Ever been deep into a binge-watching session of your favourite TV series when your Internet cut out right in the middle of an epic scene? Apart from cursing your Internet Service Provider, there are other ways to vent frustration when this occurs. Sometimes it is simply down to the way your home or business is set up, or how you use data that can hinder signal strength.
Luckily, there are some simple actions you can take to help resolve data speed difficulties.
Here is our list of tips to increase the speed of your Internet:
Use an Ethernet cable instead of WiFi
Walking into your home or business and having your devices connect automatically to WiFi is a luxury we have grown to expect over the last decade or so. With the capability of multiple users wirelessly connecting to one access point with the convenience of laying in bed streaming a movie, or working without the hassle of cords and cabling, has increased our quality of life dramatically.
Unfortunately it doesn’t always go that smoothly, and often Internet speeds are not quite what you hoped they would be, or are inconsistent throughout your home or office. Usually small apartments and offices don’t have much of a problem as you are never too far from the router, but the bigger a residence is the more likely it is you will experience poor connections in specific spots.
For rooms or areas that are further away from the modem - or if certain devices need stronger signal strength to perform effectively - there is always the option of connecting your devices (such as AppleTV, laptop or PC) directly to the modem using an Ethernet cable, keeping less data-heavy devices (such as a smartphone) connected wirelessly, if necessary.
This will give you a clear indication of your true Internet speed and if you can live without the convenience of WiFi and start hooking up your cable, then you’ll experience the fastest connection possible.
Move your WiFi router
Where your WiFi router is located in your home or office can greatly affect the Internet speeds you experience. If your device and modem are divided by a concrete wall or wooden doors/walls, your connection can be hindered.
Be aware that interference from appliances or other devices like cordless phones, baby monitors and microwaves can also slow down your Internet speed.
The good news is there is an easy solution. Simply move the modem into a central part of your place, where it is open and available for all devices to access a signal, unobstructed. This may mean moving the modem down or upstairs, or out of the garage and into the living room.
Turn off unused or heavy-use devices
According to recent studies the average Australian household has 17 devices connected at a time! Even if your household uses half that number, that is still a lot of bandwidth being used up.
Because your Internet connection is shared across devices wirelessly, it affects the speed of the service. To combat this, try switching off devices you may not be using or those that aren’t as important as others.
Test this out by switching off each device one at a time, and check if the connection speed increases. This will give you an indication as to which device is using up more bandwidth.
If your connectivity increases significantly after turning off a device, it would be suggested to keep this device disconnected when trying to attain higher speeds or performing important tasks over the Internet (like buying concert tickets to your favourite music festival!).
Update your anti-virus software
Anti-virus software is often overlooked as being one of the main causes of slowing down your Internet speed. Old anti-virus programs can not only be ineffective in preventing viruses, trojans and malware, but can also greatly reduce the performance of your device, leading users to assume their Internet is just slow.
To test whether it is the anti-virus software on your device, or the modem itself slowing down your service, try borrowing or using a different device on the same system and see if the connection improves. If it does, then it is likely the software causing the issue and will simply need to be updated. If it does not improve significantly, this may mean your device/modem is not functioning properly and may need to be replaced or repaired.
There are many anti-virus software packages out there to choose from. Ensure to do some research before upgrading to make sure you are utilising the full capacity of your service and not being hindered by infected software or a faulty device.
Upgrade your modem
The quality and age of your modem will affect your connection. Old routers can struggle with the new speeds available on the nbn™ network, so if you’ve opted for one of the faster speed tiers, it may be time to upgrade your hardware to match your service.
The best way to check this is by doing a number of speed tests. Conduct the first test over the WiFi, and the second one connected via an Ethernet cable. If the drop is significantly greater using the cable, then it may be time to upgrade the modem and start ramping up that WiFi signal!
Set your WiFi connection to private
Have you ever used hotspot in a public place and realised someone is leeching off your connection? Well the same thing happens at home or in the office with your Internet, though it is not as easy to detect.
Having a secure connection will stop neighbours from accessing your service and using up that vital bandwidth you are trying to run your life with. All you have to do is set up a password so they will be locked out.
Then you can start experiencing the full might of your Internet connection with faster speeds...without the hangers-ons next door coming along for the ride!
Update your web browser
A simple change like updating your web browser can also contribute towards maximising your data performance. Google Chrome is a great option when choosing browsers because it updates automatically.
Firefox is also a solid choice, as it tells you when updates are needed and works smoothly with most software.
Browsers like Internet Explorer are frequently a contributing factor in bringing down Internet speeds. Unfortunately IE updates are not automatic so if you still use this browser it would be recommended to check if it needs an update.
If you run Windows 10 you could also upgrade to Microsoft Edge, the new and improved Internet Explorer. Or just save the trouble and make the switch to Chrome!
Close unused or data-taxing applications
You may think your laptop is pretty quick, but applications running in the background could be using up precious bandwidth on your connection.
Simply close down programs you aren’t using (only if you are familiar with them) so you maximise the performance of your service.
Update your system
Windows updates download massive amounts of data at a time. Your computer will do this on it's own schedule without prompting you and has the potential to slow down your network drastically. Especially if multiple computers do this all at once!
This can happen for more than just Windows. iPhone updates are often multiple gigabytes in size (that's a Netflix movie!), imagine if all your phones updated all at once? Consider scheduling all updates to be performed overnight when data usage is at its lowest.
Upgrade your service
If you have ticked off this checklist one by one and are still experiencing slow Internet, then it may be time to upgrade your service. When choosing a new data plan, make sure you ask your ISP as many questions as you can about maximum speeds achievable at your premises and whether the service offered is preferable for your data needs based on your current usage.
ECN Technology is an Australian ISP based in Brisbane and servicing homes and businesses Australia-wide. We offer a range of home and business Internet packages including our high speed nbn™ range. Our friendly team are always available to offer the best advice on what data package will best suit your situation, and to help ensure you get the most out of your Internet service.