Want to Speed Up Your Internet Connection?
Are you looking for ways to speed up your Internet? A slow, crawling Internet connection can be a source of great frustration. Sometimes the slowdown is beyond your control; the Internet is subject to traffic jams just like any other highway. But there are some things you can do to maximize whatever speed you are able to get. Here's a bucket of tips and tools that can help you go faster on the information highway…
How to Get a Faster Internet Connection
Let's start with the wire that connects your computer to the Internet. If you still have a dialup connection, you're traveling the information superhighway in a horse and buggy. If DSL service is available from your phone company, upgrading will make the Internet seem like a different place. If you have DSL, consider moving to cable or a fiber optic connection, which can be 10-100X faster.
As a side note, I found out last night that sometimes speed is essential to safety. I was stopped in the right lane, behind a long line of cars waiting to exit the highway, when a car hit us from behind, hard! He was looking at his phone, and never hit the brakes. Fortunately, there were no injuries, but both cars were badly damaged. Note to self: avoid situations where you cannot maintain highway speed.
For those in very rural areas, satellite and mobile broadband may be good alternatives. My article How Fast is Satellite Internet Service? goes into more detail on some of those connection options.
If you've already got some type of "high-speed" internet connection, sometimes a problem with the wiring, cabling or fiber optic lines between the utility pole and your computer can cause a degradation in speed. Loose cable connections can slow down the Internet. If your computer is hardwired to your router, unplug the cable connections at both ends and reseat them firmly. Also reseat the cable that brings the Internet into your router or modem.
Also, it's not unheard of for Internet service providers to throttle your connection speed without telling you. That's happened to me more than once. You can ask your ISP to test your connection and certify that you are getting all the bandwidth for which you are paying. Or do it yourself! See my article Here's How to Measure Your Internet Speed to find out how.
Slow Internet -- Hardware Factors
I once had a problem once with a slow cable internet connection, which turned out to be caused by the wires rubbing against a tree in my yard. Squirrels have also been known to chew on these cables. Lightning can damage utility cables and weather may cause rusty or loose cable connections. If you think the problem lies between your router and the pole, contact your service provider to have the wires and any splitters checked.
If you have a router that was installed by your Internet provider, and your Internet speed seems to bog down often, try rebooting the router. I recommend that you shut off the router, wait a minute, then restart it and wait for it to reconnect to the Internet. If that makes a big difference, your router may be defective, and should be replaced. It's also possible that your router or modem is not capable of handling the speed you're paying for. A fews years ago, I upgraded my Verizon FIOS connection from 20Mbps to 50MBps, only to discover that my actual download speeds hadn't changed a bit. A free router upgrade solved the problem, but I might never have realized the need if I hadn't tested the speed myself.
Wireless networks can have flaky connections, too. If you are not getting a five-bar signal from your wireless router, reposition the router and/or your computer's WiFi adapter until reception is as good as you can get. You might consider a USB high-gain WiFi adapter, a high-gain antenna, or a range extender. My article Try These Tips to Boost Your WiFi Signal has some other tips you can try.
And although it has nothing really to do with networking, there is one hardware upgrade that can make a significant difference in your Internet speeds. Insufficient RAM memory can really bog down your computer, and make even a fast Internet connection frustratingly slow. (Think about what would happen to water flow if you connected a 6-inch pipe to a garden hose.) My article Does Your Computer Need More Memory? goes into detail on how much memory you should have, as well as how to purchase and install it.
Slow Internet -- Software Factors
Software upgrades are key to getting the best Internet speed possible. Check with your ISP or the router manufacturer to see if there are any available updates for the router's firmware. Be sure to keep your operating system, your software and security tools up to date. A computer that's infested with viruses or spyware (malware) can come to a crawl when accessing the Internet. My articles Keep Your Software Updated (or else...) and PC Matic 4.0 – My Review will point you in the right direction if you need help with these software and security issues.
You can also try an alternative DNS service provider, which may speed up the lookup of Web sites. I covered OpenDNS, Google Public DNS, and others in my article Improved Speed and Safety on the Info-Superhighway.
One reader told me that her Internet speed seemed to depend on what web browser she was using. When she experienced slow Internet speeds with Internet Explorer, closing that browser and opening FireFox or Chrome suddenly made it better. When that browser slowed down, she would switch browsers again. I've experienced a similar thing, but switching browsers isn't actually the cure here. In my experience, the longer you keep your browser open (especially if you open and close lots of tabs) the slower your web pages will load. Simply closing down the browser and re-opening it solves this problem for me. You may also find it helpful to reset your browser. See my related piece Is It Time to Reset Your Web Browser?
Internet Speed Up - What (Probably) Doesn't Work
Turning off unnecessary network adapter properties supposedly boosts Internet speeds. But in my experience, tweaking these properties does not increase speed and it can limit other functionality. For example, turning off the "QoS Packet Scheduler" is rumored to reclaim up to 20 per cent of your bandwidth that is allegedly reserved for things like Windows Update. But that simply isn't true. Turning off QoS can, however, interfere with VoIP and other applications. Disabling file and printer sharing is a good idea if you don't need to share, but it has negligible effect on Internet speed.
There are many utilities on the Web that claim to "optimize" your Internet connection. Tweaking esoteric settings hidden deep in the Windows registry, e.g., MTU and RWIN, is an old-school way to boost Internet speed. The problem is that the optimal values for these settings vary depending on network conditions. In older versions of Windows (Windows 95/98/ME/XP) these tweaks might have been somewhat useful. But Windows 7, 8 and 10 have incorporated an auto-tuning function that does this sort of tweaking on the fly. It really is not necessary or advisable to fiddle with the registry.
Finally, consider upgrading your Internet speed by paying a little extra for more bandwidth. Some folks aren't even aware that their ISP offers such an option, and there may be other ISPs servicing your area who can provide a faster connection. A little research may even net you a faster connection at a lower monthly price! Do you have any internet speedup tips? Post your comment or question below…
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 22 Jan 2021
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Want to Speed Up Your Internet Connection? (Posted: 22 Jan 2021)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved