Few things are as annoying as an internet connection that starts slowing down, especially when you're streaming your favourite show or watching videos online. Studies show that internet speeds have increased in recent years, and the average speed is now around 23 Mbps. However, not everyone is able to enjoy these great speeds. If your broadband connection is a bit on the slow side, there are quite a number of ways to bring things up to speed. The whole point is to get as much speed as your internet service provider promised. The following are some of the factors that could be affecting your connection and tips on how to squeeze every last kilobit-per-second:
When troubleshooting the cause of slow speeds, it is important to first rule out your broadband package. To do this, go to your account to check how much speed you're paying for. Next, visit a website that helps you check internet speeds such as speedtest.net, and check your connection several times a day. Test the speed during the day when there is a lot of competition for bandwidth, as well as during the night when the competition is likely at its lowest.
The purpose of testing the speeds is to ensure that your internet is now slow because you're paying for slow internet. If this is the case, the only solution is to purchase a package with faster internet and more bandwidth.
Ensure your internet service provider has not capped your download limit. Most ISPs have a monthly usage allowance, and if you exceed the limits, your internet may become slower. Such providers simply reduce your speeds instead of charging you extra for exceeding this allowance. Your ISPs website should have all the details on their traffic management policies.
Not all broadband connections are created equal. The two main types of connections are ADSL and Fibre Optic
ADSL connection, also known as standard broadband, is a connection that uses a phone network to transmit data. The data is transmitted through copper cables from the company's nearest exchange to your home. Unfortunately, since this type of connection uses copper cables only, it is slower. The maximum speed that most companies promise is about 17 Mbps, though it is rare to find anyone who enjoys such fast connections. The broadband speed report by Ofcom suggests that most ADSL providers deliver an average speed of 8.4Mbps.
Fibre Optic broadband is a lot faster, as it can supply download speeds that are up to five times more than that of standard broadband connections. Instead of copper cables, this connection uses fibre optic cables, which are far more efficient. Broadband speed reports by Ofcom suggest that customers receive an average of 56.8Mbps.
There are two major types of fibre optic broadband connections: Fibre To The Cabinet, and Fiber To The Premises. With Fiber To The Cabinet (FTTC), fibre optic cables connect the exchange to what is known as a street cabinet. Slower cables then connect the street cabinet to the customer's home. Though this connection is slower than Fiber To The Premises, it is still notably faster than ADSL. Fibre To The Cable delivers the fastest possible speeds. With FTTP connections, the fibre optic cable runs straight to your door.
The type of connection you have will greatly influence your speeds. If you have the standard broadband connection, the only way to ensure your downloads are much faster is to upgrade to a fibre optic broadband connection.
Regardless of the type of connection you use, the speed will vary depending on how far you are from the telephone exchange. This problem mostly affects users in rural areas. Therefore, if strong internet connection is important to you, consider the location of a residential home or office when moving. This will save you any regrets due to slow internet.
Browsers are constantly updating their software to reduce the time it takes to surf the internet. If your browser hasn't been updated in a while, it could be the reason your internet speeds are so low. If your browser is constantly clunky, consider ditching it and downloading a whole new software. For example, people who use Internet Explorer will notice a significant increase in speed when they switch to Chrome or Firefox.
After updating your browser, try clearing your cache and disabling a few extensions. If there are too many add-ons, plugins, and extensions running, they could slow down your internet speeds.
Just like your phone or your laptop, your modem is a piece of tech that needs a bit of tender loving care to function properly. Your modem needs up-to-date firmware to run efficiently. Firmware updates also ensure security while fixing any bugs that could be affecting your connection speeds. You could also get an updated user interface, which may unlock new capabilities for you.
To update your firmware, you have to connect to the modem's web interface. To do this, you need the IP address of the modem on the home network. Your modem's user manual should have this information. Enter the IP address into your browser, sign into your account, and check the firmware number on the status page. Go to the manufacturer's page to check if this is the latest version. If not, download it and run it on your computer. Reboot your router and run a speed test to check if your broadband connection is faster. The best way to ensure you are always up-to-date is to set up the auto-update feature on your router.
Sometimes, the problem could be that your modem is old and worn out. Heat, as well as the constant conducting of modem components, can affect its speed. If your modem is more than a few years old, it may be time to replace it.
If you are using wireless connections, any type of interference can significantly affect your internet speeds. Place your router in an area where it will be affected with as few obstructions as possible. Keep it away from any item that emits wireless signals, such as your baby monitor. Make sure there are no barriers between your computer and the router, including walls and doors. Metals can also interfere with your router's wireless signals. The best position should be up high, such as, on a bookshelf.
Make sure your wireless network has a unique username and password. This is a great security move, as it helps keep unauthorised users from accessing your internet connection. It also ensures you are not unknowingly sharing your broadband connection with a neighbour, as this will slow down your internet speeds.
Your router settings could also affect your wireless signals and reduce your download speeds. Tweaking these settings a bit could help you make the most of your broadband connections. For starters, ensure that you and your neighbours are not on the same wireless channel. Adjusting your channel can help reduce drop speeds and interference for both of you. Your manual should have instructions on how to change these settings.
There are certain programs on your computer that may start running when you log in, consuming a lot of bandwidth without you even realising it. For example, Windows Update may start running if you have set it to do so automatically. Programs such as Skype could also take up a lot of your bandwidth. To check running applications in your computer, press Ctrl + Alt + Delete and select the task manager. Close any programs that are consuming unnecessary bandwidth to increase your internet speeds. If your speeds increase significantly, you can run these programs one by one to determine which one is taking up too much bandwidth.
Pesky viruses can greatly affect your internet speeds. This is because they also compete for bandwidth, slowing down your connection. Viruses can also cause your computer to slow down, which would make your internet seem slow. Make sure your antivirus is up-to-date to keep viruses out of your computer.
A lot of other devices use a broadband connection. You have to make sure that your television is not downloading new episodes, and your game console is not downloading new games or software updates. All these large downloads could make your broadband connection seem pretty slow.
A lot of people use extension cables to connect their routers. Unfortunately, these cables cause a lot of interference, which greatly impacts the speed of your connection. The best solution for this is to connect your modem or router directly to your phone socket. Use a long ethernet cable to connect your modem or router to your computer, as these cables do not degrade your connection speeds.
Devices connected to your telephone system could interfere with your broadband signal. This is why it is very important to ensure that all these devices, including your faxes, your phones, and your set top boxes are connected through a microfilter. If you are still experiencing problems, unplug all these devices and plug them back one by one to determine which one is the cause of the issue.
An I-Plate, or a broadband accelerator can help you make the most out of your broadband connection. This accelerator connects to your phone socket and removes any interference in there. This can result in a very positive effect on your connection. In some cases, an I-Plate can amp up your speeds by up to 60-percent.
Anything with a pump or a motor could interfere with your connection and make your internet slower. Try turning off devices around you to see if there is a difference. The best thing is to keep your modem or router away from electrical appliances. Research has shown that even Christmas lights and fluorescent lighting can interfere with broadband connections.
Invest in a wireless repeater to expand your network. This could help improve the range of your wireless connection, as it bounces the signals from a wider area. You can also buy a powerline adapter. This adapter uses the wiring in your home to send Wi-Fi signals. You can position a wireless hot-spot wherever you have a free plug socket. This option is one of the more expensive ones, but it is very efficient.
The Internet is usually slower when there is a lot of people surfing the web, and faster when fewer people are trying to access the internet. There is often a lot of traffic in the evenings, which means your internet connection will probably be slower at this time. However, between midnight and 1 a.m, traffic is usually at its lowest. If you need to download something important quickly, this could be the best times to do it. Traffic is also relatively lower during the day time.
If everything else fails, talk to your ISP provider to see if they could test a fault on your line. If there is a problem, you can ask them to fix it for you. You can also talk to them about your package to determine if you can get a better option that will meet your needs. If this does not work, the best option would be to switch to a different internet provider. Use an Ofcom-accredited comparison calculator to determine which are the best companies to work with.
Wireless connections are significantly slower than wired connections. This is because the signal is prone to interference. Thick walls in your home are a major problem. Security measures such as encryption also make wireless connections slower. Though you may not like to see cables running through your house, a wired connection is the best way to ensure faster broadband connections.
Slow internet connections can be quite frustrating, especially if you are trying to download something important or stream live videos. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to make the most of your broadband connections, from working with your ISP, to upgrading your hardware and software. Follow these tips, and you'll experience fast broadband connections that will allow you to truly enjoy the sites you visit.