We live in a world where fiber optic networks with high-speed Internet connections that allow us to work and play online are increasingly a necessity more than a luxury in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic.
And while average Internet speeds in the US have zoomed higher in the last decade, going from 5 Mbps to 100 Mbps according to Ookla, it can often feel slow, especially if your important Zoom call with your boss glitches or you can not complete your online school test because of a poor connection.
What is Considered “High-speed Internet”?
The Federal Communications Commission has set standard speeds for broadband or fast Internet in the United States. To have “broadband” your connection must have a minimum download speed of 25 Mbps and a minimum upload speed of 3 Mbps.
Access to high-speed Internet is limited in certain parts of the United States, especially rural areas, where fiber broadband, with its faster connection speeds, is not available. Even if you have access to high-speed Internet connection, you might be getting slower speeds than as advertised.
Many Factors Affect Your Internet Speed
There is not just one factor that affects your Internet speed, but the performance of your connection is a combination of many things.
Here are some things that could be slowing down your Internet speed:
- Modem and/or Router: You should be swapping out your home or small office routers and modems at least every four years as heat can damage internal components, slowing down your Internet speeds, plus modem and router technology is constantly changing.
- Wired vs. WiFi: If your Internet connection is wireless, on a home or work WiFi network, then your speed may be slower than if you were using a wired connection.
- Operating System: A misconfigured OS on your computer could be slowing down your Internet speed, just try asking some Windows 10 users.
- Software: Make sure your web browser is configured properly and optimized. Also viruses and spyware on your computer can slow down your speed.
- Network Congestion: When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020 median download speeds in some cities decreased by 38 percent because of traffic.
How to Check Your Internet Speed
Fortunately, you do not have to rely on your gut as to whether your high-speed Internet connection is running slow as there are a variety of free online speed test tools, including one of our own here.
A couple of things you can do before starting your speed test to optimize results:
- Restart your modem and router
- Restart your laptop, PC or mobile device
- Log off the Internet on all other devices on your network
- Clear your browser’s cache on device performing the test
Here are some additional Internet speed test sites:
How to Increase Your Internet Speed
If you want to boost your Internet speed you can start by simply unplugging your router and plugging in back in after a minute. This reboot may help reset the router’s limited memory.
If you have a dual-band router, make sure that all your devices are not on the same frequency. Keep in mind that the 2.5GHz band is better for mobile devices and those a greater distance from the router, while the 5.0GHz is better for those devices closer.
Consider repositioning your router, making sure it is off the floor and unobstructed and close to your desktop PC or other devices you use regularly. Avoid putting your router near windows or metal.
Check your network to see if you have devices not in use that are taking up your network bandwidth. Your router app will allow you to manage devices.
What Else can you do to get a Faster Internet Speed?
- Go wired! If you can get close enough to your router for a wired connection, you will see improved speeds.
- Explore using a different web browser or optimize your current browser.
- Clear your browser’s cache.
- Scan and remove your computer for any spyware or malware.
If you try all these tricks and are still disappointed with your Internet speed, it might be time to check your area for a service provider that can provide you with fiber optic high-speed Internet.
PS LIGHTWAVE provides high-speed, fiber Internet for public and private commercial entities in the Greater Houston and surrounding areas.
Through our high-quality infrastructure, innovative technology and expert, locally based support, we deliver not only the best in connectivity and reliability but in scalability and redundancy. We invite you to learn more about our services, our history and our dedicated team.