How to Get the Most Out of Your Internet Connection

A speed test that reads 100 MbpsIt is frustrating to feel like you aren’t getting the most out of your Internet connection. Luckily, there are some simple ways you can assess and even boost your connection to meet your needs.

Run a Speed Test

Start by running a speed test from your computer. When you do this, plug into your router directly. That is how you get the most accurate reading, as other devices could skew your results.

If your reading is below the speed you are paying for, you should call your provider. If the speed test shows that you are getting the correct bandwidth, you will want to keep investigating how to get the most out of your Internet.

Troubleshoot Your Modem

Today, many households have modem-router combos, but our router and modem advice still applies. If you haven’t yet, try unplugging your modem, waiting about thirty-seconds, and re-plugging it. Give it a few minutes to reboot, and then try using your device again.

If the slowness persists, log in to the modem. First, check for any updates. These should run automatically, but as we discussed in last week’s post, updates don’t always push correctly. Once you know everything is up to date, check to see what devices have connected to your network. The problem could be someone siphoning off your connection. If you log on and see some unwanted visitors, kick them off and reset your Wi-Fi password.

Manage Your Router Location

The location of your router, and your distance from it, can keep you from getting the most out of your Internet. Start by moving closer to your router. Don’t plug into it directly, but do sit right beside it with a wireless device connected to your network. If you suddenly have a perfect connection, then you know your issue is the location of your router.

Finding the right place for your router can be tricky. You will want it to be in a central spot in your home. Microwaves, refrigerators, fireplaces, cordless phones and even walls can block your signal, and you should keep all these factors in mind when choosing a place for your router.

If you live in a large house, you may want to look into a Wi-Fi repeater, extender, or a mesh network. Repeaters and extenders will take your existing bandwidth and redistribute it around your home. Mesh networks are more expensive and work as individual routers located strategically around your home. OTELCO does not provide routers, extenders or mesh network devices, but you can find them easily online.

An example of what a task manager would look like on a PC if you were using it to see see how much speed your devices were using to get the most out of your Internet

An example of what a task manager would look like on a PC.

Check Your Devices

Devices are often the reason we don’t get the most out of our connection. There are several reasons a wireless device might run slowly, but the most common is age. If you are using an old device, it could be ill-equipped to handle modern speeds. In our blog post, “FTTP: Are your device affecting your Internet speed?” we go into more detail about how you can determine if your wireless devices can handle your network speeds. You can read it here.

If you know age isn’t a factor, run an antivirus scan on the problematic device. Once you confirm your computer is virus-free, turn to your browser and clear your cache.  Then, check your device and your browser for updates.

Still slow? Something on your device could be taking up too much of your speed, like a download or streaming service. This is easy to identify. PC users should go to their task manager (ctrl + alt + delete) and then click “More Details.” Here you will be able to see how much speed, memory, disk space, CPU and GPU any running application is using. Mac users can do the same with their Activity Monitor. If something is taking up all your bandwidth, you will be able to identify it easily.

Determine How Much Speed You Need

At the end of the day, you may lack the necessary bandwidth to do everything you want on your network. Most people don’t know how much speed they need, but OTELCO has made evaluating your speed much more straightforward, with our Bandwidth Calculator. It is a free and easy to use tool that factors how many devices you are looking to use, and how you are using them. Download it today to determine your speed needs.

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