There are few things as frustrating as a poor internet connection. Some would argue that it’s better to have no internet at all than to struggle with intermittent bandwidth.
Diagnosing what the issue might be can take some time, and even then, you are not always guaranteed to find the exact cause. It could be as simple as a loose wire or as complex as your router needing an upgrade. Tap or click here for the best ways to boost your Wi-Fi for good.
But before pulling out all your hair or canceling your service, try these five ways to fix those annoying buffering issues.
1. Try the easiest trick in the book
As any IT professional will tell you, rebooting is the first thing to try when running into technical problems. So go ahead and give your router a reboot. It can be as simple as unplugging its power cord, waiting a minute and plugging it back in.
Some models could have a more elaborate process to do it correctly, so check your router’s manual if you need help. Don’t have your manual any longer? No problem. Tap or click here for a site that offers thousands of free manuals online.
If you are getting a slow connection on only one device in the house, consider rebooting that device too. Sometimes a firmware update is required to fix software issues, and these can impact your Wi-Fi connection.
Speaking of firmware, check that your router doesn’t require an update. Security fixes and software issues are corrected through firmware. If there has been a problem with the manufacturer’s software, it can affect your internet speed. You should also find instructions on updating your router’s firmware in its manual.
2. Is one device taking all your bandwidth?
If you have an older router, chances are it can’t handle the speeds that connected devices require. One way to fix this issue is to determine which devices are connected and limit how much bandwidth certain devices can use.
A bandwidth monitor will come in handy here, as you can see exactly where the bandwidth is going. You can limit the bandwidth that goes to each device and schedule when devices disconnect automatically.
3. Unauthorized devices on your network
In addition to limiting bandwidth to specific devices, check your router for any devices that you don’t recognize. If someone managed to get your Wi-Fi password, they can connect to your internet and siphon off your connection.
Here is how to see all the devices connected to your network. By logging in to the router, you can change the SSID, the Wi-Fi password and ban IP or MAC addresses from the network.
Also, neighbors could be stealing your Wi-Fi. Fortunately, there is a way to check. Tap or click here to find out how to handle unauthorized connections and boot them from your network.
4. Reduce video quality
If videos don’t stop buffering, try reducing the streaming quality of whatever you are watching. Services like Hulu and Netflix allow you to do that. There is no need to stream content in 4K if you don’t have a 4K television. You won’t see the benefit of 4K streaming, but you will be using more bandwidth.
Here is how to change video quality on Netflix:
- Click on your profile icon and choose Account.
- Scroll down to Profile & Parental controls and select your profile.
- Select Playback Settings.
- Choose the quality of stream you want.
5. Check your connection
A big contributor to poor streaming or browsing quality is connection strength. Ensure that your router can sufficiently cover your whole house and install Wi-Fi repeaters or boosters if needed. Tap or click here for affordable ways to boost your Wi-Fi.
If your laptop isn’t getting Wi-Fi speeds that it should, check to see if it has an Ethernet port. If it does, you can plug it directly into the router. This is easily done with a network cable that has an RJ45 connector on both ends. Your connection will be faster and more stable.
Bonus tip: check with your provider
Persistent internet issues can be the fault of your internet provider. Cable breaks or other infrastructure damage can cause several problems. Call your provider to determine if there are any outages in your area or technical hitches in general.
If you aren’t getting the speeds that you are paying for, you’re overpaying. Tap or click here for ways to find out if you are paying too much for the internet service you are getting.