Want to extend your WiFi into your garden? Or take your favourite shows on your summer vay-cay? Here we’re delving into some top tips for a strong, reliable connection this summer
By Virgin Media
Summer is back! And not just summer – proper summer. That means packed beer gardens. BBQs in your garden or yard filled with summer vibes that stretch into the small hours. Holidays abroad. And working your way through bottle after bottle of suncream.
As with any time of the year, you want your tech to do what it does best, and without any hassle. A reliable broadband connection at home means no missed recordings, better connectivity for both work and play, and swift downloads before you head out the door.
This is what you need to know to make your broadband work harder this summer, whether you’re at home or away...
How to get WiFi in the garden
Whether you want to stream films while sat next to your roses, or blast out tunes for a (very belated) BBQ, there are many ways you can try to extend your broadband range into the garden. It’s not guaranteed, but here are a few things you can do:
- Be aware of stuff that impacts the strength of your signal – walls, doors, microwaves and even fish tanks. Try to position the hub so it has the clearest possible path to your green space.
- Switch off devices also using your WiFi – stuff like smart home devices, mobiles or game consoles may be competitng with your outdoor paradise.
- You may benefit from a WiFi booster. There are many widely available at different price points.
- Use your mobile to create a hotspot to run your devices from. See below for further advice on how to create one.
How to download the Virgin Connect app
To get the best from your in-home WiFi, why not download the Connect app? Simply do the following:
- Head on over to either the Google Play Store or App Store and search for Virgin Media Connect.
- Tap install.
Within the app, you can test the hub’s performance, scan your home for black spots, and pause internet access to specific devices (if it’s the kids’ bedtime, for example). Of course, if any problems you run into can’t be sorted on the app, give us a shout. Our engineers are always on hand to help, with servicing and repairs included as standard.
How to create a mobile hotspot
Homeworkers might be getting sick of the same four walls, so why not take the office outdoors, to the garden, park, or maybe even the beach? By creating a hotspot on your phone – which is like a mini, portable WiFi network – you can get online even when you’re not at your desk. Just remember to try to keep your devices out of direct sunlight for better functionality (see below).
- Pull down the menu from the top of the screen.
- Navigate to the ‘Hotspot’ symbol and long press to get straight to the settings – it can sometimes appear on the second page depending on the make and model of your Android device.
- Tap on ‘WiFi hotspot’ and turn it on, and then you’ll be able to see the password associated with your device.
- Tap ‘Hotspot password’ (which may be blanked out) to see what it is.
- You can customise it if you like.
- Go onto your laptop’s WiFi settings.
- Find the phone’s network, and pop in the password just like normal.
- Go to Settings > Cellular > Personal Hotspot.
- Or Settings > Personal Hotspot (depending on OS version).
- Tap the slider to allow devices to join the network.
- Underneath you’ll see the password, this is what you need to join.
- Add the details to your laptop’s WiFi settings, and you’re good to go.
It’s important to bear in mind that using your phone as a hotspot uses your personal mobile data. Also, remember to go back to the settings on your mobile and turn off the hotspot when you get home, to make use of the speeds from your home WiFi instead.
How much data does streaming video use?
If you’ve not been organised and downloaded entertainment before you’ve left the house, you might wonder how streaming on the go affects your data usage.
When it comes to streaming video specifically, the level of data consumption depends on the quality you’re streaming at, e.g., an hour of 4K will use much more data than an hour of 1080p HD. But how much are we actually talking? Here’s a rough guide:
- One hour of SD video can use up to 1GB.
- One hour of HD video can use up to 3GB.
- One hour of 4K video can use up to 7GB.
When it comes to music streaming, it’s the same story – the higher the audio quality, the more data you’ll get through. If you were to use Spotify’s default setting, which automatically changes depending on your connection, you could be going through 2MB with every three-minute song, or about 40MB an hour.
Were you to download content to watch on the go, make sure you’re connected to your wireless home network. Using mobile data to download something like a two-hour film will take a big bite out of your data allowance.
How to download a show or film to watch on the go
Are you venturing back out into the world to meet those you’ve not seen in ages? We don’t blame you, but given it’s been a while, you may have forgotten than long journeys can actually be dead boring. So, why not download something to keep you entertained while you travel, with the Virgin TV Go app. Full House and Maxit customers can use the Virgin TV Go app to download selected shows to watch offline, at no extra cost. To download the app:
- Head on over to either the Google Play Store or App Store and search for Virgin TV Go.
- Tap install.
With Virgin TV Go, you can take your favourite shows with you, by downloading them straight onto your phone or tablet. To do that:
- Find the show or film you want to download in either the Guide, Catch Up or Box Set tabs.
- Look out for the download icon next to the listing in the app.
- Tap the icon and it will download instantly and be saved to your device in the Downloads section.
Once a show or film has been downloaded, you don’t need an internet connection to get going (so you can watch on airplane mode), just kick back, relax, and while away the hours. There are thousands of shows waiting for you, plus Sky Cinema subscribers can also enjoy the very best in film.
Where should I put the hub in hot weather?
Nobody wants hot Hub summer! Although we test our Hubs carefully at a range of temperatures, they are better off out of bright sunlight, just like your phone or laptop. But that doesn’t mean you should stick the Hub in a cupboard or hidden behind your TV either.
Some things can prevent the signal from getting out, like furniture, large electrical appliances and even big bodies of water like a fish tank. If the Hub gets too hot, it could slow down your connection or even grind to a halt altogether. Good placement of the Hub could also mean greater WiFi reach.
To conclude, to find a good place for the Hub…
- Don’t hide the Hub away, place it upright somewhere it can breathe.
- Always keep the Hub indoors in a cool place, out of bright sunlight.
- Keep the Hub at least 1m away from cordless phones or baby monitors, and as far as possible from big obstructions like cupboards and fish tanks.