As many Americans continue to work from home and students continue to be taught online through Zoom meetings or something else, internet speeds have become a big concern.
Several viewers have contacted me saying their WiFi has slowed to the point they can’t work effectively from a home office. Why has your speed slowed?
There are a few possible reasons and several things you can do to increase those speeds. Here are a few common reasons your internet is slower now than it was last month and how to fix it.
The internet plan you have with your provider may allow them to throttle the speeds after a certain point. Check your plan, does it give you a certain amount of data before the provider can slow it down?
We’re all using more data today than we did this time last year. Zoom meetings use a lot of data, so does watching HD movies and playing video games. You’re using more data than ever before and if your plan only allows a certain amount of data, your provider is throttling your internet.
Your router is old. When was the last time you upgraded your router? If it’s more than 6 years old it is likely a lot slower than newer routers.
When was the last time you reset your router? Just by unplugging it for a minute and plugging it back in may speed things up a bit.
Are multiple devices using the internet at the same time? Only so much data can be pushed through your lines simultaneously. If the kids are Zooming or playing online video games or watching HD movies on Netflix while you’re trying to work, you’ll notice a slowdown.
Your router is not in a central place in your home. If the router is in a corner of the house or on one end, it’s going to have trouble reaching the other parts of the house.
Is your router surrounded by wires and other electronics? Other devices can interfere with the efficiency of your router. Move the router to the middle of your home or apartment away from the microwave, printer or other electronics.
Ways to increase the speed
If you’re seeing a slower internet speed in one area of the house you may need a WiFi booster, sometimes listed as an “extender.” Some of these devices plug into an outlet and will repeat the WiFi signal to other rooms.
If you use an extender, place it about half-way between the existing or primary router and the room you want to reach. A common mistake is putting the extender in the room you need faster WiFi.
Consider getting a mesh WiFi router. These systems come with a primary router and boosters you can place around the house. These are good, and maybe necessary for larger multi-floor homes.
Update your existing router. If you haven’t connected your device to the router’s settings online, now is the time to try it. Most routers have a website or app for controlling the device and installing updates.
Check to see if the speeds you’re getting are consistent with your internet provider package. You can go to www.speedtest.net to test your internet speeds. The site will upload a small amount of data and share your ISP address to test upload and download speeds. Anything over 100 megabytes per second should be able to stream video content and handle multiple mobile devices and computers at the same time.
If the speed test shows a lower number than what you’re paying for, contact your provider. In some cases they’ll send someone out to check the wires to improve your speed.