Experiencing buffering or lag while streaming your favorite shows online and thinking about how to increase internet speed? First of all, you must take a speed test online by Ookla, Fast.com or any other reliable tool to check the current speed of your connection. We prepared a complete guide to check the internet speed including simple steps.
If upload and download speed is significantly lower throughout the day than your plan’s advertised speed, contact your ISP to check for local outages or network congestion. However, if that is not the issue, try the mentioned troubleshooting ways in this guide to speed up your internet.
Reasons behind Slow Internet Speed
There can be several reasons responsible collectively or individually for slow internet connection and some of the common ones are:
- Excessive Data Usage
- Limited Internet Bandwidth
- Internet Throttling
- Issues with Router, Modem or Cable Connections
- Local Outages
- Network Congestion
- Too many devices are connected on the same network
- Inappropriate Router’s Location
- High-bandwidth apps running in background
- Outdated Firmware Upgrade
- Browser’s Cache and Cookies consuming internet
How to Boost Your Internet Speed?
Here, I have mentioned both paid and non-paid ways to boost WiFi speed. Let’s try and see which one works for you:
1. Restart Modem and Router
While storing cache, sometimes the router accidentally saves errors, impacting online performance. Restarting/Rebooting the router in such a scenario can boost internet speed. To reboot your router, follow these simple steps:
- Turn Off the Power button on the router and unplug it.
- After 30 seconds, plug it in and turn ON the button.
- Let it set up, and then take a speed test again to check the connection speed.
2. Optimize Router’s Settings
If multiple devices in your household are consuming data simultaneously, reset your router’s RTS (Request to Send) threshold settings. The RTS protocol clears the transmission channel before sending the data packets, so keeping its number low when having a crowded network makes data transmission more efficient.
The RTS feature is generally available under the “Advanced Settings” of your router’s app, from where you can reset its threshold value.
Some routers also have “Entertainment” settings to prioritize the bandwidth on devices engaged in online gaming or streaming. But the feature is only effective when no other device is engaging in such activities simultaneously on your network.
3. Change Router’s Location
Obstructions around your WiFi router and neighboring signals from appliances like a microwave or a refrigerator also block WiFi signals, impacting its performance. To have faster internet speed, relocate your router to an elevated spot where signal strength is better.
You can relocate it to the central hallway to get better coverage in all rooms. Avoid placing your router near or on the walls, in corners, kitchen and around metal objects.
4. Look for Local Outages
If the connection is slow throughout the day or at particular times, check your ISP for local outages or network congestion issues. During peak hours, the ISP server is usually congested, resulting in slow internet speed. Similarly, if there is any maintenance work going on in your area, it can also affect connection speed. In such cases, wait some time to let your ISP restore the connection speed.
5. Use a VPN to avoid Throttling
If you are facing slow internet speed while downloading large data files or browsing particular P2P sharing websites like Torrent, chances are your ISP is throttling the internet. Use a VPN to check if the speed improves when browsing such sites. Usually, ISP throttles the internet to restrict your excessive data usage or access to certain kinds of content/sites for limited bandwidth plans.
6. Use an Ethernet Cable Connection
Wireless signals are more prone to blockage or interference by neighboring signals than wired signals. Thus to get good internet speed on PC, Laptops and other devices, use an ethernet cable when possible.
Ethernet cable boosts speed significantly for streaming, online or console gaming on laptops or PC. You can manage signal strength by connecting priority or high-bandwidth consuming devices through ethernet cable and keeping others on the wireless signal.
7. Close Unwanted Apps and Tasks running in Background
The high-bandwidth consuming apps, when running in the background on multiple devices, consume a lot of data to impact the connection’s speed. To boost your internet speed, keep clearing background apps or disabling their data usage on PC, tablets and mobile phones.
To clear/stop background apps on your PC or laptop, follow these steps:
- Tap the “Window” icon and search “task manager” to open it.
- Under the “Processes” tab, go to the “Network” section to see which apps consume more data.
- Right-click on that program/app and select “End Task” to stop running it in the background.
To turn off background app data on Mobile devices, follow these steps:
For Android: Go to your device’s settings and under the “Mobile Data Usage”, choose the “Background data” option to turn OFF the toggle of apps you want to restrict from running in the background.
For iPhone: Either turn ON the toggle next to the “Data Saver” option to restrict all apps. Or manually tap on the apps you wish to restrict from running in the background and turn OFF their toggle.
8. Clear Browser’s Cache and Cookies on Laptop and PC
If the internet speed is particularly slow on a PC or laptop when using a browser, clear its cache and cookies to improve it.
- To do so, Go to your browser’s “Settings” and tap on the “Privacy and Security” or “More Tools” option.
- Under the “Clear browsing data” option, choose to clear cookies and cache.
9. Update Network Drivers and Router’s Firmware
The router’s firmware upgrades fix old bugs, glitches and other issues to improve network performance. In modern routers, the firmware upgrade is automatic. But still, you can check for the latest upgrade in your router’s web interference under the “Update” section. To log into the router’s web interference, you need a username and password, which is usually “admin” for both fields or otherwise written on your router.
Apart from it, you should also upgrade your network drivers on PC, laptops and other devices to fix bugs and improve performance. Go to the device’s settings and check for the latest update. If the upgrade is available, do it to improve your connection speed.
10. Manage your Data Usage
If you are on a limited data plan, you can experience slow internet speed in case of excessive data usage. To improve your network’s performance, manage your data usage in the following ways:
- Remove or disconnect unwanted devices connected to your network. Go to your Router’s settings and check the list of connected devices to manage them.
- Disable auto-updates or auto-download on the WiFi option on multiple devices to save bandwidth.
- Use a strong password for your WiFi and change its settings to Private from Public to restrict its access.
- Create a Guest Network for temporary logins to manage devices easily.
- Set data limit usage under the device’s settings to save the bandwidth on multiple devices.
11. Change WiFi Frequency band from 2.4Ghz to 5.0GHz
If you have a dual-band router, take advantage of both 5.0 GHz and 2.4 GHz bands to manage network performance on multiple devices. By default, routers and WiFi work on a 2.4 GHz frequency band, but you can change it to a 5.0 GHz band for devices on which you need better speeds. While the 5.0 GHz band offers faster speed, the 2.4 GHz band offers better penetrations and large transmission.
The 2.4 GHz frequency band is divided into 11 channels, while the 5.0 GHz band has 45 channels. These channels get crowded when multiple devices are connected to the same channel.
Most routers automatically select the best WiFi channel available to give you the best speed. However, if you wish to do it manually, go to your router’s web interface and, under the “WiFi settings”, change the frequency band or its channel.
Alternatively, if your router has a “Smart Connect” feature in WiFi settings, enable it to optimize the best frequency band for better speed.
12. Schedule Large File Downloads on Non-Peak Hours
The large file downloads consume more bandwidth, and if you do it during the peak hours (when the server is over crowded), you will get slower speeds. It is better to schedule your downloads for non-peak hours like (11 pm – 5 am) to get better speed and save bandwidth for other devices during peak hours.
Different network providers have different peak hours when their servers are crowded. You can check your ISP’s official website or other forums to check its peak hours.
13. Use WiFI Extender
If you have a large house with thicker walls, you need WiFi extenders to extend your network’s coverage area. While they don’t increase your router’s speed, they enhance its coverage to other rooms or floors to improve signal strength.
WiFi extenders or repeaters are small wireless devices you can place in other rooms (weak spots or WiFi dead zones) to get better signal strength and have the same WPA2 security as your router.
14. Change DNS Settings
Every device connected to the internet uses a DNS (Domain Name System) server for online activities. Usually, devices are connected to an ISP’s DNS server to use the internet, but if your ISP’s server location is too far from your location, you will get slower speeds. To get better speeds, you can use third-party DNS servers. But only go for the encrypted ones to protect your data.
To change your DNS settings, follow these steps:
- Open the router’s web interface and head to the “Advanced Settings” option.
- Enter the third-party DNS server address in the required field and save it.
Additionally, use an ad-blocker on your system to avoid unnecessary pop-ups and ads that consume data.
15. Upgrade your Router
If you constantly get lower speeds on all devices, the issue can be your outdated router. If your router is years old, upgrade it with the latest one supporting WiFi 5 or 6 to get better speed, especially for Gbps connections. Use DOCSIS 3.1 modem for 10 Gbps connection or DOCSIS 3.0 for 1 Gbps plan.
Also, check if the latest router supports MU-MIMO technology to improve signal strengths on individual connections.
Frequently Asked Questions
To boost internet speed at home, relocate your router to a better place with no obstructions around it, use WiFi extenders or repeaters, opt for an ethernet cable for PC and gaming consoles and change the WiFi frequency band.
To improve internet speed on a PC, use an ethernet wire, clear the browser’s cache and cookies, disable background apps and upgrade the network drivers to the latest version.
To make the internet faster on mobile devices, reset network settings, disable apps from running in the background, change the WiFi frequency band from 2.4 GHz to 5.0 GHz and disable auto-updates on WiFi.
To increase your WiFi speed, optimize your router’s settings by changing its DNS server, lowering the RTS threshold, upgrading its firmware and enabling the Smart Connect feature (if using a dual-band router).
These are some simple yet effective troubleshooting ways to improve internet speed at home. If nothing works for you, contact your ISP to identify the issue or upgrade the current data plan to a higher one that serves your needs better.