1. Are You Over Your Data Usage?
Everyone knows that a slow internet connection is the worst! It can disrupt most of your day, particularly if you want to spend it on social media, gaming or streaming and watching videos. If you’re really struggling with your internet speed, here are a few ways you can try and speed up the connection and improve your experience.
Does your service package come with a data cap? How much did you binge on Netflix again? Are you sure 100% sure you have enough data left? You can check it by logging in to your account on the ISP website, checking their app if you have or by calling them. If there’s no data left, that could explain your sluggish speeds. You can contact your ISP to see if adding unlimited data to your internet plan is an option or just wait it out and be careful next month.
Always take a look at the advertised speeds for your package and read the fine print. Usually, the maximum possible speed of your package is advertised, but it doesn’t mean you will always get it. Providers often mention that there are a variety of reasons your internet is slow and during peak times it can be worse. Peak times are generally after typical dinner time from 5 to 9pm.
Also, double-check on the status of your internet provider to check there isn’t an outage or technical issue they’re dealing with.
Several times a year your ISP might run promos that will let you get much better speeds for a lower price, so check whether they have a deal for you. You can also shop around at other providers to see if they offer better rates and prices in your area. Some even offer a buyout for your existing contract if you make the switch. For example: Spectrum has a contract buyout promotion running right now.
If your speeds drop but you don’t have a cap and you have a sweet no-contract deal, you might want to look for devices that are hogging that bandwidth.
Many devices will automatically start updates when connected to Wi-Fi (or cabled connections) so check these haven’t started downloading the latest Windows patch update. You can postpone them for now and even schedule all of your updates for a particular time in the future.
Wi-Fi won’t cover every area of your home with the same signal strength (unless you invest in mesh tech) so find the best place for your wireless router to give you the strength you want in the places you need.
Avoid hiding your router in ‘pretty’ boxes for aesthetics as you’re immediately reducing signal strength. Instead, choose a Wi-Fi spot close to your devices, in your office, or the main user area.
If you have to cover a larger area or have “dead spots” where Wi-Fi barely reaches in your home, invest in some range extenders. These offer a boost to give you better coverage and come in Wi-Fi and cabled options.
For the fastest speeds and best connection quality (as well as lowest ping and latency numbers, for gamers), hardwired connections are the way to go.
If you game a lot, keep your gaming consoles and PCs on hardwired connections verses Wi-Fi can reduce signal strength issues almost immediately.
Sometimes connection issues can simply be caused by faulty or loose cables. Inspect all of them and replace them regularly, particularly if you have a long cable route or pets as it is more likely for them to get damaged.
Usually, every ISP has its own dedicated DNS servers but sometimes these can have service disruptions. While they are usually temporary, they can still cause outages and very poor internet connection. Try switching to Google’s public DNS servers instead. If that fixes it, then you can stick with those.
The somewhat annoying question of “Did you try turning it off and on again?” is there for a reason. A simple reset often helps a variety of problems so unplug your modem and router, wait 3-8 seconds and then turn it back on. This gives your devices a chance to try again.
If you have your own router or even one leased from your ISP, it might simply be too old to deliver the speeds that are available now. Invest in newer models – DOCSIS 3.0 or better – to have the right technology to handle higher speeds.
From router firmware to computer OS and software, all of them will perform best when you keep them up to date. Updates and patches might be annoying, but they are there for a reason. Usually, they aim to fix performance and security issues! Your underperforming connection might just be a case of a patch not yet applied.
Malware can disrupt your devices in lots of ways, and sometimes it will hog your network resources to do its own thing, plus many can spy on you and what you’re doing. Install a decent anti-virus or anti-malware to your computer and schedule an automatic scanning to occur regularly.
If you don’t have many devices in your home but your network is still using a lot of bandwidth, you could also have a stowaway on your network. Uninvited users can hog your bandwidth and have the potential to access your devices and data that way too! Always make sure you set a Wi-Fi password and get a router with decent encryption to avoid this. It might just be your neighbors trying to use your Wi-Fi but it could also be more nefarious. You can check this fairly easily by checking your router’s app.
For those who use satellite internet, it’s often simply an issue of having something obstructing the dish from communicating well with the satellite in orbit. Check there’s no fallen leaves getting stuck or birds trying to nest on your dish. Also, make sure it’s still in the right position as severe weather can move it. Like your Wi-Fi router, your satellite dish is less effective with obstructions so keep an eye out for things that could cause a problem.
The best approach towards improving your internet speed is to check for the most common causes and do a little bit of housekeeping on your devices and network.