometimes internet speed is referred to as: broadband speed, WiFi speed, connection speed. But they all mean the same thing! Internet speed is measured in Megabits per second (Mbps). The higher the number, the faster you go.

Wondering the difference between bits and bytes? We break it down in our handy explainer.

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What's my internet speed?

Checking your speed is a breeze. Using your preferred device, visit our broadband speed test, run a few tests, and take the average speed. Be sure to close any video, music, or other programs using your bandwidth. For computers, plugging into your router with an ethernet cable gives you a more accurate speed reading as WiFi can slow down from interference.


What's good internet speed?

One size speed doesn't fit all - your ideal internet lane depends on your lifestyle! A light emailer needs fewer Mbps than a household full of streaming and gaming. Mbps measures how fast data travels between devices and the web, whereas speed determines how quickly you can surf, stream, chat, game and more online. Choose the right match for lag-free living!

If you're a dedicated gamer, you may want to check out our top tips on internet speed for gaming and learn more about gaming broadband, for a smoother and more responsive gameplay experience.

Here's a helpful guide on internet speeds for different activities:

Broadband Speed
Online Activity

50+ Mbps

Good for browsing, email and social media.

100+ Mbps

Ideal for smooth HD streaming and video calling.

200+ Mbps

Perfect for seamless and responsive online gaming.

What internet speed should I get?

Okay, let's chat broadband! Here's a breakdown of speeds that can help get the job done based on what activities you like to do online:

  • For surfing, email and social media, M125 Broadband gives you average download speeds up to 132 Mbps.

  • For steady HD streaming, you may want to consider M250 Broadband which has average download speeds up to 264 Mbps.

  • For lag-free gaming and 4K video on multiple devices, Gig1 Fibre Broadband gives you our fastest speeds, with average download speeds up to 1,130 Mbps.

If you want to explore more broadband tiers, take a look at our selection of broadband deals. Check if Virgin Media is available at your address with our helpful broadband postcode checker.

How can I speed up my internet?

Feeling like you're stuck in the slow lane? We hear you, sluggish internet is no fun. But don't worry, we've got some simple tips to get your speeds back on the fast track!

  • Update your router's software - Keeping firmware up-to-date improves performance.

  • Change router channel - Switch to a less busy channel to reduce WiFi congestion.

  • Move your router centrally - Being closer means stronger signal and faster speeds.

  • Use an ethernet cable - Ethernet cables give faster, more reliable speeds than WiFi for stationary devices.

  • Close bandwidth hogs - Pause streaming and downloads when gaming or video chatting to allocate more speed where you need it.

What broadband speed do I need for Netflix?

When it comes to smooth Netflix streaming, faster internet speeds provide a better viewing experience. Here are the recommended speeds based on video quality:

  • For high definition (HD) streaming on a single device, aim for 3 Mbps or higher for crisp video and clear audio without constant buffering.

  • For Full high definition (FHD) streaming, Netflix suggests speeds of 5Mbps or higher for smooth playback.

  • For Ultra HD 4K streaming, Netflix suggests speeds of 15 Mbps for the best picture and sound. 4K streaming on multiple devices at once may require an even faster connection.

  • For a household with multiple users streaming HD or 4K video simultaneously across different devices, speeds of 100+ Mbps ensure everyone can enjoy streaming Netflix shows without lag or pixelation.

What's good download speed?

Download speed is how fast data moves from the internet to your device. Upload speed is how fast you can send data to the web.

For casual browsing, a minimum of 3 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload speed is suggested. For household gaming and streaming, look for a minimum of 50 Mbps download speed and 6-8 Mbps or higher upload. For video calls and big file transfers, opt for a minimum of 10 Mbps download speed for each device, and 1Mbps upload speed.

Do WiFi boosters increase internet speed?

WiFi extenders and mesh networks expand your signal but don't raise your maximum internet speeds. Your router has a set total speed shared by connected devices. Boosters broaden WiFi coverage, helping maintain faster speeds in all corners. But they don't make your internet faster than your internet plan.

For best booster performance, choose models with ethernet ports to connect your router and satellites by cable rather than WiFi. Boosters such as intelligent WiFi improve wireless coverage and reduce dead zones. Although upgrading your broadband package is the only way you can improve your existing broadband plan speed, for faster WiFi throughout your home

7 tips to tackle internet speed issues

  1. Reboot your router - Unplug it, wait for a bit, plug it in again and retry the speed test.

  1. Make sure your router can handle your broadband - Sometimes older routers are not capable of delivering faster broadband speeds. Check with your provider to see if it’s fit for purpose.

  1. Check your devices - Turn off every device using the internet one-by-one and see if your internet speed is affected. One of them could be taking up more WiFi bandwidth than you thought.

  1. Check for interferences - Cordless phones and microwaves play havoc with WiFi, so turn them off and retry the internet speed test.

  1. Reposition your router - Put it higher up and more centrally in your home. If it’s closer to you and has fewer obstacles to navigate, its signal will be stronger.

  1. Replace cables - Get rid of old, overly long Ethernet cables and replace them with new, shorter ones. This can make a big difference to internet speed.

  1. Update firmware - Check that your router has the most up-to-date firmware installed. Old firmware can mean slower internet speed.

When it comes to the internet, faster is always better

If you’re experiencing internet speed issues or you’re unhappy with the service you currently get, please note that with Virgin Media you get:

  • Our Intelligent WiFi, designed to automatically sort WiFi issues for you
  • Streaming of your favourite movies and TV shows with seamless gaming
  • Our Hub is made to handle our ultrafast broadband speeds and get WiFi right to where you need it
  • 99.86% reliability when we’ve measured our network’s performance in connected homes
  • Our QuickStart self-installation box if your home is Virgin Media-ready

If you want to give your broadband a boost, see if you can get Virgin Media in your area with our broadband postcode checker and we'll be happy to help.

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