Internet: we tell you how to speed up your connection

Internet connections can always be faster. If your downloads are very slow, the transmission feels like a slide show, or if you simply want to maximize speeds, this is how you can speed up that connection.

Depending on your Internet Service Provider (ISP), you can often get faster speeds by calling them or visiting their website. And updating you to a more expensive plan. Your monthly bill will increase, but also your speed. However, before you do, here are some tips that can speed up your connection for free.

Optimize your WiFi internet connection and local network

Many problems with local networks, particularly those that use WiFi, are to blame for the low internet speeds. Before seeing your internet connection, it is worth making sure that your local network is on par.

The most basic solution for poor network performance is to turn off the router and modem, if it is separate. Then it costs up to ten and then turn it on again. This is called the "power cycle" of your router, and it can often speed things up.

If you use WiFi instead of wired Ethernet, it is a good idea to minimize interference from nearby networks. Since they can cause speed drops and network drops. If you see many other networks on your devices when you connect to your home WiFi, you are likely to benefit from choosing a WiFi channel that offers the least interference.

If you have a modern router that supports the 5GHz band, you should use it whenever possible. The use of the 5GHz band results in faster speeds and less interference. If you have an 802.11ac compatible dual band router, you will see two networks appear when you connect.

Router firmware can be updated

You can name them accordingly with your router configuration. Most of them have instructions to access this interface printed on the side of the device.

While connected, it is worth downloading and installing any new firmware that is available for your router. Where to find this differs depending on the manufacturer and the model you are using. So look for "Software Update" or something similar.

You should not use an insecure wireless network. If your network is open, anyone can connect to it and use up your bandwidth. Make sure your network is protected with WPA2 (AES) whenever possible. With this enabled, all devices require a password to connect.

Completely bypass the wireless connection and use a connection

Wired Ethernet offers the best performance of the local network. You can also try moving your router to a better location, closer to the area where you use your wireless devices more frequently.

Finally, if your router is old; Two to five years ago, consider buying a new one. Network equipment is rarely damaged and problems may arise depending on how much you use it. Newer routers support faster WiFi standards, such as 802.11ac. To get the best coverage, you might want to consider a mesh WiFi system.

An old modem can also be your speed problem. If you're not getting the speeds you're paying for, and you bought your modem directly a long time ago, it might be time to update.

You must test your speed

With your local network running optimally, it's time to test your Internet speed. You can do it using a service like Speedtest.net, Fast.com or even Google. If possible, run the test from a laptop using a wired Ethernet connection. Or move the device you are testing as close as possible to the router.

Be sure to run the speed test while you are not actively using your connection. If you are transmitting or downloading at the same time, you are likely to get a result below expectations.
You can run the test several times to get the most reliable result set.

Now, compare the speed you get with the speed you should get. It is uncommon for real-world internet speeds to match those announced by your service provider, but they should approach at some point during the hours of less activity.

Sometimes, low speeds can indicate a problem that can only be solved by your service provider. This would involve replacing cables or installing new access points. However, before picking up the phone, it is better to test the processes listed below. This way, you can tell your service provider that you have tried everything to solve the problem.

Limit the amount of bandwidth you are using

Your Internet connection provides you with a limited amount of bandwidth, which must be shared among all the devices on your network. The more devices use the internet at the same time, the less bandwidth there is for everyone. Limiting bandwidth can greatly improve your internet speed.

Similarly, certain activities consume bandwidth, for example we have:

Large downloads

Content streaming, particularly 4K or 1080p video.

WiFi cameras and smart doorbells.

BitTorrent transfers, including upstream traffic on some ADSL connections.

Try to isolate any device that may be using more than its fair share of bandwidth. Ask other family members or housemates if they stream many videos or download files through BitTorrent. You might be getting the Internet speed you are paying, but you are trying to do too much at once in your current plan.

If you suspect that this is the case, you can change some behaviors to try to help. Leave large downloads late at night when nobody is awake and you can also program most BitTorrent clients. Set your smartphones and tablets to update automatically, so that they download the files they need at night while they are charging.

If your router supports it, enable Quality of Service (QoS) on the control panel. This feature shares bandwidth more efficiently and prevents certain activities such as torrent downloads from stopping everything.

Change your DNS servers to get better Internet

The Domain Name System (DNS) is like the internet address book. The DNS resolves the domain names in the IP addresses of the server where the data is stored. The speed at which DNS servers operate differs significantly. A slow DNS server means longer delays (more latency) when accessing websites.

Sometimes, your choice of DNS server affects the IP addresses it receives, especially when websites distribute your traffic load using content delivery networks (CDNs).

By default, use the assigned DNS servers of your service provider. It is unlikely that these are the fastest available to you. A better option is to use DNS servers provided by Google (8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4) or CloudFlare (1.1.1.1). For best results, run a simple test to find the best DNS servers based on your geographic location.

The best way to implement DNS changes is on your router. By changing the DNS server in your network hardware, you will see the improvement in each device that connects to it. The alternative is to change your DNS servers on each device you use.

Consider the software

The software can also cause problems with internet speed. Something might be using your connection a lot while running in the background. Windows users can start Task Manager (Ctrl + Alt + Delete) to see a list of running processes. Sort by the ┬źNetwork┬╗ column to see which processes are using your network connection. Kill all the processes you don't need.

On a Mac, you can do the same by starting Activity Monitor, navigating to the "Network" tab, and then sorting by "Sent Bytes" for the upstream or "Rcvd Bytes" for the downstream stream. For Windows and Mac systems, it is important to identify the processes so you can understand why the software is using your connection. Search the internet for any process name that is not immediately obvious and decide if you need that application or not.

Malware and viruses can also be the source of unwanted network activity, particularly on Windows machines. Run a virus scan on Windows regularly to protect yourself. Mac users can check the antimalware tools designed for this system. However, Linux users generally do not have to worry about malware.

If your computer is slow in general, browsing is also likely to be slow. Limiting the amount of tabs you have open simultaneously helps with this. You should also keep a 10-20 GB buffer of free space on your hard drive at all times.

On mobile devices, Opera Mini offers a faster browsing experience, especially on older devices.

Does the ISP strangle you? Use a VPN

The "limitation" is when your ISP limits certain types of traffic. For example, you could try to limit data-intensive activities, such as file sharing and video streaming. You can also restrict certain types of traffic, such as BitTorrent transfers or entire domains, such as youtube.com.

If the performance is especially bad when you do some things online but not others, your ISP may be limiting your connection. For example, you may experience slow streaming when you try to watch videos, but web searches load in an instant. You can easily test if you are being strangled by using a virtual private network (VPN) to hide your online activity.

Connecting to a VPN will cause your Internet speed to decrease a bit. This depends on how far you are from the server. You can rectify this by choosing a VPN provider with servers closest to your geographic location.

Try to isolate what activities are causing the slowdown. Connect to your VPN and try those activities again. If there is no discernible difference, it is likely that you are not being strangled. However, if you notice that things work much better behind a VPN, you may want to talk to your ISP.

When is it time to call your internet service provider?

If you are satisfied that the low internet speeds are not your fault and the speed you are getting is considerably less than what you are paying, it is time to talk to your ISP. Similarly, if you suspect you are being strangled, you should also raise the problem with them.

Inform your ISP that you are not satisfied with the level of service you receive. If they are not receptive, threatening to leave could persuade them to solve the problem. However, if you get anywhere and you have the option of choosing another provider, consider making the change.