Why is my Internet Connection so Slow?

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A slow and sluggish Internet connection is a really frustrating experience for anyone browsing the web.

The good news is, you can carry out a speed test using a free online tool to discover if your speed is slower than advertised.

Quick Read:

Assess the performance of your Internet connection

First, you’ll need to visit SpeedTest.net and click on “Begin Test” to run a speed test. In a few seconds, it will show your upload and download your speed test result.

If you have a wireless connection, you’ll get more accurate results once you establish a wired connection. You can do this by connecting an Ethernet cable directly to the modem.

You can also compare results by running a speed test on both wireless and wired connections.

The speed will help you to find out if your Internet service provider (ISP) has provisioned your speed correctly.

If the speed test results show that you have 20 Mbps, when you’re supposed to get 50 Mbps, it’s a clear indicator that you’re getting less than you’ve paid for.

Take a look at our comparison tools here at Stackup.ca to find out which Internet service provider offers the highest speed, for the best price.

Common reasons for a slow Internet connection and how to fix them…

Leading Internet service provider AT&T has listed 6 common factors that affect Internet speed:

  1. Proximity. Web server proximity direct effects your Internet speed. The website’s connection capacity and path also affect the performance of your Internet connection.
  2. Old device. There are devices that are easier to replace than repair. An old computer is one of them. Try upgrading your device for more RAM to get the most from your Internet speed.
  3. Frequently visited websites. Latency is not always an end user’s problem. Popular websites can slow the Internet connection due to the volume of visitors, which increases traffic to the network.
  4. Interference. Your speed is much faster when you’re sitting right next to a modem or router. Obstructions such as thick walls with metal pipes can cause latency on your device.
  5. Outdated software. Computer software needs to be updated regularly as it can be exposed to threats and vulnerabilities.
  6. Malicious software and viruses. Unnecessary software and viruses cause computers to run more slowly. They affect your Internet speed because they reduce your computer’s processing power.

How to address Internet speed issues

There are many practical ways to resolve issues regarding your Internet speed. AT&T recommends the following troubleshooting steps:

  • Restart your computer,
  • Power cycle the modem or router,
  • Clear cache, cookies and browsing history,
  • Close unused applications,
  • Limit the number of connected devices.

If these steps don’t improve your Internet speed, it’s important to request assistance from your ISP to resolve the speed issue.

As well as SpeedTest.net, Fast.com is another free online tool you can use to test your Internet speed. You can then compare your test results with your ones from SpeedTest.net.

How to resolve problems with slow Internet connection at home

Many factors could be slowing down your Internet connection. It might be due to electromagnetic interference (EMI), incorrect router configuration, or home network problems. Follow these useful tips to improve your Internet speed:

Make sure your router settings are configured properly

Your router is the backbone of your network. It’s imperative that you check your router’s configuration because it may be contributing to your Internet speed problem. The MTU setting should not be too high, or low, as it can cause latency on your computer.

Check your router’s settings to check that they follow your ISP’s recommendations. If you’ve recently made some changes to your router settings, be sure to record them. You might need to undo these changes in the future.

Identify signal interference

Wireless connections are highly sensitive, and their speed can be affected by any form of interference. This interference may include electronic devices, household appliances or even your neighbour’s wireless networks.

If interference is causing your connection to run more slowly, try placing your router in an area where you can maximize Internet performance. You will experience better speed performance if your device is closer to your router. And you can change your Wi-Fi channel number to get a stronger signal.

Perform a routine virus scan

Malware such as worms can affect your Internet speed. Once they spread through your network environment, it will drastically slow down your connection.

Worms affect your Internet connection’s performance by generating network traffic. You may not be aware that your device is infected by malware, as it often finds its way into your device before you can identify it.

As well as keeping your anti-virus software up-to-date, it’s important to run a virus scan regularly. You can then quickly detect if your device has been infected by worms, viruses, and other malware.

Close unused apps or software

Leaving unused applications open can reduce your operating system’s performance. You may not be aware that these software applications can greatly affect your Internet speed. If you’re experiencing latency, check your device for any open programs or applications that you don’t need.

Check the physical connection of your modem or router

Poor Internet connection is not only caused by software issues. Problems with your physical connection can also result in a poor Internet connection.

If you’re using a router, you need to check whether the problem is with your modem or wireless router by bypassing the router. This step will help you to determine if you have a faulty modem or router. Check cables as well. Perform tests with multiple devices to diagnose the problem.

Phones that are connected to the modem may also cause the connection to slow down. Using filters or splitters usually solves the problem. If you’re still not receiving high-speed Internet connection, scheduling an appointment with a technician may help you identify where the problem lies.

Give your Internet service provider a call

If you’ve exhausted all the troubleshooting steps to no avail, it’s a sign that you need to get in touch with your Internet service provider. Your ISP will perform tried-and-tested troubleshooting steps to address the problem, such as changing your network settings. It’s also important to note that there are instances when your ISP schedules network maintenance, which may cause your network to experience technical glitches. Call your ISP if you suspect that the problem is at their end.


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