Internet speed frustrations show up in a few different ways. It could be buffering while watching your favorite streaming channel, continuous lag while gaming, or webpages that never load. Whatever the issue, slow Internet speeds can have a heavy impact on your online activities.
Even with the fastest connection speeds coming into your house, you might experience slowdowns.
Luckily, there are several tips and tricks available to help you speed up your Internet connection, and this is exactly what we will cover here.
How to Test Your Current Internet Speed
Before attempting to improve your Internet speed, it’s best to check your current speed first. Doing this is simple, and there are several websites that will perform this function for free. While there are many options, one of the most popular ones is speedtest.net.
Once the test is completed, you will be presented with three metrics upon which your speed is judged:
You may have heard of these terms, and while most people have a vague idea of what these terms mean, many don’t know how to interpret the results.
Download: Download refers to the pulling or receiving of information from external sources. Download speed measures how quickly you're able to load items such as a web page or a movie from a streaming site.
Upload: Upload in the inverse of download, and measures how quickly you’re able to send data to external sources. An example of this would be sending photos or videos to a friend.
Ping: Also referred to as latency, ping measures the amount of time (in milliseconds) that it takes to send a request and receive a response
10 Ways to Increase Your Internet Speed
Once you find out what your current Internet connection speed is, you’ll be able to compare it to the limit provided by your current Internet package. If you find that it is significantly lower, there are a few steps you can take to speed it up.
In the section below, we will look at ten simple and effective tricks everyone can use to speed up their Internet connection.
1. Reset Your Modem
Your modem is a small computer that is responsible for connecting computers and other devices to the Internet. Just like any other computer, problems can often arise, resulting in slower Internet speeds or lack of connectivity altogether.
Although there is no shortage of problems that could occur, more times than not, poor Internet speed is linked to one of three problems, all of which can be fixed by restarting the modem.
Standard Crashes: Like any computer, your modem runs on firmware that is liable to bugs and memory use issues.
IP Address Conflict: Modems manage both private and public IP addresses and it is not uncommon for the internal computer to mix them up.
Overheating: As with any piece of technology, overheating is always an issue, especially if left in an enclosed space.
2. Buy A Newer Router
If the modem is the access point between your ISP and your home Internet connection, then your router is the connection between your modem and electronic devices, such as computers, tablets, and smartphones. In some ways, it can be thought of as a dispatcher, as it chooses the best route for incoming and outgoing information to travel.
However, not all routers are created equal, and some offer much better connection speeds than others. If you have an older router, and you find yourself experiencing lower than ideal Internet speeds, it might be time to upgrade the router.
3. Purchase A Faster Internet Package
Internet service providers offer different plans, all which come with different bandwidth limitations. In some areas, the lowest available packages offer very low Mbps, meaning anyone attempting to do more than two bandwidth heavy processes at once may be disappointed to find their network simply does not have the juice to handle everything.
This is especially true when two or more people, sharing the same network, are trying to stream movies or play online video games. If this sounds like your situation, the only option is to upgrade your internet package.
4. Scan for Viruses and Malware
Sometimes, viruses and malware can install programs that use your computer's resources to perform operations without you even knowing.
In some instances, such as cryptocurrency mining, these operations can take up a fair chunk of your bandwidth, leaving you with a poorly performing Internet connection. To avoid this, you should run regular virus and malware checks.
5. Change the Location of Your Router
WiFi routers provide Internet by emitting a signal, most commonly between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, which can then be picked up by devices outfitted with the capacity to receive and interpret said signal. However, like any frequency, dense materials like metal and concrete can weaken it or impede its travel altogether.
If you’re experiencing a weak WiFi signal, and you find your router has been placed near or behind a concrete wall or central column, moving it to a more open space is likely to improve the signal quality.
6. Replace Old Modem/Router Cables
Like anything, the cables connecting your router and modem can become old and deteriorate. When this happens, the rate of information transfer is greatly reduced, and can cause a slowdown in Internet speeds.
It is important to note that just because a cable looks intact from the outside doesn't mean it’s not damaged on the inside. Within the plastic coating, each Ethernet cable contains eight wires braided into four pairs. If two or more of these wires is damaged it can result in incomplete data transfer and a slower connection.
7. Stop Background Processes/Downloads
Some programs and applications run data expensive background processes that can eat up bandwidth and significantly reduce Internet speed. A good example of this is a BitTorrent client, which can send and receive data at speeds of several Mbps. On top of this, some applications and programs are constantly sending or receiving information or may even be in the middle of updating.
A good way to check which programs are running in the background is via the task manager, which can be accessed by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Delete. Once the task manager menu comes up, you will see seven tabs, the first of which is called processes. Although the processes tab won’t tell you how much bandwidth each program is consuming, it will give you an idea of what's currently open and some ideas of which programs to close.
8. Remove External Interference
Many different electronic devices and household items can cause interference with your wireless WiFi signal. Common culprits of this are Bluetooth devices, cellular phone towers, baby monitors, and even large power sources.
Over the last decade, WiFi routers have become increasingly better at identifying and filtering out signal noise, but this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t still occur. If all other attempts at improving your connection speed have failed, it may be worth turning off devices that could be potentially interfering with your WiFi signal.
9. Change the WiFi Channel
Although WiFi technology has come a long way, sustainable and consistent Internet speed is still a problem that plagues many users. This has prompted some people to play around with their WiFi settings, hoping to achieve faster and more consistent connection speeds.
Anyone who has done this has undoubtedly come across the word ‘channels’, which is the medium through which a router can send and receive information. On the standard 2.4 GHz router, there are only 3 non-overlapping channels, 1, 6, and 11.
When you set up your router, the setup process automatically chooses one of these three channels depending on what it deems to be the best option at that moment. The router usually does a good job at selecting the optimal channel but, like all technology, it is not perfect and sometimes one of the other two non-overlapping channels may provide a faster connection.
10. Change to A Lightweight Browser
Some browsers consume significantly more resources than others, and for those who have limited bandwidth, this could play a role in what Internet speed they receive.
Most people are familiar with a handful of web browsers, including FireFox, Chrome, and Microsoft Edge, but not many others, and you might be surprised to find out that there are tons of different browsers to choose from.
When it comes to reducing bandwidth usage, there are two web browsers that come to mind, Opera and Brave. Opera was built with the intention of being a lightweight browser and offers a built in adblocker and crypto wallet. The second option, Brave, was built with privacy in mind, meaning it blocks many different tracker and crawler bots that would otherwise send private information to third parties. By blocking these programs, not only does it keep your information safe but it saves on bandwidth as well.
As we spend more and more time online, having fast Internet becomes increasingly important. What was once considered a luxury, is now seen as a necessity and a slow connection can be both annoying and frustrating.
Luckily, in most cases, a slow Internet can often be fixed by following one or more of the tricks listed above. If you have tried everything, and you still can’t get your Internet up to an acceptable speed, it may be time to call your ISP and have them examine your Internet connection (the lines coming into your home, your modem and router, etc.) in person.
If you’re looking for consistent, reliable fast Internet speeds, even at peak times, we offer Home High-Speed Internet up to 100Mbps. No data caps, no complicated contracts - just fast, reliable Internet. Click here to find out more.