A slow internet connection can ruin a lot of things: whether you are working, gaming or watching a movie. And today, a stable internet connection is not at all a luxury but an absolute necessity. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, most of our lives (work, education, entertainment, etc.) have moved into the online realm — and laggy internet can make a lot of things virtually impossible.
This is why, in today’s post we are looking into some of the most common causes of a slow internet connection — and what you can do to fix it.
Why does your internet get slow?
Today, it’s not only our computers that are using bandwidth. There are also our mobile devices, smart home products, gaming consoles, streaming services — and more. As we spend more time at home — and especially in larger households — the fight between all of these devices and internet services can create a whole range of connectivity issues. This includes connectivity drops, bottlenecks, laggy uploads and downloads and more.
Let’s look into some of these issues and possible solutions in a bit more detail
Contact your Internet Service Provider
You may have been using a low-cost subscription from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) — and it may have been enough. However, as your demands for bandwidth are growing, this may no longer work. You need a strong connection to manage a VPN, your selection of smart home devices, a remote work meeting on Zoom, project management apps, etc. Plus, with your family members using the internet as well, the pressure on your network can be way too much for what it can handle.
Thus, if you’ve noticed that your internet is getting laggy and buggy — the first thing you should check is the ISP package you are on. Generally, a minimum speed of 30Mbps is recommended when it comes to today’s internet speed requirements.
To check your internet speed, you can use online services like Speedtest.net or Fast.com.
If you are on a package of up to 30Mbps but are only getting internet speeds of 2 or 3Mbps, the problem may be with your Internet Service Provider. In this case, it will be worth checking with them directly and explaining your slow internet speed issue.
Take a look at your router
There are two types of hardware devices that can connect your home: a traditional router and a mesh network.
A traditional router serves as a central hub to link you to your ISP service. In this case, all your traffic is managed via one access point.
A mesh network, on the other hand, creates a web of nodes for internet access. Instead of having every device in your home connecting to a router, a mesh network includes a hub and nodes that can be placed in different areas of your home. Then, your devices that require an internet connection can get it by connecting to the closest node to access the web.
If you are using a traditional router offered by your Internet Service Provider, you need to know that the further you move away from the said router, the slower and more buggy your connection will get. The simplest solution in this case would be to just move your router or purchase a Wi-Fi extender to boost signal strength. Keep in mind that objects can also impede connections between your devices and a router — so, try to avoid clutter around your router.
If you have a large property or want to use the internet in your backyard or garden, this distance may simply not be serviceable by one centralized internet hub. In this case, simply moving your router closer won’t be able to solve the problem and you might want to consider using a mesh network instead.
While both options do provide reasonable internet speeds, a mesh network tends to sacrifice some speed for improved connectivity. So, if you need a direct high-speed connection for streaming, gaming, and power-hungry apps, it will be better to upgrade your standard router.
If your hardware is all up-to-speed and you are still suffering from slow internet, make sure to check your wiring. Wires are often overlooked when it comes to connectivity issues — but can actually be the cause of quite a few of them. If your wiring is old, consider replacing it.
Check for hijackers
If you have a generous internet subscription and all your hardware is in order but you are still having internet speed issues, there is a chance that someone may be hijacking your internet.
Most routers typically come with a randomized password, which has been set as default and printed on a sticker on your router. However, if you’ve changed your password to something simpler (and weaker) and are using an insecure protocol or have a Wi-Fi hotspot open, others could gain access to your network without your consent.
If you suspect that this may be the case, lock your connection to change your internet password. To do this, go to your router’s configuration page in a browser. You will need to enter your vendor’s specific router address use — run a Google search for your router type and you should find out the address you need to access router settings.
Use a less congested Wi-Fi channel
Wi-Fi channels make sending and receiving data easier. However, when you have too many connections, this may lead to bottlenecks that will slow down your broadband. Depending on your router, you may be able to switch to a less congested traffic path.
You can use a specialized app to quickly check your Wi-Fi channels for congestion. You can then go to your router’s configuration page and select the least congested path from the available options.
Check your VPN
A virtual private network (VPN) is a program that creates a private network from a public internet connection and lets you mask where your traffic is coming from. If you are working from home, your company may require you to use a VPN to access corporate resources. Or, you may need to use a VPN to gain access to services and websites that are blocked in your current location.
Whatever the case may be, using a VPN can be something that you need to do on a daily basis. However, using a VPN can also slow down your internet speed.
If this happens, a quick fix would be to switch to a different location option offered by your VPN. For instance, if you need your IP to be located in the US, consider trying Los Angeles instead of New York. Plus, not all VPN services are the same. If you’ve noticed significant connection issues when using your current VPN, consider switching to a different one and see if the speed issue gets resolved.
Run a malware scan
Another reason for why you may be experiencing slow internet speeds is that your system may be affected by malware. The imposter program on your PC can not only cause connectivity issues but also lead to more serious problems like data leaks and file damage. This is why is it strongly advised that you run regular malware checks on your PC and only download software from proven reputable sources.
Use a speed booster
Finally, if you’ve gone over all the fixes above and are still looking to improve your internet connection, consider using a specialized performance enhancing program like Auslogics BoostSpeed. BoostSpeed will start by running a quick scan of your system and locating all the potentially speed-reducing issues. It will then safely and efficiently remove unneeded applications and duplicate files, review your background processes, disable power-consuming startup applications and more to give your PC that much needed speed boost. As a result, you will be able to benefit from a faster running system and gigabytes of free space without investing in expensive hardware upgrades.