We all wish our internet connection could be faster, and while calling your Internet Service Provider to upgrade your plan may prove to be the easiest option, it is also the most expensive one. So, before you do that, try these tips to see if you can speed up your internet connection on your own.
Test your speed:
In order to prove that your strategies to speed up your internet connection are working, it’s important that you first run a speed test. You’ll be able to find several tools that can help you do this for free online. We personally recommend Speedtest.net, Fast.com, and even Google.
Make sure that you’re testing before and after at the same hours of the day and using the same service, so that you can be certain you’re getting the most accurate results. You also need to remember to turn off data-intensive activities, such as downloads, music or video streaming, and online games before you run any tests. Otherwise you will get a much lower speed.
Once you have the speed results, compare them with the speed you should be getting as advertised by your service provider. Although real world internet speeds don’t usually match perfectly to the one’s your ISP says you’re paying for, it shouldn’t be too big of a difference, especially during off-peak hours.
Turn off unused or extra internet-connected devices:
The more devices you have connected to your router, the slower your connection will be. Therefore, if you have multiple phones, tablets, computers, smart TVs or home devices and video game consoles sharing your home network, you can be certain they’re all sucking up bandwidth even if they’re idle. This is because many devices can be set to automatically download and install updates, which can significantly reduce your internet connection without you even noticing it.
In order to stop unused devices from sucking up your bandwidth, shut them down entirely or at least turn off their Wi-Fi connection when you’re not using them.
Find a better placement for your wireless router:
Routers work by sending radio signals outward in every direction, however, these signals come with a high frequency and a relatively short range, meaning they’re most likely not covering every part of your home or can even be slowed down and get blocked by objects that are in the way, therefore reducing your internet speed.
In order to solve this, relocating your router to a place that’s closer to where you mainly use your internet and keeping it away from corners and objects such as doors, TVs, etc., can help speed up your internet connection.
If this isn’t possible, purchasing equipment, such as a Wi-Fi repeater or range extender, can help extend your router’s range, helping you maintain your internet speed when you are farther away from your router.
Check for unwanted guests:
Keeping a tight router password is important as it helps you avoid unwanted guests who may be latching on to your internet connection without you even noticing it, and therefore, significantly reducing your speed.
If your connection is unsecured, immediately add a password and then browse your router’s connection logs to determine who is currently or has been connected to your home’s wifi. It can be useful to then add names to your devices so you can be certain who’s logged in, and if there’s ever unrecognizable devices connected you can either block them – if your router gives you that option – or simply change the password for a stronger one.
Reboot your router:
Your wireless router catches information and holds memory and background processes just as a computer does, so resetting it from time to time can be an easy way to get it back to a fresh start and speed up your internet connection.
In order to do so, you’ll simply have to remove your router’s power cord, wait 15 to 30 seconds, and then turn it back on.
Pick a different Wi-Fi channel
If you’re seeing a lot of other networks on your devices when connecting to your home Wi-Fi, picking a Wi-Fi channel that offers less interference will help you easily speed up your internet connection.
Most routers will simply pick an available channel automatically, which may not be the most efficient or least crowded. As a solution, check your routers’ settings because it should allow you to manually change the channel it’s broadcasting on, and run speed tests after each try to see which one makes the most difference.
Use a wired connection:
If your devices are placed close to your wireless router, a quick fix to speed up your internet connection can be using a wired ethernet connection whenever possible, as this will speed things up significantly while also saving bandwidth in your Wi-Fi network for other devices.
You can also try connecting directly to your modem instead of your wireless router, as this usually shows better results.
Be mindful of your software
Check your computer’s task manager to see if there’s anything that’s using up more internet speed than it should be while running in the background. If you’re a Windows user, launching the Task Manager (Ctrl+Alt+Del) can help you view a list of all running processes, while the Network column will show you which of them are using your network connection so you can eliminate anything that’s not needed. On a Mac, the Activity Monitor serves the same purpose.
If there are any process names you don’t recognize, conducting an internet search will quickly let you know whether you need that app or not.
Keep an eye out for malware and viruses as they can be the source of unwanted network activity, especially on Windows. Remember to run a virus scan regularly to keep yourself protected.
Also, if your computer tends to be slow, limiting the number of tabs you keep open on your browser can help speed up your internet connection. On mobile devices, especially on older ones, Opera Mini can deliver faster speeds.
If all the above fail, update your equipment!
If you’re still dealing with super slow internet connections or simply haven’t seen a significant change after implementing all of these tips, then it may be time to upgrade and get a new computer, modem, or router, as old devices can be the cause of slow speeds.
If your router is more than 5 years old, there’s a great chance that it’s not up to the newest Wi-Fi standards, hence why you’re getting slower speeds than you should be. The same can happen for an old computer, smartphone, or gaming system. While new devices can usually support older wireless standards, old equipment will never work with a standard that didn’t exist before its manufacturing.
When to call your service provider
If, after trying all of these tips, you’re still experiencing slow connections, then there’s a great chance it’s not your fault. In this scenario, contacting your service provider and letting them know about your findings will be necessary, especially if the internet speeds you’re getting are significantly lower than what you’re supposedly paying for.
Letting your ISP know you’re unhappy with the service and threatening to leave if they’re not being receptive should do the trick. However, always consider the option of going to another provider if you’re still not getting a good enough speed.