Troubleshooting Slow Internet: Boost Your Wi-Fi Speed and Solve Connectivity Issues

In today's digital age, where approximately 5.35 billion people are active internet users, a fast and reliable internet connection is not just a convenienceβ€”it's a necessity. Yet, many of us grapple with sluggish internet speeds that hamper our productivity and entertainment. If you've ever found yourself asking, "Why is my internet so slow?" or "How can I make my internet faster?" you're not alone. In this blog, we'll embark on a journey to not only understand the root causes of slow internet but also explore effective, cost-free measures to enhance your Wi-Fi speed.

Why settle for less when you can optimize your internet experience without spending an extra dime? By the end of this guide, you'll be equipped with the knowledge to assess and improve your internet speeds and make your internet faster, ensuring you get the full value of the service you pay for. Let's dive into the world of internet troubleshooting and take back control of your connectivity!

I'm gonna take you through a bunch of stuff that you can do for free to understand what's going on with your internet speed and help you answer why is my internet so slow and how to make your internet faster.  

By the time you're done with this, you'll be in a better position to understand what's happening before throwing more money at your internet provider. Unlike your provider, this isn't going to cost you anything.

I want to start by asking you a question. If you pay for 10 items in a store, are you okay walking out with just five? The answer should be absolutely not, and I agree. You should get what you pay for. πŸ˜„ 

When it comes to our internet provider, for some bizarre reason, we're culturally okay with not getting the speeds we are paying for. Some people say, "Hey, just go and buy a faster internet package." That is awesome for the internet provider. They don't supply you with the speed you're paying for, so why would we give them even more money to get into a higher tier package?

So that's where we start.

Step one: Are you actually getting the internet speed that you're paying for?

Your provider is supposed to give you a set download and upload speed based on your subscription package. Therefore, you should be getting as close to those speeds as possible.

πŸ‘‰ First, visit your internet provider's customer website or portal, or check your last invoice. You should be able to see the package speed you're currently paying for.

If it doesn't say the speed because they've got a fancy schmancy marketing package like "Super Surfer", look up that package name on their website to see the supposed speed. Or if you're willing to spend about half an hour, call their customer service department and ask what speed you're paying for. But ensure you get both the upload and download speed, as they tend to focus on the latter.

Now that you have your speed, let's start testing if you are actually getting that.

πŸ‘‰ First, switch off your router and modem. It may be one or two devices, depending on what you have. Essentially, disconnect from the internet for about five minutes.

Why five minutes? That's the time it takes for you to fully disconnect from the network. When you reconnect, they send you a fresh token and welcome you back.

Now that everything is back on, we're going to use to see the actual internet speed you're getting. I know this isn't a perfect test, but if you kick everybody off your network and avoid any major downloads, it will give a good enough indication of what's happening.

πŸ‘‰ Ideally, connect your computer with a LAN cable to your router to avoid being influenced by the Wi-Fi.

I suggest running the internet speed test three times, ensuring you connect to the same destination each time. Record the speeds and divide them by three to get the average download, upload, and latency.

Now, that is the internet speed you are getting. Is it close to what you're paying for? It's never going to be exact, but it should be close. 

If it's close to what you're paying for and it's still not fast enough for you (slow internet), then the only real option to make your internet faster is to upgrade your internet package with your provider. It's like having a motorcycle. That's great, but if you want to travel with your entire family, there's only so much you can load up before needing to upgrade to a car. Same thing here. Your provider is providing the service that you're paying for.

Let me save you a whole bunch of Googling and YouTubing. There is no hack or tip that is going to get you faster internet speed than you are paying for. Yes, there may be a small percent of people who can actually get a little bit faster, but for the majority of us, what we pay is what we get. 

What happens if the speed you've just tested is nowhere near what you're paying for? Say you're paying for 100 megabits per second, but you're getting 25. Now what? 

We have to move on to step two to determine the issue.

Step two: Is it on our side, or is the internet provider at fault?

We know that the best situation is to hardwire your computer or laptop to your router using a LAN cable. If your interested in learning more about hardwiring check out our blog on ethernet cable installation here. However, this isn't always possible. So let's address both situations, starting with the wired.

πŸ‘‰ The first clue is to look at the actual cable itself. You want to see the tiny wording that says something like CAT5, Cat5e, or Cat6.

You can Google the difference between the various categories. It's rather technical. But for typical home usage, you want a Cat6 or better because of the speed and build quality.

Look at your router's ports. You should be able to see a port that says "Gigabit." If it doesn't, then look up the make and model on Google to see what speed your ports are. 

This is an important step that a lot of people miss. If you have an older router, those ports could be limited to 100 megabits per second. This means that your fast Cat6 cable, which can handle one gigabit per second speed, will be heading quickly from your computer down the cable, into your router, and then come to a halt because the port can only handle a fraction of that speed. The result? Slow internet for you. This is how you can tell if your Wi-Fi router is going bad and its time to replace it.  

If your ports are limited and you're mainly using a wired connection, I'm afraid a new router is in your future. 

Assuming you have a gigabit port on your router and your computer has a gigabit network card, you may want to run another speed test. You should be getting close to the speed that you are paying for.

If you are not, maybe your cable needs replacing. After doing so, run the speed test again. If you need help replacing or even running cabling throughout your space we can take of that for you here!

If you are still not getting the right speed, now is the time to call your service provider. They may need to reset your account, or even come out to your house to check the physical connections. Remember, these are cables lying outside, typically for years, connecting your house to the box on the street. Over time, they could become damaged, frayed, or broken, impacting the speed, especially if you're running cable or DSL. So let them come out and check.

If you are getting the speed that you are paying for, your computer is nice and fast, but your wireless devices are slow, it's time to move on to step number three, the Wi-Fi(Wifi troubleshooting).

Step three: the Wi-Fi (Wifi troubleshooting)

Now, I know it's not always possible to hardwire everything. You may be renting, and your landlord certainly doesn't want you to punch holes in the wall to run your cable. Walking around the house with a phone tethered to a LAN cable is impractical. So, wireless is gonna be your friend. 

πŸ‘‰ Grab your laptop or phone and walk close to the router. Look at the Wi-Fi options. You should typically see two connections that are yours, along with a gazillion other Wi-Fi networks from your neighbors.

One connection is Wi-Fi 2.4 gigahertz, and the other is 5 gigahertz. The 2.4 gigahertz is slower than 5, but can be used over greater distances. This is perfect for devices like wireless doorbells and smart plugs that are placed all over the house and don't require much speed.

5 gigahertz is faster, but the range is shorter than 2.4 gigahertz. To get that fast internet speed, your devices connecting wirelessly need to be relatively close to the router.

You've grabbed your laptop and phone, you're right next to the router, connecting to the 5 gigahertz network, and you want to run that speed test. Is it close to the speed that you're paying for?

If you are connecting to the 5 gigahertz Wi-Fi and it's not working, then the laptop may have a built-in 2.4 gigahertz network card. You can easily swap that out with a USB adapter to get it to 5 gigahertz. If you're connecting with your phone, ensure it can handle 5 gigahertz. Most phones can, but some older models cannot. 

At this stage, you should be getting a nice, fast internet speed right next to the router. Now, walk around to the places where you sit, work, watch TV, and stream your stuff, and run the Wi-Fi speed test there.

Are you still getting that speed? If not, it means that the signal from the router isn't able to reach that spot efficiently. There may be thick walls, different levels of the house, big appliances, or other interferences that disrupt the Wi-Fi signal.

So, what do you do now? I mean, you're not going to bash down walls or get rid of your fridge, right? πŸš€

Well, there is a free option and a paid-for option. Let's start with the free.

Wi-Fi signals work on channels. So you want to make sure that your Wi-Fi channel isn't congested, it's not fighting with all the other signals.

I know that routers have an "Auto Channel" feature, which technically means it should automatically look for the least busy channel and provide the best Wi-Fi signals. However, I have tested many routers that simply don't do this. So I personally like to set my own channel if the signal is sluggish.

So let's check this:

πŸ‘‰ Download a Wi-Fi analyzer from the Microsoft Store on your computer and examine the free versus congested channels.

If you see that your Wi-Fi is on a congested channel, note the number of one that isn't congested.

Go into your router settings and make the change there. Don't worry, this is reversible if it doesn't work out for whatever reasons.

Each router is different. There's no way for me to explain every single one. So the best thing to do is to look up your router's documentation. 

You've run a speed test. If that doesn't improve your Wi-Fi, the next option is to physically move the router to a more central position in the house to get those glorious Wi-Fi signals spreading all around. This will give you better connectivity in the areas that were previously slow.

If you have a router with external antennas, you can adjust their positioning to improve connectivity in various areas. This does make a difference.  

If the free options didn't help, unfortunately, you're looking at spending some money. πŸ’°

πŸ‘‰ The cheapest option is to buy a Wi-Fi extender, but the smart, future-proof solution is a mesh Wi-Fi system. 

The mesh nodes are placed all over the house with built-in intelligence to manage the Wi-Fi data. They're constantly monitoring the traffic and rerouting any congestion to maintain optimal speed. So you get that beautiful, glorious speed all the time. πŸ€‘

If you rather have a professional help with your wifi extension we can take of that for you here.

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If after all of this, your internet is still slow and you're not getting the speed that you're paying for...

It's time to call your service provider. Settle in, as this is gonna take a while.

They will typically try to diagnose things over the phone, reset your router, and make you reboot and close and open everything. Eventually, someone will have to come out to your house to check the cables, which is what you want.

You want someone from their office to come to your home and see for themselves that you're not getting the speed that you're paying for. They may then offer a bunch of options such as upgrading your line for free, providing better equipment, or even offering a discount on your current payment if there's nothing more they can do. At least you can have some real options versus just being super frustrated.

Now, if you rather have a professional help you through this then we got you covered just book your service here to have a Tek help speed up your wifi speeds!

TekDash Wifi troubleshooting service