Tips for Getting a Faster Internet Connection at Home
It’s not all about the advertised “internet speed.”
Everyone is working at home these days, and relying on a fast, or faster internet connection. But there’s a problem.
We can’t always count on the internet performing the way we want it to. We are all pretty much stuck at home, with roommates or family members—and they’re all streaming more movies than ever before, gaming more, and having daily video conferences.
Never before has the performance of your internet connection meant so much than it does now. It’s important to know how to get a faster internet connection.
Let’s start with this.
It’s not all about internet speed.
Internet speed—how fast data/information you send and receive can travel—is directly related to your performance. Some of us have connections with Internet Service Providers (ISP) that offer faster speeds than other connections.
But there’s more to it than that. Most people, in reality, have all the “internet speed” they need. Yes, it could be worth trying to get a higher speed, but there could other things slowing down your connection you could fix right now.
If you’re frustrated with the performance you’re getting at home from your internet, look into the following eight factors that could be contributing to your slowdown.
- Rethink your internet service provider (ISP) connection.
You’re in good shape if you already have internet service with a cable company or a fiber optic network provider. Those are the two fastest types of connections. It doesn’t get any faster than fiber optics.
If your cable internet seems slow, ask your provider why that’s the case. You might have a speed plan that’s actually slower (or “limited”) than their other plans. Making sure that upgrade can help. Unfortunately, you often can’t switch to a different cable provider if it is not already available in the area where you live and already an option. Besides, they’re pretty much all the same.
- Switching from a slow internet connection type.
If you’re using a service called DSL (for Dedicated Service Line) and cable or fiber is available in your area, consider making the switch—particularly if your service is slower right now. DSL is a dated technology and if you can choose between DSL and cable or fiber, make the move.
However, your slowdowns could be caused by something other than your internet speed. There’s are more things for you to look at.
- Reposition your router.
Your router is the hardware device that works with your modem that controls your wireless network; the signal comes from your router and is broadcast into your home. If your router is behind a few walls, a closed door, or positioned in a closet, the strength and reach of the router could be hampered. Move your router around so it has plenty of breathing room and can reach as many rooms as possible. You can read more about improving router performance here.
- Look into Wi-Fi boosting.
If you have a cable internet connection, see if your internet service provider has solutions to boost your Wi-Fi signal throughout the house. One newer technology solution is a Wi-Fi “mesh” that boosts your signal throughout your home, using “nodes” that “talk” to the central router hub. If you experience slow service at times and your provider offers a “whole home Wi-Fi” solution, look into to it.
- Update your equipment.
News flash: Older computers and routers don’t perform as well as newer ones. Not only that, if you haven’t been performing routine updates or upgrades, your hardware (and software too), could be contributing to an internet slowdown.
Start with updating your computer’s operating system (Windows or macOS), then update your software programs, too. Take whatever steps you can to boost your PC’s performance, which in turn will help internet speed.
- Plug right in to your router.
Most people do not have their computers plugged directly into their router; nearly everyone uses wireless connections. However, your router has Ethernet ports for several devices. If you can plug directly into your router, do it. It will probably give you a faster speed than going wireless.
- Turn off your VPN at home.
If you use a VPN, turning it off while at home may help boost your internet speed. But only when you’re not handling highly sensitive information at home and you don’t care that someone might know your actual IP address, turn your VPN off when you’re online at home.
VPN providers don’t broadcast this fact, but VPNs markedly slow down an internet connection, as much as 60%-70%. That may affect your internet connection performance…or it may not. However, if you’re looking to pick up speed on the home network, think about going without your VPN from time to time.
- Schedule your tasks.
It might be hard to have a Zoom Conference if someone in the house is streaming movies, while someone else is playing video games and someone is giving online guitar lessons in the next room.
If you have several users competing for bandwidth, pick your spots. It might be that not EVERYONE needs to be online at the exact same time.
In conclusion, it might be good to do as many of these steps as you can. The pandemic has forced millions into a home office or school environment.
Most of us would not have experienced any internet usage issues unless there was a strain put on our networks. This gives you the opportunity to take a few steps to fine tune your internet service at home and get the most out of your connection.
Check out the latest routers.
If you can’t remember when you last updated your router, now might be the time to buy a new one. Today’s choices come with options that will give you a stronger signal throughout your house or apartment. A stronger signal means faster speeds, which is something that every internet user wants.
Here’s a link to the top-rated routers on Amazon.com. Do a little research, and ask a tech-savvy friend for help if you run into any problems.*
*If you buy a router from Amazon, they may thank us with a small compensation for sending you their way; however, it will in no way affect the price of the product you buy.
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