How to Improve Internet Speed
A strong, fast, and stable internet connection is necessary for modern life — especially if you work or study from home.
If you’re struggling with a slow or unstable internet connection, you don’t have to live with it. In many cases, simple tweaks and small purchases can do a lot to speed up your internet connection.
Below, we’ll cover different techniques for troubleshooting slow internet speeds — and discuss what you can do to boost your home’s internet connection.
How to Boost Speeds Without Spending Any Money
To start, check to see if your internet speeds are lower than those offered by your ISP. If your internet speeds are in line with the plan you’re on, you’ll only be able to boost your speeds by upgrading your plan.
If your speeds are lower than expected, however, you will likely be able to improve your speeds with simple tweaks you can make at home.
To check your download and upload speeds, you can use an online tool like Ookla’s global broadband speed test or Netflix’s FAST.com. Both will quickly provide you with a device’s actual download speed in Megabits or kilobits per second.
If your actual download speed is much lower than your expected download speed, you should start troubleshooting your home’s internet.
If your computer is connected over Wi-Fi and not in the same room as your router, try moving it closer to your router temporarily. If your speed improves, that may mean poor connection strength may be impacting your speed.
Next, try cutting out unnecessary connections and managing access to your home network.
If your Wi-Fi is unsecured — meaning anyone can use it without a password — it’s a good idea to lock it down. This ensures only members of your household are using your internet connection.
Once your home network is secured, start cutting out unnecessary connections. Internet of Things (IoT) devices, for example, like smart home assistants and smart thermometers, are connected to the internet. When they download updates or send information, they may slow down your home’s wireless speeds.
You may have an IoT device you no longer need or use. If it’s still on, it may be connecting to your home network to transfer data. Turning it off or disconnecting it from your local Wi-Fi network may help improve your home internet speed.
You can also quickly force-disconnect all connected devices by changing your Wi-Fi password. This means you’ll have to log back into your Wi-Fi on all your home’s devices — your tablets, smartphones, gaming consoles, and laptops. However, this will potentially free up some bandwidth.
If all else fails, a call to your internet service provider can help. Explain that you’re not getting the speeds you expect from your plan. Your ISP may find something in your area’s local internet infrastructure that’s causing outages or a compromised connection.
How to Boost Speeds With New Internet Hardware
In some cases, upgrading your home’s internet hardware may be the best way to boost your speeds.
A wired connection, for example, will almost always be faster than Wi-Fi. Purchasing an Ethernet cable and running it from a laptop to your router will create a wired connection — which will help to guarantee your internet access is strong and stable.
You can also upgrade your router to improve maximum download speeds and boost your home Wi-Fi coverage.
Mesh routers, for example, are much better than standard routers at providing signal coverage to large houses. If you’ve struggled with Wi-Fi dead zones and live in a larger home, upgrading to a mesh router or mesh router system can be one of the best ways to improve signal strength and reliability.
If you choose to upgrade, be sure to check your current router’s specs. If you find that your router’s maximum speeds are lower than your current lower-than-expected download speeds, this may be due to an older router that can only handle so many connections at a time. This can especially be a problem if you have a large number of devices.
Upgrading to a new router with better data throughput or features that help the router handle many devices simultaneously — like MU-MIMO — can help improve your home’s internet connection and create a stronger Wi-Fi signal for all your devices.
When All Else Fails: Upgrading Your Internet Plan
If your internet speeds are lower than what you should get from your internet plan, the above tips should help you improve your internet speed. However, if you’re getting the speed that you pay for and it’s still not enough, there’s not much you can do unless you’re willing to upgrade.
Paying for a better plan will increase the number of Megabits per second (Mbps) you get. In most areas, big-name providers like AT&T, Spectrum, and Xfinity offer faster speeds, but this isn’t always the case. In some areas, like major cities, local providers can sometimes offer plans that are competitive with those from big-name ISPS — and they may even be cheaper.
Typically, the fastest plan available will be a 1 Gigabit plan that offers up to 1,000 Megabits per second for download speeds. These plans will be pricey, and it can be a better idea to step up to the next-best available plan instead, if possible.
When upgrading, make sure your home internet hardware supports the new speeds you’ll be able to get. For example, if you upgrade to an ultra-fast 1 Gigabit internet plan, an older router may not be able to support the up-to-1,000 Mbps download speeds that plan offers.
Quickly checking your router’s specs for the speed it can provide to an individual device will help you know if your internet will be limited by your home hardware. If your router can’t handle the connection, you may want to use the router your ISP provides. You can also ask your provider if they have a router you can rent that can handle your new maximum download speeds.
These Tips and Tricks Can Help You Boost Your Internet Speed
If you’re struggling with a slow or unreliable internet connection, these simple tips may help. Disconnecting unnecessary devices, upgrading your router, or contacting your ISP may help you get better internet speeds. If all else fails, you may also be able to upgrade your plan and secure better download speeds for your home that way.