There are a number of reasons why your internet service may not be performing as well as it should, whether wired, wireless, or mobile broadband. You can use a free website service to perform a broadband speed test to see if your connection is as fast as it should be, such as the popular SpeedTest.net or Comcast’s XFinity Speed Test. See if the download and upload speeds match with what you are paying for.
If it’s not, here are several things you can do to improve it. If you are using a computer to access the Internet (instead of a mobile device), one of the first things to do is to “clean up” your computer by making sure there is no malware running (viruses, adware, trojans, etc.), de-fragmenting the hard drive, and deleting old or unneeded files and applications. By the way, installed security software such as McAfee can actually slow down your internet connection, especially when downloading files, because it may be scanning the files for malware.
If those solutions on your PC don’t help, you can also try these tips to gain the best possible performance out of your Internet connection:
Check Networking Equipment
Check your networking equipment. If you have multiple devices all sharing one connection, make sure they are connected via a switch or router instead of just a hub (which is much slower). Poor connections between coaxial cables can decrease performance as well. If you use a Wi-Fi router, check to make sure there are no signals conflicting with the frequency it’s using. Cordless and mobile phones for instance can cause this type of interference. Removing these devices from the vicinity, or changing the broadcast frequency in the router settings can solve this problem. Very old equipment can also degrade over time due to accumulated heat damage, so consider replacing that really old modem or router with a new one. If using Satellite Internet, speeds can vary depending on atmospheric conditions, and in some locations it is necessary to clear away snow that has accumulated on the antenna. Do a broadband speed test before and after each modification to your equipment to determine if it was a significant factor.
Number of Users
Look to see who else is using the connection, and how. For instance, if you are in a house with multiple computers all using a lot of bandwidth (streaming movies for instance), this can slow a connection down considerably. Keep in mind only so much information can come through the wire at one time. Coordinating with other members of the household or office to download or stream at different times can be a simple way to realize better network performance. You should of course secure your Wi-Fi router to ensure that no unauthorized party is using bandwidth on your connection as well.
Call Your Service Provider
This may seem simple but if all else fails call your Internet service provider and ask them if there is anything wrong with your connection. You may also wish to ask if there are any deals or specials running that you can take advantage of. ISPs frequently offer new upgrades and faster connections for cheaper prices, usually to entice new customers. If you are an existing customer, you often must call and ask for the reduced price being offered to new customers. This can sometimes result in a faster connection while saving you money at the same time.
Upgrade your computer, networking equipment, software and router firmware. If your network environment is using outdated hardware or software, a fast connection coming through the modem won’t do you a lot of good. Replacing old computers and routers with new ones capable of making use of the faster connection can work wonders. Keeping software and router firmware upgraded to the latest version can help too.
Change Your Service
You might just have slow service. Cable tends to be faster than DSL, but satellite-based Internet service is slower than both, yet still faster than dial-up. Consider opting for a faster type of connection if you are unsatisfied with your current network performance.