There’s nothing more frustrating than your internet moving at a snail’s pace. Web pages take forever to load, and games and streaming services experience lag. With Zoom meetings becoming more frequent, any significant slowdown in your internet connection also makes working from home that much more difficult.
Luckily, you don’t have to suffer from slow internet speed anymore, especially with so many tips and tricks available to help you improve your Wi-Fi speed. Before you pick up your phone to upgrade your service, try these tips.
Reset your router
Resetting your router has many benefits for the average home network. This can help dispel hacking attempts, reset the router’s limited memory to speed things up, and even apply important updates your router may be waiting for.
The key is to properly restart your router. You don’t want to do a factory reset, which will erase all your settings and force you to start from scratch.
Step 1: Avoid pinholes and reset buttons on the router; instead, simply unplug your router from all connected devices, then from its power source, turning it off completely.
2nd step: Wait about a minute for everything to turn off completely.
Step 3: Reconnect your router to your power source, modem, and whatever else you need.
We also have a complete guide on what to know about resetting the router for more information.
Manage your Wi-Fi channels
Most routers these days are dual-band, which means they offer connections on both the 2.5 GHz frequency and the 5 GHz frequency. Some routers are also tri-band, which just means there’s an extra 5 GHz band to extend connections even further.
These different channels exist so you can spread device connections across the spectrum and reduce demands for a single channel. This can help speed up your connections, especially if the 2.5 GHz band gets a bit congested.
Generally, the 5Ghz band has a shorter but somewhat faster range, more suitable for devices closer to the router. The 2.5 GHz band has a longer range but a bit slower, a better choice for devices in other rooms or mobile devices that move around a lot.
Some routers have auto-assignment features that can assign devices to different channels based on connection needs and switch them to new channels when circumstances change. That’s great, but most routers still don’t have this service, so do this:
Step 1: Go to your router settings and make sure the networks are configured for all bands on your router.
2nd step: Connect each device individually to the channel that best suits them. It’s a bit of work, but it can really make a difference to your speeds.
Manage devices on your network
The average home router can handle around 250 connected devices in theory – in practice, as more and more devices pile up, bandwidth struggles to cover network needs and slowdowns occur. In the modern home or office where everyone has multiple mobile devices and smart devices are common, routers can get overloaded and start causing speed issues.
If a lot of new devices have been connected to your Wi-Fi and you’re noticing speed issues, you can start limiting connected devices. For new routers, open your router app and find the list of connected devices. For older routers, enter your IP address in the browser and find your administrator settings, where you should find a section that says Manage devices, restrict access, or something similar. Although the settings may vary, there are several important options you should look for here:
Step 1: Find unnecessary devices. If there are devices that don’t need to be on your network or it looks like someone is hijacking your Wi-Fi, you can turn those devices off. You can also look for an option to ban their MAC addresses and make sure to change your Wi-Fi password when you’re done. It’s not a perfect solution, but it can help remove unknown devices quickly.
2nd step: Limit bandwidth. Some routers allow you to choose specific connections to speed up or slow down their speed. This way, you can give less bandwidth to devices needed only for simple tasks, and more bandwidth to devices used for gaming and streaming, reducing speed issues.
Step 3: Restrict Use. Routers can also have the ability to restrict the hours of use for certain devices, which is a good way to ensure that devices don’t hog too much bandwidth during key times of the day. It’s also a reliable way to manage children’s online connections for busy families.
Step 4: Voice commands. We are seeing more and more voice-enabled devices, especially for Alexa. Saying “Alexa, disconnect this device” or “Alexa, turn off Timmy’s Wi-Fi” can be a helpful command. Alexa can also help you quickly switch between router modes (chat, game, standard, etc.) to prioritize certain activities.
Using Ethernet Connections
So far, we’re assuming you need to use Wi-Fi connections around your house. But if your computer (or other device) is close enough to the router, you should consider using a wired Ethernet connection to your router’s ports. This is a very reliable way to boost speeds, as a wired connection is free from many issues that can cause Wi-Fi slowdowns.
‘Purge’ your DNS
A DNS (Domain Name System) record keeps track of all the website addresses you visit to better improve future visits. However, DNS records depend on you and the website both staying on their respective servers. If the servers change over time – which happens to many websites – the DNS will actually hurt your connection speed because it doesn’t recognize the new server. That’s why it can be a good idea, as they say, to flush your DNS from time to time.
This process does not take long with the right steps.
Step 1: In Windows 10, just search Ordered prompt in the search box and open the app.
2nd step: Make sure you are running as administrator! Then type the command line “ipconfig/flushdns”
Step 3: Press Enter. Windows will inform you that the DNS has been cleared.
Switch to a faster browser
Does your slowdown mostly occur when you use your browser or open lots of new tabs? Consider switching to a more minimalistic browser that only loads what you need. Browsers like Brave for Mac and Opera excel at this, especially if you’re willing to tinker with the settings. If you haven’t tried it already, Google Chrome is also known to be one of the fastest major browser options.
Add an extension to manage your cache
Your browser’s cache stores copies of website content to make sites easier to reload. As internet users learn, when a cache gets too full, it can slow down online performance (cookies, history, and similar saved data can also have an impact). Clearing your cache manually can be a pain, which is why it tends to build up over time. We suggest an easier route: download a Clear Cache extension that will help you customize your cleaning actions and clear them immediately with a simple button in your browser’s taskbar.
Consider using a VPN
If you’re researching whether a VPN (virtual private network) can boost your internet speed, you’ll likely find a lot of conflicting information. Here’s the deal: some ISPs (Internet Service Providers) will throttle bandwidth based on certain activities, such as reaching a soft data cap or streaming services like Netflix and YouTube. If you have evidence that your ISP is throttling bandwidth in this way, a VPN can help by masking your activity so the ISP doesn’t have the data it needs to make throttling decisions.
But in many cases, a VPN can actually slow down your internet speed thanks to its combination of encryption and server hopping. Only try this as a solution if you are sure your ISP is shady. Luckily, many VPNs can be downloaded and activated for free for a trial period if you want to try it out.
If necessary, upgrade your Wi-Fi system or bandwidth
Many changes are currently hitting the router market. Among them are expanded MU-MIMO features for better individual connections. You can also find Wi-Fi 6 enabled devices and more. These new features are great for improving speed and performance. The catch is that if your router is a few years old, you’ll probably need to buy a newer version to get those upgrades. You should also ensure that your new mobile devices are compatible with current technology.
You can find the optimal configuration for your router by upgrading. You will improve signal strength and internet speed by using mesh routers, which involves placing various router points throughout your residence.
Upgrading your Internet package will also allow you to increase your bandwidth. You’ll indeed pay more, but you’ll get the benefit of an automatic upgrade, without the annoying testing period. Ask your supplier about relevant sales and promotions. Remember to check the details before accepting. Also keep in mind that you may not achieve the same speeds as advertised. You can check the quality of your upgrade by running an internet speed test after installation.
Due to the coronavirus, several internet companies are getting rid of data cap restrictions. Most internet service providers are in a fierce race to meet the growing demands for faster internet speeds, so optimizing internet services should offset the higher prices your provider may now charge you. You need to make a conscious effort to ask yourself if the price increase allows you to increase speed.