The most common causes of slow internet speeds are usually problems with the WiFi, not the internet coming into your property. Here are our top tips to get your speed back.
If your problems persist, call your ISP’s helpline for support.
It’s the simplest solution and the first thing help desks will tell you to do (they call it “power cycling”). Turn your router’s power off for a minute. This puts the router back to its basic state and refreshes it.
If there’s still an issue, the problem may be with your device. So do the same thing and turn your device off for a minute, then back on again.
Smartphones, laptops, TVs, or games consoles could be hogging bandwidth by downloading updates, or uploading backups. So give them a check. Devices doing automatic updates can usually be set to do their downloading or uploading in the middle of the night. Check if your device can do this. Game consoles are notorious for large, slow downloads, so set these for non-prime times if you can.
The further you are from the router, the weaker the signal. Try and place your router as centrally as possible. If you can't, then consider a WiFi extender or repeater. These are easy to install. Thick walls can also block your signal.
Shift your WiFi router away from electronics, such as cordless phones, microwaves, and baby monitors. These devices can interfere with WiFi signals. A possible solution is going into your router’s settings and changing the channel your WiFi is broadcasting on. A cleaner channel will have less interference.
Some modern routers have an “auto” option when you’re selecting a channel. This means it’ll automatically broadcast on the best one. Select this if you can.
To change WiFi channel:
- On a Windows PC: Run the Command Prompt (either in Start – All Programs – Accessories, or by searching “cmd”), and type in “netsh wlan show networks bssid”. You’ll see a numbered list of the wireless networks nearby. Make a note of which channel is furthest away from the ones in use, or the one with the weakest signal.
- On a Mac: Click the Apple logo at the top, select About this Mac – System Report – Network – WiFi. You’ll see a numbered breakdown of the channels being used nearby. Note which channel it says are the best.
- Look at the back of your router. There should be a sticker telling you how to log into its settings – a web address, username, and password.
- Open a web browser, such as Chrome, Firefox, or Internet Explorer, and type in the web address. Then log on with your username and password.
- Look for the wireless network settings. Depending on your provider, it might be under “Home network” or general “Wireless settings”.
- You’re looking for a prompt that lets you choose a channel from one to 13. Select the number you made a note of earlier.
- Et voila. In a minute or two, your WiFi should broadcast on the cleanest channel, meaning better signal and faster data transfer.
If you still can’t figure what’s wrong (and your ISP can’t either), there is a small chance someone else could be using your WiFi. You need to make sure it’s password-protected and your SSID (the name of your WiFi) is unique.
Try these simple changes to your router’s settings:
- Change the SSID – the name of your WiFi network – to something unique. Even something as simple as “[your name]’s WiFi”. Though don’t give away where you live.
- Set it to the highest level of encryption – WPA2 is the most secure.
- Change your WiFi password to one that includes upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers, and punctuation – but also make it memorable. If you have flatmates, make sure you change it if any of them move out.
If you do all that, and call your ISP’s helpline, and your broadband is still rubbish, then maybe it's time to consider switching broadband providers.