In this day and age, we all have the need for online speed.
Most internet providers go to great lengths to satisfy it. Alas, every now and then things start moving at a sluggish pace. This problem has been aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has sparked a surge in at-home internet usage.
To make it more complicated, there’s never a single obvious answer to the question of “why is my internet slow”. Everything from your modem/router to a sneaky neighbor is a plausible suspect. But, you don’t want to bark up the wrong tree.
Here is how to run a smart investigation and get to the bottom of the issue.
Test the Online Waters
Before you start raising hell, run the speed test.
There’s no shortage of websites that allow you to do this. You can go wrong with popular services like Speedtest.net. They allow you to quickly establish how you’re performing.
So, halt any downloads, uploads, and streaming processes. Then, compare the result with what’s promised in your internet plan. A slight deviation isn’t a reason for concern, while a considerable discrepancy is.
There are several troubleshooting steps you can take in the latter case.
First off, it makes sense to narrow down the list of possible causes. You can do it by checking whether you have a problem with multiple devices and websites.
Namely, if just one website is slow, it’s not a problem at your end. In the event every website lags, then you can draw the opposite conclusion.
It’s the same thing with devices.
Try using a different one and see how that changes things. If it does, then you have a hardware or software issue with one of your devices.
Reboot the Modem/Router
The slowness that plagues multiple devices and websites can be harder to resolve.
In other words, it’s probably a network/internet connection problem with a multitude of possible causes. We would recommend you first restart your modem and router.
These devices are sometimes stuck in an overloaded, slow-moving state. A simple reboot can fix that, as well as a handful of other internet speed problems. Just make sure to wait 10 seconds between unplugging and then plugging the device back in.
If you have a combined unit (modem and router), you just have one device to reboot. It could take a few minutes before the connection is restored to former glory.
Furthermore, it’s worth assessing how saturated your connection is.
Most households/offices have at least several devices connected to the internet. When their users are streaming or downloading, that weighs the connection down for everyone.
Therefore, talk with people you share the space with. Perhaps you’re just all doing something speed-demanding at the same time. This is almost an everyday reality for some in the current, pandemic-stricken world.
Another thing to do is to see whether your router has a Quality of Service (QoS) feature. It enables efficient distribution of bandwidth to multiple devices.
Oversaturation is less likely to occur even when multiple users stream or download.
Changing DNS Server
When you’re cursing online, your computer regularly has to establish contact with DNS servers.
They “tell” the device what the correct IP address to associate with is. The problem, however, is some providers use DNS servers that are less-than-speedy.
And when this default option isn’t satisfactory, you can switch it. And don’t worry; you don’t have to pay anything extra. OpenDNS and GoogleDNS are quite popular and they tend to improve browsing times.
There are just a few steps to perform here.
Go to the “Network and Sharing Center” and select “Change Adapter Settings”. In the “Network Connections” window you need right click on your internet connection.
Open properties of Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4). Finally, type the IP address of the new DNS server.
Tackling Wi-Fi Woes
Another possibility to explore is that your Wi-Fi signal is poor.
This situation resembles an issue when your internet connection is experiencing an issue, as it affects all the devices on location. However, it stems from different sources.
For example, it could be that the airways are literally congested. This happens when there are too many connected devices and your Wi-Fi struggles to service them.
It’s a common occurrence in densely-packed urban areas with 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi solutions. They support fewer devices than 5 GHz counterparts. Check which one you have.
If you still haven’t figured out the problem, seek other culprits. Wi-Fi can falter due to a dead zone or something else interfering with the signal.
Speaking of which, consider amplifying the signal and accelerating your Wi-Fi. Covering a larger home/office isn’t a problem as long as your provider and tech setup is up to the task.
In general, mesh Wi-Fi systems with multiple base stations are superior in terms of range.
Pick up the Phone
Every now and then, something happens that is beyond your problem-solving abilities.
A cable connecting your property to the ISP might be damaged and in desperate need of repair. Other pieces of equipment can malfunction too.
When faced with such issues, get in touch with your provider and report the problem. It might be able to fix it remotely or by sending technicians your way. At the very least, it should pin down the cause and address it down the road.
And if nothing seems to work, you should ponder upgrading network infrastructure or your internet plan. Yes, it’s an extra expense, but better than then being locked in the slow internet prison, right?
Before you make any decisions though, educate yourself some more.
This article from Shentel Business offers a comprehensive overview of elements that make or break internet speed. You get familiar with terms such as bandwidth, fiber optics, and DLS. Read it and you’ll be a lot wiser in dealing with lethargic internet.
Why Is My Internet Slow? The More You Know!
Coping with slow internet is up there with the most dreaded challenges of today.
The good news is we don’t have to accept this lousy state of affairs. So, stop merely obsessing with the question of “why is my internet slow” and take action. Come up with a set of troubleshooting tactics.
Uncover the culprit behind laggard internet, be it your router maxing out or the provider not pulling the weight. Get the speed you’re paying for and keep on surfing smoothly.
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