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28% of UK People Fear Christmas Demand Might Impact WiFi

Tuesday, December 10th, 2019 (9:20 am) - Score 1,680
Wireless network

A new survey of 2,001 UK adults by Censuswide, which was commissioned by broadband ISP Zen Internet, has found that 28% of respondents are concerned that too many devices using their home WiFi at once over Christmas could impact the reliability of their internet connectivity.

In fairness most home broadband routers these days can usually cope with quite a lot of connected devices. Nevertheless some cheaper kit may struggle but this is perhaps only really a big concern if you have a particularly large family gathering, with many tens of connected devices to consider.

NOTE: Zen’s survey claims the average person will invite 3 people over for Christmas and 19% intend to host 6 or more guests.

Arguably a bigger risk here may be the lack of adequate broadband connectivity in homes that won’t, or perhaps can’t, upgrade to a faster package. For example, on slower ADSL lines (average downloads of 10Mbps and uploads of 1Mbps), which still account for around a third of UK broadband connections, it doesn’t take much user demand to saturate the downstream and upstream capacity (i.e. turning broadband back to narrowband dialup)

The aforementioned problem is often magnified if several family members try to activate a new internet connected device at the same time. In our experience the first thing that many of these new devices will do is try to download and apply the latest software / firmware updates (on new laptops this could mean multi-GigaByte updates).

In that sense it’s notable from Zen’s survey that 34% of households expect to add another device to their home over Christmas. A further 32% intend to gift new tablets, while just under a third (30%) of consumers will be wrapping up the latest Smartphone for family or friends to enjoy.

The Top Four IoT Devices to be Gifted this Christmas:

Tablets (32%)

Smartphones (30%)

Smart Toys (29%)

Smart Watches (27%)

Zen’s survey also estimates that 41.8 million Brits (63%) will connect with their loved ones over online calls, with 3.9 million (6%) doing so in the bathroom. A similar number of Brits (5%) are also likely to stream their favourite show on Netflix or iPlayer over the festive period there. Meanwhile 11% will duck family festivities for some secret social media scrolling in the bathroom, with 10% also using the bathroom as a safe space to do a spot of online shopping.

Leave a Comment
12 Responses
  1. Avatar Phil says:

    Well if Christmas has some households struggling with their Wi-Fi may I suggest to those households try going out for a winter walk, playing some board games or talk to each other.

    What is this world coming to, in many places in the world, and in this country as well, there are people wondering if they will have food on the table.

    Thank you Zen for bringing this most important concern of over 2000 people our attention, what would we do without your PR.

    First world problems.

  2. Avatar The Facts says:

    ‘fear’? Is there a number we can ring to talk to someone about it?

  3. Avatar Richie Brian says:

    The main thing that affects my Wi-Fi is my “smart” Wi-Fi making the exact same stupid decisions as my neighbours “smart” Wi-Fi. Six 2.4Ghz networks on channel 6, none anywhere else. Four 5Ghz networks on channel 36, none anywhere else. Once I moved mine away, suddenly everything worked. I fully expect to have to change them back to 6 and 36 once the neighbours’ routers decide to follow mine onto 1 and 44.

    1. Avatar Leex says:

      Little bit odd it’s doing that it should be avoiding channel 6 and picking 1 or 11, at least its not picking overlapping channels like 2-5 and 7-10 that can be much worse then actually been on same channel as your neighbours as they co-operate with each other when they’re on the same channel but if you pick an overlapping channel as far as the Wi-Fi is concerned it is just static and can really impact wifi speeds

      I generally just force mine onto 11 and the other routers automatically avoid me as I have 3 powerline wifi powerline plugs so norm enough to make the other routers avoid channel 11 (generally you want your house to use same channel and WiFi name so it can roam between access points without interruption)

  4. Avatar Brian says:

    The WiFi in the house is fine, never had any problems with it coping with multiple devices, its the limited ADSL bandwidth that causes the problems. Updates to devices last year took more than 2 days.

  5. Avatar Michael V says:

    More WiFi hubs have dual band these days
    2.4 & 5ghz. For data heavy devices like smart TVs & tablets & phones, they’re better on the 5hgz band as there’s more band width. [Plus we can set it from auto to up to 80mhz]
    More consumers should pay attention to both bands but also the ISPs should educate customers.
    Even on ADSL broadband it can help. As I have seen from past experience.

  6. Avatar dragoneast says:

    I’m going out for a walk Christmas Day. I’m worried about being hit by a flying pig. What are my chances? About the same as having my wifi “unable to cope”, I suspect. Of course, with rather more serious consequences (well, for the pig at least)! I can’t wait for April 1st, and hopefully some better jokes.

    I had previously considered moving to Zen. Not now, if this is an indication of how desperate they are for a bit of “good” publicity.

  7. Avatar Spurple says:

    I confirm that despite having a mesh wifi kit with simultaneous dual band, last Christmas, we had flaky wifi with a party of 8. The trouble started when we decided to run a shared youtube playlist over the chromecast. The underlying connection was more than adequate at 200mbps.

    Only enterprise access points appear to have a good ability to cope with multiple devices.

  8. Avatar Gary says:

    I wonder if they checked the respondents understanding, sadly for many WIFI=INTERNET. It would be funny but too many people think FTTC is FIBRE.

  9. Avatar stringypants says:

    Call me old fashioned but I think I’d be more worried about the central heating packing up or the oven, or, shock horror, the booze running out. Doesn’t bear thinking about.

    1. Avatar Richie Brian says:

      Stock up on booze, lots of booze, the higher the alcohol content the better. It’s a good fuel source for cooking and heating (cf- setting fire to Christmas pudding) if they break down, or you can just drink it directly, and then you won’t worry about anything else.

  10. Avatar beany says:

    I am worried more about how Santa got stuck in my chimney last year, i did not have the heart to tell the kids it was a bird so i blamed the fat man.

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