We have all experienced it at some point, that time where you are in the middle of an important task online and the internet slows down to a dribble, and then suddenly speeds up to normal. There are many reasons that this can happen and how you might fix it is dependent on whether you are ethernet connected (hard-wired) or using Wi-Fi. Here are some tips to try to fix fluctuating internet speed.
Check Your Connections
If this happens continually whilst you are ‘plugged in’ to your router you need to check if this is a hardware problem before anything else. Sometimes, a simple reboot of the router and/or your PC is all that is required.
If you are using Wi-Fi, plug into the router and see if that helps…if not, reboot both the PC and your router.
If the above has no effect, then there is a good chance that the problem lies with your ISP. Give their helpline a call and check what they can do to help you (if they don’t know the problem exists they cannot put it right). It could be something really simple but it will ultimately save you aggravation.
Check Your Bandwidth
If there are certain times of the day that the speed slows down, it could be to do with how many people are using a Wi-Fi connection at the same time. This includes online gaming, streaming movies, working online, etc. Check who is online at the slow times and what they are doing. Some users can be really draining, especially in the first two mentioned.
There is also the possibility that malware is roaming your bandwidth, or someone unexpected has managed to get into your system. Obviously, it is easy to see if the usage is in the household, but if you are the only one in, and it is still fluctuating, you may want to check your router settings.
Move Your Router
When initially getting your Wi-Fi set up, you probably put it near to the phone connection point, as that’s the easiest thing to do. However, this is not always the ideal place for the router to be. Try and centralise it. You will probably need to purchase a longer lead (and get it installed nicely in the home), but the investment will be worthwhile if the internet connection no longer drops.
If you cannot move the router, for whatever reason, you should think about getting some boosters for around the house. Again, these will have to be purchased, but they will be worth the investment if your connectivity improves.
Update Router Firmware
As with all hardware and software there are updates all the time. Your router may be set to update automatically, but if it isn’t, this could be causing the drops in connectivity. Check your router settings and update to the latest firmware if required.
Update Your Device Hardware and Software
As with the router, if you are not using the latest releases you may find your device slows down. Make sure you have run all updates for the software you are using regularly. In particular any platform updates.
Choose The Best Wi-Fi Channel
Whilst we all know that if you are having issues, an ethernet connection is the most dependable connection, for devices such as smartphones, tablets and lots of other gadgets Wi-Fi is the only option. With multiple devices using Wi-Fi, and countless users with Wi-Fi routers, the airwaves are understandably getting a little busy.
If you think of it like a radio channel, Wi-Fi uses different frequencies, and we could all be listening to the same channel! To try and avoid this, you can change your Wi-Fi to a channel that is not being used. To do this you will need to access the advanced settings of your router – which will require the username and password. There are many websites offering instructions on how to do this.
Be Aware of Your Usage
Sometimes you leave a window open, just in case. You need to know if this window, or tab, is using precious resources. If it is, it is going to slow you down. As well as programs and tabs try not to automatically accept add-ins to programs you use on a regular basis as these too will slow you down.
Try not to spend long on graphic rich pages and ALWAYS check what you are downloading…is it from a reputable source and do you really need it?
Does Your Speed Match The Plan You Signed Up For?
Of course, this should be one of the first things that you check. You can find free speed tests with a simple online search. However, this won’t fix the problem, just let you know whether it exists or not. This test should be conducted when nobody else is online as, you may get a low reading due to the saturation of the bandwidth otherwise.
If the speed matches up to your plan, then the problem is with the plan and maybe you need to upgrade to receive the required service. If not, contact your provider and get them to fix it.
These are just a small number of options for you to try if your internet is under-performing. If none of the above work, it might be worthwhile asking a technician to have a more in-depth look at your connectivity. Alternatively, if you are more technically minded, you can search the internet for answers to specific queries you may have in mind – and how to fix them.
Whichever options you choose to look at, just remember to be 100% certain of how to do what you are trying to do. Don’t change settings you have no idea about as you can make the situation worse than it was when you started out.