There are, unfortunately, many reasons that could cause your Computer to be slow to connect to the Internet. But there are two main categories that they fall into: Very slow to connect, but once connected you can surf at a normal speed. Or, slow to connect AND slow surfing.
Very recently I had a Computer in for repair, the customer complained that he had to wait 5 minutes or more to connect to the Internet. And even checking his e-mail in Outlook Express was a very slow process. However, when I plugged everything in and fired the machine up on my workbench, it worked fine. It connected in seconds and surfed around the web at a perfectly acceptable speed.
So from this, it is quite obvious he has a problem at home with his phone line. I know this Guy has his Computer upstairs, so I suspect the problem lies in his upstairs extension line. It is a fact that your PC will perform faster on the internet if the line from your main phone socket to your PC, is as short as possible. And if your home is a long way from the telephone exchange, this just makes things even worse.
OK, but for some folks, they position their computer to suit themselves and it is not always possible to site it close to the main phone socket. So what can they do to improve things? My daughter has her PC upstairs on an extension. On her computer, she uses a Speed touch Broadband Modem and on their web-site they list an ‘Extended Reach’ driver package. This is specifically designed to improve internet connection on extension lines. It basically boosts the signal, and it certainly improved my daughters Computer. If your Modem came with an installation disc, pop it back in and it should have an option for ‘Updating Drivers’ or ‘Check for new software’ or something similar. It is worth updating your drivers from time to time.
The only other option if your Computer is a long way from the main phone socket, is to go wireless. Choose the fastest Wireless combined Router and Modem that you can afford. This plugs directly into your main phone socket and you then plug a USB receiver into each of your computers, if you have more than one.
Slow to connect but OK when finally on-line, usually, but not always, means the problem lies in your internal phone lines, or your computer is lacking resources. More RAM and a faster CPU are essential today. Your Anti-Virus Suite uses a lot more system resources than it used to do as it now tries to protect every aspect of your On-line experience. It is particularly active and dominant when you first connect to the internet, and will claim most of your system resources for itself during the first two or three minutes. If you have low resources, it can even claim 100% for its own use. Its ‘Job’ is to protect your Computer and it will use whatever resources are available to do this. Once again, it is worth checking the web-site of your Anti-Virus vendor, they may have a ‘patch’ or a ‘fix’ for this issue.
When you first connect to the internet, as well as throwing a security shield around your Computer, your Anti-Virus program will also call home, to check for new updates. It is worth being a little patient for the first two or three minutes, whilst your Anti-Virus performs this task. Look for the two mini computer screens on your Task Bar, near the clock. If they are both illuminated, this means activity between your computer and the internet, and you can bet your life, your Anti-Virus has elbowed everything else aside and is calling home. Another ‘clue’ that this is happening is the Red LED Hard disk light on your computer case will be going crazy! Keep an eye on those two mini screens and wait for both to go out, and then watch the LED. It will probably show hard drive activity for a few moments more after the two screens have gone out. This is just your Anti-Virus loading those updates and once again, it will use any or all resources until this is completed.
Now you have control over your own Computer again, you should find the Internet will now load quite normally. If this is happening to you, then the only way to improve things is to give your PC more resources. Either more RAM a faster CPU or both. For Windows XP the ‘minimum’ you should have is a 1 GHz CPU and 512Mb RAM. The accepted ‘recommended’ system requirements are a Pentium 4 1.7 GHz CPU and 1 GHz RAM. Uninstalling programs you no longer use will also improve available resources.
Incidentally, there are times throughout the day when the internet is particularly busy. Usually around 5 – 6pm when all businesses are sending day-end reports to head office and such like. Add to this the fact that kids have arrived home from school and they are all scrambling to get onto the internet.
However, if your Computer is slow to connect to the internet and also painfully slow to load web pages, then most probably, your computer is way low on resources or there is a fault on your external phone line. One recent customer I had, we where able to discover there was a fault at his local exchange, which was causing his slow connection. Most phone companies can easily do a Line-Test on your phone line; it only takes a few moments and is well worth giving it a try, before investing in upgrades.
Lastly, if your internet connection has suddenly, become much slower, then the problem is most likely a recent addition to your PC. This could be new software or an update. ActiveX controls are notorious for causing problems. Have you installed an update to your Flash Player or other installation? If so, try removing it using Control Panel – Add/Remove. You can always re-install it later. Also, run a Full System scan with your Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware programs, just in case your Computer has become infected.