There is nothing more frustrating than your Internet crawling at a snail’s pace. Web pages take forever to load, and the experience of games and streaming services lags behind. With Zoom meetings becoming more frequent, any significant internet slowdown makes working at home that much more difficult, too.
Fortunately, you no longer have to suffer from slow internet speed, especially with so many tips and tricks available to help you improve your Wi-Fi speed. Before using your phone to update your service, try these tips.
Restart your router
Resetting your router has many advantages for the average home network. It can help dispel hacking attempts, reset the router’s limited memory to help speed things up, and even apply important updates that your router may have been waiting for.
The key is to restart your router correctly. You don’t want to do a factory reset, which will erase all your settings and force you to start from scratch.
Step 1: Avoid pinholes and router reset buttons; instead, just unplug your router from all connected devices and then from its power , turning it off completely.
Step 2: Wait about a minute for everything to turn off completely.
Step 3: Reconnect your router to your power supply, modem, and whatever else you need.
We also have a comprehensive guide on what you should know about resetting the router for more information.
Manage your Wi-Fi channels
Most routers these days are dual band, which means they offer connections on both the 2.5GHz and 5GHz frequencies. Some routers are tri-band as well, which just means there is an additional 5 GHz band to extend connections even further.
These different channels exist so that you can distribute device connections across the spectrum and reduce the demands on a single channel. This can help speed up your connections, especially if the 2.5GHz band is getting a bit crowded.
As a general rule of thumb, the 5Ghz band has a shorter but slightly faster range, more suitable for devices that are close to the router. The 2.5GHz band has a longer range but a little slower, a better option for devices in other rooms or mobile devices that move a lot.
Some routers come with auto-assignment features that can assign devices to different channels based on connection needs and switch them to new channels as circumstances change. That’s great, but most routers don’t have that service yet, so do this:
Step 1: Go to your router settings and make sure the networks are configured for all bands on your router.
Step 2: Connect each device individually to the channel that is best for them. It’s a bit of work, but it can really make a difference in your speed.
Manage the devices on your network
The average home router can handle around 250 connected devices in theory; In practice, as more devices accumulate, bandwidth struggles to meet network needs and slowdowns occur. In the modern home or office, where everyone has multiple mobile devices and smart devices are common, routers can become overloaded and start creating speed problems.
If a lot of new devices have been connected to your Wi-Fi and you are experiencing speed issues, you may want to start limiting the connected devices. For newer routers, open the router app and find the list of connected devices. For older routers, enter your IP address in the browser and search to find your admin settings, where you should look for a section that says Manage devices, restrict access, or something similar. While the settings may vary, you should look for several important options here:
Step 1: Find unnecessary devices. If the devices don’t need to be on your network or it seems like someone is hijacking your Wi-Fi, you can turn off these devices. You can also look for an option to ban your MAC addresses and make sure to change your Wi-Fi password when you’re done. It is not a perfect solution, but it can help you quickly remove unknown devices.
Step 2: Throttle bandwidth. Some routers allow you to choose specific connections to speed up or slow down. In this way, you can give less bandwidth to devices that are only needed for simple tasks and more bandwidth to devices that are used for gaming and streaming, reducing speed issues.
Step 3: Restrict use. Routers may also have the ability to restrict hours of use for certain devices, which is a good way to ensure that devices don’t hog too much bandwidth during key hours of the day. It’s also a reliable way to manage kids’ online connections for busy families.
Stage 4: Voice commands. We see more and more devices that support voice commands, especially for Alexa. Saying, “Alexa, unplug this device” or “Alexa, turn off Timmy’s Wi-Fi” can be useful commands. Alexa can also help you quickly move between router modes (chat, games, standard, etc.) to prioritize certain activities.
Using Ethernet connections
So far, we are assuming that you must use Wi-Fi connections in your home. But if your computer (or other device) is close enough to the router, then you should consider using a wired Ethernet connection to your router’s ports. This is a very reliable way to increase speed, as a wired connection is free of many of the problems that can cause Wi-Fi slowdowns.
‘Clean’ your DNS
A DNS (domain name system) record keeps track of all the website addresses you visit to better improve future visits. However, DNS records are dependent on you and the website remaining on their respective servers. If the servers change over time, which happens on many websites, DNS will really hurt your connection speed because it doesn’t recognize the new server. This is why it may be a good idea, as they say, to clean your DNS from time to time.
This process does not take long with the correct steps.
Step 1: In Windows 10, just search Command in the search box and open the app.
Step 2: Make sure you are working as an administrator! Then type the command line “ipconfig / flushdns”
Step 3: Hit Enter. Windows will let you know that the DNS has been cleared.
Switch to a faster browser
Does your slowdown mainly happen when you use your browser or open a lot of new tabs? Consider switching to a more minimalist browser that only loads what is necessary. Browsers like Brave for Mac and Opera excel at this, especially if you’re willing to tweak the settings. If you haven’t tried it yet, Google Chrome is also known to be one of the fastest browser options.
Add an extension to manage your cache
Your browser’s cache stores copies of website content to facilitate site reloading. As Internet users learn, when a cache gets too full, it can slow down online performance (cookies, history, and similar saved data can also have an impact). Clearing your cache manually can be a hassle, so it tends to add up over time. We suggest an easier route: download a Clear Cache extension that will help you customize your cleaning actions and clean immediately with a simple button on your browser’s taskbar.
Consider using a VPN
If you are looking to see if a VPN (virtual private network) can increase your internet speeds, you will likely find a lot of conflicting information. Here’s the deal: Some ISPs (Internet Service Providers) will lower bandwidth based on certain activities, like hitting a soft data cap or streaming services like Netflix and YouTube. If you have evidence that your ISP is throttling bandwidth this way, a VPN can help by hiding your activity so the ISP doesn’t have the data it needs to make throttle decisions.
But in many cases, a VPN can slow down the internet with its combination of encryption and server hopping. Only try this as a solution if you are sure your ISP is being suspicious. Fortunately, many VPNs can be downloaded and enabled for free for a trial period if you want to give them a try.
If necessary, update your Wi-Fi or bandwidth system
Many changes are coming to the router market now. Among them are the extended MU-MIMO features for better individual connections. You can also find devices that are compatible with Wi-Fi 6 and more. These new features are great for improving speed and performance. The problem is, if your router is a couple of years old, you probably have to buy a new version to get these updates. You also need to ensure that your new mobile devices are compatible with current technology.
You can find the optimal configuration of your router by updating. You will improve your signal strength and internet speed by using mesh routers, which involves placing multiple router points throughout your residence.
Upgrading your internet package will also give you more bandwidth. In fact, you will pay more, but you will get the advantage of an automatic update, without the inconvenient trial period. Ask your provider about relevant offers and promotions; just remember to check the details before accepting. Also remember that it may not achieve the same speeds as advertised. You can check the quality of your update by running an internet speed test after delivery.
Due to the coronavirus, various internet companies are getting rid of data cap restrictions. Most Internet providers are in a fervent race to meet the growing demands for faster Internet speeds, so optimizing Internet services should outweigh the higher prices your provider may now charge you. You should make a conscious effort to find out if the price increase allows you to increase speed.
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