In many of the Facebook groups I’m in, or even just around the neighborhood, people can be found complaining about their ISP (Internet Service Provider). They ask me, or the group in general, “why is my internet so slow?”. I can understand that they are frustrated with their slow internet connection, but often they are placing blame in the wrong place.
This just recently happened, when a neighbor of mine started complaining about how her ISP is the worst. It just happens to be the same ISP that I use, and mine is NOT the worst. In fact, we can stream movies on our 4 TVs at the same time. There is generally no hiccups or lag.
Then why is my internet so slow, when yours is so fast?
When you sign up for your internet service, they typically give you some equipment to make the internet function properly. This piece of equipment can usually function as your wifi router. However, that doesn’t mean that it should. What many people don’t understand is that relying on this equipment from the ISP is likely causing most of their problems.
You need a good wifi router
The main reason for this slowness is because the modem they gave you is terrible as a wifi router. You can still use their modem, but you will want to purchase your own wifi router to plug into it. As I’ve explained before, the wifi router is the most utilized piece of technology in your entire home. Without a proper wifi router, you will definitely experience a slow internet connection. I wouldn’t spend less than $200 on a wifi router for your home.
If you do already have a good wifi router, and it worked well in the past, but now seems to be slowing down, definitely look into replacing your router. As I mentioned, it is the most used electronic in your home, and it can start failing fairly quickly, especially if it is being stored in a hot location with no airflow.
Place your router in an open area
Another reason your internet is slow can be the location of your router. Especially if you have a large house, there can be dead spots that don’t get a great signal from your router. You can resolve this by purchasing a wifi mesh system like Orbi or buying extenders for the dead spots in your home.
It can be tempting to hide your router behind a shelf or books, or even create some cute DIY project that will hide your router. The only thing it will hide though is your internet connection. When you hinder the signal coming from the router, it can slow down your internet significantly. The router shouldn’t be too close to other electronics and should be out in the open.
Check your computers for viruses
The third reason your internet is slow is viruses on your computers. This can be true even if the slowness is happening in your entertainment devices, and not the computers themselves. A virus on your computers can clog your internet connection with traffic from the virus. The amount of traffic that can pass through a virus can take down major networks. Make sure to scan for viruses on all the computers and mobile devices on your network.
In addition to devices on your network that could have viruses, make sure there aren’t any rogue devices on your network too. Neighbor’s devices or nearby devices that are connected to your network could cause issues as well. Make sure that your wireless network has a wifi password that is not the default for the device.
Next time you are complaining about your slow internet connection, don’t immediately blame your internet service provider. Check these three things first, then call them to complain.
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Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com