How to Speed Up Your Internet Connection

Your internet connection speed is often the pivotal factor in defining your user experience. A slow connection might not matter when you’re checking your emails, but when you’re streaming HD video, it can be an excruciating experience if you’re not getting the internet speed that you want. It’s worse if you have to work from home and you’re on a tight deadline.

If you have a movie or game that you are currently downloading from The Pirate Bay, please pause the same and see whether the speed increases or stays the same. If it increases, you can conclude that it was because of the downloads from the torrenting site. If it does not increase, then you might have to explore other areas to find the problem of what is affecting the internet speeds.

Your provider might tell you that you have a particular speed, but don’t take their word for it. Very often, your settings and other factors can heavily reduce your internet connection speed. Here are some quick ways to test and improve your connectivity to the web.

Test your Internet Connection Speed

You can’t meaningfully improve your internet connection speed if you don’t know how bad it is in the first place. So put your subjectivity aside and run multiple speed tests at different times of the day. There will be variations, but it should ideally be limited to within a +/- 10% range of what your ISP has promised you.

For example, if you’re on a 100 Mbps connection, you shouldn’t be getting anything lower than 90 Mbps of download speed. More is good, but too much below the committed speed is bad.

Check for Active Downloads/Uploads

BitTorrent is often the culprit for slow connections, especially if you have multiple desktops or laptops and you aren’t sure if any of them is either downloading or seeding torrents. If that’s the case, then it’s not a connection problem. Active downloads and uploads use up a part of your total bandwidth so naturally when you try to access the web from another system it will be relatively slow compared to the speeds your normally get.

To avoid this problem, you can set a bandwidth cap for all your torrent needs. That way you’ll be able to consistently keep a major portion of your bandwidth available for your browsing, downloading or streaming needs.

Also, make sure that someone else is not using your WiFi and hogging up all your speed. That’s a common problem whenever there are multiple users with multiple devices on the same network.

Restart your Router

Very often, your router gets tangled up in itself, so to speak. Restarting your router periodically refreshes the settings parameters and usually helps improve your internet connection speed dramatically.

This tends to happen more often if your home devices are primarily connecting to the router through WiFi. I’ve found that restarting the router usually fixes the issue, or else you can turn off your WiFi receiver on the device and turn it on after a few seconds. One of these usually eliminates any ‘slow on WiFi’ issues.

The problem with routers is that they don’t just give up and die one fine day. They typically keep working even though they’re not performing optimally at all times. If you find yourself restarting your router too often to regain internet speed, maybe it’s time you bought a new router. But before that…

Reset your Router

This is completely different from restarting your router, which doesn’t actually change any of the settings. Resetting, on the other hand, will change all settings to the default values that were set up when the router was first installed.

But before you do this, you should realize that everything will go back to the way it was. Your devices will no longer be able to recognize the WiFi signal, and the password will default to the original one set by your ISP. So before you do this, understand that it’s as good as installing a new router. Don’t do it if you’re a tech illiterate. Apologies for calling you that, but better safe than sorry!

Check your Modem

If you’ve rented a modem from the ISP you can almost be 100% sure that you’re getting used hardware. So how do you know if it’s a modem issue? On a DSL modem you can hook up a physical phone (any type, even rotary dial ones – it doesn’t matter) to the modem and check if the call quality is good. That’s often the simplest way to find out.

If it is a modem issue, then you will either get a crackling on the phone line or some other kind of disturbance. In such cases you’ll need to replace the modem. If it’s a rental piece your ISP should be able to replace one. Depending on who the carrier is, you may have to pay an additional fee, though.

Cable connections are harder to test, but on both cable and all types of DSL modems you will have access to a diagnostics page where you can check signal strength and other parameters. You’ll need to go to a particular web address that will look something like this: 168.192.1.X, where the X stands for a particular number that matches the admin panel for your particular service. You can check here for the right one for your device if you’re not sure.

Be warned, however, that you must not change anything you see there without consulting with your ISP’s technical team. Just look for the status of various processes to check if they say “done” or “ok” or “operational” or something similar.

At worst, if you see something is not how it should be, you can call your ISP and report the problem.

These are some of the most common ways to improve your internet speed quickly. But if you’re not seeing the results you want after trying everything, do call your ISP and report your slow speeds. They usually monitor all their networks, but it’s possible that they missed something at their end.

If nothing works to improve your connection, then try switching to another ISP – that’s the worst case scenario, but hopefully the tips above should help you avoid that drastic last resort.

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