Disappointing internet speed is a common experience for the new internet user, and it generally occurs because the default setup is not the optimal one for their particular configuration. The good news is that maximizing the connection is typically a simple matter of a little investigation and some minor tweaking. In most cases, you’ll be able to achieve much closer to advertised speeds, and since they’re very occasionally conservative, you may even surpass them.
The first step is to determine what the maximum speed of your connection is. Call the service provider if needs be. It’s also important to note that there may be factors in play that limit your potential. For instance, if using a telephone-based internet service, distance from the source will limit speeds. Once you’ve determined what your theoretical maximum is, run a internet speed test. From here, you’ll understand how serious the problem is.
If the service is running far below potential, then consider possible physical and external causes. Talk to the provider, and explain your problem. Examine all connections, and check lines for damage. If you’re using extension cables, test the connection without them. These can cause signal degradation, and you may need the service provider to set up the network in a way that it doesn’t need those extensions.
You may also want to try an iPlate, such as the one manufactured by BT. The iPlate essentially removes the bell wire needed to ring older systems. The bell wire is obsolete now, but it’s still part of the system, and it often serves as a conductor for electrical interference. If this is occurring in your home, the effect on your broadband speeds can be substantial. Users experience speed increases as high as 70-percent, and iPlates typically only cost several pounds.
Verify that the router is working properly, and you can do this by testing the internal network. If you’re experiencing similar slowdowns internally, then you may have a router problem. If it’s a wireless router, ensure that it is password protected, and then double-check that you have it configured correctly. Make sure that a program isn’t crashing the router with too many connections. Torrent apps are likely culprits. If it’s a low-quality router, replace it.
Buying a new router may seem like a drastic measure, but router technology has come a long way over the last several years. It may be that your setup requires some fine-tuning of the router. The new routers are much “smarter” in that they can often auto-detect the environment, and then tweak themselves. If you buy the router from a store with a return policy, you can always return it if the router wasn’t the source of your problem.
When it comes to an operating system like Windows, it can be difficult to tell if it or one of the programs running on it is the cause of the problem. You can check the browser by installing a new browser. For instance, if you use IE, install Firefox or Chrome. If that doesn’t do it, you may want to test the connection on a clean install of Windows. If a clean install is not an option, try it in safe mode with networking, or borrow a friend’s laptop to test it.
If you’re still experiencing problems at this point, it’s vital that you perform a clean install of your OS, and that you move the computer, router and modem as close to the faceplate as possible using lines that are only as long as is absolutely necessary. If in this configuration you still experience the slow speeds, then this is most certainly the service provider’s problem. Have them come back out and check the system from the faceplate to the road.
Article was written by Spencer Hogg of Broadband Expert.