Why Is My Internet So Slow?

Avoiding Slow Internet for a High-Speed Experience

There are many reasons why you may have slow internet access. It could be a problem on your side, or your internet service provider (ISP) may be having issues. With all the possibilities, it can be overwhelming to identify the reason. Here are some of the most common reasons for experiencing slow internet speed and how to fix them.

Are you Using More Bandwidth than your ISP Plan Allows?

Your internet speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps); this refers to the total bandwidth of your connection. You can do a speed test to see if you are getting the speeds your ISP says you should be getting. If you want the most accurate results, unplug your router from the modem and connect your computer to the same modem port using an Ethernet cable.

If you notice slow internet speed when many other people are online, you could be using more bandwidth than your plan allows. When more information is running around than the bandwidth available, this causes a traffic jam. You may need to upgrade your internet plan to get more bandwidth.

Is your Home Network Congested?

The slow internet may be the result of trying to do too much on your home network. There are various ways in which you can deal with congestion.

  • You can prioritize certain online activities over others. Many routers have a quality of service (QoS) component you can find in the controls of the router’s web interface. Using this component to prioritize certain data means you can ensure streaming data gets first access to available bandwidth.
  • If you load your router’s web interface, you can view a network map, allowing you to see all connected devices. Even idle devices may use bandwidth for updates and other background services, so you can block the ones you don’t use.
  • You can also stagger your internet activities. Schedule major downloads, such as computer or game updates, when other people won’t be online.
  • Routers have a guest network feature that allows you to limit how much bandwidth they can use and the websites and services they can access.

Is there Congestion on Your ISP Network?

When congestion is poor, an ISP may throttle internet speeds in the area to reduce network traffic. Since Cable ISPs have added more neighborhood nodes to networks, this has been less of a problem.

If you think this is a problem, schedule larger downloads during off-peak hours, like at night. If you know all your neighbors subscribe to a certain ISP, you could consider switching to another provider.

Fiber infrastructure can carry much more than other types of internet. Having a large amount of traffic won’t slow down individual customers.

Have you Exceeded your Data Cap?

Most internet providers have a data cap, and you will experience slow Wi-Fi after you hit your cap. You can usually see how much data you have used on your ISP’s app. Some ISPs have a more generous data cap than others.

Satellite internet providers charge by data rather than internet speed and often have a lower cap. Once you use up the month’s data allowance, your connection may slow down to a crawl.

Is your Wi-Fi Signal Weak?

If your connection works well near your router but not so well in another room, it could be due to signal interference.

  • Ensure the router is in a central, elevated place and away from walls and anything else that could interfere with the signal.
  • Add an extender to your network to help the signal reach previously unreachable areas.
  • Replacing your router may be necessary to fix the slow internet. You may have to buy one designed for more coverage or longer ranges.

Do you have High Latency?

Latency is the time it takes for data to go from your device to the destination and back. If you have high latency, this can make an internet connection slow. High latency creates a noticeable lag between the physical actions you take and the results on the screen; this is very frustrating when you have to make video calls or play online games.

There can be many different reasons for high latency, so it is not easy to fix. Factors beyond your control include your ISP’s infrastructure and network congestion between you and the servers. When looking for ISPs, it is important to consider tested speeds and the lowest average latency.

The type of internet also affects latency. Satellite internet often has high latency because the data has to travel to space and back, whereas fiber internet has lower latency.

Are your Devices Slow or Outdated?

Sometimes your internet connection isn’t the issue. The problem may be the devices you use to access the internet. There are various reasons why devices like your laptop or computer may be a problem. These include:

  • Too many applications and browser tabs may be open.
  • Software and drivers may be outdated.
  • The operating system may need a reboot to install updates.
  • You may have a malware problem.

To fix slow internet, you can start by avoiding overwhelming the CPA. Close all unused applications and browser tabs. Always keep the operating system up to date by allowing auto-updates and ensuring antivirus definitions are current.