How To Improve Your Internet Connection

Lara Vukelich
August 10, 2020

What defines a good internet connection depends on the user and their needs. One thing is for sure, regardless of how you use the internet, a slow internet connection can be frustrating. 

There are a number of things that can cause a slow internet connection, like the host server, outdated or incompatible network devices, number of devices using the network at one time and even the computer itself.

So, how can you fix it? In this guide, we’ll talk about how to improve the internet connection in your home.

Is My Internet Connection Slow?

It is important to determine if your slow internet speeds are a result of an internet provider and plan that may not be adequate for your needs or if you are just not getting the speeds you’re paying for.

A great way to determine what download and upload speeds you are getting is to do a speed test in various areas of your home. A speed test measures the speed between your device and a test server, using your device's internet connection.

It is important to note, however, that speed tests taken at different times, even on the same computer, may render different results depending on the congestion of the network at those times. We recommend conducting multiple speed tests using the same conditions (same device, same times of day) over a series of days. 

Speed tests will deliver three main results: download speeds in Mbps (megabits per second), upload speeds in Mbps and ping rate (in milliseconds). 

  • Download speeds: This number will tell you how quickly data is being transferred to you (or incoming data). Practically anything you do online will require some amount of data download. For example, web browsing, social media browsing and streaming. 
  • Upload speeds: This is the opposite of download speeds and represents the speed at which you can transfer data out (outgoing data). For example, posting pictures or videos on social media, vlogging and sending files via email. 
  • Ping rate: This is the amount of time, in milliseconds, that it takes to send and receive data from one device and network to another device and network.

Whether you are using a WiFi or wired internet connection, there are a variety of applications you can use to test internet speeds. After testing speeds over a series of days, you may find that the speed test results are equal or better to the speeds offered by your internet service provider. However, if you discover that you are paying for speeds you’re not getting, there are a few things you can do to improve internet connection speeds. 

How to Improve Internet Connection Speeds at Home

The data cap dilemma Consider your equipment Change the channel Relocate your equipment Clear your cache Plug it in Consider an extender or amplifier Choose a new ISP

Fortunately, slow internet speeds aren’t always hopeless. We’ve researched some simple and affordable ways to improve internet connection speeds in your home. 

1. The Data Cap Dilemma

Whether the internet connection is wireless, WiFi or satellite, your internet service provider (ISP) may have imposed a data cap. The ISP should have made you aware of this data cap prior to signing an agreement, as well as the consequences of exceeding the data cap. If you’ve suddenly noticed a negative change in internet speeds, check to see if you have exceeded the data cap. Instead of charging internet data cap overages, some ISPs throttle down speeds for the remainder of that billing period.

2. Consider your equipment

If your router is five years old or more, it may be a drain on your internet connection speeds. Upgrading to a newer and more adequate router could result in enhanced internet performance. If your router is under five years old, it may just need a reboot. Try disconnecting the router from its power source and then plug it back in to reboot. The same logic applies if you are using satellite internet. Speak with your satellite provider to see if you need equipment replacement or, potentially, just a satellite repositioning to improve the signal. 

3. Change the channel

If you’re using a dual-band router, that means there is more than one band you could be on, a 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz band. The 2.4 GHz is the most crowded band, which can sometimes result in slower speeds but allows for a greater coverage distance from the router. The 5 GHz band is less crowded but has a smaller coverage distance from the router. If you are using a 2.4 GHz band, consider switching to the 5 GHz band to see if that improves your internet connection speeds.

4. Relocate your equipment

Sometimes, your router just needs to be moved to a more reachable location in the home. Find a central spot in your home, ideally, within the area where most internet use occurs, where the router is not blocked by other things. 

5. Clear your cache

The cache is a memory center in your computer that stores things so you can access them more quickly. However, if the cache in your computer gets too full, it might actually slow things down. You can clear your cache manually by going into browser history settings, or you can install a plug-in to do it for you automatically. 

6. Plug it in

Ethernet (wired connections) are faster than WiFi. While wired connections may not be as convenient as WiFi, any devices you can hook up to the internet using a wired Ethernet connection will run faster and will not compete with your other devices for WiFi bandwidth.

7. Consider an extender or amplifier

This option would require an additional purchase. However, if you’ve tried all other options and the issue seems to be that some areas of your home receive strong signals while others do not, you may need an extender (if you have WiFi) or an amplifier (if you have satellite). These devices are intended to help boost the signal throughout your home. 

8. Choose a new ISP

If you have tried all other options and have spoken with your ISP to make sure you’re doing everything right, it may be time to negotiate for higher speeds, if they are available. If it is not possible to get the speeds you need with your current ISP, we suggest considering a switch to a new ISP.

How to Boost Your Internet Strength

Disconnect cellular devices from WiFi Position your modem carefully Look for interference

1. Disconnect cellular devices from WiFi

An overburdened WiFi network can reduce the strength available to each device. The FCC recommends disconnecting cellular devices from your home internet and using cellular-only data instead for phones and tablets. Leave your home WiFi for laptops and streaming devices.  

2. Position your modem carefully

Put your modem where you can see it, such as on a shelf or beneath your desk. Ideally, the modem will be upright with 6 inches of space around it. Hiding it in a cabinet may weaken your internet strength because the furniture materials absorb some of the signal. 

3. Look for interference

A wireless signal can also be weakened by competing appliances or devices. Wireless cameras, baby monitors and even microwaves can create interference. Consider moving your router and modem away from these devices and changing your monitor signals as necessary so they don’t steal strength from your laptop. 

How Fast is My Internet Connection?

When in doubt, check your speed. Once you know what you’re working with, you can make more informed decisions about whether you need new equipment or a new ISP. Testing the speed of your internet connection takes just a few seconds. Just go to Allconnect's speed test while you’re online and see the average upload and download speeds for your current connection.  

We supplied the data; now, the decision is yours.

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