Is there anything more frustrating than a slow internet connection? Just when you need it most, whether you're home paying bills or finishing up a big project for work, screech! Your internet slows to a crawl.
That's annoying. But it can also cause serious problems. What if you can't contact your family or friends when you need their help? What if you miss an important deadline for work or you're late paying a bill?
We all rely on the internet for almost every aspect of our lives. So, it's crucial that we keep things speedy.
At Komando.com, we're always looking for easy ways to improve your digital life. So, keep reading for three ways to speed up a slow internet connection.
Before we get to that, though, there is one thing you should do: Check your equipment. If you haven't updated your router in a few years, for example, it may be time for an upgrade. Check the cables and ethernet ports that connect to your router. If you see anything that's loose or frayed, tighten it or replace it.
Tip within a tip: If you're ready to upgrade your Wi-Fi router, you don't need to break the bank to keep your digital devices zipping along. You shouldn't pay more than $100 for a perfectly good router, like the $89 Linksys AC1200+, and similar ones. Look for features like Dual band (2.4GHz, 5GHz); speeds as close to 600 megabits per second (Mbps) as possible, and look for newer Wi-Fi protocols, such as 802.11AC or 802.11N.
Have you checked your internet plan?
The good news about a slow internet connection is that, often, it's an easy fix. One of the first things you should do is call your internet service provider, or check your bill.
Don't call to blame them! Call your ISP to find out if you signed up for a slower internet speed. If you did, that's understandable.
Odds are, you signed up for your ISP years ago. You probably signed up for a TV, phone and internet bundle. Bundling your services makes sense. You can save a few dollars each month. Plus, you get one bill in the mail, instead of three bills.
The problem is, when you first hear how much you'll be paying each month, you start looking for savings. "$200?!? A month?!?"
If you're like many people, one of the places you look for savings is your internet speed. These days, you want speeds of around 40-50 Mbps. Make sure your speed is at least 25 Mbps. Note: PC Magazine recently rated Comcast Xfinity and Verizon FiOS as the fastest ISPs. Each one has speeds of 49.6 Mbps.
If you're experiencing slow internet connections on any of your devices, make sure you're not running applications in the background. There's a very good chance there are apps like Facebook or your GPS that are operating, draining resources and slowing things down.
You may not even know they're open and running. Here's how to check Windows 10 to see which apps have permission to run in the background. Don't worry. You can turn them off.
In your taskbar, where it says "Type here to search," type in "background apps." Choose the option in settings that lets you choose which apps run in the background.
You'll be shocked by how many apps can run in the background and potentially slow down your computer, including your internet. Turn off all the apps that can run in the background, or turn off individual apps.
Find your Wi-Fi's strongest signal
You use your Wi-Fi connection so often, it's easy to forget that the signal is originating from your Wi-Fi router. "Where is my router?"
Good question. Your Wi-Fi signal's strength and your internet speed depend on your router being in a good location.
Take a look at the device you're using to access the internet and then go find your Wi-Fi router. Are the two separated by walls? Is one upstairs and the other one downstairs? Are there any physical barriers that can slow things down?
Once your devices have a clear path to each other, you'll need to experiment to find the location. Move around. Try one spot for a few hours or a few days. Then check another spot, and so on. Eventually, you'll figure where your strongest Wi-Fi signal is, and that will speed up your internet connection.
Bonus Tip: You have to see this! Look at this Wi-Fi heat map to find the strongest signal in your house.