Why Is Internet So Slow?

A slow internet connection is always annoying, and may be caused by a number of reasons. It’s important to pinpoint what the problem is exactly, as the problem maybe be solved by something as simple as unplugging your modem and/or router and rebooting your computer. Some of the most common reasons may be as follows.

Your wireless connection is improper

Make sure the home computer is connected via a wired Ethernet cord for performance reasons—especially if you feel that you don’t know what you are doing. This is because wired is a closed system where variables can be controlled. Wireless is an open system and the environment (and performance) is constantly changing

Your router may me the problem

Make sure home routing/switching gear is top notch. Twenty-dollar gigabit switches are fine, but routers under $200 will likely not function well. This is because routers are essentially PCs with purpose-built software. They make them cheaper by putting in less expensive CPUs and less memory. A router above $200 will actually weigh more. This is a good sign. More CPU and memory takes more metal

You don’t know your Mbps

When dealing with the Internet, the term ‘Mbps’ frequently crops up in association with connection speed, prefaced by a number (e.g. 75/75 Mbps). However, most people have no idea what Mbps stands for, let alone any concept of what it actually is—what’s a good number? What’s a bad number?. Think of it this way: Mbps is to the Internet what horsepower is to cars. You can actually just type in ‘speed test’ into your Google search bar and select the first option that comes up—Google’s speed test. It’s fast and reliable.

You don’t have enough horsepower

After you know your Mbps, you should determine how much speed you actually need. This is based on how many people are using your Internet connection, and what they’re using it for—streaming TV, streaming music, browsing the Internet, etc. If you’re living alone and just streaming music and browsing, for example, 5 Mbps may be enough. If you’re a family that likes to stream frequently, you should be looking for around 20 Mbps.

You need a better plan

If you’ve checked your speed, compared it with the number your Internet provider should be getting, and the numbers match up, then you might just be paying for slow Internet. In this case, you might want to consider opting for an upgrade

You’re on an overloaded channel

The [slow Internet] problem might also be the channel that your WiFi is on. Like radio, different WiFi signals connect to different channels. You can use a tool like Network Analyzer Lite (for iOS) or Wifi Analyzer (for Android) to see if your WiFi channel is overloaded and/or manually choose a new one

Time for a modem reset

If you’re getting slower Internet than you’re supposed to, you can try resetting your modem and router (turning them off and on again). You might also want to check the other devices in your house before or after this step. If it’s just one device that’s slow, you might just have a hardware problem..

If the lights on your modem and router all come on like they’re supposed to after resetting them, try grabbing the ethernet cable that your ISP should have given you when they installed your Internet to connect your computer directly to the modem. Reset the modem again. If you have Internet after this, it’s a router problem. If not, it’s time to call your ISP.

Your WiFi is in a bad spot

Try moving your router out into the open, if you normally keep yours in a cabinet or closet. Have open space for its signal can have a remarkable improvement on your WiFi speed. If you have a big home, it might be a distance issue from your router. Try testing your speed when you’re near your router versus when you’re farther away. If you notice a difference, it might be worth investing in some WiFi extenders for a mesh network

Other devices are causing interference

There are devices in your home/office causing interference to your WiFi signal. Electronic devices that are emitting radio frequency (radio, TV, monitors, etc.) can cause this. Try removing them from your space to check whether they are the issue

Background programs are eating up bandwidth

Games and programs that work with videos, in particular, can heavily impact your network and cause what appears to be slow Internet connections. It’s easy to forget these applications are running. Check your computers for any programs that are running in the background when you troubleshoot a slow network

Your computer has a virus

Sometimes, your computers get infected with viruses that steal your resources without you knowing and will slow down your Internet speed. Install effective and trusted antivirus software to avoid this

Try more RAM

To really speed up a computer, you’ll want to upgrade your hardware. That typically includes increasing the RAM

Close unused programs

If you run too many programs at once—for example having a Web browser, an Excel spreadsheet, and Spotify open at the same time—you’ll overload the computer and slow its processing speed significantly. “Many users will close an application window via the red cross in the top right-hand corner; however, many applications will still technically be running,” advises Mathew Porter, director at Kumo Digital. “This consumes valuable processing power and RAM which in turn will slow down your [computer]

Do some cleanup

Photos, videos, and other extra-large files hog space on your computer and make it run slowly. Though deleting some will definitely help matters, that’s far from the only option. Chris Scalise of Discount-Computer.com recommends rearranging some of your files in a process called defragmenting or “defragging

Reboot regularly

Speaking of restarting your computer, that’s another simple thing that probably has a bigger impact on your computer’s speed than you might think. It’s tempting to put your computer to sleep at night instead of shutting down. Who wants to wait for it to reboot in the morning? Problem is, when you don’t restart a computer regularly, it can start behaving strangely and responding more slowly.