How to speed up your broadband internet connection...

The internet delivers information in an instant… theoretically. But you may find that your internet is very slow. If things aren't working as they should, there are various ways of improving them.

How to speed up your internet

First, check what speed you signed up to. This is the speed of internet that you ought to be getting – so long as the network in your local area can handle it. If the cabling where you live can't manage the internet speed you subscribed to, then your internet connection won't be as fast as your ISP promises – at least not until the cables in your area are upgraded. Next, check the speed of your broadband, to find out if it is as slow as you think – there are several websites, such as, where you can measure the speed of your broadband by following some simple instructions.

If your broadband speed is much slower than advertised, talk to the customer services department of your ISP. It may be that there is a technical problem with your router; if so, they may send a technician to fix it. Or, if you've been on a slow internet speed package for a long time, they may offer you an upgrade for little or no extra cost.

There are several other reasons why your internet speed could be running slower than expected

It might be your computer, not the broadband, that is slow.

Check that your antivirus software is up to date and functioning: viruses can clog your machine and make it sluggish (see page 36). Check that your router and your browser are also up to date (you can download the latest versions of most of the widely used browser programs for free).

Turn off any applications that you are not using.

If you are on a PC, go to the Task Manager (press Ctrl+Alt+Delete) and check that none of the listed programs is using up a large part of your bandwidth. Some of them may be unnecessary, or not in use by you. If in doubt, ask an expert. Don't allow applications such as live TV streaming to go on in the background when you are not watching, because they will slow your connection and use up your monthly allowance. If you go over your monthly allowance, your ISP can restrict the speed of internet usage in order to penalise you: check that this is not the case.

It is possible that your WiFi is causing the problem.

Connect your computer or laptop with a cable to the router to see if you get faster speeds. If you do, then the wireless connection is the issue. If so, then try these measures:

  • Buy an antenna booster or a wireless repeater. Either of these will boost the signal or range of the WiFi within your home.
  • Protect your WiFi with a strong password, so that you are not sharing your connection with your neighbours or anyone passing by. You should do this for security reasons, of course, but you will also get better speeds if no one is piggybacking on your WiFi.
  • If you use DSL (telephone) broadband, make sure that the router is plugged into the master telephone socket. Avoid using extension leads to connect from your phone socket to the router as these will slow down the connection. If you must use one, make it as short as possible. Do check your phone lines since damaged or old wiring can be the cause of a slow connection. And make sure that you have a splitter/line filter plugged into every phone socket in the house. If not, this, too, could be the cause of slow speed and disconnections.


My connection is still not working

The next step is to check your network connection 

In Windows, from the Start menu, open the Control Panel and click on Network and Internet or Network Options. Depending on your version of Windows, all of the possible network connections (that is, WiFi and other networks) will be listed here, or you will need to make one more click on View Network Status and Tasks to get there. You will see the name of your router listed – click on that. Once you have opened this connection, try clicking on Disable to disconnect, then on Enable to reconnect. This sometimes fixes a connection problem.

If you have a Mac, go to System Preferences (on the Apple menu), Network, then click Assist Me then Diagnostics. A pop-up window will appear with instructions on how to investigate and fix the problem.

If after doing all these checks your internet is still not working, you should ring your ISP and report the problem. It may be that there is an issue with the internet service to your area, or they may be able to help you diagnose and fix the problem.


The connection keeps failing. What is going on?

This shouldn't be happening. If you've done all of the above checks and you are still having problems, then there is a wider issue. This could be with your equipment (such as your router or cables) or with the local network. Either way, ring your ISP and explain the problem and what you have done to investigate it.


What will the ISP do?

They may send out an engineer to check your equipment or check your local network and fix it. Sometimes, if you have an old router or separate modem and router, the equipment may not be able to cope with the faster speeds now available or with the number of devices trying to connect in your household. Your ISP may supply a new combined router/modem that will give you better service.


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