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Why is my internet so slow?

why is my internet speed so slow

In the world of the internet, speed issues are a common problem. If you’ve found yourself here, it would be prudent to assume it is because slow internet is something you are experiencing either right now or often enough that you want a solution. In this article we will cover the most common issues that affect speed and provide advice on how to fix them.

Things that affect speed

Hardware

It may seem obvious but this is often missed. Old hardware, whether it’s a router, pc or laptop can have an impact on your speed. If your router is outdated it may be causing issues with your internet connection. It is likely that it may be using an old wifi standard that is no longer capable of supporting the speeds you require. When it comes to pcs and laptops the issue will be different. It is highly probable that due to being an older model,  the device doesn’t have enough memory, so the issue actually lies with your equipment rather than your connection or ISP.

Bandwidth

Not having enough bandwidth is a frequent issue. Bandwidth is the capacity of your connection. If you think about a motorway, if there are lots of cars on it at the same time, the lanes reach capacity and the traffic moves slowly. The same applies to bandwidth, if you have lots of data travelling all at once and the connection reaches capacity then the data moves slowly. The higher your bandwidth capacity, the faster your data is transferred.

Wifi

Sometimes it can be as basic as the wifi signal dropping which could be for a variety of reasons. If you think about it, wifi signals are radio waves through the air so they can be distorted by other signals that are also travelling in the same space. As simple as it sounds, wifi signals can also be affected by objects so where you are positioned in comparison to your router may affect the signal strength and cause slow speeds. 

Another thing to consider is  the wifi channel you are using; it may be congested. Most routers are set to auto but have the ability to change the channel and some channels are actually faster than others.

Devices

The amount of devices utilising your connection can have a detrimental impact on the speed you receive. The more devices are connected to your internet, the more bandwidth is being shared, therefore reducing the speeds you receive. 

If you are a business with 200 employees all using computers and phones, having a 20Mb connection just isn’t going to cut the mustard. Whereas if you are a small retailer with just a payment terminal and a laptop it would probably be perfectly adequate.

Congestion

The problem may be where you’re going to. Let us explain. The vast majority of us have tried to buy gig tickets online before and probably been put in a queue then everything starts to go wrong because one minute you have tickets – the next you don’t. Well that’s because the network is congested with everyone trying to do the exact same thing at the exact same time. To give a commercial example, if there is a new Windows update and thousands of people do it at the same time, that internet traffic is all going to the same place which can cause the network to become congested.

ISP

There may be a problem with your ISP. Something as simple as a fibre being knocked can cause chaos across an ISPs network. As with most things networks often require maintenance and upgrades which may result in some downtime to your service. Your ISP should have regular maintenance windows in which these are performed, these are usually at a time when downtime is least likely to affect operations. If there are any unplanned issues your ISP should notify you of the issue and provide regular updates regarding when it will be fixed.

Sometimes it could be an incident beyond the ISPs control such as an exchange or cabinet being damaged. Whilst this is rare it does occur and can be extremely detrimental to an entire network. Again, once they are aware, your ISP should inform you and explain what actions are being taken to resolve the issue.

What can I do to fix it?

Check your speed

The first thing on your list should be to check your speed, which you can do here.

Once you’re armed with this information, check if you’re getting what you pay for. If you are then it’s very possible you could be maxing out its capability and it’s time to upgrade.

Change wifi channel

As discussed above, a congested wifi channel can be the issue and some wifi channels are generally just quicker. Changing your wifi channel can significantly improve your wifi performance so it’s definitely worth doing. To do this you need to access your router settings and select a different channel.

Reboot or replace your local hardware

It’s extremely basic but rebooting your router or computer may just resolve the issue. If it doesn’t, but you still suspect it’s a hardware issue then replacing and upgrading may be the best course of action. 

Quality of Service

When it comes to commercial internet, prioritising bandwidth to certain services is a must. Not every service has an equal requirement so you may want to check what else is going through your network. You will need to review what services your organisation relies on and apply quality of service rules accordingly. For example if you utilise video conferencing then allocating a certain amount of bandwidth to that service would be recommended to avoid poor quality calls.

Upgrade your service

If you’re maxing out your connection’s capabilities and speed then it’s probably time to upgrade your service. If you’ve already checked the speed you’re receiving against what you’re paying for and it matches up, then you need to ring your ISP and discuss your options.

Talk to your ISP

If you’ve gone through everything above and the situation hasn’t improved, then it’s time to speak to your provider. Start by asking them if there are any issues at their end. As discussed above, it may be a problem with their network or another factor. If the fault is with them, it’s for them to fix and you may be entitled to compensation for any downtime incurred.

If it’s clear the issue isn’t with the ISP, you’ll need to discuss what your options for upgrading your service are. Ask what types of connectivity are available to you, go through what your needs are now and what they will be in the future. 

We would recommend a full fibre connection – if it is available. Fibre is the future of the internet so this will future-proof your connectivity and ensure it is suitable for needs now and for many years to come.

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