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If you’ve ever had to deal with an endlessly buffering video, or a multiplayer video game constantly lagging, you know the pain of slow internet. And while most of us choose to, temporarily, suck it up and deal with the short-term consequences, if the problem becomes persistent, you’ll need to take corrective action.
Assuming you have a functional internet connection (just one that’s running slowly), there are a variety of factors that could be working against you—and accordingly, a variety of potential solutions.
Option 1: Choose a Different Provider
If you seem to have persistent speed problems across a variety of devices, programs, and experiences, the issue may be with your provider. In most areas, there are several internet providers to choose from, so do some research and see if there’s a more reliable provider to partner with. Compare service packages apples to apples, and talk with your neighbors to see if they’ve had experience with each of the available providers.
Option 2: Upgrade Your Service Plan
If you’ve had good experiences with your provider but you aren’t getting the speed you want, consider upgrading your current service plan. Most internet providers offer faster or more consistent speeds at higher price levels. If you aren’t sure what your current package provides, you can run a speed test and see how it stacks up with national averages. As long as you can afford the upgrade, it’s probably worth pulling the trigger.
Option 3: Tweak Your Router
If you don’t feel like switching plans, or if you think the problem may be connected to your router, there are a few router changes you can make:
- Reposition your router. If your router isn’t optimally placed, you may get inconsistent coverage in certain areas. If you only experience the problem in one room, this is the most likely culprit. Make sure your router is placed in a central location, like the middle room of your first floor, and try to avoid positioning it near metal objects. Be sure you also adjust the antennae (if it has any) so one is vertical and one is horizontal.
- Upgrade your router. If your router is old or if you suspect it isn’t performing well, consider replacing it. New routers aren’t expensive, but they could help you get a much more consistent and powerful stream of internet traffic.
- Get a range extender. Range extenders aren’t going to guarantee you’ll have faster internet, but they could help you get Wi-Fi coverage in areas of your house that are out of the way. Because they’re inexpensive and easy to install, it’s usually worth trying.
- Restart your router. Of course, you can also try resetting your router. For most models, the best way to do this is to unplug it completely, wait at least 30 seconds, then plug it back in again. Doing so can resolve technical glitches, and potentially get your internet back up to full speed.
Option 4: Tweak Your Devices
The problem may also lie with your devices. Consider trying these strategies:
- Reduce your consumption. Is your family usually streaming video on three different devices while you try to play a video game? Or do you have a dozen tabs open at the same time? If so, the problem with your speed could be how much bandwidth you’re occupying. It may not be ideal, but you can probably get faster speeds by reducing that consumption.
- Turn off Wi-Fi on unused devices. If you have other devices that are connected to your Wi-Fi router, consider turning them off. Sometimes, your devices will use data even when in rest mode, interfering with your speed on other devices.
- Restart your machine. There’s a chance the problem is linked to a specific device. Reset your machine and reconnect to your Wi-Fi; in some cases, this will solve the problem.
Slow internet speed is usually the culmination of a few different factors, and all it takes is a few adjustments to get your traffic moving faster. You may end up needing to buy some new equipment, or upgrading your current package, but if consistent, high-quality traffic is your priority, it’s worth the investment.