The Internet has entrenched our lives like nothing else. It is required for basic tasks such as phone calls and messaging to complex ones such as running management software in corporations. Having a lousy internet connection with subpar speeds can be quite a nuisance, especially when it compromises your daily routines.
Imagine watching your favorite TV series and getting stuck on an important scene. Or sending an important email only to find out the internet is not working. It often prompts the question of how to improve internet speed, which is exactly what we will try to explain in this article.
Why is Internet Speed Important?
Before discussing some quick fixes to internet speed, it is essential to understand why fast internet matters in the first place. As mentioned in the intro, pretty much every aspect of our daily life depends on it. It is even more critical for individuals who work remotely and have to access their workplace via the Internet.
Besides surfing and streaming, fast internet is also vital for the background operations of smart devices. Almost all households have at least one smart appliance, which requires the Internet to unlock complete functions.
Considering how we depend on the internet, a bad one will produce inconvenience and waste a lot of time. Sometimes it may even lead to financial loss, especially for individuals who rely on the Internet for work. All of this warrants routine internet speed checks, and if some problem is detected, it should be fixed quickly.
Let’s look at routine checks you perform and some quick fixes to help with common problems.
1. Test Your Internet Speed
As soon as you detect sluggish internet speed, you should perform an online speed test. You can pick from various free internet speed checkers online, and almost all offer accurate results.
The internet speed should be within the range claimed by the Internet Service Provider. Upon undertaking the test, you will see several parameters, including download speed, upload speed, and latency. You should know how to interpret each of them to understand the actual performance of your internet connection.
For most people, download speed is more important because it enables users to retrieve data from online servers. A good download speed should improve the streaming and browsing experience. Typically, a speed equal to or more than 25Mbps is considered decent for average internet users.
The second parameter is upload speed, which influences how quickly you can upload files on remote servers. If you share a lot of files and play online games, you should watch out for this parameter. A speed of 5Mbps or more is considered decent for most users.
Ping or latency is the third parameter vital for online gamers, especially those playing multiplayer games. You will experience more lag in gameplay if you have higher pings and vice versa.
If either of these parameters is subpar, it indicates a problem with the internet connection. You can fix them by;
2. Troubleshoot Your Internet Connection
Upon detecting a problem with the internet connection, the first thing one must do is to troubleshoot the connection. You should check the basics first, like ensuring the cable is not unplugged or loose, problems with power to the router, and ensuring the network card interface in your device is turned on.
If all of these things check out, the problem is likely with the software or from the end of the Internet Service Provider.
While at it, try restarting the modem or router and the device you want to connect to. If you are connected via ethernet cable, try changing the cable or check whether Wi-Fi from the same network works. If the Wi-Fi of the same network works, the problem is likely with an ethernet cable.
You should also check whether the hardware drivers are installed on your desktop or laptop. It can be checked by going to the device manager and looking for a Wi-Fi adapter. Go into the properties of each adapter to ensure each one is updated to the latest version.
However, if the problem remains unresolved, the problem likely lies at ISP’s end. You should contact them and ask them to fix the connection.
3. Optimize Your Router and Modem
If the internet connection is working but with inconsistent speeds, optimization of the router or modem typically fixes the problem. You should place the modem at a central location such that every device in the room can capture adequate signals.
Modems should never be placed on the floor or around metal objects because they interfere with the strength and quality of signals. Find a place where the router has the least number of such obstructions.
Furthermore, changing the antennas can also drastically improve internet quality. Most Wi-Fi antennas are omnidirectional, which project signals in all directions. If you place such a router near a wall, it renders half of the signals unused. You should either change the router’s position or switch the antennas with their high-gain counterparts. With the latter antennas, you can change the direction of wireless signals and optimize the speed.
Another critical factor in improving internet speed is reducing wireless interference. Most wireless routers use 802.11g wireless technology with a frequency of 2.4 GHz. Several other electronics, such as cordless telephones, garage door openers, microwaves, and baby monitors, also use the same frequency.
Consequently, the signals from these devices can interfere with wireless signals and impact internet speed. You should get widgets with 5.8 GHz frequency to reduce interference or switch the Wi-Fi technology to 802.11n, which uses both frequencies and minimizes interference.
You can also add a wireless repeater to improve the range of Wi-Fi signals. Place it halfway between routers and where you want to access the internet to get the best results. There are several types of repeaters on the market, so thoroughly research before purchasing a product.
4. Improve Your Wi-Fi Network
Your wireless router is the central part of the Wi-Fi network. The first thing you should do is invest in quality routers. Get a router that is compatible with your ISP and supports the speed that you want to get. While at it, ensure it offers enough connections for the purpose you need it for. You can work with just about any wireless modem for an average household, but the number of connections is critical if you want something for offices or large households.
Modern Wi-Fi routers have smart connect, Mu-MIMO, and OFDMA technologies. These technologies optimize the wireless connection by distributing the signals and strength according to the requirement to maintain fast and smooth internet performance.
You should also regularly check for updates to the router’s firmware. All major developers offer routine modem firmware updates to improve their internet connection. It can make a significant difference not only in internet speed but in overall internet security as well.
Another way to improve internet speed is to change the frequency. As mentioned earlier, 2.5 GHz frequency is used by several other electronics, which increases interferences. It can be fixed by switching to 5 GHz, provided that you have a dual-band router.
The 5 GHz offers faster speeds and experiences fewer interferences. However, you must compromise the range because these signals do not have the same reach as 2.5 Ghz frequency.
5. Boost Your Internet Speed
If you have checked everything mentioned earlier and none have worked, you have likely subscribed to an underwhelming internet package. You should sign up for better packages to improve your internet connection speed.
However, to do that, you must know your requirements. Typically, an internet connection with 25Mbps download speed and 2-5Mbps upload speed works well for average users. But it might not be enough for users who play an online multiplayer game or an internet connection for corporations.
The internet connection for big offices should provide a speed of 100Mbps to each user for smooth operations. Conversely, the upload speed is more important for gamers, so they should look for an ISP that offers an upload speed of at least 3 Mbps, slightly more than most gaming consoles recommend. Another critical parameter for online gamers is ping rate, and they should look for an ISP that connects with pings under 50ms.
You should also avoid VPNs because most throttle the bandwidth and slow down the internet connection. Use them only when necessary or subscribe to a service that does not cap a bandwidth limit.
The Internet is a vital part of our lives with the potential to annoy and disrupt daily life should it experience a problem. Luckily, you do not have to contact service providers whenever the internet goes down. The quick fixes mentioned in the guide can be implemented without professional help. You can significantly improve the internet speed by placing the modem in the right place, reducing interferences, and selecting the right frequency.