How to Diagnose and Fix Your Slow Wireless Internet
What’s causing your slow Internet speeds? Is it your Internet service provider or your Wi-Fi setup at home?
Here’s one way to find out:
Using a laptop, smartphone or tablet, open a browser and go to www.fast.com
Stand right next to your router and run a speed test.
Next, move to a room farther away from the router and run the speed test again.
Compare the results.
If your speed was fast near your Wi-Fi router and slow when you moved further away, the problem is probably your router. If your Wi-Fi connection was slow in both test locations, the problem is most likely your Internet provider.
If your router is the problem here are some things you can do:
How old is your router?
If your router is more than five years old, you should replace it. Back in 2015, the FCC removed restrictions limiting the transmission power of wireless routers. After 2015, the FCC allowed routers that were 20 times more powerful than routers manufactured in 2015 and earlier.
Upgrading to a newer, more powerful router may make a big difference in your Internet speed.
Where is your router placed? Your router should be in a central location so that its signal covers as many rooms as possible. The router should be out in the open on a shelf and not under a desk or in a cabinet. Placing the router in the open allows it to transmit a clear signal.
How big is your home?
If you have a large home with many rooms and/or 2 or more stories, and your Wi-Fi signal is weak in some areas, the best solution for you may be to buy a mesh network system. A mesh system is a system that consists of two or more access points, including a central Wi-Fi router and satellite hubs. A mesh system lets you connect multiple access points to blanket your home with a strong Internet signal and a Fast internet connection anywhere inside your home.
Mesh systems cost as little as $60 for a central router and one satellite hub, like this Jetstream AC1200 Whole Home WiFi Mesh Routers 2-Pack. This mesh network system provides coverage up to 4,000 Square Feet.
Google offers mesh systems starting at $99 (mesh router only) and Linksys has a 3-hub (5000 square ft. coverage) for $150.
Mesh systems are usually very easy to set up and take only a few minutes to get them up and working.
If your home is smaller and you cannot move your router to a more central location, then you may be able to use a Wi-Fi range extender. See our article here.
If it’s your Internet Service Provider (ISP) there’s not much you can do
If you find that it’s your Internet service provider causing your slow speeds, then you should call your Internet service provider and ask for help.
When you call be sure to ask the following questions:
What speed are you paying for?
Ask your ISP what speed you’re paying for. When they tell you, if your speeds are substantially slower, tell them what speeds you’re getting.
Sometimes the customer service rep and transfer you to a technician who can analyze your Internet performance and make changes to speed up your connection. Let’s be honest here, this is not likely to happen, but it’s worth a try. Generally, your ISP will send a technician to your home to check out your equipment as well as the service line(s) coming into you home.
Is it your modem?
The modem is the box that connects to your Internet provider’s service. Like your router, it can also become outdated and have to be replaced. If your ISP confirms your modem is outdated, you can your ISP install a new one. Keep in mind most ISPs charge a monthly “rental” fee for the modem.
Or you can buy your own modem, hook it up yourself (it’s easy) and call your ISP to activate it. Netgear and Motorola are the most popular brands and range in price from $70 to $150 and up. Here’s a Netgear modem certified for use with Spectrum, Cox, Xfinity, and others for $70.
I don’t recommend a modem/router combinations. These devices cost more and you have no choice of routers or mesh systems.
Can you buy more speed?
Some Internet providers offer different tiers of service. Does your ISP offer faster speeds? Check with your ISP to find out if you’re signed up for the fastest speed available. If not, find out what it would cost to subscribe to the faster service. Then you can decide if the faster speeds are worth the increased monthly subscription payment.
A slow internet connection is no fun. Watching videos online can be tedious and irritating. If you stream video, slow speed causes buffering and make watching Netflix, Amazon Prime, and/or other streaming services frustrating – even unwatchable. We hope the tips in this article will help you determine and fix your Internet connection problems and get you back in the fast lane where you belong.