Why is My Internet So Slow?
It’s one of the most frustrating things we have all experienced. You grab your tablet, sit down to watch a youtube video on how to properly caramelize onions and you wait….and wait….and wait…watching the spinning wheels spin on your screen for what seems like forever and ever as you try to assist your device by slapping it or banging it violently against the kitchen table, wasting away precious moments that could be spent mastering the delicate art of a fine French onion soup!
So if slow internet is bogging you down, hopefully the following list will start to help explain a few of the main reasons why things aren’t going your way:
1) When in doubt reboot!
Rebooting equipment like wireless routers is a great way to give them a break, take a load off, have a mini-vacation. When they return (30 seconds to 1 minute later) they should be refreshed and ready to undertake the work of getting your household the WiFi it needs! One thing to remember when rebooting electronic devices like routers, is to actually give a second – ie leave it powered down for at least 30 seconds, a minute is even better - for best results. It’s surprising how something as minor as a reboot can have such an effect, but the results speak for themselves.
2) Connection Iffy
Wireless network are susceptible to all kinds of issues – thick walls, expansive spaces, reflective surfaces, microwaves, and devices connected to the network with their own weak and failing wifi capability, or even devices that should be on 5Ghz when you are on 2.4Ghz, or vice versa should be on 2.4Ghz when you are on 5Ghz. These are just SOME of the MANY reasons your WiFi might be slow or getting bogged down. But all is not lost. By weeding out the middle man (the router) – and connecting directly to the source by using a physical ethernet cable connection between your device and the modem or POE -you can rule out all of the potential problems with the wifi and get much more accurate sense of how fast the Internet is actually running.
3) It Might be Time for a router Upgrade.
Like everything in life, all things are not created equally. This goes for houses, cars, computers, online cooking videos, etc. Routers are no exception. The cheap refurbished one you picked up for $20 or found in an old box in the attic, is not the same thing as a more expensive model (be careful overspending on a router as well, if you live in a 400 Sq foot tiny home, an $800 dollar meshed wifi system with multiple access points is probably not the solution for you!). Realistically, a decently rated mid-range router by a recognized quality manufacturer is a good place to start. If you have a larger home, greater streaming demands on more devices then a model with more bells and whistles like range (think how far the wifi is broadcast) and speeds is for you. And if your router is so old the manufacturers' sticker is written in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics then get to the nearest store and pick up a current model.
We offer a managed Wifi router experience that will take care of this issue for you.
4) Need a better plan
Slow speeds might be a clue that It could be time for a bigger better internet package from your internet service provider. Think about how many devices are connected to your home network? And what is each devices trying to do online? Maybe that 5 or 10 Mbps plan was good enough for checking out the odd onion video, but it’s 2020, now everyone in the house wants to watch their own onion video; in High Definition; at the same time. OK, maybe that’s overstating it a bit but you get the gist. But high demand activities like streaming video in high quality on multiple devices are demanding tasks that require a larger speed package.
5) The Router Might be Overwhelmed
Tying into the previous two points, this one deserves it’s own mention. Consider how many devices are connecting to your home wifi network on a regular basis. More devices connecting regularly and placing some kind of load on the network will require more robust routers. Don’t underestimate your wifi demands after spending 6 months wages on phones, tablets and multiple streaming services for every member of the household. If you have a lot of people on a lot of devices connecting to your home WiFi network you will need a faster router. Take a look at our Managed wifi Router and see if you would like to get the best in class Wifi for your home.
6) WiFi in a bad spot
Think of your router like a canary or a hamster or a dog or cat, it wants to breathe, be out in the open with you and the rest of the family. Don’t it under the bed, desk, closet, basement, safety deposit box refrigerator etc. Place your router centrally in the house so that each device has an equal shot at a strong signal. Not doing so can greatly inhibit your router’s ability to provide consistent, reliable speeds. We offer in home setup for our Managed wifi router to ensure that you have the optimal placement.
WiFi is broadcast over radio frequency. So are a lot of other things. Cordless home phones and microwave ovens to name a couple. This ends up being a frequent cause of poor wifi in the home. Resolving it can be tricky and requires a little bit of extra effort, but apps like WiFi Analyzer are great at isolating interference on your home network. Resolving interference related issues may be as simple as changing the WiFi channel on your router but can end up in a literal witch hunt replete with wild accusations flying at everything from the toaster to the printer. Stick with it though. Simply power off suspected sources of interference and then check performance. You might be pleasantly surprised (eventually).
8) Background Programs Devouring Precious Bandwidth
Like a hungry predator, background programs are lurking in the shadows ready to gobble up whatever bandwidth is available. So before you throw your hands up in defeat with slow wifi, check to see if some wayward applications are secretly working against you. This process can be fairly involved but here is a link to a pretty great article on how to track down delinquent bandwidth eating programs.
9) You might have a virus
It’s the dreaded thought that we all try hard to push out of our minds …….maybe I have a virus. A computer virus. And while they are incredibly inconvenient, viruses are a reality and have a nasty habit of dragging down speeds and overall performance. A common misconception is that an anti-virus program, keeps you safe from every single virus 100% of the time. Unfortunately, this isn’t accurate. Safe online habits in conjunction with a very capable anti-virus/anti-malware program are the best way to avoid viruses but even the most vigilant internet users can still end up with one of these party-poopers. So if sluggish wifi is slowing you down, and you’ve tried everything else, run a scan on your computer as it could make all the difference.