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Whether you work from home every day or just a couple of days, here’s how to get the best out of your broadband to make WFH a little easier

By Virgin TV Edit

The call of the office might have brought us back into the workplace en masse (actually, it was probably the call from your boss that did the trick there), but there are still many of us who still work from home. And even for those of us who have returned to the queues for the microwaves and idle watercooler chit-chat with that person whose name you can’t quite remember, there are still plenty who do the odd day or two WFH.


On those days, you might not have the benefit of calling the IT team when you get stuck. And we don’t want you to worry about not being able to join a Microsoft Teams meeting or whether you’re going to lag during a video presentation. The only thing you should be worrying about is popping that kettle on and making yourself a nice cup of tea or coffee.


We want your broadband to work just as hard as you do – on the clock and when you’re off-duty, because we know relaxation mode is just as important as work mode. We’ve put together a guide to all the ways you can make the most of your Virgin Media broadband.


How to increase upload speed

Most people are concerned with their download speed, but a slow upload speed can wreak havoc with your video calls, live streaming and gaming. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do at your end to potentially rectify this. Simply follow the steps below:


  1. Check your computer or mobile security firewall settings. The software might be blocking any outgoing data and traffic.
  2. Most of us are guilty of deferring system or software updates, but the reason those notifications keep popping up is because you need to update!
  3. Reduce the number of WiFi users. When lots of people are connected to the WiFi, it slows down the speed, so make sure only the devices you’re currently using are connected.
  4. Using your antivirus, check for any malware or viruses that may impact the performance of your device or potentially slow your broadband speed.
  5. Use an Ethernet cable to connect your laptop to your modem or router so there is no signal interference.
  6. Remove background data use. Here’s how:

For Windows:

  • Simultaneously press down the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys on your keyboard.
  • This will open a window containing a list of all the programmes and applications that are currently open and running in the background. You can then choose to “End task”.

For Mac:

  • Simultaneously press down the Command + Option + Esc keys on your keyboard.
  • This will open a window containing a list of all the programmes and applications that are currently open and running in the background. You can then choose to “Force Quit”.


How to speed up streaming

We all want to avoid the dreaded spinning wheel of doom that indicates when a video is buffering. When you’re dreaming of streaming the latest series everyone is hooked on or your favourite comfort watch, you want to just be able to hit play so you can watch all day (if you want)! Here’s how to make sure your downtime isn’t interrupted by pesky lagging or loading:

  1. First, run a speed test. If the broadband speed is much slower than normal, there may be an issue with your broadband router, your broadband or phone line, or the internet service provider’s network. Contact technical support. Here are our broadband speeds explained.
  2. Reduce the streaming video quality. Most streaming services offer this option, allowing you to select a specific resolution, or choose from high (1080p, full HD), medium or low (480p, standard definition).
  3. Pause the video and allow it to buffer. You’ll be able to see how much has buffered by looking at the video player’s seek bar.
  4. Download the video if the option is available. For example, you can do this on Channel 4 and BBC iPlayer. Once it’s finished downloading, you’ll be able to play the video without interruption (and on the go, even if you don’t have WiFi)!
  5. Every device connected to your broadband will reduce the available bandwidth, so switch off everything that’s not in use so there’s enough capacity for the video. Shut down or pause apps or services running in the background – this is particularly relevant if you’re streaming on a computer.
  6. If none of these work, there is always the tried-and-tested method of turning your device off and on again! Restart the software first, and if that doesn’t help, reboot the streaming device.
  7. Using your antivirus, check for any malware or viruses that may impact the performance of your device or potentially slow your broadband speed.
  8. Get the best WiFi signal. Here’s how:
  • Make sure to keep your Hub upright, out in the open (but out of direct sunlight if possible). Objects can block and slow WiFi. Signals from baby monitors and cordless phones can also interfere with WiFi signals. Aim for 1 metre of clearance.
  • You can also switch to the Hub’s 5GHz (Gigahertz) frequency (more on this below). The majority of our Hubs have a dual-band feature, which means they switch between the two frequencies automatically when required.
  • Keep the Hub upright, with its lights facing into the room. That way your Hub’s strongest WiFi signal goes outwards – not into the floor.
  • Want to know more? Watch our video below to find out how you can get the best WiFi signal from your Hub.


How to stream the TV you love

Did you know that great TV, movies and sport are all just a few clicks away? Whether you’re looking for a lunchtime pick-me-up or something to dive into at the end of the day, there’s a streaming service that suits whatever you’re in the mood for. Just be prepared to fight for the remote if you live with fellow TV fans!


Here’s how you can access your favourite entertainment:


  1. Press Home on your remote.
  2. Select Apps.
  3. Choose from Netflix, Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, ITVX, Channel 4, My5, YouTube and so much more!


How to watch Prime Video

If you’re a Virgin Media customer armed with a V6 box, powered by TiVo®, a Virgin TV 360 box or Stream from Virgin Media, you can get Prime Video direct on your telly once you’ve got a subscription to the service. Simply sign up to Prime Video via the website, and you can log in on the box.


And because Prime Video is fully integrated into your box, you can search without even going into the app. Just select Search & Discover from the Home menu and type in the name of the show or movie you’re after. Not only that, but 360 and Stream customers can also voice search Prime Video shows with their remote.


How to watch Netflix

If you have a Virgin TV 360 box or Stream from Virgin Media, there are four ways to navigate to the Netflix app:


1. Use your voice

A. Just press and hold the voice button and say “Netflix” to open the app.


2. Via the app section

A. Press Home.

B. Go to the right and select Apps.

C. Select Netflix in the Apps screen.


3. Via channel 204 if you’re a Virgin TV 360 customer

A. Tuning to this channel automatically launches Netflix.


4. Navigating down to the Netflix icon in the homepage if you are a Stream customer


To access Netflix if you have a TiVo® box or Virgin TV V6 box, powered by TiVo®:


A. Press home on your remote

B. Select Apps & Games

C. Select All Apps

D. Select Netflix


You can also access the app through Search & Discover or by pressing Red on channel 204. Just sign in with your existing login and start watching. And you’ll only have to log in the first time you use it.


How to find out what broadband speed you can get in your area

We offer fast, reliable WiFi gliding through every room or money back, with average download speeds of up to 516Mbps – and our Gig1 Fibre Broadband provides download speeds averaging 1,140Mbps! Simply follow these instructions to find out whether we can provide broadband where you live:


  1. Pop your postcode into the postcode checker.
  2. Find your address from the list and select Next.
  3. You’ll find out whether you can get Virgin Media in your area and what packages, speeds and benefits are available to you.


How to connect to dual concurrent WiFi

When you’re online, your WiFi connection uses radio waves to pass information to and from your computer and wireless devices like tablets and smartphones. Most broadband providers use the same radio band, which is 2.4GHz. With so many people using the same band at the same time, there’s lots of congestion, making information travel slower. It’s also affected by other things, including baby monitors, cordless phones and microwaves, because they use the same band to function.


All our Hubs also have a different and less busy band, which is 5GHz. The 5GHz band has a shorter range than the 2.4GHz band, but is great for activities like streaming HD movies.


Hubs 3,4 and 5 have a single SSID (or Wireless Network Name) which covers both bands, but if you have a Super Hub, Super Hub 2 or Super Hub 2ac, you should make sure your devices are able to connect to the best band for them.


Here’s how to do it:


  1. If your device is 5GHz compatible, it will automatically pick up both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wireless Network names (SSID) in its Wireless Manager page.
  2. All you need to do is select the 5GHz SSID for compatible devices.
  3. If your device is not 5GHz compatible, you’ll only have the option to connect to the 2.4GHz SSID.
  4. You can connect multiple devices on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz at the same time, so all your devices can access the best possible WiFi available.
  5. To access, simply click on the Wireless Network name (SSID) finishing with “2G” or “5G”, enter the Passphrase and you’re up and running straight away.


How to manage your account on the go

The My Virgin Media app is the easiest way to manage your Virgin Media account on the go – and it’s available to download for all new and existing TV, broadband and phone customers. You can view your bills and package details, check your service status, make quick and easy payments and much, much more.


Download it for iOS and Android to get started.


How to become a HomeWorks customer

When home is your head office, you’ll want to know your connection is powerful enough to keep your business and your home life running smoothly.


Virgin Media HomeWorks is a savvy toolkit of services that will:


  • Give you Next Day Priority engineer call-outs.
  • Sort your IT issues.
  • Make sure your WiFi network is optimised.
  • Protect against viruses, identity theft and more on up to five devices with F-Secure SAFE.


Here’s how to add HomeWorks to your broadband package:


  1. If you’re already a Virgin Fibre customer, sign in here.
  2. HomeWorks is available for an additional £9.99 a month (minimum 3-month term) for all of our broadband customers.


How to make your VPN work for you

If you’re working from home, you may have had to start using your company’s Virtual Private Network (VPN), which provides employees with a secure and encrypted connection.


Due to the additional protection provided by a VPN, the broadband speed you receive may be impacted. This is because all your internet traffic needs to go through your employer’s network and servers. During peak office hours and with more people working remotely, it may take longer for the data to pass through. This is how you can optimise your VPN use:


  1. If you’re experiencing slower speeds, disconnecting and reconnecting to your VPN can help.
  2. When running a speed test, make sure you turn off your VPN to see if you are experiencing slower speeds.


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