What Is Slowing Your Internet Speed?

02 February 2018   CompuTime and Kristina Abbey
Waiting… waiting… waiting...

Slow internet speed and poor Wi-Fi connections can be frustrating. Whether clicking through a website or trying to stream a video, waiting for things to work can be quite annoying. What can you do to correct this issue? Is it the fault of your internet service provider? Perhaps it’s because of your location? Or maybe it’s because of your computer?  The correct answer could be any of the above. Location, the correct plan, and older devices can all be the source of slow internet. How do you figure out which it is and how can you fix it?  There are some steps you can take to help boost your speed and Wi-Fi signal making life, at least the digital side, a bit less frustrating.

We are going to look at the different areas: Internet Service Provider (ISP), location, and devices and delve a little more into what you can do to solve the problem of slow internet or poor Wi-Fi connection.

Internet Service Provider (ISP)

We know, the first question to answer might be what is an internet service provider? We get that question a lot. Your ISP is simply the company you pay every month to provide you with internet service. Whenever you have slow internet or a poor Wi-Fi signal your first thought might be that the ISP isn’t delivering. That isn’t always the case. For arguments sake though, let’s first look at the steps you can take to troubleshoot your slow internet and Wi-Fi. This will help determine if there is something you can do or your ISP can do to help boost your signal.

Call your Internet Service Provider: The first thing you can do is contact your internet service provider. There is a way they can test to ensure your modem is working correctly and if your connection is good. Once they confirm that your modem is in good working order then it is time to start looking at other areas.

Check Your Speed: Is your internet speed fast? Try this out, go to SpeedTest.net and click “begin test” to find out your download speed and upload speed in just a matter of seconds. If you are using a Wi-Fi connection try doing the test a second time connecting your computer directly to the modem using an Ethernet cable. You will then be able to see if there is a difference in speed when using wireless or a wired connection.  Do this with all your devices, maybe one will run get great results on the speed test while another device gets a poor result. If that happens, it likely isn’t your internet speed causing the slow connection.

Check Your Plan: Once you’ve done the speed test, look at your service plan, if you need help then just give your provider a call to find out what plan you have. Are you paying for a plan that will meet your needs? Does your plan have a threshold that you regularly surpass? Sometimes if you go over the threshold of your existing plan, your service provider might throttle back your speed. By reviewing your service plan you might find that the plan you initially signed up for doesn’t meet your needs any longer. This holds especially true for those of us who have cut off using cable and are primarily streaming television, movies, and doing online gaming.

Location, Location, Location

Nope, not a typo. We really do mean to write location, location. Location can apply to where you live and location can apply to where you have your router and modem in relation to your devices. You’ve already checked your router and internet service plan is the right one for your needs but your connection is just still slow or you get a poor signal. Now you will want to look at the locations.

Distance: How far your computer is from your router can affect your Wi-Fi connectivity. You could be sitting with nothing between you and the router but if you are too far away, your connection won’t be strong or may not work at all.

Obstructions: Where are your modem and router kept? Walls containing studs, metal pipes and glass surfaces can all cause noticeable slowdowns. Metal buildings, concrete, basically any heavy duty material and walls can all cause your connection to be poor. Even if your router is sitting in the next room, you might not get a good Wi-Fi connection if you have a hefty barrier between your device and the router.

Where You Live: Believe it or not, you might get great service with one provider and not with another and it all comes down to your location. While internet service providers are continuously working to improve connectivity for customers, there may be some areas that some work better than others. Take a look at the service areas of a provider and see how your neighbors are connecting and who they have as their service provider. It can make a difference.

Your Devices

Do you have an internet hog? Is your device old? Is there an infection on your computer? These are three big components that can cause poor internet service. Keep in mind, these aren’t the only ones though. There are several factors with individual devices that can cause your individual device or even all of your devices to have poor connection or slow internet speed.

Bandwidth-Hogging Apps and Plugins: Do you have any File-syncing services like Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive? They might be moving data in the background which can slow down your internet. Computers will often download necessary updates in the background while you’re doing something less web-intensive. You can configure your PC to notify you before downloading any updates, and schedule installation when you’re not using the computer, either in the middle of the night or when you’re off at work.

Viruses: Malware, Adware, Spyware, whatever you call it, they can amount to one thing, a nuisance. Infections on your computer can seriously slow things down.

Software: Does your computer need an update? Do you need to run a virus scan? Both of those can certainly slow things down for you. Don’t skip the updates or virus scans. Those are important! Just schedule them instead. Run your updates while you are away from your computer, perhaps overnight. Run a virus scan when you’ve finished up working on your computer for the day and let it run, just keep an eye on the progress while doing other non-computer related things. 

Computer Age: If you are using an older computer, this can be a good cause of slow connection. As computers age, components age and become outdated. If you are using an older computer, it might be time to consider an upgrade to something newer and faster.

Underpowered Hardware: Even if your network is the best network money can buy, if you are using a computer without the right hardware your internet can be slow. For example if you are trying to play graphics heavy network games on a Pentium 4 with 512 MB of RAM, your internet service probably isn’t the issue.

Popular Websites: There’s always the possibility that slow internet might not even be on your end. Overloaded websites can come to a crawl during peak usage times. Ever try to open Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media site and have it just take forever to load while other times it pops up in just moments? Likely that slowdown was from a large number of users on the site all at the same time.

There are several reasons why your internet service might be a little slower or your Wi-Fi connection might not work as well as it should but just remember there are several factors, all of which can be easily addressed to help find the best solution to save yourself some frustration. 

CompuTime, a locally owned and operated company has been in Prescott for over 20 years and we are more than prepared to help you troubleshoot your concerns. Have a slow internet connection or poor Wi-Fi signal but aren’t sure what to do to determine what might be the issue? Give us a call and we will be happy to help you find the best solution to get your Internet and Wi-Fi speed right to where it should be!

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