One of the most frustrating things that can happen to anyone is to experience a slow internet connection. With the pandemic continuing to ravage the world, more and more people are working and studying from home. The pandemic also made entertainment venues restricted or closed, so the demand for online entertainment has never been higher. And the holy grail of getting to do quality work from home, participate in conference calls for school or work, or gaining access to entertainment, is to have a proper internet connection. And if this is not the case, people tend to blame the internet service providers (ISP) directly.
However, ISP is not always the one who fails to deliver. Poor internet connectivity might often occur because of a simple software misconfiguration, dated hardware, the weather, a computer virus, or a physical issue with the cabling at your office or home.
A reason that often gets overlooked by many is the usage of an outdated router. People often believe that if something has been working well over the last ten years, it will most likely do it for another decade. It probably will, but dated hardware often is what causes a decrease in network speeds. With households having increased number of connected devices, the old dusty router you have in the corner might need a replacement. WiFi 6 has officially arrived, and similar to smartphones and 5G, if you do not have a router that is capable of taking advantage of the fast speeds, you just won’t ever get them until you upgrade to a WiFi 6 router. In a similar way, a 4G smartphone would never beat the internet speeds you can observe in a 5G-enabled device.
Malicious cryptocurrency mining
Quite often, interned speeds decrease if you have a background process that might be “stealing” from your connection. Malicious software affects not only your PC performance but also your internet stats. If your computer cannot perform well because it is overwhelmed by a hidden process, your internet connection won’t be fast. Hackers might have infected your PC with malicious code that mines cryptocurrency for them, or they might be using your PC to send spam around the world. Whatever the reason, if you have high-standard antivirus software on your laptop, your internet connection would likely be better because such antivirus software solutions are designed to prevent your PC from ever getting infected.
Speeds also decrease gradually the further away you get from the router. If you are used to browsing the internet while you are in the living room and suddenly you convert the loft on the other side of the house into a home office, you will likely see a big difference in the internet speeds. There are solutions out there that can help you. For example, a system of mesh routers strategically placed around the house can help you blanket the whole house and experience high and stable internet speeds all across your property. Another option to cover the entire house with internet is by using network extenders, but generally, those do not perform as well as the WiFi systems with mesh nodes.
Checking the physical condition of your cables and router might also be something you can consider before you call your ISP. Very often, the cables that plug into the back of your router simply wear off or need a little bit of jiggling to take all the dust off and be connected appropriately. So if you decide to restart your router to see if this would help your network speeds, don’t forget to take a look at the cables and make sure that they are fully plugged in. Sometimes pets, children, and even a vacuum cleaner, can get those cables unplugged. Taking a look at your lines for anything unusual might be a good idea if the internet is not performing well.
Sadly, Elon Musk’s Starlink internet bundle is not the only one that gets affected by the weather. Sometimes rain, too much wind, or cold weather causes troubles for internet service providers making the speeds pretty slow. Bad weather outside might also mean that everyone is at home looking for entertainment that ends up affecting the overall quality of the internet signal that gets to you. Even though this should not be an issue in a modern 21st-century world, internet speeds sometimes get affected by the weather conditions outside. While there is no way to change the weather, you may want to do some tests and see if your internet performs better on sunny days when compared to cold rainy days. Even though you can’t fix it, you will at least be prepared for the slower connections when weather is expected to be bad. You can maybe pre-load your favorite TV show or plan to play board games with the family instead of streaming movies.
When your ISP is to blame
In some cases, your ISP truly is the one to blame. If you’ve installed proper antivirus software on your devices, you have the latest WiFi 6 hardware, you’ve restarted your router, the weather is nice and shiny out there, you may want to give a call to your ISP. They can evaluate your internet needs, and if you have too many connected devices, they may try to switch you to faster speeds or increase your data plan.
ISPs sometimes do slow down your internet speeds on purpose. If the cables in a particular region get so busy with traffic, they throttle the speeds to make sure that cables won’t fail. Internet providers believe that they would rather cut your speed than cause data loss, resulting in total inaccessibility to the internet. If this happens more often than you want, you may want to explore other opportunities for getting internet in your home or office.
Slow internet speeds can be frustrating, and there are many reasons you might be experiencing disappointing download and upload speeds. Troubleshooting such problems is not easy, but if you follow the few basic steps described above, you might be able to resolve the issue yourself. However, if you have problems with the connectivity and it appears that the problem is not on your end, calling the customer service of your ISP provider is strongly recommended. Sometimes if a person is continuously expressing disappointment, they might be able to offer you a deal or upgrade you to a better tier free of charge… and if they are unable to help, you may want to consider switching to another service provider that offers better speeds or customer care.