Quick fixes for slow internet speeds

Quick fixes for slow internet speeds (and why they work)

Before we dive in, take an internet speed test. Measuring your internet speed and knowing how it compares to the speeds you pay for is an important part of diagnosing a slow connection.

Pro Tips :

Fix #1: Power cycle your modem and router (or wireless gateway)

Your modem and router work hard, and sometimes they need to refresh with a quick power cycle. Simply pull the plug on both units, wait 30 seconds, and then plug the modem back into the wall outlet. Once it properly boots, do the same with the router.

In the case of a wireless gateway, pull the plug, wait, and plug it back in.

Draining both units of power allows them to clear the system memory, clear up any local communication issues, and reestablish fresh connections. Moreover, a power cycle allows the modem to resync with your internet provider’s operator—a device that communicates with multiple modems. It also refreshes your router’s public IP address.

Overall, a power cycle can really give your internet speeds a boost on your side of the modem.

Fix #2: Move your router to another location

Many people hide their routers or wireless gateways in closets, behind furniture, or down in basements. Don’t be one of those people unless you want excessively bad Wi-Fi.

Instead, put as few physical barriers between your router and your devices as possible. Walls, floors, ceilings, doors, large furniture, and similar obstructions can barricade your Wi-Fi signals and reduce connection speeds, especially over longer distances. 

Certain signals from other devices can also interfere with your wireless speeds. These include microwaves, Bluetooth speakers, baby monitors, and cordless phones.

For the best Wi-Fi coverage, place your router in a central, elevated location, or at a location where you use Wi-Fi the most, like in a home office.

Be sure to use your router’s external antennas (if present) to get better Wi-Fi coverage. Most router antennas broadcast Wi-Fi signals in an outward circle perpendicular to the antenna’s position. For instance, if the antennas are positioned vertically, the Wi-Fi signals broadcast horizontally in all directions.

That said, if you live in a one-story house, keep the antennas vertical. If you live in a multistory house, position at least one antenna horizontally so the Wi-Fi signals reach the additional floors.

Fix #3: Use the internet during off-peak hours

If you know there’s a big download in your future—the latest version of macOS or a 100 GB update for an Xbox Series X game—you might want to schedule a time when you don’t need to do anything else online. The early morning hours are ideal when everyone is asleep and no other downloads currently hog your bandwidth.

Operating systems tend to wait until the early morning hours when you’re fast asleep. Game updates, meanwhile, typically require you to manually start the download. Other updates aren’t quite so accommodating with your schedule.

If your internet gets too slow to stream during certain peak hours, download the content earlier in the day (or again, in the middle of the night) so you’ll be ready to binge watch all of Avatar: The Last Airbender without buffering-related interruptions.

Fix #4: Upgrade your internet plan

You may need a faster plan if more people live with you now, if you transitioned to working from home, or if you generally use the internet more than you did before. Enter your zip code below to find a speedier plan that’s available in your area.

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