What to Do When Your Internet Is Slow

Slowed Internet speeds can pop up at the most inconvenient of times. Maybe you’ve just settled into the couch with a bowl of popcorn, only to find the movie you were planning to watch is stuck on a seemingly eternal loading circle. Perhaps you need to complete some tasks as you work from home, but you’re unable to get to the next webpage. If you’re having these kinds of experiences more and more frequently, you may be at a loss for what to do when your Internet is slow. You may be able to identify and resolve the problem with the following responses.

Check Your Speeds

As an initial step, check your Internet speed using a website such as Fast.com or Speedtest.net, which will tell you the amount of Mbps you have available for use. Mbps stands for megabits per second, a unit for measuring Internet speed. When you sign up for an Internet plan, your provider will sell the package base on the maximum Mbps you’ll receive. For example, if you have a 600-Mbps plan, you’re supposed to get up to 600 Mbps. In practice, however, you’ll usually receive less than that number.

The local signals of people around you can also further slow your connection, changing the Mbps at different times during the course of a day. If you see speeds that are consistently slower than what you’re supposed to be getting, you should then take additional steps to fix this.

Restart Your Router and Modem

A classic troubleshooting tactic, restarting your router is a valid course of action to take. This will give the router a short rest and allow it to come back with a fresh connection to the Internet. Unplug it for a few seconds, and then plug it back in.

If your modem is separate from your router, unplug that, too. The modem is the device that links your local network from the router to the Internet, so it’s also an integral part of your connection. After you’ve plugged the router and modem back in, wait for them to come back online, and then check your Internet speed again.

Boost Your Wi-Fi Signal

If you’re still at a loss for what to do when your Internet is slow, your signal itself may be at the root of the problem. You can take steps to boost your Wi-Fi signal in order to strengthen your connection to the Internet. Wi-Fi uses radio waves to connect your devices to your router, and when too many devices are using the same wavelengths, they can hamper your Internet speed.

There are a number of ways to improve your Wi-Fi. In some cases, the solution may be as simple as moving the router to a more central, open location in the home. You might also need to update the firmware for the router, a process that will vary depending on the manufacturer and model. The wavelength to which your router defaults may be too full because of your neighbors’ devices—you can check if this is the case through software applications such as Wi-Fi Analyzer. If this is the case, you can change the wavelength to one that’s less busy.