Having a solid internet connection is more important than ever, whether you’re accessing the internet at home or need a connection for your business. But one of the most common complaints about the internet is that it can sometimes run slowly or get bogged down and struggle with even simple tasks.
The truth is that a lot of the time, your internet speed isn’t actually the reason your internet connection seems to be having problems. Often, bandwidth is as much a part of the problem as speed, and how you’re using your devices can play a big part in internet performance as well.
Here are three simple tips to help you improve your internet speed and get a more consistent connection.
Move Your Router To A Better Location
If you’re using a wi-fi connection to access the internet, but notice dead zones or areas with spotty connection inside your router’s range, the problem might be that the signal is getting blocked before it has a chance to spread.
Routers are a lot better about overcoming physical obstacles in your home or business than they used to be, but they aren’t perfect. Furniture, particularly aquariums or glass-front cabinets, can actually block wi-fi signals – forcing the signal around those objects to fill in the gaps.
If you’re keeping your router in a closet or cabinet, the walls around the router might also cause interference.
Dense obstructions, like bookcases, are also a major barrier to healthy wi-fi signals.
Instead of keeping your router locked away in a convenient closet, consider moving it to a more open part of your home away from the main obstructions like glass, bookshelves, and major appliances. That way the signal leaving your router is stronger and better able to fill in the gaps from obstructions that are further away.
Improve Internet Speed By Cutting Down On Connected Devices
A lot of people think that internet speed is the most important measure of how your internet will perform, and that’s true to a certain extent, but not in the way people think.
The truth is that you only need about 10mbps download speeds to get good HD video streaming.
Having more speed than that is actually more about having the bandwidth to support multiple devices than about being able to perform certain internet-heavy tasks.
Imagine that you’re living in a home with 4 people. Each of those people has a computer, a cell phone, and one other connected device (a tablet or a gaming console for instance). If all of those devices are connected to the internet and you only have 100 Mbps download speeds, you have 12 devices competing for connection.
If all of those devices are streaming, none of them are going to consistently get the 10 Mbps they need to provide high-quality HD video.
The speed isn’t the issue in this scenario (though getting a higher speed package would potentially help) the problem is that too many devices are trying to use the internet at the same time.
Cutting down on which devices are connected by turning off or disconnecting devices that aren’t in use can make an immediate, and significant impact on wi-fi performance.
Invest In A Band Steering Wi-fi Extender System
Wi-fi extenders are a good option for any large home or business that has a large campus and can’t directly hardwire its equipment. But you need to get the right kind of extender – and ideally a mesh system that has more than one extender, to get good results.
Here are some signs that a wi-fi extender might help:
Parts of your property that should have internet don’t and moving the router doesn’t seem to help.
Wi-fi is noticeably slower or more inconsistent in certain rooms.
You’re trying to get internet coverage in a space that’s larger than 1,500 sq. ft.
You have a lot of connected devices, and want to improve performance without disconnecting anything you don’t have to.
If that sounds like your home or business, a band-steering wi-fi extender system may be a good option. These extenders essentially mirror the wi-fi signal, helping it reach further and get around obstacles in your home or business that cut the signal.
The band steering part is important because it means that the extenders will monitor internet use and make more bandwidth available for high-use devices by decreasing the bandwidth available for the devices that are low-use or inactive.
Reduce Background Programs And Processes
Sometimes the problem isn’t the internet at all. If you’ve already gone through all of these steps and you’re still having problems it’s time to consider that your computer, phone, or other devices might just be juggling too many tasks and isn’t able to make use of the internet connection it has with any efficiency.
Having a lot of tabs open in a browser can make your internet browser slow down. Having a lot of programs open on your computer doesn’t really slow down the CPU or hard drive, but it does mean that those parts have less processing power for each program.
Try cutting down on the number of active programs and processes on your devices and see if that helps speed things up.
Hardwire Your Most Important Equipment
The last option, if you have certain equipment that needs consistent fast internet, is to use an ethernet cord to hardwire that equipment directly to your modem or router. Alternatively, if your home or business is set up this way, you can run ethernet connections through the walls and connect to outlets closer to your most important equipment.
This kind of connection is much more stable than wi-fi, both because you aren’t having to deal with a signal that can be obstructed or that may get weaker over time, and because you aren’t dealing with the same kind of network adapter in your device when you’re hardwired vs. when you’re using wi-fi.
Modems and routers also tend to give priority to hardwired devices over producing wi-fi, which means that the hardwired devices are going to be the first ones to get more bandwidth if you have too many connected devices.
Need A More Comprehensive Solution?
Are common wi-fi and internet fixes just not cutting it for your home or business? It sounds like it’s time for you to consult with an IT expert that can evaluate your situation, the location, and your particular internet needs to come up with customized solutions to your specific problems.
Contact us to schedule an appointment today. Or, if you’re looking for more IT information and tips to improve your device’s performance, take a look at our blog.