Are you experiencing buffering or longer load times while trying to binge watch your Netflix TV show? Does it seem to be taking forever for Facebook or your favorite video game to load? If so, it sounds like you’re dealing with slower than usual internet speeds. Troubleshooting your Wi-Fi network doesn’t have to be a tedious project and you do not have to be a tech guru to do it yourself. Here are five ways you can improve your internet speeds right now and mostly on your own today.
1. Turn Off & Turn It On Again
The most basic and also most powerful thing you can try is simply turn off your modem and router and turn them back on again a minute later. It sounds silly and super basic, but it is the easiest option with little effort on your part. This process is called power cycling and can often reset whatever problem you’re having that’s affecting you and restoring your high speed internet service.
2. Update Router/Modem Firmware & Software
Most people don’t realize that your modem and router both have their own software that needs to be updated regularly. You can log into both following your owner’s manuals (or online if you misplaced them) to update your firmware, software or update any settings you’d like. Updating all the devices connected to your Wi-Fi network can also help as well because overtime your software versions can become less compatible over time, resulting in what appears to you as slower speeds. It isn’t difficult to update your firmware and software, but if you’re not a techy person, it could be less stressful on you to find someone you trust walk you through the process. It’s recommended that you do learn how to update them yourself as your firmware and software needs to be updated regularly to experience the best performance of your devices. Depending on when you purchased your modem or router, you may still be within the warranty. If so, the manufacturer will provide phone support for no additional cost to you.
3. Put A Password On Your Wi-Fi Network
This also sounds very basic, but it’s also very important. You wouldn’t leave your front door unlocked, so don’t leave your Wi-Fi network without a password. Leaving your network without a password allows anyone within range of your network to hop on and use it without your permission. This can most definitely slow down your network, use up all your data (if you’re on a capped data plan) or worse get you in trouble with the authorities if those who are accessing your internet connection are committing illegal activities on your network. If you’re worried you’ll forget the password, or guests won’t be able to access the Wi-Fi, write the password down on a piece of paper or you can get a super trendy guest Wi-Fi password sign to hang up in the guest room for when visitors come over. No matter how you decide to remember your password, it’s very important to have a password and lock down your Wi-Fi.
4. Get A New Router
When did you purchase your current router? Do you even remember? If you don’t or it has been more than five years, it’s simply time for a new router. Technology has progressed so much within the past five years that your old router may not even be compatible with any of your newer devices anymore.
Even more likely if your router is really that old, it might not even be able to handle the internet speeds you’re getting now. If you’re using an ancient router on superior internet speeds, the router won’t have the capacity to even allow you to use it. If you’re experiencing slow speeds, intermittent connection, a weak connection or the router feels abnormally hot, it’s time. The first sign of an old router going bad is what appears to be slow or spotty wireless internet.
You can test your internet connection by plugging it directly in. If it works and your Wi-Fi doesn’t work or is unusually slow, your router is faulty. Most retailers have a fairly generous return policy, so worst case scenario, it wasn’t your router after all and you could just return the new one.
5. Upgrade Your Internet Plan
Sometimes everything you could possibly do still won’t fix your slow speeds. It might not be you, and could just be your internet provider. Call your internet provider and ask what speeds you are paying for.
If your internet speeds are lower than 25 Mbps, it is not considered high speed broadband internet by the FCC. If this is the case, upgrade your internet plan with your provider. If your current provider doesn’t have faster speeds available, it’s time to switch internet providers. Once you do, you’ll notice a vast improvement.