Slow internet? Here are the possible reasons why and how to fix them





If you suffer from slow internet speeds at home, these could be the reasons – and here’s how you can improve your connection.

Stable internet at home is no longer necessary just to keep in touch with family and friends or to be entertained, as working from home has become a permanent reality for many of us in the workforce due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bandwidth is now demanded not only by our PCs, but also by our mobile devices, Internet of Things (IoT) products, the virtual private network (VPN) services we need to access business resources, smart TVs , game consoles and streaming services, including Amazon Prime and Netflix. With so many of us spending a significant amount of time at home, especially when there are several people in the same building, the struggle for capacity can lead to a host of connectivity issues.

Also: How to optimize your network for remote working and learning

Connection issues, bottlenecks, slowed content streaming and downloads, and slow speeds are all common problems with home internet services – and it may not be your carrier’s fault.

Below, we explore common reasons why your internet might be slow — and how to fix them.

Bandwidth Limits, Restriction

A low-cost plan from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) may once have served you well to check your email every now and then or watch YouTube videos at home. Now, if you need a connection that can manage VPNs, your smart home devices, a remote Microsoft Teams work meeting, all while one child uses Zoom to attend a virtual class and the other simultaneously gaming, if you have constant speed problems, this is the first thing to think about.

Before examining your hardware, make sure you have a package that can handle the current range of devices and their bandwidth demands. As noted by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols of ZDNet, a minimum speed of 30 Mbps is recommended. While many areas are only served by cable connections, if fiber is available this should provide better speeds.

Also see: Slow Wi-Fi? 8 Ways to Speed ​​Up Your Home Office Network

Your ISP may have restricted your service if you are deemed to be using too much bandwidth. If that’s the case, you’ll need to call them to resolve the issue — and perhaps renegotiate your contract or switch providers entirely.

What is my speed?

If you’re already using a package like fiber and there’s no reason why you’re experiencing slow internet speeds because of what you’re paying for, visit Speedtest.net or Fast.com for a real-time analysis of your connection.

These free services ping and monitor your download and upload speeds as shown below:

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If you pay for a package up to 30 Mbps and only receive speeds of, say, 2 or 3 Mbps, there may be a problem with your ISP.

At this point, it’s worth checking with your provider to see if there’s an outage in the area – an easy way to do this is to enter your ISP’s name and “outage” into a search engine. or to visit their website. You can also ask one or two neighbors if they have any problems.

Blinking lights on your router can also indicate a problem outdoors, such as with cables or junction boxes.

However, if it’s only a specific online service that you’re having trouble with, go to Down for All or Just Me, type in the address and check if your slow or failed connection to a domain is a third-party problem or outage. Sometimes being unable to access web domains isn’t your service, but rather ISPs or Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), like when Fastly made large areas of the internet inaccessible due to a June outage.

Also: Best Internet Speed ​​Tests: The Five Tests We Trust

Reset your router

Sometimes the simplest explanation is the correct one. If your speed suffers, try unplugging your router, leaving it off for about 10 seconds, and rebooting. Just as a PC sometimes needs a refresh, routers sometimes do too.

Location, location, location

There are two general categories of hardware used to connect your home: a traditional router or a mesh network (unless you rely on a mobile device and a 3G/4G/5G mobile configuration).

Traditional routers act as a central hub to connect you to your ISP service. These routers manage traffic through a single access point.

Also: Mesh Networks vs. Traditional Wi-Fi Routers: Which Is Best for Your Home Office?

In comparison, mesh networks are a more modern entrant to the market that creates a web of nodes for Internet access. Instead of each home device connecting to one router, these products include a hub and nodes that can be spread across different parts of your home — and devices will connect to the closest node to access the Internet.

If you’re using traditional hardware, such as a standard router from your ISP, keep in mind that the further away you are, the greater the risk of connection problems, slow speeds, and outages. An easy solution is to move your router — perhaps closer to your home office — or invest in a Wi-Fi extender to boost signal strength.

Objects can also hinder connections between your devices and a router. If possible, try to keep the clutter around your router to a minimum.

However, larger properties or home offices in a yard or yard simply cannot be served by one centralized internet node. If so, moving your router isn’t enough and it may be time to consider a mesh network.

In this regard, both categories can offer reasonable speeds, but mesh networks tend to sacrifice some speed for improved connectivity. If you need instant, high-speed connections for streaming, gaming, and power-hungry work applications, upgrading to your default router is a worthwhile investment and will likely outperform a mesh setup. The default router usually provided by an ISP may not be able to mitigate the increased demand for bandwidth in today’s homes.

There’s also no point in taking out a high-speed internet plan if your old hardware doesn’t support it. So you should also take the age of your router into account if you have problems with low speeds.

Also see:

Check your wiring

Something that might be overlooked but could cause connection or speed issues is the wiring connecting your router to a switch, phone jack, or PC. If your wires are old, consider renewing them and replacing older ADSL/Ethernet wires and see if this solves the problem.

piggyback?

If you’re experiencing slow speeds, it could be because someone else is hijacking your internet plan. Routers usually come with a random password set by default and printed on a sticker on your router, but if you’ve changed your password to something weak, are using an insecure protocol, or have a Wi-Fi hotspot open, it could indicate that others use your network without your permission.

To lock your connection or change your password, go to your router’s configuration page in a browser. You’ll need to check your vendor’s specific router address usage – which is usually similar to 192.168.0.1 – or do a Google search with your router type and it should yield the address you need to access router settings and block unwanted users. .

Crowded channels

Wi-Fi channels make it easier to send and receive data. Having too many connections can cause a bottleneck that slows down your broadband. Depending on the channels your router uses, you may be able to switch to less congested traffic paths.

There are several Android and iOS apps that allow you to easily analyze your Wi-Fi channels and see which devices are connected to your network. To change channels, log in to your router’s configuration page and select from the available options.

A slow VPN

A virtual private network (VPN) is software that adds a layer of encryption to connections between your device and servers, masking your IP address. With many of us working from home, offices may require you to use a VPN to access company resources in the name of security.

As a paying customer, you can subscribe to a VPN or opt for a free service. Paid options are usually faster, but can still slow down your internet because you’re using a relay for traffic – and if the VPN service is used during peak hours, there can also be congestion.

Also: Best VPN Services for 2021: Secure and Fast Aren’t Free

A quick fix is ​​often to try another location option offered by your VPN; For example, London users set up on a server in New York can try to use a different server in the UK. Also, not all VPNs are created equal and there can be significant differences between the speeds offered.

Free VPNs are generally not recommended, as there is always a tradeoff in exchange for free access – be it in terms of security, your personal data or speed. If you are using a free VPN option and the slow speed is unbearable, consider signing up for a paid service.

Our current top picks are ExpressVPN, Surfshark, and NordVPN.

Read more:

Malware and nuisance

Another reason why your internet may be slow may not have anything to do with your hardware or ISP. If your computer is infected with malware, such as annoying software, the program may limit its overall performance by taking up memory reserves. Just to be sure, run an antivirus scan.

Also see:

Check your background usage

Some mobile apps and PC programs with high resource or streaming requirements can take up bandwidth you otherwise need without realizing it. Close any software you don’t need running.

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