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How to speed up slow internet

BY James O'Malley

7th Aug 2023 Technology

How to speed up slow internet
Fed up of waiting for that page to load? James O'Malley shares his advice for dealing with slow internet
There’s nothing more annoying than a sluggish internet connection, whether we’re trying to get some work done or are simply infuriated by the buffering wheel when watching Netflix.
But not all internet connectivity problems are created equal, and there are different causes of poor connectivity, each of which have different solutions. So here’s what to do: 

Check your service provider’s status

There could be good news…of sorts. The poor connection might not be your fault! Just like we experience occasional power cuts, your internet service provider (ISP) will suffer occasional outages too.
"The poor connection might not be your fault!"
You can usually check this by using another device that does have internet (say, your phone using 4G) to check their service status page, where you should be able to input your postcode and find out if there are any problems locally. If that’s the case, there isn’t much you can do other than sit back, wait, and stare at your blank screen. 

Try a restart! 

The oldest and most cliched tech advice remains true: It’s always worth restarting your equipment to see if that fixes it. Sometimes software will crash, and hitting the reboot button will air out the bugs.
Person restarting their laptop - how to speed up slow internet
Trying turning your laptop and WiFi router off and then on again
Don’t forget to restart both the device you’re trying to use (whether a laptop, phone or Smart TV), and your WiFi router where the internet comes into your home.

Check what other apps and devices are using the network 

Internet bandwidth is a finite resource. Most of the time, this isn’t a problem and if everyone at home is just checking emails or clicking through Facebook, it’s unlikely to be running at full capacity. But if someone sharing your connection is downloading a big file, or streaming in ultra high-definition, that’s a lot of gigabytes to pipe into your home. 
"Internet bandwidth is a finite resource"
So don’t forget to check to see if your devices are quietly downloading software updates in the background, as a hefty Windows Update or the kids downloading a Playstation game could be stealing all of your bandwidth. (In most cases like this, it’s usually possible to pause updates to download at a more convenient time.) 

Check the position of your WiFi router 

Though we can often connect to WiFi networks from a long way away, it doesn’t mean that the quality of the connection is always good, just as it is easier to have a conversation with someone nearby instead of yelling across a crowded room. Data is sent back and forth over WiFi in “packets” and the further away you are from your WiFi router, the fewer packets will reach their destination. 
Wifi router - how to speed up slow internet
Try moving closer to your router 
So if you’re struggling to connect from the other side of your house, try moving closer—or even reposition your WiFi router to be higher off the ground, so that it is less affected by furniture and the other household detritus that clutters up your floor.

Consider new hardware 

If you really want your internet to perform, it could be worth throwing some money at the problem. For example, most ISP-provided routers (like your BT HomeHub) will do the job, but are not always the best tech available.
"If you really want your internet to perform, it could be worth throwing some money at the problem"
If you have a larger home, it may be worth upgrading, for example, to a “mesh” network—this is where instead of having one WiFi hotspot, you place additional intermediary hotspots around your home to ping the signal back to base, and your devices will connect to whichever is closest. 
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