There are few things as frustrating as a slow Internet connection, especially when you are paying a good amount to your Internet Service Provider and you are still getting a sluggish download speed and slow navigation on your webpages. There are many factors that affect the way to connect to the Internet and this is especially true when you have a WiFi home router. The purpose of this guide is to help you troubleshoot your own connection before having to contact your ISP and to allow you to take charge and discard any type of issue that can be fixed at your level before you know for sure, that the issue is outside of your control.
In a later article, we will discuss some of the best modems and routers that have come out in the last year, just in case you are looking to upgrade your equipment or if you discover that the hardware is to blame for your slow connection. For more great articles on tips and tricks for fixing your home connections, the best apps and the coolest hardware, check out our entries at Donald Burns Blog.
Check your current speed.
There are many websites you can use to check your Internet speed. One we recommend is speedtest.net because it is reliable and easy to use. We need to do a quick check and make sure that the speed you are getting is the same speed you are paying for.
First, you should do the check with your computer plugged directly to your modem using an Ethernet cable to make sure what is the true speed of the device and compare it to what you are supposed to be getting. After that, you can go ahead and do the speed test using Wi-Fi. Make sure you do the test in different areas of the house so you can pinpoint the places where you get the least coverage.
Checking your Internet speed can help us identify a few problems from the beginning. If the Wi-Fi download speeds you are getting are significantly slower than your wired speeds, then you may have the wrong type of Wi-Fi router. Some routers are not able to deliver the same speeds wirelessly as they do with a wired connection. In that case, you have to make a choice of either changing the modem or adding a router that can deliver faster Wi-Fi. The second option is probably less expensive and it can be used later to configure your connection differently in case you need to.
Your plan may be the problem
If the numbers are fine but you still feel like you are getting a slow connection then you may have just outgrown your plan. It happens a lot that we can start with a plan that seems good enough at the time, but as technology advances, video quality becomes better, apps more complex and webpages more immersive; at that point, our old plans just don’t cut it anymore. You may need to make a change to your current Internet plan to a faster download speed that better suits your needs.
Troubleshoot your hardware
Restart your modem by unplugging it from the wall for about one minute. Most of the time this fixes the problem. You can also restart your computer in order to free up resources, especially if you are one of those that prefers to put your machine in sleep mode when you are not using it.
Strengthen your signal
If the problem is with your Wi-Fi signal, then you may fix this by repositioning your router. Remember the signal travels down and away from the device in all directions. This means that the best position for your router is the middle of your home and as high as possible above the floor. Try to place your router in a room where the distance to all other rooms is roughly the same. Good positioning can help you get rid of all of those signal “dead spots” we identified in step 1. If your modem has antennas, then you should put one sticking up vertically and the other one completely horizontal. Antenna positioning ensures the signals travel in every direction and reach your devices better. There are also some DIY devices that can help your antennas boost their signals; some can even be made using a soda can.
Has it happened to you that right when you want to take a hot shower, someone else is using up all the hot waters? The same can happen with your Wi-Fi signal. Are you or someone in your house downloading movies, playing online games or streaming music at the moment? This activity can seriously slow down your connection if you don’t have enough bandwidth. Is your Wi-Fi password something so easy to guess that perhaps even your neighbors are using your connection to get online themselves? Creating a strong password can solve most problems and thus make sure you are the only one using the “hot water”.