Why your Internet is slow and how to fix it


In our super-connected world, a slow connection can feel like hitting a brick wall, whether you’re hustling on deadlines, diving into your favorite show, or battling it out online. In this article, let’s take a look at why your internet might be sluggish, and offer a few easy fixes.

Common Causes of Slow Internet

Outdated Equipment

One of the most common reasons for slow internet usage is outdated equipment. Older routers and modems may not support the latest internet speeds or technologies, leading to a bottleneck in your connection. A solution to this is upgrading your modem and router to the latest models that support higher speeds and modern standards like Wi-Fi 6.

Network Congestion

Network congestion occurs when too many devices are connected to the same network, leading to a decrease in available bandwidth for each device. This issue is common in households with multiple users streaming, gaming, or downloading simultaneously.

To reduce network congestion, try disconnecting devices that are not in use. Plus, consider upgrading your internet plan to one that offers higher speeds and greater bandwidth.

Distance from the Router

The farther you roam from your router, the fainter the Wi-Fi signal gets, leading to those frustrating buffering delays. Walls and furniture can also act like signal sponges, soaking up that precious connection strength. To solve this issue, try placing your router in a central spot within your home. If your home seems to swallow Wi-Fi signals whole in certain areas, consider using Wi-Fi extenders or mesh network systems.

Interference from Other Devices

Other electronic devices, such as microwaves, cordless phones, and baby monitors, can interfere with your Wi-Fi signal, causing slow internet speeds. Place your router away from other electronic devices and use the 5 GHz frequency band, which is less susceptible to interference than the 2.4 GHz band.

ISP Throttling

Some internet providers might slow things down a bit during peak times to keep everything running smoothly. Contact your ISP to discuss your problem. You may need to upgrade to a higher-tier plan that offers guaranteed speeds or switch to a different provider that does not throttle your connection.

Outdated Software

Outdated software, including your OS, browser, and network drivers, can lead to slow internet speeds due to compatibility issues or security vulnerabilities. Regularly update all software to the latest versions to ensure optimal performance and security.

Background Applications and Malware

Have you ever noticed your internet seems slower when you have a bunch of programs running in the background? Those programs can be using up bandwidth, leaving less for the things you really need. Use task manager to monitor and close unnecessary background apps. Plus, install and regularly update antivirus software to protect against malware that can compromise your internet speed.

How to Fix Slow Internet

Check Your Internet Plan

First things first, consider your internet plan. If you love streaming movies and battling it out in online games, a basic plan might not cut it. Check your plan’s details and compare it to your internet usage. Upgrading to a plan with more speed and data might be the key to smoother sailing.

Optimize Router Settings

Your router acts like the traffic controller of your home network. Sometimes, a few adjustments in its settings can make a big difference.  Here’s how to unlock its hidden potential:

  • Change the Wi-Fi Channel: Use a less congested channel to reduce interference from neighboring networks.
  • Enable Quality of Service (QoS): Prioritize bandwidth for critical apps like video conferencing and online gaming.
  • Update Firmware: Ensure your router’s firmware is up-to-date to benefit from performance improvements and security patches.

Switch ISPs

Not all ISPs are created equal. Some may offer better speeds, reliability, and customer service than others. Research different ISPs available in your area and compare their plans, speeds, and customer reviews. Use tools that provide high speed internet by address to find the best provider for your location. Switching to a more reliable ISP can result in significantly improved internet performance.

Conduct a Speed Test

Conducting a speed test helps you understand your current internet speed and identify any discrepancies between the advertised and actual speeds. Use online tools like Ookla Speedtest or to measure your internet speed. If the results are lower than what your ISP promises, contact your provider for assistance.

Use Wired Connections

Wi-Fi is convenient, but for the ultimate speed and stability, a wired connection is the champion. Whenever possible, plug your devices directly into the router using an ethernet cable. This is especially important for bandwidth-hungry activities like streaming HD videos or playing online games.

Monitor Network Usage

High data usage by certain apps or devices can strain your network, leading to slower internet speeds for other users. Use your router’s built-in tools or third-party network monitoring software to track data usage. Identify bandwidth-heavy applications and schedule their usage during off-peak hours to reduce network congestion.