Internet running slow? Having trouble streaming Netflix at night? Maybe the latency on some of the games you play is out of this world high? Or, maybe you’re having some serious trouble downloading files to your computer for personal or for work? If you are, then you no doubt want to get to the culprit of what exactly is slowing down your Internet speeds. If you follow along with us below, we’ll show you the best ways to find the culprit.
Other users in your home
The first thing to check is other people on the Internet in your home. If you have a limited Internet connection, this is especially important to check. Multiple people on the Internet actively using the Internet, such as bringing down YouTube videos, Netflix themselves, and browsing social media can take up the Internet so much that other people won’t be able to use it. That said, you might have to kick some people off to free up the Internet for what you’re doing.
You might want to check how old your router is as well. Older routers can only support so many users, and if you surpass that, you might regularly experience dropped connections or slowness — upgrading to something like Google WiFi can solve that problem in a jiffy!
While you’re checking how old your router is, if it is old, performance can quickly degrade over the years as well. For example, 2.4GHz was the dominant frequency on many routers for many years, but now we have 5GHz, which provides lower latency, better reliability, and overall faster performance. The frequency also isn’t as crowded with devices, so you can get a quicker Internet speed by simply switching to a 5GHz network. If your router doesn’t support that, again, you might want to consider upgrading to something like Google WiFi.
Check your PC for viruses
If everything seems fine on the network, you might want to check your own PC for viruses or malware — this type of malicious software has a tendency to slow down everything on your PC, including your Internet speeds. Even if you don’t know much about PCs, laptops, and computer repair, you can check for and get rid of viruses and malware really easily. You can open up Windows Defender on your PC (this is a program built right into Windows, so it should already be installed) and run a whole-system scan. It’ll look for malicious software automatically, and then when the scan finishes — and if it finds something — it’ll ask you if you want it to get rid of this malicious software. Say yes, and Windows Defender removes it from your system automatically. You might need to reboot your system after this, but things should go back to normal.
If you’re not seeing anything wrong with your network or viruses that are slowing down your PC, you might simply want to reboot your PC or laptop. If you leave it on all the time, systems can bog down over time and need a restart to bring things back to normal speeds. Simply press the power button on your computer, or open the Start menu and press the Restart button. Once it boots back up, things should hopefully go back to normal.
Use Ethernet over WiFi
If you’re trying to use a device that has Ethernet capabilities, such as a Smart TV, we recommend using the wired Ethernet cable for your Internet access over WiFi. Wired provides faster speeds and gives you a more reliable connection, essentially allowing you to bypass all of the wireless frequencies and radio signals throughout your home. Depending on the type of frequencies you have around you, this can bolster your Internet speed tenfold. And if not, you’ll at least have a more reliable connection (i.e. you shouldn’t experience wireless drops anymore).
Check with your ISP
If none of those methods work, it’s likely that the problem lies with your Internet Service Provider (ISP), and not anything in your own home. That said, give them a call and see what’s going on — they may take you through some of their own troubleshooting steps, or just let you know about a service problem in the area. Or, they might even send someone out to your home to see what’s going on and fix the problem.
By following the steps above, you should at least (hopefully) find out what’s causing the slowness in your own home, and hopefully resolve the problem, too! If nothing works, upgrading your router or calling your ISP should at least get you on the way to finding a solution.